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The Yorkshire Wolds Way & Cleveland Way ~ Hessle to Robin Hood’s Bay: 97 miles

24th March -1st April 2017: 12 days

Introduction

Introduction
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My appetite for carrying a fully laden pack had been sated by my experience of baggage transfer on the Offa’s Dyke Path. When planning this leg I therefore did extensive searches to find a similar service for the Yorkshire Wolds Way. I drew a blank. There were companies who provided such a service but none would do it ‘out of season’, which started 1st April. Undaunted, I sought the names of taxi companies and willing B&B owners with whom I organised a complex programme of pick ups and drop offs over eight days. Could it possibly work?

The Journey

The Journey
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After a fitful night’s sleep we jumped out of bed with the 05:15 alarm and quickly showered and dressed before doing our final packing. Our taxi was ordered for 05:45 but arrived nearer 05:55. The pleasant beturbanned driver dropped us at Altrincham Railway Station where we just missed the 06:00 Metro. We caught the 06:12 and arrived at Manchester Piccadilly in time to buy the paper, this journal and have a coffee and a croissant at Carluccios.

Kym wanted to buy breakfast from M&S but we only had five minutes before the train so I spirited her down the stairs to platform 13 which, of course, was miles away. We got there just in time and took our seats on the train to Leeds. We arrived on time after a pleasant, scenic run and made our way to platform 15 where we sought the train to Selby. We chatted with a couple of friendly chaps, one of whom was a demolition contractor: as he said ‘a grown man playing with toys!’

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Kym got asked to do a survey on travel, which she did on our twenty minute trip to Selby. We changed there for Brough and changed at Brough for Hessle. For some reason our tickets reflected a slightly different route.

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We arrived at Hessle bang on time at 09:46 and Shane, the taxi driver, was waiting there to take our bags on ahead. He took a photo of us before we took our first steps of our c100 mile walk: very exciting!

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24th March 2017 – Hessle to South Cave: 11.1 miles

Day 31

We crossed the railway and main road and headed due east to find the start of the trail, next to a muddy inlet of The Humber.

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Walking down to the banks of the Humber, we saw the bridge to the west and set off in that direction. The path was good. We started on the Trans Pennine Trail and made good progress.

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I stopped occasionally to take photos of the imposing Humber Bridge and then of the stone marker at the official start of the Yorkshire Wolds Way.

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The official start of the Yorkshire Wolds way

We passed under the bridge and continued heading west.

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The Humber Bridge

Eventually, it being low tide, we were able to drop down onto the foreshore. It was nice to walk right by the estuary but harder going. We helped a chap picking litter by throwing a pizza box off the foreshore over to him.

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The Humber Bridge from Ferriby

After asking some ladies to take a photograph of us we stopped to look at the recreated footprint of an ancient boat that had been found in the mud near Ferriby.

We turned north, away from the Humber and followed a stand of trees up to the main road. We lost our way a little but were set right by a couple walking a dog. After crossing the road we started our first steady climb. We passed a chalk quarry and a scout camp before descending by road into the lovely village of Welton, which we had visited with the boys in 2009.

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St Helen's church, Welton

We stopped at the historic Green Dragon pub for a beer and food. Kym had pie and I had fish and chips. We sat outside but it was very cold despite the clear sky.

We headed out of Welton through Welton Dale, bounded by trees. These ‘plantations’ are very common here. The trail continued on up to Wauldby Manor Farm, which was set next to a picturesque church by a small lake. We followed the trail, which became a road for a stretch and passed Top Plantation, an L-shaped row of trees, before heading downhill towards Brantingham. Kym took an urgent ‘pit stop’, washing her hands with water that I spat out from my water backpack! We had great views of the Humber estuary.

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The Humber from South Wold

Brantingham was slightly off route but we nevertheless made the detour to see the charming village. It had a nice hall, some fine houses, a duck pond and an unusual war memorial next to a fairly uninspiring pub, with the rare name of The Triton Inn.

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Brantingham

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We left Brantingham after a sit and a cereal bar and took the lane up past the beautiful church beside a chalk stream: very common in these parts. Leaving the road we headed uphill through another plantation.

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At the top of the hill we met a chap in a mobility scooter and his wife or daughter?? They had managed to get up the steep path we were about to descend, but could go no further because of kissing gates. They were both clearly envious of us doing the big walk. It made me realise the need to grab every opportunity to walk until you are physically unable.

 

We left them to the views and headed down to Woodale farm then through a valley and up the steep hill on the far side. Traversing some more fields we then commenced the decent to South Cave. Microlights flew very low over us. We hit the road down to the village and were surprised to see a police car blocking the way to the right: no idea why. We turned left and walked through the residential area down to the main road.

The path up North Wold

I called our accommodation and they agreed to pick us up from the Bear Inn in South Cave. The pub was a little less than basic, but we had a drink there then stood outside where we were picked up in a Land Rover and driven to Rudstone Walk.

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Our bags had also made it, so we collected them and were shown to a barn conversion room. It was very pleasant and Kym wasted no time jumping in the shower. I sorted my things then ran a bath in which I soaked whilst reading ‘The Penguin Lessons’.

We watched a little TV before going to dinner at 19:00. We were the only guests. We were served by the owner’s daughter: a sporty type, so we discovered. We had a bottle of shiraz. Kym had chicken risotto and sticky toffee pudding: I had steak pie and crumble. Very pleasant. We chatted with the lady chef and then retired to bed.

25th March 2017 – South Cave to Market Weighton: 11 miles

Day 32

I slept ok but woke early and listed to one of Claire Balding’s Rambles on the radio. We part packed prior to taking breakfast at 07:00. There was good local sausage and bacon and a load else: not too salty and a good view. We finished packing and paid before the chef/owner gave us a lift to where we had left the trail last evening. Kym left our guide book in the car but we managed to flag the car down and retrieve it.

