Skelton Beck

Valley Gardens, Saltburn, at the confluence of Saltburn Gill with Skelton Beck. A seemingly slow and lazy stream just before it passes under the road bridge to meander across the sands into the North Sea. Can this really be the stream mentioned in an 1853 book (The Topographer and Genealogist Vol. II, edited by John Gough Nichol, F.S.A. Lond. & Newc.)? A stream which on occasions made a groaning noise that was so amplified by its hollow banks such that the sound could be heard six miles out at sea even though the sea state was calm. When heard such a sound would be taken as a very bad omen and the fishermen would not sail no matter how eager they were for a catch:

Judge for yourself.

At Saltburne mouth, a small brooke dischargeth yt self into the sea, which lyinge lowe under the bankes serveth as a trunke or conduite to convey the rumor of the sea into the neighbour feildes, for when all wyndes are whiste, and the sea restes unmoved as a standinge poole, sometymes theie is such a horrible groninge heard from that creeke, at the leaste six myles into the maynelande, that the fishermen dare not put forth, though thirste of gayne drive them on, houldinge an opynion that the ocean, as a greedy beaste rageinge for hunger, desyres to be sattisfyed with men’s carkases.

Of course much has changed since 1853. The stream has been canalised with a retaining wall on the right. The road and bridge have been built with hardstanding for the boat compound and car park. So different from the great sand bar revealed in a footnote in the book:

The waters of two becks join at Saltburne, and then empty themselves into the sea, but the sand now forms so great a bar that no fishing boat can use the waters.
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