However, the opening of the line caused great enthusiasm and local excitement, necessitating the services of numbers of policemen to keep the people off the rails. When the separate coaches had been hauled to the highest part of the dale, the horses were detached, and the vehicles were joined up with connecting bars. Then the train was allowed to rush through the pass at what was considered the dangerous speed of twenty miles an hour. For the benefit of those who enjoyed the great pace, the driver allowed the train to go at thirty miles an hour, and then, to show his complete control over the carriages, he applied the brakes and came to a standstill on the steep gradient. But for the existence of the long, narrow ravine right through the heart of these lofty moors, we may reasonably doubt whether Whitby would ever have been joined with York other than by way of the coast-line to Scarborough.
We can cross the line near Eller Beck, and, going over Goathland Moor, explore the wooded sides of Wheeldale Beck and its waterfalls. Mallyan’s Spout is the most imposing, having a drop of about 76 feet. The village of Goathland has thrown out skirmishers towards the heather in the form of an ancient-looking but quite modern church, with a low central tower, and a little hotel, stone-built and fitting well into its surroundings. The rest of the village is scattered round a large triangular green, and extends down to the railway, where there is a station named after the village.
The rolling masses of Sleights Moor rise up steeply towards the east, and from the coach-road to Whitby that we deserted at the Saltersgate Inn there is an enormous panorama over Eskdale, Whitby, and the sea.
ALONG THE ESK VALLEY
To see the valley of the Esk in its richest garb, one must wait for a spell of fine autumn weather, when a prolonged ramble can be made along the riverside and up on the moorland heights above. For the dense woodlands, which are often merely pretty in midsummer, become astonishingly lovely as the foliage draping the steep hillsides takes on its gorgeous colours, and the gills and becks on the moors send down a plentiful supply of water to fill the dales with the music of rushing streams.
Climbing up the road towards Larpool, we take a last look at quaint old Whitby, spread out before us almost like those wonderful old prints of English towns they loved to publish in the eighteenth century. But although every feature is plainly visible—the church, the abbey, the two piers, the harbour, the old town and the new—the detail is all lost in that soft mellowness of a sunny autumn day. We find an enthusiastic photographer expending plates on this familiar view, which is sold all over the town; but we do not dare to suggest that the prints, however successful, will be painfully hackneyed, and we go on rejoicing that the questions of stops and exposures need not trouble us, for the world is ablaze with colour.