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Deborah and Gwen's
Coast to Coast Diary
DAY 15 – THE LAST ONE!
Monday 31st July
Littlebeck to Robin Hoods Bay – 12 miles
We enjoyed a communal breakfast around the large farmhouse table. Conversation turned to challenges for the future. Albert is off on a mountaineering trip to Turkey next week. Mum and I collected our lunches and were the last to leave. The morning was fresh but Mum had routinely soaked her neckerchief and was now feeling a little chilly. On the way down the lane into Littlebeck we were met by Mr Ventress, the 92 year old grandfather of Robert. He walked with a staff, and stood very tall, proud and straight. Although now completely blind he liked to regularly walk up to the farm from the village as a form of exercise. It certainly was doing him no harm. He talked to us about the history of the family farm and how farmers have been ‘diversifying’ for generations and that this B&B lark was nothing new. He was very keen that we should visit Littlebeck Chapel and so we called in on our way through the village to look around the simple Methodist building. After leaving the chapel we crossed the last ford of the trip, this one as dry as all the rest. On the way out of the village we turned to enter Littlebeck Nature Reserve. We were both thinking that Dad would love this 2 mile stretch up through the wooded valley alongside the beck. We walked past The Hermitage, a shelter carved from a piece of rock mentioned in all the guide books, then past Falling Foss, although the waterfall looked less impressive than in the guidebook due to the recent lack of rain. On reaching the car park at the end of the nature reserve we sampled Judith’s scrumptious cake and then set out across the moor for the last time. We crossed a couple of roads but chose the moor land route at every opportunity. The sea view was a constant companion now as we came closer and closer to the coastline. It was definitely turning cooler and Mum even put on a long sleeved base layer for a while but it made a hasty retreat to the pack each time the sun came out again. As we dropped into the village of Hawsker we passed Jeanie and Bob having a sandwich at the side of the road. We decided to push on to find the pub where we shared a portion of chips and ate our own sandwiches. The pub didn’t have much atmosphere and so we moved on. The route from Hawsker to the cliff tops went directly through two static caravan parks which seemed eerily quiet. At last we were at the coast and turning south east we rejoined the Cleveland Way. The views of the cliffs to the north were spectacular but we could see a very dark cloud looming so we were keen to press on. The cliff top path was well trodden and easy to follow. Just as we rounded Ness Point to get out first glimpse of Robin Hoods Bay we were confronted with the edge of a storm cloud coming in from the south. We could see that it was raining hard out at sea and a few spots started to fall on us. We caught up with Jeanie and Bob who had been met by their family on the cliff top. Bob had stopped to don his waterproof but Jeanie, Mum and I pushed ahead, determined that if we hadn’t worn our coats for 2 weeks we weren’t going to start now. The rain was never more that a light shower but as we entered Robin Hoods Bay all the holiday makers were escaping the beach and making a hasty retreat back up the hill. We continued against the flow of traffic, down through the quaint narrow streets towards the sea, keeping a keen eye out for Dad who was due to meet us soon. The village reminded me so much of St Ives in Cornwall.
We reached the Bay Hotel and Wainwright’s Bar at exactly 3 p.m. and on our way to the sea we met Dad rounding the corner after eating his lunch on the beach. There were lots of hugs and congratulations and Dad took the appropriate photos of Mum and me dipping our boots into the sea. After retrieving my pebble from the depths of my rucksack I couldn’t bring myself to throw it into the water so I’ve broken with tradition and it now sits on my bedroom window sill.
We felt a little odd in our walking gear amongst the beach dwellers wearing flip flops but no one turned a head so it must be a common occurrence. We returned to Wainwright’s Bar for a celebratory drink – ginger beer and orange juice all round, well we did have to drive home later. We signed the book behind the bar and recognised a few names that belonged to walkers who had finished ahead of us. After a few final photos there was nothing left to do but to make our way back up the hill to find Thorpe Lane where Mum’s rucksack had been left by the Sherpa Van. There was an unexpected £2 retrieval fee but we didn’t let it spoil our feelings of contentment and were ready to leave Robin Hoods Bay by 4 p.m.
The drive south was uneventful and we were back in Sheffield by 7.00. It seemed a little odd to cover so much distance in such a short time but within minutes of arriving home I was back to reality and in the kitchen cooking a meal for everyone.
Our adventure was over but our heads and hearts were filled with many happy memories.
Thought for the day:
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