Coast to Coast 2011: Day One
Sunday 12th June – Robin Hood’s Bay to Grosmont
Today I shall mostly be wearing flares and whistling along to “Walking On The Water” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
I didn’t sleep all that well in the night. I was awake at 3am and then again at 4am and 5am and finally gave up trying to sleep at 6am when I obviously fell asleep as the alarm awoke me at 7am. I have a new iPhone app that allows me to wake up to music, just like I used to 30 years ago with my alarm clock radio! Now that’s progress for you 🙂
The result is that I spent all day humming Pink Floyd’s “On the Turning Away” which was not the intended walking song for the day. So tomorrow I’ll be changing the alarm to “Walk the Line”. You can’t choose your head splinters though, I learned that long ago!
The skylights were blue when I awoke, not a cloud in the sky and it was already warming up.
Breakfast in the Manning Tree, just like everything else, was excellent. Cooked to order and well cooked too! Lovely thick toast and the best hash browns I’ve had outside of the US. All in all this would be a great place to finish your C2C walk and it’s certainly a great place to start it. If I had a complaint, and regular readers will know I usually do, it was that the pillows were a little on the hard side – and that’s it 🙂
I left a glowing recommendation in the visitors book and left with a spring in my step.
First job of the day was to try and find a pebble on the beach. I squeezed past the ambulance which was parked, blue lights flashing, outside one of the houses on the narrow and ridiculously steep streets of the old town. I hoped that was the extent of the excitement for the day.
The Bay Hotel was deserted as I took the obligatory photos of the C2C sign on their wall. The tide was right out again so I headed for the water line and on the way stumbled across a small stash of pebbles, from which I selected a couple of small ones and dropped them in my pack. I continued to the shore and dipped my boots, then headed for the Cleveland Way, south out of the village.
With hindsight I could have walked along the beach pretty much all of the way, at least as far as Boggle Hole and probably further. The Cleveland Way winds up and down the cliff path gaining and losing height in steep, lung bursting stair cases. Which is good for the long views but played havoc with my knees.
I took to a quiet farm access road for a while, climbing up the hillside to the transmitter mast at the start of the Lyke Wake Walk. Then it was out into the heather along a thankfully dry route. North Yorks has had very little rain this spring which is bad news for the local farmers but good news for walkers. This can be a horrendous boggy nightmare, but today it was glorious. The path is flanked by teaming masses of Skylarks, Curlew and Plover so you are almost constantly accompanied by the music of the birds. The sun was playing along too, shining nicely, with a cooling breeze to take the edge off the temperature.
I passed a guy who looked to be almost dead on his feet. He was walking so slowly I initially thought he might be in trouble, but then I realised he must be at the end of the 40 mile endurance walk. He didn’t have far to go though, he tried a smile as we passed, but it fell well short of his eyes, he seemed to be in a world of his own; boots scuffing the ground and head bowed.
I tried the LWW a couple of years ago and I know how hard it is. I didn’t finish, I only managed about 24 miles but I knew I couldn’t make it to the end. Fortunately we were being supported by my brother so were able to call it a day at pretty much any point.
The LWW now dropped down to Jugger Howe Beck on a well laid stone step path, across a little bridge and then up another long, steep stone stair case on the other side. It was tough going and I could only imagine how the guy I’d just passed had felt, climbing out of here after almost 40 miles.
The path was easy to follow and I was drifting off into reveries as I walked, clearing the mind of work and thinking about anything and nothing – it was this dreaming that I blame for the little scream and the unconscious outburst of “f?@*ing hell” that escaped me as a voice called “morning” behind me. A cyclist had managed to creep up behind me on his ninja stealth bike and shouted at the top of his voice immediately behind me. I stopped and caught my chest, to prevent my heart from escaping and he stopped and apologised. He said be thought he’d been far enough behind to avoid the shock, but I knew he was lying! He cycled off, no doubt chuckling to himself and carving another little notch in his handlebars.
I left the LWW route at Lilla Cross and turned right onto another wide, eroded track through the heather.
I was beginning to feel a little leg weary so I stopped for lunch beside a marker stone, somewhere to prop by back against and to rest for a while.
30 minutes and half a pack of Fruit Pastilles later I felt much better and continued on, along Foster Howes Rigg which has another wide, eroded track all the way along it.
I donned headphone and iPod at this point, listening to an audio book, but with the volume low enough to listen out for ninja cyclists.
The route across Sneaton High Moor would be rough if it was wet and raining, but although the sun was hidden by clouds now, the weather was still fine and the path was cracked and dry all the way.
About an hour after lunch I reached the crossing of the A169 and entered into a stage which I was a little concerned about. I’d picked this section of the route based on pictures from Google Earth. Whinstone Ridge looks like an immense elongated quarry, a huge straight scar across the moorland. But there’s no path according to the OS map. Google Earth however suggested there was, so here I was, with a huge diversion on my hands if it wasn’t navigable. Luckily it was. In fact it looked quite heavily used. There’s a clear path all the way down the centre of the scar and some paths along the top of it too. I stuck to the centre line, a path at the foot of steep slopes on either side and lovely and sheltered for it.
I took a tumble on one steep section, skinning my hand in the process, and feeling a bit silly, but on the whole it was a great route.
At Arundel Hill I made a path through fields, probably a little trespass, but no-one saw me. On the exit from the field I spotted a “Beware of the Bull” sign that was obviously supposed to deter exactly what I’d done. If there was a bull he was out for the day.
At Boggle House (the second Boggle of the day) it started to rain. I delayed as long as I could, but it was obviously not going to stop, so I pulled out my Poncho and threw it on. It worked a treat, although it was a little warmer than I was expecting. But it kept me and my pack dry as we walked along the last mile or so into Grosmont.
I missed the path I’d intended to take into the village, forcing me to either backtrack (never going go happen) or trust to luck at the fords I could see on the map. Luck wasn’t with me though and they were too deep to cross, I tried crossing at a shallow spot nearby, using stones, but they were too slippery and I dunked my foot before using prudence and backtracking. I didn’t have to go all the way back though, I cut through a churchyard and along a path beside the railway into the village.
The place was heaving with steam train tourists; more cameras than at a Hollywood premier and all in the hands of middle aged men with too little to do in life.
A steam train was just leaving the station, which didn’t really manage to raise much interest me; I was wet and tired and needed a shower.
I found the Station Hotel, next to the station funnily enough, and checked in. My bag was waiting in the hall and I was shown to my small single room.
The Station isn’t a patch on the B&B last night, there’s a fuse box or something in my room that keeps clicking every 15 minutes or so. It’s already getting on my nerves and I know it’s one of those annoying noises that’s going to keep me awake tonight.
I’m back from dinner now, a chicken and stuffing filled Yorkshire Pudding which was lovely.
No WiFi again – although the iPhone found a good strong source it’s apparently not for the use of the guests. Not even sure this will upload properly – the iPhone WordPress app is hopeless, recent updates have made it next to useless; in fact I’m typing this in iPhone’s Notes app and then copying and pasting into the WordPress app.
So enough for tonight. An early night for an early-ish start.