Coast to Coast 2011

Robin Hood's Bay was our destination
Pete and Lyn did this walk in September 2011 and thought it might interest our clients and readers if a description were to be included on the blog. So for the record, it took 14 days to complete the walk starting at St Bees on Monday 12th September and finishing at Robin Hood's Bay on Sunday 25th September. We did not take photographs of each day's walk because the weather was not always kind to us and photography was the last thing we wanted to do. When the weather was bad we simply got on with the walk and concentrated on keeping as dry as possible.

We arrived at the Seacote Hotel in St. Bees on Sunday 11th September after collecting our clients (8 Americans) at Penrith railway station and then travelling by hired coach to the hotel. After a briefing session we went down to the beach and collected pebbles as souvenirs ready for our epic journey and also dipped our toes in the Irish Sea for luck!  The following morning we had an early breakfast at 8 am and set off to take photos at the starting stone at 9am.

Hurrican Katia is turning the sea into raging white foam and I am hanging onto my cap
That Monday morning the forecast was for the remains of Hurricane Katia to hit the UK and it had whipped the sea up into a frenzy. We rather hurriedly took our photos and set off up the path towards the clifftops. Once higher up the walking was difficult because the wind was blowing so strongly but we managed to keep going and even to take some photos of the foam from the sea flying through the air at us, something which I had never experienced before.
The white specs are foam blown from the waves at us
We made a decision to cut inland from the lighthouse because the fence which had been protecting us from the cliff had to be crossed so it no longer offered any protection and we felt it might be dangerous to continue along the cliff with the winds being so strong. So we headed inland and away towards our lunch stop which was a ploughman's lunch at The Grove Court Hotel, Cleator.  This was a huge plate of salad and cheese with Branston pickle, roll and butter. Much refreshed we continued on our way and headed for Ennerdale Bridge but decided to miss out going over the top of Dent Fell because of the conditions. We eventually reached The Shepherds Arms Hotel at Ennerdale Bridge to complete the first day of our adventure.

End of day one

The next morning we set off to walk along the side of Ennerdale Water. The route takes the right hand side until at the end of the lake you cross over onto the left side and continue along the valley.

Ennerdale Water in the morning sunlight
As you walk along on a good track the going is quite fast and soon you see the shape of Pillar with Pillar Rock jutting out on its left side.

Pillar in sight
The dramatic scenery unfolds until you reach Black Sail Youth Hostel low on the side of Haystacks. This is a photo from a previous visit when the sun shone brightly. The day we were there it was not so sunny and we went inside to have our packed lunch. Quite a number of people stopped by and the conversation flowed.

Black Sail Hut early summer with Pete and Bella on the right
After lunch we set off along the path and eventually started to climb up the steep hillside beside Loft Beck. 
Leaving Ennerdale behind and climbing Loft Beck
Once over the top we changed valleys and started to walk down towards Honister Slate Mine in Borrowdale. At the mine we stopped for a break and Pete ordered a hot chocolate 'without floaters' these being marshmallows. Refreshed, we left the mine and continued down the old coach road towards Seatoller and then by avoiding the village and taking to the back fields we walked past the youth hostel and through the fields until we reached Rosthwaite village and our destination, The Scafell Hotel.

Scafell Hotel, Rosthwaite
End of day two

Next morning our route took us up Greenup Gill past Eagle Crag. We followed the path towards Lining Crag in very poor conditions indeed.  The going was so wet that the footpaths were small streams and the stream crossings were very difficult to get over. More than once our clients were rescued as they tripped into the streams on the slippery rocks.  I had never been up Greenup Gill in such challenging weather and the ascent beside Lining Crag called for a good deal of patience on our behalf to help our clients find the best footing. At one point we helped another party who were following us too.

Eagle Crag photo taken on a better day than we had
Eventually we topped out on the coll at the top of Greenup Edge and then negotiated the peat hags and very boggy ground to go down towards Easedale and our destination, Grasmere.

