Friday 17th September 2021
This would be my penultimate day following the Cleveland Way – or, to phrase it different; my final full day on this National Trail. I awoke in the morning, a stone’s throw from Robin Hood’s Bay at the bottom of the hill. Fourteen miles of coastline ahead of me. Scarborough in mind for my final night of camping.
As detailed towards the end of my previous post, I’d spent the night camped at Hooks House Farm and with a stunning outlook over the bay. Another evening in which I’d been pleased with the campsite’s facilities. Apparently they do get busy here in the summer and booking your pitch would be strongly advised.
I found a footpath heading downhill and direct from the camping fields. Much preferable to my uphill route to get there, sticking close to the edge of a busy-ish road.
I followed the B-road down towards the coast, where I met signs for the Cinder Track and soon rejoined the Cleveland Way. Then passing a reasonably sized car park and public toilets – which I skipped out of necessity for having to pay to pee.
I hadn’t yet reached the village proper but this bay was looking beautiful from every angle. It must be a great reward, for people ending their Coast to Coast journeys here, having started across the county at St. Bees. Perhaps one year, I’ll walk that one myself.
I followed a narrowing street down in to the village, as the walls either side of me began to grow taller.
I soon lost the official Cleveland Way amongst a myriad of cobbled side streets. Perfect retreat opportunities for the smuggler’s who might’ve called this place home, whether that was in the long or short term. Much more of a challenge for a backpacking tourist like me! But beautiful and encapsulating, all the same. I wish now that I’d taken more photos.
As is typical of this section of what is also designated part of the England Coast Path, I soon found myself climbing up and away from the village.
At the next descent, I passed the secluded youth hostel at Boggle Hole. Had the weather turned against me on Day 5, I could’ve phoned ahead to seek dry shelter here. Of course, it’s also appealing to those who don’t wish to carry a tent or carry all of their own food… But from limited past experience, I know that I don’t sleep particularly well amongst shared accommodation.
Another beautiful day to be spent walking the coast.
This wasn’t the first time in this week where I’d encountered one of these signs for the NAVE Nortail. Effectively a name for the North Sea Coastal Path. Looking at the map on their website, this looks to be one of only two stretches in England, alongside a stint in Northumberland further north. Beyond that, this path continues along the east coast of Scotland.
Up another hill and I was on my way towards Ravenscar, while also oblivious to the existence of moorland just a short walk west of my location. I felt I’d left the North York Moors behind forty-eight hours ago, although I was still very much within the National Park.
Along the path ahead of me, I spied three familiar walkers. Men who I’d first seen back in Whitby on the previous day. Ones who I’d assumed were staying in hostels or B&Bs. But I couldn’t be certain. We soon passed each other and said cheery hellos for the first time. I expected we’d meet again, tomorrow if not on this same day. But I don’t recall seeing them.
What must it be like to complete a long-distance walk as a small group of three? To even make and coordinate the timing must present enough of a challenge.
I stopped on one bench to have something to eat, a good two hours in to my day and also to address the heat and friction between two of my toes. Blisters, it would seem, are hard to avoid on any long-distance walk but I wouldn’t be surprised if my past days of wearing waterproof socks hadn’t contributed towards this experience..
A sense of tedium would begin to set in by the afternoon. A beautiful day for walking. But I was perpetually following the same direction and with the sea to my left. Footpaths narrowed in places. Wooded descents would lead to sharp inclines, bordered by hedges on either side.
A small part of me was wanting to finish the walk today. Not in the sense that I wanted to leave early. But I had never walked for more than six days consecutively, in addition to those other feelings. Neither had a camped for more than five consecutive nights before, even with a car. I was pretty tired, due in part to my typical lack of sleep when camping. Then there were also questions over my nutrition and whether I’d really been eating enough to keep me going.
But the beauty of the sea and the motion of the waves. That could not be ignored. I found a comfortable spot on the cliffs around Cloughton Wyke [I’m assuming ‘wyke’ is another word for ‘cove’, as we’d say down south?].
I was on course to get to Scalby (just outside of Scarborough) in very good time. I would have plenty of time left in the afternoon, before the sun would set and the temperature would fall. Even in September.
Making good progress then, I followed the coastal field edge past what I believe were buildings belonging to Scalby Lodge. My original plans had called for staying here, or at a similarly-named site very close by. But from reading some of the recent reviews, I feared there would be much left to be desired.
Instead, I had booked myself in to at the local Caravan and Camping Club site – also paying the premium non-members fee of more than £20 for my single night’s stay! But the reviews were excellent and, leaving the Cleveland Way to follow the Tabular Hills Walk path would guide me straight to the main entrance.
Upon arriving at the site, being greeted and checking in with my booking, I was personally escorted to my pitch in the tent camping field. I believe the employee’s name was Gary and he was very friendly and quite chatty; even telling me that my 14 mile walk from Robin Hood’s Bay is actually closer to 17 miles… I wasn’t going to say no!
I felt like I was getting my money’s worth with that personal service not often experienced elsewhere. Gary walked me out to my pitch. For those turning up in a vehicle, they’ll guide you along on their bikes. It seems like quite a nice place to work – or at least, in the summer months and when the weather is kind!
Perhaps the only unpleasant factor of my stay was the smell of sewage or stagnant water from the other side of the hedge to this field. I was also somewhat shaded from the evening sun by surrounding trees. But it was quiet and away from the blinding white caravans. Through the evening, I could lie in my sleeping quilt listening to Duran Duran – who were playing a live gig only a mile away in Scarborough.
I’ll tell you about my camping gas in the next post!
Length of this walk = 14 miles (unless you believe Gary…)
Thanks for reading.