20090829_A Boggle – What is it – Who is it

20090829_A Boggle  – What is it – Who is it

Where : Boggle Hole Youth Hostel, Robin Hoods Bay, Between Scarborough and Whitby on the North Yorkshire / North Sea Coast.

Summary : What is a Boggle ? Who is a Boggle ? Where does it live ? What does it do ?

Boggle Hole is such a strange name and it’s all to do with the local Yorkshire version of an imp or hob-goblin type of being and I remembered there being a specific legend about the Boggle of Boggle Hole. So I emailed the Youth Hostel to see if they could give an account for me to share in my blog …. and here is what I received in reply …. Many thanks to Nick at the hostel.

Dear Gary, apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I was hoping there was something about the Boggle on our computer that I could attach for you, but it seems to have vanished! Anyway, here is what I know about Boggles.

A Boggle is a kind of pixie or brownie (perhaps “house elf” would be a more modern term), who would, if treated kindly, be happy to help with household chores, in return for a saucer or two of milk. Mean and ill tempered householders would find Boggles rather less helpful! Stories have been told of Boggles smashing dishes, or blowing soot from the chimney all over the house. It is always best to be nice to Boggles!

Boggles were often believed to live in small caves or holes in cliff-sides. The name “Boggle Hole” comes from a cave in the headland near the hostel, on the right hand side as you look out to sea, although if our Boggle still lives in this cave he must get very wet at high tide, as the sea goes all the way in! Local people used to believe that Boggles had healing powers, and would sometimes bring their poorly children to holes, called “hob holes”, where Boggles were thought to live, in the hope that the children would be cured. If the Boggle still lives around the hostel, he keeps himself to himself for the most part, and is very rarely seen.

There are some people who believe that Boggles were something made up by local smugglers to keep customs officers away (what might be called the Scooby Doo version), as in more superstitious times people may well have wanted to avoid places where mischievous goblins were at play. I tend not to believe this version, if only because there are stories of Boggles in places far from the sea and its smugglers where there would have been no need to make the Boggle up, but it may well be that resourceful smugglers turned an existing legend to their advantage.

That really is about as much as I know, except to add this little poem

“If you are kind with a generous mind,

The Boggle for you will care,

But if you are seen as lazy and mean,

Then you really must take care!”

I’m not sure who wrote the poem, perhaps the Boggle himself! I’m sorry I have no pictures I can send you, but I hope this is of some use to you. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay with us, and I hope we might see you again.



To add to the above, I remember reading during my stay at the hostel, that Boggle Hole’s Boggle hailed originally from Robin Hood’s Bay village, and after a particularly spiteful piece of mischief he (or it) was banished from the settlement to live out his life in the cave in the cliff mentioned above.

Also, just to finish off, if you go hunting for the Boggle in the cave, please be very careful as the cliffs are very unstable, evidenced by a very large lump of rock that fell overnight from the roof of the cave whilst we were staying there … all the more note-worthy as the weather was settled, there were no high sea’s or any other apparent reason for the cave’s roof to collapse, it just did! …. So, again, please be very careful!





Oh, and I can thoroughly recommend the youth hostel as a place to stay in a simply superb setting! And yes Nick, I really want to return some time in the future as we had a brill’ long week-end.

I hope you enjoyed my scribbling, well mostly Nick’s scribblings. T.T.F.N.

Next post : 20090829_Trip to Scarborough including Sea Battle re-enactment.


6 thoughts on “20090829_A Boggle – What is it – Who is it

  1. Pingback: 20090830_Boggle Hole-Robin Hoods Bay-Whitby Walk « TO THE HILLS

  2. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful account of the history, past stories and such a detailed view of the landscape 🙂 I am planning my trip and will surely enjoy from your details a tad further 🙂

    Beautifully written and very well shared 🙂

  3. Pingback: 201703289-31_North Yorkshire Coast and Moors – TO THE HILLS

  4. Pingback: 20170329_Boggle Hole – Ravenscar – Fylingdales Moor Circular Walk Post #1 of 5 …. Boggle Hole to Ravenscar – TO THE HILLS

  5. Pingback: 20170331_A short Robin Hoods Bay walk on the beach – TO THE HILLS

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