But we still had a difficult stream to cross at the bottom. This photo was taken 4 weeks previously when it was not in spate.
Lyn crossing the stream on a good day!
We did manage to find a way though and all of us reached the other side albeit with rather brown knees for some.... Making our way down the path towards Grasmere

Red Lion Hotel, Grasmere

End of day three

The next day there was time to see some of the sights of Grasmere including William Wordsworth's residence, Dove Cottage and to go into the small museum on the site too. We also bought some famous Grasmere Gingerbread from Sarah Nelson's and then passed the church on the way back to the Red Lion.
Grasmere, detail of the church door.
We picked up our sandwiches which had been made to order at Heidi's and also did a little shopping in the Co-op for the lunch break. That being done we set off in lovely warm sunny weather for our lunch destination which was Grisedale Tarn.

Looking back towards Grasmere as we head up to Grisedale Tarn
A lovely calm day at Grisedale Tarn with Dollywagon looking majestic behind. We sat and had our lunch at the outlet of the tarn just off right of this picture.

Dollywagon reflected in the calm waters of Grisedale Tarn
The view down Grisedale past the Brother's Parting Stone

The stone marks the place at which William Wordsworth, in September 1800, last saw his brother John. Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley erected a stone in 1882 with this inscription
Here did we stop; and here looked round
While each into himself descends,
For that last thought of parting Friends
That is not to be found.
Brother and friend, if verse of mine
Have power to make thy virtues known,
Here let a monumental Stone
Stand–sacred as a Shrine
We continued down the valley past a changing scene from rough upland fellside to gentle pastures and fields full of sheep and cows until we crossed the valley bottom and climbed up towards Lantys Tarn our final viewpoint of the day from where we had a lovely glimpse of Lake Ullswater. Then it was time to go and we descended to Glenridding and our next hostelry The Inn On The Lake.

End of day four

We needed a good rest because the next day was going to be our toughest yet at about 19 miles long because we had to walk from Glenridding to Patterdale in order to pick up our route.  As we set off the wind increased and the sky became grey with ominous cloud increasing as we climbed away from Ullswater up Boredale Hause towards Angle Tarn Pikes where the mist came down and enveloped our group. Pete whipped out his compass and map and doggedly tracked our progress over this difficult to navigate ground. By this time the rain was coming down too and a significant wind chill had developed so we halted whilst gloves were produced and clothing adjusted; and then we kept on moving to keep warm. We were heading for the highest part of the whole coast to coast trail at 2560 feet Kidsty Pike was going to be even colder. We did not stop to take any photos because the mist was so bad but the picture below shows the view on a good day.

A view of Haweswater from the Kidsty Pike area

Eventually we started our long descent and the group became split up with the lead group way ahead in the mist, I stayed in the middle making sure I kept an eye on the leaders and the stragglers and acted as their guide in my dayglo blue jacket. Careful planning beforehand ensured that Pete and I had everyone under control and we had chosen very easy ground for the descent so it went well and fast and we knocked an hour off the usual descent time.  Lunch was had at the bottom of Measand Beck and much refreshed we sped along the side of Haweswater to arrive at Burnbanks in much pleasanter weather.
Haweswater below Measand Beck

We dallied briefly at Burnbanks before setting off through the woods on the penultimate part of our journey towards Shap Abbey.  A twisting maze of fields and lanes and soggy, boggy ground led us eventually to the impressive remains of the tower.
Shap Abbey in winter
After a look around the ruins we made our way to Shap along its mile long street because our destination was The Greyhound at the other end of town.  This has a reputation for excellent food and I am glad to stay it lived up to it splendidly with a very welcome dinner.
The Greyhound a famous Westmorland hostelry dating back to 1680

End of day five

An easier day beckoned as we set off leaving Lakeland behind us for the less rugged scenery which is limestone country.  We crossed the M6 over a footbridge and made good progress in much better weather and also (according to Wainwright) this marked the end of one third of our distance as the crow flies! Our route took us through high moorland and limestone pavements with dry conditions under foot.  The day's treat lay in store ahead in the form of the Orton Chocolate Factory Shop. This is a sublime experience and it happened to be our lunch stop.  The cafe was so crowded. I decided to buy some goodies in the shop instead and stood outside in the dappled sunlight and eat my lunch in the open air.
Tempting display at Orton

It was good to be out of the rain and wind as we continued our journey east. We delighted in the change of scene because here were fields with lush grass and different breeds of sheep and easier walking with loads of stiles to go through and over. But best of all was our next stop off, Ravenstonedale, a real Westmorland welcome and retreat.

