Boggle Hole. I just love the name. Don’t you?
A Boggle (also referred to as a hob or a boggart) is the word for a hobgoblin. In local folklore, these mischievous ‘little people’ were believed to be malevolent creatures, souring milk, turning stock lame, and hiding people’s belongings. They were thought to live in caves along this part of the coast, as well as in the more remote corners of the Moors, and these myths may well have been the inspiration for the characters found in the pages of of Robin Jarvis’ trilogy ‘The Whitby Witches’.
The clifftop path at Boggle Hole affords superb views of Robin Hood’s Bay, sweeping out in a graceful curve from the promontory of North Cheek, also called Ness Point, to South Cheek or The Old Peak. Robin Hood’s Bay is considered by many (including me) to be the prettiest fishing village on the Yorkshire coast, Robin Hood’s Bay snuggles into the steep cliffs, and has been an important fishing village since the 1500s, with over one hundred families living off the fruits of the sea during the 1830s.
Robin Hood’s Bay was once a haunt of smugglers, and it is said that illegal contraband of rum, brandy and tobacco could be moved through the village via a maze of tunnels and secret passages without ever seeing the light of day. Indeed it is also thought that the natural coastal cave at Boggle Hole was also used by local smugglers as a place to unload and hide their contraband.
A handful of traditional fishing boats are still launched along the slipway which is slap bang at the end of the main street in the heart of the old village. At low tide, bands of soft shale and hard limestone are revealed to spectacular effect in the shape of curving ridges. Abundant with geologists and fossil hunters, this rocky foreshore is a fascinating place to explore, but keep a careful eye on the rising tide. I speak from experience…
There are several theories as to why this little fishing village should be named after the famous outlaw, one of the most common is that Robin Hood fled here to escape capture and disguised himself as a fisherman.
Boggle Hole is about half an hour north of the seaside town of Scarborough, and about 20 minutes’ drive south of Whitby, with its famous abbey that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.