ONE of the most eyecatching landmarks on the east coast is proudly back in place, and locals are planning a series of celebrations to mark the event.

For decades, a huge whalebone arch has overlooked the sea from the West Cliff at Whitby, North Yorkshire, a reminder of its past as one of the whaling capitals of the world.

The industry has long gone and the original arch itself fell victim to the ravages of time, becoming a danger to the public as it deteriorated.

It has now been replaced, thanks to people in Whitby's twin town, Anchorage, in Alaska.

They gave the 350lb, 16ft-long bones of a bowhead whale killed a few years ago by the indigenous Inupiat people, who legitimately hunt whales for their subsistence.

And after a long period of preservation, which included burying them in manure for months, they have been erected on the cliff by council engineers.

Whitby's Mayor, Dalton Peake, said: "A fleet of more than 50 whaling ships used to sail out of Whitby around the year 1800, and the men would hoist whalebones high on their masts as they came back in to harbour to show they had been successful.

"From the sea, the whalebones form part of three striking landmarks for Whitby, the bones, the Abbey and the Captain Cook statue.

"The whalebones are an important reminder that as well as our religious heritage and the fame of Captain Cook as an explorer, Whitby also has another historical maritime dimension, with the whaling fleet, which brought much trade to the area, through the work of the Scoresby family and others."

The whalebones will be unveiled at a ceremony on Sunday, in the presence of a group from Alaska, including Peggy Willman, an Inupiat dancer, who is also Miss Alaska.

It will mark the beginning of two days of Alaskan-themed events in the town.

Scarborough Mayor Sheila Kettlewell said: "The new whalebones will keep alive Whitby's historic links with the whaling industry, which stretch back to the 18th Century."