Eventide at the Black Swan

End of day six

After a delicious breakfast at the Black Swan where you could even order duck eggs, we gathered up our rucksacks and headed off towards Smardale Bridge and rejoined the route as we had made a slight detour to Ravenstonedale the night before.  Near here we passed a field with several 'pillow mounds'. These are large rectangular raised mounds which are quite ancient and are a subject which Wainwright discusses in his 'A Coast to Coast Walk' page 68.  We next passed by a couple of lime kilns one of which was in good order and I had a quick peek at it but no photos as we had to press on to Kirkby Stephen for lunch. This was to be an easy morning walk before a longer afternoon session.  So at 'Megabites' we halted and ordered our baguettes before sitting in the shelter outside the parish church of St. Stephen for our meal. Then it was round the corner and off towards the village of Hartley before climbing steadily towards Hartley Fell and then up steeper ground in increasing mist and bad visibility until we came to our objective which was Nine Standards Rigg.
A misty Nine Standards Rigg
Here we had to put on another layer as it was turning much colder but this was not surprising given our altitude, 2170 feet. This summit marks the main watershed of Northern England, from this point onwards all rivers and streams flow east towards the North Sea. So a special place it was but our little group did not want to linger in the mist for long and we set off again crossing many peat hags on the way. This was very undulating and boggy ground where good navigation was important and also it is subject to 3 different routes to prevent soil erosion so you have to be careful where you go.

The view of our route from Nine Standards

We continued south until we came to a prominent pillar which marks the way down towards Ney Gill.

Millstones pillar
We stopped briefly at a large black shelter or shooting hut, peeking inside I noted it was set out with tables ready for many a hasty lunch: I only noticed a large number of cobwebs!

The moorland road
We continued by an easy track and then a slim tarmac road until we reached the road to Ravenseat where we crossed the bridge in delightful weather now that we had descended to the valley bottom.

Crossing the bridge at Ravenseat

Here was a farm which did afternoon teas but sadly when we arrived on a late Sunday afternoon these were finished, but there were tables set out and the farm terriers were rushing up to say hello and we sat down and shared our few morsels with them. The farmer's son came down to say hello and informed us that the little white terrier was called 'Chalky' so I called her name and she immediately rolled on her back for her tummy to be rubbed. We left the farm envigorated and, with not far to go, a new spring in our step. Our route went down the side of Whitsundale beck past a wonderful deep ravine and on towards the road under Cotterby Scar and crossed the River Swale via a bridge to a junction on the B6270. This was where our transport was waiting to take us to The Tan Hill Inn.

End of day seven

Early morning at Tan Hill found us being entertained by two sheep who regularly came into the bar to eat their morning biscuits!  They were very fat sheep and my efforts to photograph them on my mobile phone were useless because they kept moving about so much.

Tan Hill Inn by Mike Gallucci
Eventually our transport for the luggage and our minibus arrived and we were able to set off on the second week of our trip.  The bus dropped us back off on the road where we had left it the day before and we resumed our trek along the River Swale, along the way we walked past many old stone barns and the sun shone brightly on us.
A typical Yorkshire Barn
Our progress was rapid but that may have been due to our telling the group about the delights to be savoured at our next stop, Muker Tea Rooms.

The owners have a reputation for making good cakes and they did not disappoint at all. I had the Lemon Drizzle Cake which was simply divine and others tried the Chocolate Fondant Cake and scones.  All of us agreed that it was excellent. The village also has a wonderful shop selling hand knitted woollens and some of our party bought goodies to take back to the USA. We had made a special detour to go to Muker and we had to make our way back and cross the river before we were back on course but all agreed that the extra mile was well worth it.

We continued along the muddy banks of the river and past Gunnerside and crossed many fields containing sheep and cows in lovely sunshine, we squeezed through stiles and we ended up with a bit of a route march along a busy road until we dodged back to the river again.  But eventually we came into the outskirts of Reeth and down a little lane which smelt of beer. Yes it was the lane between the two pubs one of which was our lodging for the night, The Black Bull Hotel.
Black Bull Hotel by Tracy Testin

End of day eight

We left Reeth in cool weather but no rain and set off along the flat road towards Marske on the way we eventually turned onto a smaller metalled road and then came to Marrick Priory an old Benedictine house founded in the 12th century but dissolved by Henry VIII and now just a ruin with only its tower to be seen.  The place is now a thriving outdoor education centre but our attention was diverted by the following rural scene.
Border Collie sheepdog on guard!
The farmer and his mate were just off camera on the right and they were dosing the sheep one by one whilst the dog, perched on its vantage point kept the rest of the flock in check. We exchanged a few words and then proceeded on our way as we were making very steady progress through lovely verdant meadows. On the way we passed many farm animals and these two were very cute.