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Retrieving the guide book!

We continued the walk in brilliant sunshine. It was also quite warm, despite being only 08:50. By the time we had finished the first, short, ascent we were ready to take our jackets off, which we did at a ‘poetry bench’.

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Poetry bench - Little Wold Plantation

We walked through the ivy clad trees of Little Wold Plantation then up Comber Dale, which was beautifully quiet apart from the chatter of many types of bird.

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Large 'kissing gate' at The Warrens

Kym managed to fathom the workings of a very large kissing gate as we joined a disused railway track before heading north through West Hill Plantation. The deciduous trees looked just like a David Hockney Wolds painting: patches of blue sky appearing through the upper branches.

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The 'Hockney' trees

We passed a number of dog walkers and a very energetic runner in red with tree trunk legs.

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Ferrybridge, 34 miles distant, from the B1230

We emerged from the trees and made for the road on the far side of which was an Armada beacon: one of several along the route. We walked along a small lane used as a cycle route then off across the fields, down a hill and into Swin Dale.

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Swin Dale  dry valley

This was a great example of one of the many ‘dry valleys’ where the water, presumably, runs below ground. The valley sides were grassed but there was no livestock. In fact, we had seen very little in the way of livestock so far on the walk.

We stopped to look at the, now derelict, ‘dew pond’, which was formerly used to collect dew water for the animals before it became overgrown. We carried on through Swin Dale, taking a detour from the trail, up through a wood and across the road that took us down to North Newbald.

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North  Newbald from Newbald Wold

This was another attractive village with the usual pubs (both shut), village green, Norman church and nothing else. We asked a couple where we might get a coffee and they laughed!

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North Newbald

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We sat on a bench overlooking The Green and ate cereal bars: I had my mandarin. Then we took the Beverley Road which ran along the course of a chalk stream. We picked up the trail again before turning left past a very muddy farm and up a steep hill towards Sober Hill! After the long climb we stopped at a well sited bench for a drink, to take in the view back to The Humber and to remove our ‘second layers’.

 

We set off again in t-shirts: much more comfortable. We stopped again almost immediately and Kym took my photo on top of a trig point with wind turbines in the background. The views across Yorkshire were great. One could easily pick out Ferrybridge power station, 34 miles distant. A line of brown marked the temperature inversion.

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A typical Wolds farm

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The new, foreground and the old, background

We carried on the ‘High Hunsley Circuit’, passing farm buildings in the middle of huge arable farms. A great amount of rape crop was about to flower in the fields where we passed, what was said to be, the site of a Roman amphitheatre.

Passing through Arras Farm we veered northwest along a large old hedge. We paused at a gap in the hedge and relaxed with our apples and cereal bars. Some other walkers overtook us here so we let them head on as we wanted to enjoy the enormous view.

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View from Dale Road track, Sancton Wold

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The field with not much going for it

Setting off again we walked a long stretch and through a bovine obstacle course, before descending to where the old railway crossed the road at Rifle Butts Quarry. This was a nature reserve, which we entered and where we saw a large yellow and red butterfly. We read about and viewed the layers of chalk that illustrated the way the landscape had been laid down over the aeons.

The field with not much going for it!

Ascending the narrow lane we headed for Goodmanham, which we reached at 14:30. We walked past the tea rooms as there were no tables. We walked through the grounds of another Norman church and across the road to the Goodmanham Arms where we sat outside.

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Goodmanham

I bought beer and crisps from the busy, quirky, bar and we supped in the sun with the many other customers. We watched a chap trying, without success, to get his vintage car started. As we left, he finally succeeded by bump starting it on the steep hill down to Market Weighton.

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The Old Mill House, Market Weighton

We walked down that hill, past a attractive former mill and then along the old railway line into town. Market Weighton was another town in the mould of South Cave, having lost most of its, no doubt, former glory. We found a decent toilet, which saved us from having to patronise another pub. I bought the paper for cash having brought the wrong voucher with me today.

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I called Robeanne House and Rob came to pick us up from the bus stop opposite the statue of the town’s legendary giant.

Rob was friendly as he drove us to Robeanne, where Jeanne welcomed us by saying that I hadn’t responded to her about baggage or meals! She said that since she hadn’t heard, she had arranged for us to eat with her. Iasked about our bags and she said that she had picked them up anyway as she had been over that way! Jeanne showed us up to our room, where we unpacked, showered and changed. Kym made hot drinks, which we took downstairs to the guest lounge.

I wrote two days of my journal…yeah! Jeanne served us a lovely meal of chicken stew, orange trifle and wine in the guest dining room.

Market Weighton Giant

26th March 2017 – Market Weighton to Millington: 8.46 miles

Day 33

I slept reasonable well but woke early and having checked that Kym was also awake, thre open the blinds to reveal a lovely sunrise over the eastern hills. We got ready then entered the conservatory in the main part of the house for breakfast. It was interesting looking out over Rob and Jeanne’s diverse garden and paddocks.

We were joined by two other couples: one visiting their daughter in York and the other, up from Chesham, to help with a narrowboat tour at Melbourne. We had a good chat. Kym and I sorted ourselves out and paid before Rob drove us back to Market Weighton. We bought a paper and asked him to take it, with our bags, to our next stop in Millington.

We walked out of Market Weighton, which was another fairly disappointing place of faded glories, past new developments before turning right onto a path across some fields. We caught sight of Robeanne House before crossing the A614 and walking past the large, red painted, farm at Towthorpe Grange. We kept an eye out for the abandoned village of Towthorpe marked on the OS map but, of it, we could not see any trace.

