Across England on the Coast to Coast walk, part 8

 

Where we spy the North Sea and Whitby, and at the end of a very long day we make it into Robin Hood’s Bay and have a beer to celebrate completing the walk.

 

At times during this walk it felt very much like we were in a time warp that would see us roaming the countryside forever. It was a rather pleasant feeling, being so totally outside our normal life with only new experiences and sights to fill our thoughts and conversation.

I can recommend the sensation.

If you ever watch the UK TV program Escape to the country you’ll know that at some stage during what seems every episode the host will say to the camera something along the lines of,

‘… and this area is designated as one of outstanding natural beauty.’

John and I have a regular chuckle about it, as they make it sound as though everywhere in the UK is ‘… of outstanding natural beauty.’

But, you know, it’s true. The UK countryside is gorgeous. And our final days of this walk are no exception.

This morning we get our first, rather hazy, glimpse of the North Sea.

1--We see the sea!

Our very easy path today is a disused rail track.

2--An easy walk along an old railway route

After our few days on the Moors I felt I could see where Harris tweed weavers may have got their colour inspirations from.

3--The Moor colours

We spot our next overnight stay, the Lion Inn, Britain’s 4th highest inn.  Can you see it?  Orange roof.

4--Can you see the red roof?  It's the Lion Inn

5--The Lion Inn

The inn claims to date back to 1553 and once we saw inside we thought that might be entirely possible.

The dining room6--Lion Inn dining room

After a very quiet night and sound sleep we’re more than ready to get back on the road. This is our last glimpse of the Lion Inn, sitting alone, but never lonely—as it’s a very popular spot—high on the Moors.

7--Goodbye to the Lion Inn

From the inn it’s a 14 mile stroll down the Esk Valley with moorland scenery that makes your heart swell. The heather is just starting to bloom.

8--The heather is starting to bloom

And then there’s a complete change of scenery as we descend into the valley and enter East Arncliffe Wood where we walk along the river until finding the turnoff to our next port of call, Egton Bridge.

9--What a change in scenery!

On the outskirts of Egton Bridge. Now to find our accommodation!

10--Outskirts of Egton Bridge

After a bit of backtracking, circling and wondering where we cross the river, we finally find the right road and our lovely hotel, Broome House.

Broome House from the road

Once settled in we gravitate to the patio for the ubiquitous cup of tea—except in England you always get a pot. Can you see me?

11--Broome House. Can you see me on the patio?

And then our last day is upon us!

The easy walking continues and by lunchtime we’ve arrived at Grosmont where we’re diverted for an hour while watching preparations by the North York Moor Railways to get the Harry Potter Hogwart’s Express under way. We were among quite a crowd taking photos. I’d hazard a guess we were the only ones who weren’t train enthusiasts—but I took the photo for my brother-in-law back in Oz as he’s a diehard train tragic.

12--Grosmont scenic steam train

Then munching our lunch of bananas bought from the local grocer we continue on our way through the village to the open countryside beckoning from the distance.

13--A photo of Grosmont village

A short pause to check the route.

14--Checking the route

And then we see the sea! And Whitby Abbey ruins on the clifftop.

15--Whitby in the far distance

An artistic self portrait.

16--An artisitic shot

We stop at Falling Foss tea house for a much needed cup of tea and scone each.

17--Falling Foss tea house18--There's always time for tea

It’s the North Sea, people! Do we look a bit knackered? We certainly felt it. Still a few miles to go!

19--We make the north coast

The path along the cliffs.

20--The path along the coast to Robin Hood's Bay

And, at last, Robin Hood’s Bay comes into view.  What a gorgeous looking little spot!

21-Robin Hood's Bay

This was one of the longest days of the walk. Not the hardest, thank goodness, but even so, we were feeling decidedly wobbly by the time we arrived.  This photo was taken looking back to land.

22--A landward shot of Robin Hood's Bay

We wet our boots and drop our Irish Sea pebbles into the North Sea as tradition demands.

22--We drop our Irish Sea pebbles into the North Sea

Then head to the pub for a tall beer!!! Nothing beats a coldie as a reviver!

23--A well-earned beer

And, as they say, that’s all folks!

Except I will write one more post because the next day we took the local bus up to Whitby and spent the afternoon looking around—and the photos are worth posting.