Photo by Tracy Testin
The quality of the landscape was outstanding albeit rather flat but interesting non the less. Eventually we came upon our next stop which was on a farm and it was Elaine's Tea room. We arrived a little before lunch time but no one was going to miss the opportunity of sampling the cakes, scones and tea on offer and orders were duly placed.  Elaine and her husband had won many rosettes for their produce and sheep and they hung decoratively in her kitchen.
Photo by Mike Gallucci
She served us with delicious cake, scones and tea on very pretty crockery with animals on it, which she also sold from her kitchen, so some rucksacks ended up carrying little milk jugs that day...

Elaine's Tea Garden

We left Nun Cote Nook Farm with our swag and continued our walk along more roads and fields with stiles until we came to the outskirts of Marske. We crossed a bridge across Marske Beck and walked towards an interesting 12th century church of St. Edmund which we stopped at for a peek inside and out.
Marske Porch by Tracy Testin

Marske interior by Tracy Testin
It was a lovely old church and we enjoyed our visit but we had in mind that Richmond awaited and it had many pleasures in store for us too so we pressed on and soon came to Whitcliffe Scar which we kept on our left as we plodded along underneath it.  We were moving faster now and the impetus carried us along with lovely countryside unfolding before us.
Nearing Richmond
Until at last we caught site of the castle keep in the distance.
First glimpse of Richmond
Our eagerness and excitement mounted as we drew ever nearer and soon we were walking through the suburbs and into the market square itself, where our hotel was resplendent.

Arriving at The Kings Head Hotel, Richmond

We had time to spare this day for a good look around Richmond itself and after we checked in that is exactly what we all did.  Pete and I went off for a mooch about and found a good place for coffee.  The chance to relax and saunter about was really appreciated by everyone after so many hard long days on the march. That evening we had a meal in a very modern setting however, because the table and chairs in our part of the dining room were all perspex and the table was set with glittering candles which reflected in the surface. We enjoyed our meal but I know that most were ready for an early night so although Pete and I offered to take them on a moonlight stroll around the castle walls; none of them wanted to leave the comforts of their hotel rooms!

End of day nine

Front of The Kings Head, Richmond
We did have our most comfortable night at this hotel, as we had a lovely big room at the back with a huge bath and very ornate bed, mind you I did bump my leg on the ornate carving in the morning!
For once we had a leisurely start because we were visiting the castle before leaving and it did not open until 10am.

Pete stayed back to arrange the luggage transfer with the taxi and I took everyone to the castle, where they had a lovely sunny morning so the photographic conditions were very good. It was windy though so you couldn't sunbathe.
The 11th century Norman keep

View of the rooftops of Richmond towards Culloden Tower
 This tower was built in 1746 to mark the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie by The Duke of Cumberland

An archer's eye view from the defences of Richmond Castle, photo by Tracy Testin
There were many good photos as I said but I can't include them all here, perhaps you should contemplate going yourself and taking your own. If you are still reading this into day ten you maybe are!

We left Richmond late at about 11am and set off towards the Vale of Mowbray, a flat area much dominated by farmer's fields.

Photo by Mike Gallucci
We were still following the River Swale however, and soon we passed through Catterick Bridge home of the race course and also one of Her Majesty's better known military establishments. We were not here to go to the races though or look at army manouvres rather we had in mind more cakes, or at least Pete did.

Bolton on Swale wayside eatery! Photo by Mike Gallucci
Yes it is still possible in England to find little tables outside people's houses with an honesty box for your money and delicious food and offerings to be purchased.  This one had drinks and packets of crisps and home made jam but in that little plastic box was Lemon Drizzle Cake,  mmm mouthwatering. We shared a piece together and it was scumptious, then we made our way to St Mary's Church and had a look around.
Photo by Mike Gallucci

We hadn't been there long before Pete had a close encounter with a Bishop!

