Growing up in the north east I got to know the Yorkshire coast well. Family holidays at Marske – sand, spade, toe incident apparently – and Scarborough (in the rain). As a boy scout I vividly recall sleeping under a tarpaulin on the coast path and walking, shortly after daylight, into Robin Hoods Bay for the most fabulous bacon in that gloopy sliced white bread with hot mugs of tea. Student romps and larks in Runswick Bay, later honeymooning nearby.
In fact, I feel I could have been one of the contributors to Edge of Heaven: The Yorkshire Coast. At first sight this looks like another coffee table book but each vividly illustrated chapter contains a highly personal essay from an eclectic range of Yorkshire folk and others who came to know that coast well: Roy Hattersley writes fascinatingly about the shifting coastline of Hornsea and the Holderness Peninsula – which I will visit one day; the late Alan Plater was born in Jarrow but grew up in Hull – a town on the way to nowhere that has dragged itself up and now hosts the world’s only submarium, apparently.
Martin Wainwright, RJ Ellory, Blake Morrison and Margaret Drabble figure with others I didn’t know but now feel I do. Top marks to Great Northern for venturing to publish this book. As its guiding hand, Lee Hanson, writes in the opening pages, this book ‘contains history but is not historical, it is topographical but it is not topography; it is illustrated but is not solely a pictorial record; it records travel but is not a travelogue or a travel guide’ and so on.
What it most definitely is is worth checking out.