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The abandonned village of Towthorpe

I gave Mum a call for Mother’s Day and chatted with her as we passed through the large gates of the Londesborough Estate.

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Londesborough Estate

As we walked down the path we stopped and chatted to an elderly chap with an obedient collie dog. He talked to us about the estate and commented that we would be in Millington by lunchtime!

The lower walls of the old hall were impressive, with their deer shelters and vibrant daffodils: a real feature of the walk so far. As we climbed up, to what I assumed was a hall, we found a small attractive village. We walked round the outside of the Norman church as there was a Sunday service inside. We left the estate and walked along a quiet lane, from which there were great views left across the Vale of York. A helpful signboard pointed out landmarks which we could just see through the haze. These included York Minster some 19 miles away.

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York Minster across the Vale of York

We walked by the attractive ‘Cleaving Combe’, over which a couple of majestic red kite sored.

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Cleaving Combe

I stopped to photograph a number of smaller birds in the hedgerow for later identification as chaffinch

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Chaffinch

We passed some children having fun on their grandparent’s farm, Partridge Hall, then commenced a long stretch following the contour line before descending to the small village of Nunburnholme. We walked around outside the locked church and saw a couple of Commonwealth War Graves.

Carrying on out of the village we did a detour around a field to regain the path, which started to ascend through Bratt Wood. We continued on past Wold Farm, with its great views and then to a house where we met three lads, who may have been doing their DoE walk, coming the other way. The house owners pointed us in the right direction, round the back of their property and again, following the contours.

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We crossed a minor road and walked on to Low Warrendale Farm: another farm with super views over the vale of York. There we descended it’s winding drive and came to a crossroads where the Yorkshire Wolds way went right, uphill.

The Vale of York from Low Warrendale

We turned left and descended a metalled track, past some farm buildings and houses before turning left into the drive of Kilnwick Percy Manor. This had been a grand country house, but was now much smaller and had been taken on as the HQ of a Buddhist group.

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Kilnwick Percy manor

We tried to get a coffee and cake but were told the wait was over an hour, so we registered for a tour of the house: a relatively infrequent event that just so happened to be on today. The chap giving the tour was a heavily built man who had been a ‘resident’. He spoke of the entire history of the site, from pre-Roman to the present day. We visited the main rooms, which were now meditation centres with gaudy shrines.

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Buddhist shrine, Kilnwick Percy

As the tour finished I ran ahead of the crowd to try to get our drinks from the ‘Peace Café’. When I got there war was breaking out because people were fed up of waiting so long for their food! I asked about coffee but they were still ‘overwhelmed’ by the handful of customers, so Kym and I sat by a blossom tree and ate our own cereal bars and apples. Tom called to wish Kym a happy Mother’s day and we had a decent chat.

We headed off via the unusual walled garden then back up the road to rejoin the YWW as it climbed steeply up beside Warren Dale. Two tractors were working the large hillside field. On reaching the top, we turned left and crossed the plateau to its northwest edge, from where we had a great view of  Millington, way below and of the Vale of York beyond. The old field systems were easy to pick out, as were the frequent piles of dog mess on the path!

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Millington with Vale of York beyond

We followed the Minster way down the hill and after a false start, Kym found the new stream crossing, which we took into Millington. I tried to find Laburnum House on Google Maps but as I was doing this Kym spotted the house just across the road from where we were standing! We knocked and were met by Maureen Dykes, who showed us in and then made us tea and scones, which we had in the lounge. I wrote my journal and Kym read the paper before going for a walk around the garden.

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Cold Wold ridge from Laburnum Cottage

27th March 2017 – Millington to Thixendale: 10.94 miles

Day 34

I had an on/off sleep, including a strange nightmare about having my face licked by a large dog! We got ready and sat in the lounge for a pleasant breakfast served by Maureen. We then did our final packing, paid and left our bags for pickup.

We chose to leave our jackets off for, although it was cool, we had a steep ascent early on. It was spitting rain slightly but soon stopped. We wandered down to the river crossing, up the board walk and then up the long slog to rejoin the trail on the ridge where we turned left. We passed Iron Age earthworks and had good views across Millington Bottom to the woods and vales on the far side. Several partridges took off as we approached.

We descended Sylvan Dale, crossing the course of an old Roman road, which we couldn’t really make out. The ascent up the other side looked daunting but was made easier by an erosion diversion that took us on a zig zag up the hill. We continued along the ridge before descending to Nettle Dale and climbing a little way up the far side. We rounded Jessops Plantation, passing a nother of the dew ponds that seem to have been built predominantly on the tops of the hills to collect drinking water for animals.

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Pasture Dale

We proceeded along the upper slopes of Pasture Dale seeing, first a cyclist and then a horserider below. Their apparent small size showed just how enormous these valleys really are. We passed through a herd of cattle in various shades of black and brown before re-joining the road at a junction.

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There, we watched the three cyclists complete their ascent out of the valley. We crossed the road and made for a high point, from which the views would have been spectacular, had we not been walking under low cloud.

We continued on across York Lane and along the well maintained drive to Glebe Farm, which we passed and left on their ‘exit’ drive. We took the decision to don our jackets, but by then had lost so much heat that it took ages to warm up again. We turned right off the trail and wandered around the sleepy village of Huggate. We stepped into the pleasant church then up through the village to look for the pond. Although we didn’t find it, we did see the world’s shortest football pitch, with full sixed goalposts!

We stopped, out of the wind in a bus shelter, for a cereal bar, frightening a dog walker who didn’t expect to see anyone there. A notice boasted of delivering papers to the village ‘on Sundays’! We headed back to the trail, passing a chap that Kym had seen in the Gait Inn last night and who was also walking the YWW. We climbed up the road and along another well maintained drive: this time to Northfield Farm.