Photo by Tracy Testin
Yes this fellow was on one side of the church doorway and he had a mate wearing a crown on the other side, Pete turned around and guess what these guys were at head hight and he banged his; ouch, I felt that.  We swiftly moved on before anyone else came under attack and headed off towards Danby Wiske our stop for the evening but we were not quick enough to outrun a bad shower of rain which pelted us for 15 minutes non stop, so when we arrived we were wet, wet, wet.  I legged it and was first to arrive at the pub, The White Swan Inn and I stood in the porch dripping.

The White Swan, Danby Wiske
This was where we were all meeting up for our evening meal because we couldn't all be accommodated in the pub as it didn't have the rooms. Pete and I stayed here and some of the others were in other guest houses. We had a very good meal though including a birthday cake which I asked the landlord to provide for one of our party whose birthday this was. It came complete with one lit candle too.

End of day ten

We set off the next morning in brighter sunshine and with an easier day's hike as we were going across much flatter terrain whilst we traversed across The Vale of Mowbray. We crossed many fields and stiles and then we had to check everyone was keeping up because our next obstacle was the A19!

Lyn looking for stragglers.
Everyone was accounted for and we all waited at the roadside before crossing to the centre reservation, then we had an even longer wait as the southbound traffic was horrendous, but a gap was found and we legged it quickly across the road, phew that was not pleasant.

Our destination was Ingleby Cross but we passed through Ingleby Arncliffe where there is an interesting water tower (Arts and Crafts style) with a good plaque commemorating the builder.

Photo by Tracy Testin

We walked on until we reached our lunch stop The Blue Bell public house where soup and sandwiches had been arranged and very good they were too.
Outside the Blue Bell Inn
After lunch we strolled up the road behind the pub and headed for Arncliffe Church which was sadly locked but we had a peek through the windows and took a look around the outside. Then we set off through a delightful wooded track through Arncliffe wood until we came to the back entrance of Mount Grace Priory. This was a wonderful place and we settled down to a bit of exploration.
Ruins of the priory dating from 1398, photo by Tracy Testin

The Main Gate, photo by Tracy Testin

Afternoon sun on the Priory, photo by Tracy Testin
The afternoon was very restful and peaceful and we were loath to leave the place, eventually we decided we had to reach Osmotherley sometime that day so we resumed our hike. Whilst we were all going to have dinner together at The Queen Catherine Hotel, everyone, apart from the leaders, was staying at a local guest house, but Osmotherley is a small place and the guest house was just around the corner.

Queen Catherine Hotel, photo by Mike Gallucci
We had our meal and then everyone retired back to Vane Guest house except for Lyn and Pete who stayed in the bar and had a couple of pints whilst watching the 'locals' who were engaged in a 'dominoes championship'.  They took it very seriously too and the clacking of the boards went on well until 10.45pm and as Lyn and Pete's room was directly above, they waited below for the noise to subside before venturing to bed; but then it had been an easy day.

End of day eleven

We were up early, usually 6.35 am when my mobile phone alarm abruptly squawked. Breakfast was early too and we all were ready for setting off at 8.30 as this was going to be our longest trek yet, over 20 miles. We had arranged a stop though and we had no rain, so although it was coldish and sometimes overcast that was a bonus; so too were the views.

Roseberry Topping in the distance, photo by Mike Gallucci
Anyone would walk their socks off with views over the left shoulder like that. The path was good too because now we had joined the Cleveland Way which is actually paved.

The Cleveland Way, photo by Mike Gallucci
So no problem then, and we sped along on the paving slabs until we reached our first climb of the day up Live Moor with spectacular views.
The path we took over the moors, photo by Mike Gallucci
We continued over Holey Moor until we passed the area reserved for the gliding club, which had a forboding appearance. So we did not tarry but kept on until we crossed Carlton Bank and our stop at Lord Stones cafe.  This is a great place to stop and have lunch and the soup, cakes and buns were simply superb and all served with a smile. We were going to enjoy this day I thought as we set off again and before long we crossed Cringle Moor and Cold Moor and had started to climb up towards the Wainstones and Hasty Bank.

