This was a trip for Graham and Tove and 16 of their friends, by way of celebration of their tenth wedding Anniversary.
Sue and I were allocated to the luxurious surroundings of 'Hensingham' - a cottage that we shared with Robin, Jenny, Tom and Julie.
We arrived on Thursday afternoon, in the bright September sunshine to which we'd become accustomed, to find lazy seagulls and crows basking on the chimney pots.
We soon found the others at 'The Studio' and 'York House', equally fine holiday houses, or dining at 'The Dolphin', which does very nice meals.
Friday morning dawned fine but overcast in Robin Hood's Bay.
Fifteen of us made our way up the hill to the Cleveland Way footpath, which passes near a strange hobbit home like millennium sculpture.
We soon passed a 'Rocket Post' from which a thin line could be fired to a ship in distress, enabling a thicker hawser to be attached to the ship's mast. Rescue could then be effected by way of a 'Breeches Buoy' - a lifebuoy attached to a pair of shorts - into which the shipwrecked seamen jumped one by one, taking turns to be hauled landwards.
There were good views back towards Robin Hood’s Bay on this hot hazy day, on which we soon met an elderly couple last seen in Reeth on our Coast to Coast walk - it was great to see them successfully finishing their third C2C walk.
Frequent pauses were enjoyed, with folk lingering and chatting and admiring the coastal scenery.
There were swarms of Black-backed Gulls and many more seabirds.
Sometime later, we paused for tea and cake.
After a further period of ambling, the remains of Whitby Abbey slowly appeared through a veil of haze.
After passing through a large mobile home site, we arrived at the Abbey. Some visited the church, whilst others waited at the top of a long flight of stairs.
Eventually descending the stairs, we entered the buzzing metropolis, with its Whitby Jet shops and ice cream parlours.
Some of us found a fine lunch spot on the south pier, sheltered from a gentle sea breeze and with a good view to the town and the harbour. Others found a pub.
Whilst the other thirteen drove back to Robin Hood’s Bay using pre-positioned transport, Sue and I enjoyed the walk back, starting across the beach in Whitby harbour.
We headed for the old railway line, but we were seduced by a fine looking riverside path to Ruswarp, from which the cinder track on the viaduct high above wasn't really accessible!
Sue spotted this Orange Hawkweed (aka Fox and Cubs).
After the pleasant diversion through Ruswarp, and a short section of quiet road, we eventually gained the cinder track at the south side of the viaduct.
It was mostly uphill. We found a lady carrying a bench that some jokers had moved a few hundred metres out of position. We gave her a hand (or four) before depositing it in position and depositing ourselves on it to enjoy the dregs of our flask.
There was a good view back to Whitby. Soon after this we reached Hawsker Station, which flourishes as a centre for bike hire, tea shop and a bunkhouse, including luxury accommodation in old Pullman coaches.
Today’s walk for Sue and me was about 25 km, with 500 metres ascent, taking 7 hours. The others did about 12 km.
After a celebratory meal at the Bramblewick restaurant, we adjourned to our respective cottages before rising on Saturday to slog up the hill to the X93 (I think) bus for Scarborough - a pleasant double-decker ride on another fine, hot, but overcast day. Fifteen of us set off on the walk back to Robin Hood’s Bay, the best part of 5 km passing before we reached the outskirts of Scarborough.
During the walk along the ‘prom’, Sue and I popped into a coffee shop for refreshments, soon catching the others up as they had spent the time queuing for a toilet. We then passed a blank wall onto which delicately painted windows had been added.
Fred Gilroy (1921 to 2008) was a former bricklayer and war veteran who had the misfortune of being involved in the liberation of Belsen Concentration Camp in 1945. He was also a reluctant magician, and has retained this skill in death, thanks to the brilliance of Ray Lonsdale. Here he has waved his wand at Julie, who is quite small enough without being shrunk by naughty Fred!
Sue was impressed with these colourful beach houses that towered over our diminutive companion.
Eventually, after some "It's a long clump along this eternal sea-front" groaning from those who hadn’t taken advantage of the coffee shop, we reached Scalby Mills and the bridge over easily forded Scalby Beck that leads to the soft cliff top path followed by the Cleveland Way.