We turned left off the drive and arrived at the top of attractive Horse Dale, into which we descended along a nicely sloping grass path.

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Horse Dale

As we hit the valley bottom, we turned left up Holm Dale, which was lined with fine old trees. We climbed out of Holm Dale and past the impressive Glebe Farm to arrive at one of the largest villages in the Wolds – Fridaythorpe.

This was another village that must have been vibrant in the past but now contained a closed down pub and a service station.

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Kym suggested that we made for Seaways Café, which was just off the trail on the B1251. Seaways was a biker stop and there were quite a few (ageing) leather clad chaps there, despite the poor weather. We had a good mug of tea and a cake each. It was great to sit on the comfy seats at the Formica tables.

We walked back to the village where I bought a paper at the garage. Kym had found the new bus shelter by the village pond. We posed for a photo at what was the half way point on the YWW: a little worrying given that we were four days into the walk with only two to go!

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St Mary's Church, Fridaythorpe

We visited the tiny little church after directing the other YWW chap, who was trailing us, to Seaways. We passed an animal feed mill and walked to the top of West Dale into which classic valley shape we descended. After walking up the other side of the valley we continued to climb up to Gill’s Farm at the top of the hill and then to the top of the next dale: Thixendale.

The path took us away from our direction of travel to facilitate the descent to the valley bottom. We stopped half way down in a chalk quarry where we sat and ate an orange whilst watching a tractor rake the valley bottom below.

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'Time and Space', Thixen Dale

We walked down to the valley bottom and took photos of the ‘Time and Flow’ sculpture before turning north again. The valley was very attractive: a ten yard wide strip of green grass at the bottom then gently rising sides covered with longer, dead grass. The final half mile of the valley was spoiled by having been planted with rape. The dark green sward jarred the eyes and looked very unnatural.

I took photos of black faced sheep. We arrived at the Thixendale Road but instead of heading for the village we turned left and walked about 300 yards to Robert Fuller’s gallery. The grounds were full of hides of the kind we had seen along the valley below.

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Robert Fuller's camera hides, Thixen dale

These were where he photographed the animals and birds that were the subjects of his superb paintings. The paintings were exhibited in an attractive outbuilding, which we looked around. There were more cameras in a variety of nest boxes and we looked around the studio where Robert was at work.

We put our boots back on and walked down the hill to rejoin the trail and enter the small, but rapidly growing, village of Thixendale. We found the Cross Keys pub at the centre of a building site.

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The Cross keys, Thixendale

Kym hammered on the door and Mary hung out of the upstairs window to tell us to go around the back, where we were met by Steve. He gave us milk and showed us up to our pleasant room. There was no TV, poor radio reception and definitely no phone reception! We showered and I washed my socks and had a hot drink and biscuits before reading the paper and writing my journal.

The pub opened at 18:30 so we headed down to meet landlord Steve and fellow walker, Mark. We had steak pies and nice puddings. We chatted all night, learning about Steve and Mary’s time at the ‘Quiet Pub’, as evidenced by the certificate that they proudly displayed and about Thixendale village. We headed off to bed at 21:30.

Day 35

28th March 2017 – Thixendale to Ganton: 21.44 miles

I woke quite early and tried, without success, to get a weather forecast on the room radio. After showering and getting ready I tried again by holding my headphones up to the roof and using my phone, but I missed the forecast by ten minutes. This really is a quiet pub!

We went into the bar at 07:30 for breakfast and were greeted by Mary. We had muesli and juice whilst Steve cooked an absolutely fabulous full English: all local produce. Enjoyed our breakfast we were joined by Mark and we said our farewells, paid and left to do our final packing having settled up and taken delivery of our packed lunches. We said our goodbyes to Steve and set off at 08:25 to walk back to the road and through the interesting village of Thixendale. The Community Hall appeared to be a feature of most Wolds villages.

We passed the home of a contestant in the ‘World’s Strongest Man’ competition, outside which were four Atlas Balls!

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Home of 'World's Strongest Man' contestant, Thixendale

At the end of the village we left the road and ascended Beamer Hill on a farm track. It was very misty and as we ascended we lost all but the view of the surrounding 30 yards. We descended Vessey Pasture Dale and climbed up the other side but were still unable to see the ‘increasingly fine views’ promised by our guide book as we passed the highest point, at 213 metres, on the YWW.

We walked along the top of Deep Dale catching glimpses, through the mist, of what looked like a lovely steep sided valley. We came across a herd of belted cattle at the end of the dale: all very docile. We then descended to the fascinating medieval village of Wharram Percy.

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Wharam Percy

All that was left of the abandoned village was a ruined church and a couple of ponds, but it looked very atmospheric, particularly in the mist. We ambled around and looked at the footprints of some of the buildings that had been excavated in numerous archaeological digs. The walk out of the village was between the shapes in the grass of the foundations of old buildings on either side of the path.

We descended to a stream and the course of the old Melton to Driffield railway, closed in 1958. There then followed a long ascent on, which we passed a lady dog walker, up to the car park, where we said ‘good morning’ to two other dog walkers. Turning left along a farm road, we walked down to the minor road at the end where we turned right into Wharram le Street. This was a fairly uninspiring collection of houses and farms on the crossing of the old Roman road. Any semblance of prettiness was eliminated by the almost ubiquitous use of plastic window frames. When I am PM these will be taxed heavily!

We forked right after Wharram le Street, along a straight farm track that climbed to ‘High Street’ another Roman road. Again, there was no sign of the promised views. We took a sharp left at a barn with bales of hay: freshly exposed to leave bright yellow sides as though just cut. As we descended to Whitestone Beck, Joe called and we had a good chat. He had to be quiet as he was ‘in a corner’ at work. His ski trip sounded great: marred only by finding a large shard of glass in his boot (and foot) at the end of the final day!