Wainstones in view, photo by Tracy Testin
The rocks proved really easy to pass and no difficulties lay in our way as we continued our journey over Clay Bank and Urra Moor towards Bloworth Crossing. But just when we thought all was well we had a problem. We suddenly came across a lot of 4 by 4 vehicles parked along the track and sounds of guns firing near us.  We saw men on the left of our track on the moors who were clearly part of the shoot and the guns kept firing. We stayed on our route and kept an increasing eye out for any more men and guns and passed a man sitting at the wheel of a tractor who did not stop us, so that was ok then, we were not in the line of fire!  But five minutes later a second set of beaters and gun dogs were clearly getting ready for another shoot right across our path!  Just when we needed information a young beater ran up and said they were about to shoot and would we mind waiting for ten minutes. So we sat down and had a rest.
Grouse hunting at Bloworth, photo by Mike Gallucci
Once they had finished they gave us the all clear and we then joined the old railway track which was fast and downhill, we needed this as we still had a long way to go and we had lost some time waiting for the grouse shoot. So keeping a look out for signs of fatigue in our folks we set off and kept up a good pace.  A couple did lag behind for a bit but they soon exerted themselves again and we soon passed Farndale Moor as the former railway track snaked its way towards High Blakey Moor.

Former railway track, photo by Tracy Testin
Longer shadows began to fall in evening sunshine, but still we plodded on until suddenly the view I had expected on a bend in the track, yes it was way in the distance but no mistaking, The Lion Inn at Blakey!  That put an extra impetus into our stride I can tell you; but we still had a way to go and it was just turning to dusk as the last of us arrived. Well that was well timed.

Sunset as we reached the inn, photo by Mike Gallucci

We didn't hang about outside but were shown straight to our rooms, for myself I rushed up to the bar and ordered a half of bitter shandy because I was so thirsty, I had nearly finished it when Pete with the last stragglers came into the bar.

The cosy bar area at the Lion Inn, photo by Tracy Testin in the morning
So we had done our hard day with only two more left it looked like we were going to make it.  We had our dinner and then they all made a dash for their beds, once again, Pete and I had a last drink and then hit the sack ourselves.

End of day twelve

Morning at The Lion Inn Blakey, photo by Tracy Testin
We left after a later start than usual as we had deserved a little rest.  Our way today was to take us to Grosmont, but we were not all going to stay there as some of us had been booked into Egton just down the road at Ye Old Horshoe Pub; but we were all having dinner at the Horseshoe. So we had about 14 miles to trek this day and it proved to be one of the best, cool and breezy to start with but it soon warmed up as we swung into action.

Our route across the moors was made more jolly by the wayside marker stones some of which had names.

Fat Betty

Fat Betty is a very prominent site on Glaisdale Moor and most people take a photo of her before setting off again where we soon joined a small country road which meant faster progress and then we left it and branched off to cross Glaisdale Rigg.
Inscribed with 'Whitby Road'

Out for a Saturday morning hack.
We fairly sped along and on the way passed a couple of riders who said hello to us. This was a lady on a lovely bay, her male companion was on a black horse. This photo does give you a good idea of the tracks we followed and the downhill nature of the terrain.

Finally, we descended into Glaisdale itself and had a very cosy lunch under a tree with a tree seat and a bench nearby on a little village green on the way into Glaisdale.  This small village lies on the River Esk and has a railway station and a small shop, which we visited and a pub called The Arncliffe Arms which is just above the railway station, the river and the famous Beggar's Bridge.

River Esk, photo by Tracy Testin

Lyn & Carol on the Beggar's Bridge, photo by Tracy Testin

Another view of the Beggar's Bridge
It's early 17th century and everyone stops and has a good look at it as its enchanting. There is also a story behind its building but I won't tell it to you now because you  may be coming on the coast to coast one day and it would be a shame to spoil a good yarn.  We went across a small wooden bridge and into Arncliffe Woods to continue our trek towards Egton Bridge and passed Egton Manor on the way.

Egton Manor, photo by Tracy Testin
And soon we were on the final stages of the road into Grosmont.
Grosmont is down here somewhere!
Now the thing about Grosmont if you have not been there, is that it is dominated by The North York Moors Steam Railway, and this is evident the moment you enter the town because the white level crossing gates are the centre of town and the locomotives are hissing steam at you and hooting and tooting too! So you cannot possibly ignore the trains or the fact that they were used in a Harry Potter Film with Goathland Station having been renamed HOGWORTS. But the atmosphere is so exciting too and we arrived at just before 4pm on a busy Saturday afternoon. There was even a wedding party just alighting from some carriages all wearing their posh gear and floral buttonholes. So we offered to take our party up the line to Goathland and then back again, a matter of ten minutes on the train each way. Well most wanted to come along but a couple had sore feet and declined.

