‘Are you going to Scarborough Fair?’ I couldn’t get the lyrics out of my head as I made my way towards Scarborough. I was planning to investigate the castle, not the fair, but you couldn’t tell my mind that. I parked out of town and caught the bus, but got off far too soon. This gave me ample time to experience the rain and wind whipping off the sea.
Shaking with cold and cursing the fact that I hadn’t brought an umbrella, I made my way closer to the area around the seafront. Within a few minutes, I was enchanted. The view of the castle ruins sitting high above the town was amazing. I kept thinking, ‘How beautiful.’ Then I realized that I would have to hike up that hill and suddenly it didn’t seem quite so beautiful.
For once in my life, I didn’t take the way straight up the hill, but took the longer, but less steep, route through town. I was glad I did. I paused for a while at St Mary’s church. It was interesting to learn that the grave of Anne Bronte was nearby. I looked around the church and then continued my trek.
Words cannot begin to describe the ruins at Scarborough. What it lacks in quantity, it makes up in quality. One could easily spend a half-day there, wandering amid the ruins, and looking at the view from several different angles. Protected on three sides by 300-feet cliffs, the castle has a prime view of the town and harbour.
I give a complete description of the castle in The World of Richard III and it is safe to say that Scarborough Castle is one of my favorites. I have a bad (or good, if you look at it in a positive light) habit of saying everything is my favorite, but it’s because I tend to enjoy every castle I visit. But Scarborough? Well, it really is special.
Looking down over the town and the harbour, I felt a momentary sadness for the town who had received a charter from Richard granting it a mayor, sheriff, and twelve aldermen. I imagine the residents of Scarborough were saddened by Richard’s death and even more so when Henry VII did not recognise the charter. How would the town have changed if Richard had lived? Playing ‘what-if’ never gets one anywhere, so with reluctance, I turned away and headed back to my bus stop. One of Anne Bronte’s poems floated in my head,
‘Farewell to thee! but not farewell
To all my fondest thoughts of thee:
Within my heart they still shall dwell;
And they shall cheer and comfort me.’
It was a bit melancholy, and I felt neither cheered nor comforted. I wanted to know that I would return to this castle by the sea. Suddenly, unbidden, my mind latched on to a catch phrase from the 80s. In the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scarborough, ‘I’ll be back.’ And, I will.