We said goodbye to Joe and climbed up to Wood House Farm, which occupied a very favourable position and looked good with its yellow painted woodwork. We then continued along the farm track and into Settrington Wood, stopping occasionally to listen to the bird song: all very active as Spring arrives. We continued past High Bellmanear Farm where a couple of tractors were picking up fertilizer to spread on the fields. We proceeded to Settrington Beacon with the sun trying unsuccessfully to break through.

As we exited the wood we did manage to see ‘one of the most memorable views’ so stopped for a cereal bar on a conveniently sited bench. We watched the farmer plough the field opposite and were just about to head off when Mark arrived. We had a brief chat then he set off and we followed: far enough behind to allow for toilet stops! Mark then stopped to look at lapwings and we overtook him and carried on down the long farm track. The hedge had been grubbed up and replanted on the right.

We saw hares in the fields on both sides of the track before finally turning right across a recently ploughed field and to the village of Wintringham, which we entered via its ‘Millennium Pond’. Instead of turning right into the village, we were directed by the book to turn left, past the village hall to the northwest end of the village where we took a path that ran behind the houses. Kym had an urgent pit stop then we ambled along past a large tree around which ribbons had been tied.

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The climb out of Wintringham

We reached the top and were rewarded by a ‘dramatic new art installation’. This was ‘Enclosure Rights’, which was a collection of red painted posts, some figures and a circular pond, beside which we sat on a bench to take lunch.

'Enclosure Rights'

The packed lunch from the Cross Keys consisted of a good cheese and ham sandwich, a piece of fruit cake and a mall biscuit. The sun tried desperately to burn through the cloud as we ate.

We decided against stopping at Wintringham church, instead turning away from the village and heading for what looked like a fairly steep ascent through Deep Dale Plantation. The initial logging track was fine but it gave way on to a very steep and muddy 150 yard climb: the hardest yet on the walk.

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'Enclosure Rights'

Just as we were finishing Mark arrived again, so we had another chat and watched a skylark ascend whilst singing brightly.

We said farewell to Mark and walked off along an earthwork reminiscent of Offa’s Dyke. Overhead, above the cloud-base, droned a light aircraft that we had heard all morning doing ‘loop the loops’. As we reached the next wooded area we took the momentous turn to the right that set us on an easterly course for the sea! The path ran between the fields to the right and the woods to the left. There was a lovely stretch bounded by daffodils.

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Knpaton Wood

We kept roughly to this contour, above the Vale of Pickering, for several miles. The trees had yet to green up so we had uninterrupted views down to the main A64 that ran along the vale.

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We sat for a cereal bar on another of the welcome ‘poetry benches.’

We then located the place where the photo on pages 114-115 of the guide was taken. Unfortunately the gnarled hawthorn, in the foreground of the photo, had broken in two and only the stump remained.

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We walked above East and then West Heslerton and then spotted Sherburn with its huge sheds. Descending the ridge along a quiet lane we were frustrated to know that we were losing height that we would later have to regain. Just before Sherburn we headed right, across a field and then up a busy little road for a few hundred yards before forking left up a steep lane. We forked left again, up a sheep path and regained our original height. This was lost again however once we left Potter Brompton woods.

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The friendly sheep of Ganton Wold

We quickened our pace along the farm track past Manor farm as the sky was darkening behind us. The track was long: we passed an old chap with his dog. Eventually we came out on a lane with the impressive Ganton Hall ahead of us and its walled gardens to the left. We turned left and after passing the community hall and cricket club, arrived at the busy A64. This we crossed and walked into the Ganton Greyhound pub, where we were let in by the owner and shown to our very pleasant room overlooking the garden.

We sorted ourselves out and I had a long soak in the bath. We watched ‘Pointless’ and some of the news then headed downstairs to the bar where we had a drink by the fire. An enormous bloke, covered in tattoos, totally ignored us but played an exceptionally loud and very irritating gambling game on his phone. When I’m Prime Minister….

We moved into the restaurant and took a table by the fire.  I had the duck: Kym the braised beef. We then each had a crumble, washed down with a bottle of Merlot. Back in the room we watched the final episode of ‘Mutiny’ with Ant Middleton, but fell asleep before the end. A tiring but enjoyable day.

Day 36

29th March 2017 – Ganton to Filey Brigg: 11.97 miles

I woke early and Kym was still sound asleep, so I sat in the loo writing my journal so as not to disturb her. I had a shower at 07:30 then we went down for an enjoyable breakfast, though the bacon and sausage were not as good as some we’d had. We finished pavking and paid the owner, leaving cash in an envelope for the taxi driver who was taking our bags to Filey.

We left the pub around 08:30 and retraced our steps into Ganton, turning left through the village, past the church and out onto the fields. It was trying to rain, but nothing too serious. We had an early, steep climb to get us back up to the top of the ridge where we again turned east. We had walked between an attractive gnarly avenue of hawthorn: an old Green Lane.

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Hawthorn Avenue, Staxton Wold

We crossed the busy Staxton Road, passed Staxton Wold pig far and walked up the farm track towards Staxton Wold RAF radar station. We stood aside to let five fast cars pass us. The RAF station looked quiet. We walked past it and another pig farm where the five cars had parked.

We followed a sunken path downhill looking for a path that headed off left up a steep, slippery, hill. There followed a couple of long descents and ascents through lambing fields and past Bumble Bee Farm with its Eco-pods. I got very annoyed as I saw a huge pile of fresh dog dirt in the middle of the path. A little later we stopped for a ‘poetry bench snack’ and saw the offending Labrador and its inconsiderate owners ahead.

