Hairy Bob’s Cave
On the seafront at the foot of the cliffs around Scarborough Castle, a hole in the cliff, about a metre deep can be found – this is known as Hairy Bob’s Cave. It is clearly man-made and little more than a hole in the rock but, the origins and reasons behind its existence have been the source of legend and folklore in the town for over a century.
One tale suggests the ‘cave’ is simply a makeshift bivouac against the often stormy North Sea waves, chiseled out by a shrewd worker employed in the construction of Royal Albert Drive which runs along the seafront. During storms and heavy weather, the crashing waves would no doubt have halted work on the road and the cave would have offered welcome refuge against the wind, waves and rain for the worker during such downtime. The road was formally completed in 1890.
A more obscure theory suggests that the cave was chiseled out by a local schoolboy, who later on became the Verger of St Mary’s Parish Church.
The more popular tales bring the mysterious ‘Hairy Bob’ into the mix. It is certain that there was indeed a family Bobb in Scarborough during this time and, that one of the family was known as Hairy Bob. Local accounts describe Hairy Bob as a dishevelled door-to-door salesman of ‘Yellowstone’ – sandstone harvested from the castle cliffs for use in the cleaning of doorsteps. Perhaps Hairy Bob built the cave as a shelter from the elements during his sandstone gathering shifts, though popular legend has it that Hairy Bob was a somewhat hen-pecked, mild-mannered fellow for whom the cave provided a den of solace away from the sharp tongue of his spouse.
The door and windows at the front of the cave were added later, giving the cave a Flintstones-esque appearance. It has also been alleged that the real Hairy Bob’s Cave was actually just a mere hole in the ground, now filled in and indicated by a pile of stones to the left of the present cave.