Across England on the Coast to Coast walk, part 7

We’re on the downhill slide, figuratively speaking, on our epic UK Coast to Coast walk. We’ve been on the road for 14 days, having traversed the Lake District of Cumbria. We’re now well and truly on the Yorkshire Moors.

My last post saw us leaving Richmond, the largest town on the route.

17--Leaving RichmondThis post takes us as far as Great Broughton where we spent the night listening to revelers celebrating a 40th birthday party.

Once out of Richmond we set off for a day of tramping through fields with scenery that’s pretty but not stop-you-on-the-spot-to-admire gorgeous. Pretty pedestrian, if you excuse the pun.

That maybe explains why we got lost, which added a couple of hours to our day! On autopilot, not paying attention. We should have followed the River Swale—we still don’t know how we lost it—and by-pass Catterick, an army town, by a very wide margin. Instead we found ourselves smack bang in its centre, scratching our bewildered heads. Fortunately a local put us back on track.

Roman Catterick signboardNext stop was Bolton-on-Swale churchyard—intended this time because we wanted to see the monument to Henry Jenkins, a local supposedly 169 when he died. Can you hear my yeah, right. The church in which he’s buried dates back to the 14th century. It’s worth a short stop to check out surviving bits from Saxon and Norman times.

From Bolton we were supposed to cut across a field occupied by a herd of steers and we had every intention of walking through them. We’d already braved herds of cows along the way, so we figured we could handle neutered bulls.

Err, no, we couldn’t.

The closer we got the more interested in us they became. It was when they started coming towards us our courage failed and we did a smart right angle turn, hopped across a stream, and fought our way through what seemed to be a never-ending patch of shoulder high stinging nettles. Were we relieved when we spied a fence with a road on the other side! Whew. Never want to repeat that!

Sorry, no photos of that experience!

I’m not going to say anything about our next B&B, Rawcar Farm, except that we didn’t want to leave the next morning. The photos say it all—those rooms are just the guest accommodation! It can accommodate two couples and as we were the only guests we had the place, and hosts Ian and Jane, to ourselves. Five stars all the way!!

Ian told us we would have been perfectly safe with the steers—which apparently have very curious natures, hence their interest in us—as long as we didn’t break into a trot. Run and it’s, as they say, all over Red Rover.

On from the farm there are miles of more flat land with the promise of the Cleveland Hills hanging like a beacon in the distance.

Cleveland Hills in the distanceBefore we reach them though, there’s the A19 to negotiate, which means dodging cars and trucks as you hare across the four lanes. That got the blood pumping!

To our relief—short lasting because we were soon puffing—we eventually started slowly upwards into the hills.

You know how sometimes it’s better not to know how far you’ve still got to go? This was one of those times. The road seemed to just keep winding and going ever upwards!

But then, hey presto, we were there. Park House B&B, with the hostess welcoming us with glasses of bubbly.

A comment I feel bound to make is that generally the B&B rooms that greeted us were all small. Park House took that to another level with just enough room to manoeuvre around a double bed.

Rooms are pretty smallCouldn’t fault how well we were looked after though. Dinner that night ended with the biggest and creamiest Eton Mess I’ve ever had the misfortune of having to work my way through. Felt thoroughly sick by the time I’d finished. But it would have been downright rude to leave any, yes?

About a mile up from Park House our walk the next day was broken by a visit to the Mount Grace Priory ruins. If approaching via our route it’s down and around a few logging trails, so it took us a while to find. But worth it.

Mt Grace Priory ruinsDid you know those monks’ cells we hear about were in actual fact more like small townhouses!  Two storied with small gardens.  These monks even had servants.  So no more feeling sorry for those poor chaps in what I thought were small, dark and damp, bare stone one-room cells with barely enough space to move around.

Mt Grace Priory monks' cellsLook at the views we had on our walk today; 12 miles of absolute as-far-as-the-eye-can-see beauty.

At the end of which, at a spot called Clay Bank Top, we rendezvoused with our complimentary ride from our next accommodation, Great Broughton’s The Wainstone’s Hotel. No-one would stay in the town if they had to walk to it; much too far off the track.

Wainstones Hotel, Great Broughton

Wainstone's HotelAnd that’s where we laid our weary bones to listen to party noises until the wee hours. Ah well, some you win, some you lose.