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Leave nothing but foorprints....

We descended to Camp Dale, another abandoned old village, where we could just pick out the shapes of old buildings and a dew pond. We then headed left up the muddy Stocking dale and eventually rejoined Long Plantation, after what had been a major detour from our previously straight course. We walked past the scrap heap that was Stockendale farm, with abandoned cars and farm machinery.

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Flamborough Head in the distance

As we crossed the minor road we started to catch glimpses of Flamborough Head and Filey. The path descended towards Marston. We passed the inconsiderate dog owners sitting in a field, having lunch at a spot where there was a fine view back towards Ganton and the Vale of Pickering. I bade them a gruff ‘Morning’ and walked on.

Marston was a busy little village, with white painted houses, a Catholic priory and plenty of inviting benches. We sat on the last one, looking over the daffodils and had another cereal bar. We then crossed one more field and descended past a school to arrive in Filey. The shock of arriving at a busy main road with close packed buildings was interesting after only five days in the countryside.

We passed the railways station, walked down the main street and down to the front, where we turned left towards the end of the trail. After a short debate we went with Kym’s suggestion and walked across the sands towards Filey Brigg. The rocks were slippery and we made slow progress but finally got as far as we dared to go and took photos. A couple were sheltering by a closed up shack and they also took photos of us at the conclusion of the YWW.

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Filey Brigg

After they left we spent a little time taking in the view of the sea breaking over the rocks, congratulated ourselves, then headed back inland.

We left the Brigg via a flight of eroded steps that took us through daffodils to the top of the headland where we turned back out to sea for more good views and photos.

 

  

 

We then walked back inland and found the ‘official’ trail finish point where we took more photos.

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Filey from The Brigg

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The official end of the Yorkshire Wolds Way, Filey Brigg

Leaving the stone monument we bumped into Mark, who was just finishing his walk having started four miles back from us this morning. We chatted briefly then pressed on. The walk back to town was up and down and up and down many steps: just what we didn’t need.

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We searched in vain for a coffee shop then found ourselves at Rutland Street so checked in to Esmae House, our B&B for the night. The lady owner took us into the lounge to register whilst a dog yapped around our feet. She then showed us upstairs to room 4: a pleasant but very twee double on the second floor. We changed, showered and did some washing then had a cup of coffee and a biscuit.

I wrote my journal before heading out to look round the southern end of Filey and its pleasant parks. Descended  more steps to the esplanade where the high tide was crashing against the curved sea wall.

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Filey sea wall

We walked back to the Coble, a landing point dating to Roman times and up some tatty stairs to a bar restaurant where we took a table overlooking the wide bay with views of Flamborough Head to the south. A family with a rowdy young lad in tow left us in peace and we enjoyed bruschetta, pizza and fish and chips.

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Shipping Forecast Compass, Filey

We watched a RIB doing rescue practice then walked out into the gloom and up yet more steps to the B&B where I collapsed onto the bed, watching TV with my eyes half closed. We filled in our breakfast order sheets and I completed my journal before bed.

Day 37

30th March 2017 – Filey Brigg to Scarborough: 7.5 miles

I had a very good night’s sleep and after a shower we donned our walking gear and wanedered into town to buy a newspaper. We walked back via a pleasant sea front park. The landlady had been joined by a chap who did the breakfast. Terrific fresh fruit salad and yoghurt followed, for me, by smiked salmon and scrambled eggs: a welcome relief from the usual ‘Full English’!

We had already paid through Expedia so left our luggage and walked out into Rutland Street, down to the park and then spent a good 30 minutes trying to get across town towards the church to avoid the many steps in The Ravine. When we finally found the church it was a squat affair. We walked through the graveyard, stopping to look at a crumbling family mausoleum.

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St Oswald's Church, Filey

We exited onto the large car park area and made our way, via the campsite, to the YWW start/finish marker, which also marked the start of the next stage of our walk on the Cleveland Way.

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Leaving Filey behind

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Starting The Cleveland way

Another photo and we set off northwest out of Filey Country Park and along North Cliff. We passed a white, stepped, pole, which was apparently a practice aid for shooting a line by lifeboats.

 

There was an abundance of nesting seabirds and an equally large number of noisy skylarks fighting against the wind that was blowing them offshore. The edges of the cliffs had been shored up with earth banks in places, presumably as a shelter for the crops in the adjacent fields. Daffodils braved the elements.

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Scarborough, 8 miles distant

The views along the cliff edge were and continued all day to be, spectacular.

We passed several other walkers before arriving at the large, unsightly, ‘Blue Dolphin’ static caravan site. The adjacent touring caravan park was completely empty. Many of the static vans had notices in their window advising that they had been stripped of all valuables for Winter (better break in during Spring then).

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Newbiggin Cliff

We chatted with a chap from Lincolnshire as we left the caravan park. We had a good view of the castle and the Casty Rocks below and looked in vain for a seal. The path climbed to a high point just before Cayton Bay. I photographed the stack that was all that remained of the crumbling cliff. From the top of the high cliff the view of Cayton Bay, some fifty metres below, unfolded. A few brave souls were walking dogs on the beach and there was even a surfer or two.

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Cayton Bay

The path descended to a collection of houses. We looked, as ever in vain, for a coffee shop but the only option, a beach shack, was closed. Walking on again along the brushy treeline of Tenant’s Cliff I phoned Mum for a chat. We turned right past some houses and as we turned left at the bottom of the path a tractor began spraying insecticide right beside us.

We walked down into and then up and out of the ravine between Frank and Wheatcroft Cliffs, through the gorse and past a golf course. We had good views of Scarborough in the sunshine, as we had done for most of today.