Lyn at Goathland
 In the end our train left ten minutes late so when we arrived at Goathland we only had two minutes to cross the platform over the railway bridge and board our next train back to Grosmont.

Back at Grosmont
But we did have an enjoyable ride. Then we had plenty of time to settle into our various hotels before those of us staying in Grosmont took a taxi out to Egton for our excellent evening meal.

Ye Horseshoe Inn, Egton, photo by Mike Gallucci
End of day thirteen

We all met up at Grosmont station ready to sort out our lunch time snacks before setting off again on the last day. We had reasonable weather and being our last day it was not going to be more than about 15 miles. But it was an uphill walk out of Grosmont and it went on for quite a bit until we reached the open moors and then the ground flattened out. Not really the place for great photos either but we did see impressive views of Whitby at a distance with its abbey clearly defined against the skyline. We eventually reached Littlebeck where we couldn't look into the pretty little chapel because they were setting up the harvest festival display so we pressed on into the beautiful woods.

Our path through the wood, photo by Tracy Testin

Stunning, photo by Tracy Testin

Falling Foss, photo by Tracy Testin

Before passing this waterfall there is a curious rock shelter called The Hermitage which is carved out of the rock itself, it is a curiosity and was built by George Chubb who put his initials over the entrance in 1790. I did not bother with a photo as it looked a gloomy place. We pressed on through the woods and eventually found a lovely spot for lunch at Old May Beck where we sat down on the grass and took our time.  Then we set off for our last plod across the moors before starting to descend down towards the coast, when we reached this sign we knew it was not far to go.
Getting near the end, photo by Tracy Testin
However, we were going to stop at Hawsker to have afternoon tea and tea cakes to keep up our strength for the last section. It meant that we no longer would see any more heather which was a pity because it had been our constant delight for many miles, so just for the record here is some of the best we saw.
The heather clad moors, photo by Mike Gallucci

After tea we left for the final section of all and headed down towards the Northcliffe caravan site where we passed by many a holiday home before coming to the edge of the cliffs overlooking the North Sea.

The impressive view up on the cliffs, photo by Tracy Testin
We still had a bit to go though as we needed to hike along the clifftop path towards the bay.

Lovely evening sun on the final stage of our walk
Don't ask me why but everyone seemed to split up into individual walkers, each deep in thought no doubt and really savouring the last half an hour as we made our way towards our goal.  Then suddenly we saw our destination ahead in the evening shadowy light.

First glimpse of the bay, photo by Mike Gallucci

We stopped at the 'rocket post' and Pete and Lyn fielded many cameras as our group posed for their celebratory photo.  It was hard to get everyone to look at the right camera at the right time!

We did it! photo from Mike Gallucci, but who took it?
After this we headed into town because it was getting late and the sun was low in the sky.  We still had toes to dip in the water and pebbles to toss too but we wanted to check into our hotel and have a chance to unwind before we set off down to the beach.

Arriving at The Grosvenor Hotel, photo by Mike Gallucci
Would you believe that half an hour later it was dusk and the photography was very challenging.  But we went to the beach anyway and some of us dipped our feet and threw our pebbles away. I decided to keep mine and take it back to Cumbria, I had carried it all the way but somehow I felt it belonged to Cumbria so should go back with me. I know tradition says throw the pebble into the North Sea.

Next we headed for The Bay Hotel for our celebratory meal together.  We had a great meal and speeches and we gave out certificates to everyone too but all too soon we were heading up the hill out of the old bay because we wanted our beds.  That's the trouble with walking 192 miles; it makes you sleepy.

Twilight and time to eat, photo by Tracy Testin
End of day fourteen and end of the hike but not quite the end of story because the next morning we had breakfast together and then waited for our coach to arrive to take us to York where we were all destined to go our separate ways. However, the coach trip from Robin Hood's Bay to York is delightful and we had some wonderful scenery on the way not least when we approached York.  The city walls and the Minster were magnificent and so too was the railway station where we parted.....

But, here's the thing, you don't ever forget what you have achieved and who helped you on your way, because this is an experience that cannot be underestimated.  It is very hard to do, make no mistake and it is impossible to describe how it feels to be part of it unless you actually are doing it. Afterwards, you wait for ages it seems for the photos to arrive from everyone, but when they do it's magic.

Magic moors, photo by Mike Gallucci