C2C 2011: Day Zero

11th June 2011 – Arrival in Robin Hood’s Bay

When I awoke at 08:00 this morning I had nothing packed at all. Not a thing. Which, for a control freak like me, is absolutely unheard of. The main reason was my workload last week. Multiple customer meetings in London, followed by a last minute tender response that needed most of the waking hours of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to complete.

Friday evening was spent with my youngest daughter, the whole family trying to eat the massive birthday cake that her sister had made for her – shaped like a dinosaur and looking absolutely stunning.

Dinosaur cake

Dinosaur cake

Everything worked out OK though, I had all morning to pack my bag and I’d prepared my kit list a few weeks ago as part of my advanced planning, so all I had to do was root out the appropriate items and sling them into my cargo bag.

I spent the morning relaxing with my wife and waiting for our daughter to arise from the drunken stupor she had no doubt fallen into in the early hours of the morning after stumbling in from the local disco (she hates me calling it a disco) – “It’s a club Dad”!

I was packed and ready by the time she surfaced and within an hour I was off up the motorway. My son had agreed to take me to Robin Hood’s Bay and also to collect me from St. Bees in two weeks – in exchange for the use of my car for the intervening period. It seemed like a reasonable bargain and would probably save him a few quid in petrol as well, so win-win all round.

The drive over was uneventful – with mixed sunshine and showers all the way. Even Stuart (mini me), usually so reticent, thought the moors were lovely – obviously he didn’t say anything, that would be too much to expect, but I could tell. We drove in over Fylingdale Moor and the clouds were black as night and big as… as…. well they were huge; towering over the heather landscape and threatening to deliver a huge dump of rain.

Fylingdales early warning station

Fylingdales early warning station

They held off long enough for me to arrive at the B&B in Robin Hood’s Bay; the Manning Tree, and get my bags inside. Just about the time I expected, 15:00. I handed the car keys over to Stuart and was rewarded with a huge grin as he prepared to drive home in my new Golf GTI, tanks fully topped off and engine and tyres nicely warmed up from the 150 mile drive in.

The landlady apologised in advance for the size of the room she was putting me in, but I told her that even without seeing it, it couldn’t be any smaller than one particular room I’d stayed in before. I was thinking of the little single in the White Lion in Patterdale – the Angle Tarn Pikes room, which I was staying in again in a few days. I was right – the room was much bigger and much, much nicer.

I settled in to the lovely twin room and the heavens opened. It absolutely tipped it down, battering off the skylights in my room. I ditched the plan to do a short circular walk to bag a nearby trig point and settled on a walk down into Robin Hood’s Bay once the shower stopped.

By 16:00 the rain had stopped and the skies had cleared, so I grabbed a coat and walked along the sea wall into the village.

Sea wall in Robin Hood's Bay

Sea wall in Robin Hood’s Bay

Sea wall in Robin Hood's Bay

Sea wall in Robin Hood’s Bay

It was heaving with people; more than just a normal summer Saturday afternoon I thought. I walked down to the Bay Hotel with the idea of watching finishers arriving, but it was just too busy. So I headed off down the slipway onto the beach to try and find a couple of pebbles to take with me. The tide was well out so I managed to have a good wander across the beach.

Folk Festival in full swing

Folk Festival in full swing

Unfortunately, Robin Hood’s Bay is a sandy beach, and unlike St. Bees where you have a choice of a billion pocket sized rocks, at this end of the walk there’s bugger all to pick up off the beach. I also reckoned that any pebble I did find stood a good chance of being one that had been transported from the west coast by a recent finisher.

On the beach at Robin Hood's Bay

On the beach at Robin Hood’s Bay

I got disheartened when the rain started again, so decided to head back to the village and find a seat in the pub and have a drink. I’d leave stone collection until the morning.

As the rain begins everyone dashes into the town

As the rain begins everyone dashes into the town

I was in for a shock though; every pub was packed, just like the town itself. A folk music festival was in full swing, filling all the pubs with musicians and enthusiastic listeners as well as hundreds of holidaymakers all looking for a seat out of the rain. I gave up on the pubs at the bottom end of the village and puffed my way back up the hill to see if the hotels at the top were any better. I finally found an empty seat in the Victoria Hotel, where I sat sweating silently while sipping a Diet Coke.

I ordered some food and an hour or so later I skipped back to the Manning Tree between showers.

I’m all set for the morning now. Breakfast is booked for 08:00 and I should be away for 09:00.

I’m walking the Lyke Wake route for most of the way into Grosmont, so I have to drop down to the village again in the morning and then follow the Cleveland Way for a short while.

The weather should be interesting, so I plan to carry the poncho I bought a couple of weeks ago, in the hope that getting in and out of waterproofs should be easier if I don’t have to remove my pack all the time.

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