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Scarborough from Wheatcroft Cliff

We descended a long gravel road which gave on to the wide sea wall along which we ambled, past groups of students on Geography trips. The wall became lined with old decrepit bathing huts and a derelict ‘sun bathing’ building before we reached the Spa Building. This looked fine but, on closer inspection, the larger part turned out to be empty also. The northern part of the building did seem to be in use and appeared to be hosting ‘Jersey Boys’ tonight.

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The Ivy House Hotel, Scarborough

We continued on around the bay, passing the dreadful amusement arcades and tat shops before reaching the harbor. The standard went up a notch here as we approached The Ivy. First impressions weren’t good: the paint was peeling off rotten woodwork and several upstairs windows appeared to be broken. Just as we approached the front door a lady slammed it shut in our faces. We knocked and after a while she let us in and between her and her sister showed us up narrow stairs to Room 1.

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In contrast to the outside, the room was freshly painted with a wood effect floor and a large faux leather double bed. The view through the small dormer window was superb: right across the harbor and the bay to the hills we had just walked on. We both showered and changed and then wandered along the promenade to a coffee shop from which we took a drink and free cake and a toastie back to the room. We sat at the table in the window and surveyed the scene.

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View from The Ivy House Hotel

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Scarborough Harbour

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We walked out again and explored the harbor, which bustled with fishing boats and pleasure craft. We walked around the lighthouse and sent a photo of ‘Our Sharon’ to Sharon Forster. From the harbor we walked up a steep street lined with three storey buildings into town. Many of the buildings had seen better days but there were some attractive re-furbs amongst the nic-nak shops and tattoo parlours.

We made our way to the Grand Hotel, stopping in at a superb guitar shop where I chatted to the guy behind the counter as he refurbished his own Taylor.

We looked in at a gallery of unusual paintings by a local lady, Tracy Savage: I particularly liked the one of a large ship being built.

The Grand Hotel had definitely seen better days but must have been quite something back then. We wandered around, poking our noses into the public areas before heading out and back into town.

We had a look around the newly refurbished Market Hall and popped into The Mariners pub for a drink. This was where I used to come to Scarborough Folk Club when I used to do the RHM Wrays Bakery audit forty years ago!

We headed back down to our hotel where we freshened up and checked TripAdvisor for restaurants. We had tried to get a harbourside table in ‘Ask Italian’ but it was booked up. We plumped instead for the number one ranking on TripAdvisor, a Turkish restaurant on the North Shore side of town. I secured a booking for 19:30 and we set off at a pace via Castle Steps, arriving just in time. It was a small and atmospheric restaurant where we ordered authentic Turkish/Mediterranean food and a bottle of Turkish wine.

We left around 21:30 and walked back via the harbor where we saw a seal briefly before it dived under the water. Arriving back at the hotel quite tired, we flopped into bed and fell asleep with the TV on.

Day 38

31st March 2017 – Scarborough to Robin Hood’s Bay: 14.69 miles

Slept quite well and listened to the Today programme on my phone to get the weather forecast at 06:57. It seemed set fair for our last day of walking but subsequent checks of the weather app caused us to leave our over-trousers out to pack. I walked up the hill to buy a paper and met Kym on the way back. We surveyed a strange looking home made campervan with wagon wheel sides and flower baskets to front and rear.

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We went down to breakfast at 08:45 but it was chaotic: no milk, plates etc despite there being three staff and a chef for seven guests! The cooked breakfast was fine, although the coffee was instant. We went up to the room and got our day sacks, relieved not to be sending our main bags on for once.

Leaving the hotel around 10:00 we walked along Coronation Drive looking out towards the sea and glancing back towards Filey Brigg. We wore our wet weather gear although it was only just a fine spit of rain. It took some time to round the castle headland whereupon a good view of North Bay opened up. The walk round North Bay was also lengthy. We stopped at a huge sculpture of a local chap who had been  scarred by his experience of liberating a concentration camp on his birthday: a great photo opportunity.

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'Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers', North Shore, Scarborough

We walked past some attractive cafes full of people taking early morning coffee and then on past the ugly Sealife Centre, which was housed in a collection of dirty white pyramids.

At Scalby Mill we left the road and ascended over the stream and up onto the first hill of the day. The views down to Scalby rocks were good, though there were not as many sea birds as yesterday and we couldn’t see any seals. We passed the breeding areas of Scalby Lodge Ponds and although we didn’t see too many birds we did stop and photograph a pair of mating toads on the path.

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We saw skylarks and the odd butterfly over the, now yellow, fields of rape. We took off our over-trousers as the weather looked set fair, even though a stiff Westerly breeze blew. Passing Sailor’s Grave and Cromer Point we saw a coastguard station on Long Nab and made for it. A couple of women on horses passed us going the other way.  We sat on each of the benches that were thoughtfully positioned at regular intervals along the path. The coastguard station also had a mine shelter from the war, which was now a bird hide.

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Crook Ness

We rounded Hundale Point and descended the valley to Cloughton Wyke, the first of several steep sided valleys where streams met the sea. Climbing out of the valley we rounded Roger Trod. The views back to Scarborough Castle and on round to Filey Brigg were terrific: we stopped frequently to take them and the odd cereal bar in.

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We made it onto the final page of my series of maps just before descending to Hayburn Wyke, where we saw a few people just finishing lunch on the beach. A long hard climb then brought us to Redhouse Farm, one of many attractive properties along the path. We saw the odd distance marker that suggested that my estimate of 15 miles for the day was a little on the low side. There was still no sign of Ravenscar, although we could see the radio mast to the west of the headland.