After a while, and after an early lunch, we found ourselves on course for Hayburn Wyke, passing large clumps of the Hogweed that lines these paths at this time of year.
At Hayburn Wyke, the ‘Hotel’ marked on our Ordnance Survey maps turned out to be a good pub despite the lack of a blue tankard on the map. Others seemed set on spending the afternoon here, so Sue and I finished our tea and set off as an advance party back to Robin Hood’s Bay.
Harebells kept us company as we tootled on, up some rather steep steps at one point, towards Ravenscar.
By the time we reached the remains of Ravenscar Radar Station the sun had managed to pierce the overcast skies, and Tom was waiting for us at the Ravenscar Tea Rooms, a familiar place to those who have completed the classic 40 mile Lyke Wake Walk as many times as I’ve done.
Sue has also spent time here, uncovering the Alum workings.The site of the uncovered remains is just to the right of the house, pictured below, that Sue stayed in 30 years ago.
The Cleveland Way is now a well established Long Distance Path. The signage for this, and the Coast to Coast path on which we recently walked, has recently been upgraded or replaced and is impressive hereabouts.
It was good to see that the work started by the working party that Sue was part of 30 years ago has been maintained, if not continued, though the information boards are rather badly faded.
At Stoupe Beck you can leave the cliff top path and return to Robin Hood’s Bay via the beach - we had just enough time to take this route before the tide came in.
Past Boggle Hole the beach becomes sandy and heavily used, with the fleshpots of Robin Hoods Bay beckoning the weary walker.
We got back at 5.15, with Robin joining us for a giant piece of carrot cake just a few minutes later, whilst the rest of the team staggered in at around 6.30, just as Sue and I were enjoying another meal at the Dolphin.
Today we covered 27 km, with 700 metres ascent, taking 7 hours (others taking rather longer).
Sunday dawned ... cloudy, but fine and warm. We slowly dispersed from Robin Hood’s Bay - Flamborough, Stokesley and Sandsend were all mentioned, but Sue and I went to Goathland, a favourite destination of mine.
Coffee and cats at the Station tearooms went down well, including an amusing incident involving two cats trying to sit on the same small map.
Whilst Goathland Station was getting ready for a busy Sunday, we headed along the trackside path and watched this loco at Darnholme before heading up the hill to Greenlands Farm.
Again, it wasn’t the best day for photography, but there were some very pleasant views through the haze.
Lunch was taken on a bench overlooking Grosmont, where the national rail network links with the rejuvenated line to Pickering.
The path back to Goathland leads past the engine sheds and yard, with Sir Nigel Gresley and 75029 in evidence, as well as this huge 2-10-0 engine, number 3672. Now then, where did I put that Iain Allan spotter’s book!
Moments later a huge diesel loco huffed past us. I remember these Deltic class locos providing the beef in front of the expresses on the East Coast line in the 1960's.
Apart from the reclaimed line to Pickering, there's also an older, disused, line that started as a tramway and operated between 1836 and 1865. This now forms the basis of the path between Grosmont and Goathland.
Beck Hole station remains much the same as it was in bygone days. The tramway continues to Goathland, but at Beck Hole we took the path beside West Beck towards Mallyan Spout, past trees with impressive growths of mosses, lichens and fungi.
A rising path leads from Mallyan Spout to a busy hotel, then two sides of a triangle led us back to Goathland and this recovery vehicle and Heartbeat’s Ford Anglia police car from 1965.
Here’s our route for the day - 16 km, with 400 metres ascent, taking 4.5 hours.
Then we went home, most satisfied with our weekend exertions in the best of company.
The delay in this posting is due to Sue and me taking around 250-300 photos during the course of the weekend. In a busy week, these have had to be sorted and culled, with just 25 appearing above, and a slide show of 83 pictures having now been uploaded here. If you click on the first image, then click ‘slideshow’, then click ‘Pause’ at the bottom of the screen, you should be able to move through the show manually using the arrow buttons on your keyboard. Please let me know if it doesn’t work; I’m having trouble with Google and Picasa at present.