Whitby is a small seaside town situated in North Yorkshire. From cute cobbles to walks along the beach – it is definitely a place you can call home. No matter how far you drift, you always come back to the little town of Whitby. Now I’m pretty sure Whitby is just like every other small town around the country, but these are some signs you’ve grown up in Whitby.
1. Fish and Chips
If you didn’t know, Whitby is famously known for it’s fish and chips. As you can imagine, Whitby is full of fish and chip restaurants and take-outs. Believe it or not, we take our fish and chips very seriously, and we all have our loyalties to our favourite fish and chip shop. We don’t mess around and admittedly, from personal experiences, it can get ugly. A relentless battle between who is right and who is wrong. In the end, we all have to agree to disagree because there’s only so many fish and chip conflicts one can take.
2. Regatta Monday
Regatta. Where do I even begin? Regatta was and (shamefully) still is one of the most exciting events that happens in Whitby. Regatta is a long weekend in the middle of August where the whole town comes together. From rides to competitions (even one’s dogs can enter…yes, you read that right) When we were young, the night before regatta Monday was probably the second best night of the year (apart from Christmas Eve, obviously).
Anyone who lives in Whitby, actually scratch that, anyone who has merely passed through, will know that the struggle is real when it comes to seagulls. Now, don’t get me wrong, they don’t bother me on a daily basis (I try and mentally block them out). But no matter what you have in your hands, I can guarantee a seagull will happily take whatever it is you have in your hands, out of them.
Whitby is a very popular holiday destination, and that only means one thing. Tourists. In the height of summer, where we call home and what we love to do is simply just an inconvenience. Forget the running statement ‘I’m going to quickly pop into town’ – no. There is no such thing as ‘quick’ when it comes to summer and tourists. You want to make a 10-minute journey through town? Add on 15-minutes, and then another 10, and actually, maybe another 20-minutes on top. In fact, just stay out of Whitby at all costs. Stay inside, go on holiday or even, I don’t know, immigrate?
5. Primary, Secondary and College
As far back as our minds will allow us to wander, our first memories will most probably be of primary school. There’s no doubt about it, your years at school are the best years of your life, and they only get better as you grow older. For us, it goes primary school, secondary school and college. I only discovered this when I went to university (yes, that was only three years ago) that in fact, it is not secondary school to everyone else. To others, it is middle school. (I guess this point is totally, pointless? But it seriously blew my mind)
6. Seaside Saturday’s
For me, there was no better way than spending a sunny Saturday on the beach with family and friends. But, first things first; ice cream. A Mr Whippy with sprinkles and a flake was the top of any 10-year-olds list (If we’re being honest, it still is). But the sun went in and the day came to an end, memories were made on what we called our beach. Childhood memories consist of donkey rides which were compulsory, and even a bounce on the trampolines was absolutely necessary (obviously).
7. School Rivalries
I’m sure every small town has the same continuous dispute, passed down from older generations. It will simply never get old – school rivalries. You had the people that were not into conflict (and didn’t really care), then you have the hard core kids where it was simply fundamental to their time at school. However as a school year, in fact, the whole school – we firmly stuck together. We probably like to think we’re over it, but secretly we’re not.
8. You Can’t Get Away With Anything
If there’s one thing for sure, it’s not getting away with anything. In Whitby, there’s eyes everywhere. You want to meet a boy for the first time without anyone finding out? No chance. Have you told your mum and dad you’re at a friend’s house but you’re really out in town? Don’t bother. Trust me, you will get caught. Everyone knows everyone in Whitby, and if you don’t know them, they’ll know your mum.
9. We Make Up Our Own Words
Whitby is unique for a lot of reasons, but one I can be sure about is our knack for making new words. Honestly, we have a completely different vocabulary to the rest of the country, and even the north as a whole. Words that make no sense at all, and don’t really have any meaning somehow get used on the daily.
10. You Can’t Go Anywhere
Once you turn eighteen, that’s it, you’re out every weekend with your friends making the most of Saturday night. This is all fun and games until you want to let your hair down and have a little fun. This is no exaggeration, if you commit to a Saturday night out in town, you have to prepare to see everyone you know (and I mean everyone). From past teachers to your middle-aged uncle, before you know it, they’re drinking you under the table and they’re putting you in a taxi home.
There’s no place like home and what makes any home irreplaceable are the small things we take for granted. For me, and I’m sure a lot of other people in Whitby too, it’s our love for a sunset. To put it simply, Whitby sunsets just cannot be beaten. Wrapped up warm, sipping on a creamy hot chocolate while watching the sun setting has always been, and will forever be my favourite thing about living in Whitby.
12. No Place Like Home
Whether you were born in Whitby or you moved here when you were young, Whitby has something special to offer, from historic memoirs to relaxing on the beach. There’s obviously the exception, but if we’re all being honest with ourselves, we can all admit – there’s no place like home. I mean, whats not to love?
13. Strangers Will Know Who You Are
It’s one thing growing up in Whitby yourself, but if your parents did too, then all I can say is good luck – you have no chance. You’ll be walking to work and you’ll be stopped in your path with “Are you so and so’s daughter? Aw, you look just like her!” No exaggeration, this has recently happened to me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – everybody knows e.v.e.r.y.b.o.d.y.
14. Independence Day
A childhood memory I’m sure anyone will remember, is the first time they’re allowed out with their friends (on their own!!). I mean, it’s a big deal for your 12–year-old self. Since we were more mature and we were basically adults, we were trusted to make our own memories and go on our own adventures (well, adventures that were 10 minutes from home). But we didn’t care, we finally had our independence. We walked down town with a swag in our step and ate ice cream like our life depended on it.
15. Everybody Had Everything
One thing I remember about school was if one person had something, then you had to have it. Nothing was sacred in secondary school. Your best friend had a pink fluffy pencil? You also had to have a pink fluffy pencil. The girl you sit next to in math had a Topshop tote? You also had to have a Topshop tote. Everybody had to have the same everything, there was no doubt about it.