 

We looked around a disused lookout and radar station that had interesting information boards. An energetic chap in shorts walked swiftly past us and we saw a couple of lizards as he left us in his wake. We came to Beast Cliff, where the land between the path and the sea had slipped at some time in the distant past and was now tree covered. This made for easier walking for me as it abated my fear of heights! We saw the buildings around Ravenscar as we walked past Blea Wyke Point and got attacked by hard little insects that swarmed off the dry stone wall.

Hayburn Wyke

At Ravenscar the path did an inconsiderate switchback to avoid the Raven Hall Hotel, which added a good half mile to our route. We descended the hill with views of Raven Hall’s golf course on the right. Walking past the old alum works we passed a few people out for a stroll in the sunshine. We were a little shocked to find we were still 3.5 miles from the finish.

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Robin Hood's Bay from Ravenscar

The walk was pleasant but we soon had a long steep descent to Stoupe Beck where the temptation to walk to Robin Hood’s Bay along the beach was resisted. Instead we climbed the far side of the ravine and continued to the next and last major obstacle: Boggle Hole. We again chose to stick to the path out of the valley rather than the flat option along the beach. We also forsook the delights of the YHA coffee shop at Boggle Hole.

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The descent to Robin Hood's Bay

One final push and we descended to the village of Robin Hood’s bay where we climbed a final flight of steps that took us to the road across which was the Bay Hotel.

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The Bay Hotel, Robin Hood's bay

We waded in the shallows and got a lady to take our photo. I placed my stone from the Humber on the slipway and we congratulated each other on a grand walk well completed.

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The Slipway, Robin Hood's Bay

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The pebble brought from The Humber Estuary

We headed into the pub and ordered the first of three pints of ‘Lightfoot’: how very appropriate!

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We left the pub and wandered up to the top of the village to catch the bus back to Scarborough. It was a scenic drive but 5 minutes into the 45 minute trip I realized that I needed the a pee and started making plans for relieving myself on the top deck of a crowded double decker. This involved swapping seats with Kym and using the only container I had with me. It was only a little short of an unmitigated disaster!

The run into Scarborough was uncomfortable and continued to be all the way back to the hotel, despite a second trip to the loo in Scarborough railway station. It was great to jump in the shower!

We decided to try ‘Ask Italian’ again and were lucky to be given a window table with a harbor view. It was dark outside but we could still see the activity on the various fishing boats. Kym was frustrated that their crews seemed not to be achieving anything. We had olives and rosemary bread. I had sea bream and Kym a seafood ravioli. We celebrated with a bottle of white wine.

In my direct line of sight was a table of girls celebrating a 21st birthday. Some of them stood up to ‘go outside for a ciggy’ and it was morbidly fascinating to see their immense size: squeezed, as they were, into tiny dresses out of which they oozed shamelessly. I thought I’d seen it all when one of the ‘Roly Polys’ stood with her back to us at the head of the table just above the stairs. She leaned over the table and displayed two enormous, stocking clad legs and a truly horrendous whale of a bottom, whose immodesty was further exacerbated by the absence of any underwear! It was a sight I would not wish to see again but which will, unfortunately, take a long time to fade from my memory.

We paid and wandered back to the hotel via the harbor. I half watched a documentary about the Galapagos Islands then fell asleep.

Afterward

Afterward

We slept well and I woke at 06:30. At 07:00 I caught the weather forecast, which was good for us and listened to the radio and lay in until 08:00. We dressed in ‘normal’ clothes and walked to get the paper, which we read in our room after a short walk to see fish being landed on the quay.

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Scarborough Harbour in the morning

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Breakfast was chaotic again, but pleasant enough. We packed and took our bags down to leave them in a cupboard and paid our bill which, for two nights, was a modest £58. We walked up to the castle which our English Heritage cards allowed us to enter for free. We took advantage of the audio guides but broke off for a coffee to let a brief shower pass over. We viewed the display about the WWI warship bombardment of Scarborough then wandered around the broad, flat headland and enjoyed the views of our previous two days’ walks.

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View south from the castle, Scarborough

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View north from the castle, Scarborough

The remains of the castle were impressive: particularly the Norman keep. We threw 5p down the well and it took around 5 seconds to reach the bottom 45m down. We left the castle and paid a brief visit to the church where a synod meeting was taking place.

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Scarborough Castle

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The Lady Green

Heading back to the front we did a final walk around the harbour, found the ‘Lady Green’ and sent that photo to Sharon.

We had fish and chips in ‘The Tunny Club’ then a coffee and cake in the same café as yesterday.

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The famous Tunny Club, Scarborough

We collected our bags from the hotel and walked with them down the back alleys and then up the main street to the station.

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Our train was delayed by ten minutes to 15:00, which worked to our advantage as we just stayed on it rather than changing at Leeds as our discounted ‘split’ ticket said we should. Scarborough to Manchester: not bad for £7.

It was strange to see, in 15 minutes, the entire length of the Vale of Pickering section of the walk that took us two days! We made good progress to York and then to Leeds, where we stayed on the train all the way back to Manchester Piccadilly. There, we ran off the train, across the bridge and down the travelator as the train to Chester was due to depart. We bought tickets, boarded the train, then rang Pete to cadge a lift back from Hale. He suggested a drink so we jumped in with him and Pauline and drove to The Griffin for a celebratory beer.

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Musings

Musings
  • A really enjoyable walk. Just the right combination of challenge and easy walking with plenty of variety

  • Beautiful scenery, quite different to anything I’ve walked through before

  • Great weather for the time of year

  • Arrangements, though complex, worked perfectly

  • There are still lots of nice friendly people around

  • Towns are busy. Traffic is bad.

  • Kym is a really terrific walking companion and a very impressive long distance walker!

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