2 friends and the coast to coast walk

Glaisdale to Robin Hoods Bay by theshed
November 11, 2008, 10:37 pm
Filed under: last steps | Tags: , ,

Our final day started with a breakfast fit for Kings.  It was a day that we’d been looking forward and dreading at the same time.  We couldn’t wait to make our destination and see the North Sea but it would mean our journey would be over.  I didn’t want it to be over, I’d had such an amazing time on the walk.

Gorgeous misty morning shotWe left the B&B and headed past Beggars Bridge stopping to take a few photos.  We crossed the river and turned left…a little too early.  We ended up skirting along the very edge of the river when we should’ve gone up some steps and then turned left.  Our mistake meant that we came into a lovely spot and took the photo on the left.  We started looking for a place to get up the river bank but we ended up having to turn round and head back to the correct start.  It was only a hundred meters or so, not too much of a big deal.

The start of that days walking, coming out of Glaisdale and through the woods was some of the best walking on the whole journey, definitely equal to the walk alongside Ennerdale Water.  I think I might be slightly biased since I love woodland walking but it was amazing.  Our B&B owner had said it was beautiful walking, following the old monk trails, and we weren’t disappointed.  As you walk over the concave stepping stones you just know that hundreds of feet have past in the same directions hundred of years before.

The woodland path led on to Egton Bridge where we opted for the stepping stone route, the road route didn’t sound that appealing.  Then it was through Egton Bridge and onto Grosmont.  At Grosmont we stopped for some sandwiches and waited for one of the trains to head out of the station.  We didn’t hang around long before we headed up a very long arduous road climb out of the Esk Valley.

The days walking was a mixed one and this is where it started to get a little dull.  Out of Grosmont you head up the road and back onto some heather moors.  I was looking forward to the view of Whitby and the first view of the North Sea on the trip.  I was a bit disappointed when I was robbed by the fog.  It wasn’t long though until we crossed Sleights Moor and hit Little Beck.  We stopped on bench number 17, there were a lot of benches on the last day, and grabbed a little bite to eat before heading through the woods.

The HermitageThe woods that Little Beck and May Beck run through are very cool.  It seemed to take ages to get through them, not least because we kept stopping and chatting to people.  First up was a woman who was walking her Labradors, they were working gun dogs so they were bounding all of the place.  I wish I could cover that much distance uphill in such a short time.  Then we stopped just outside The Hermitage and chatted to another couple.  I wasn’t really paying much attention to them since I’d been dying to see The Hermitage since Day 1.  It’s a weird carved out boulder in the middle of the woods.  Very cool.  Then we stopped and briefly chatted to someone near the Falling Foss waterfall.  Then after that we sat and had some lunch.

After all that stopping we thought we should put down a pace and we did so, for a short while anyway.  We were forced to stop again in short order as the map made us think we’d been turned round again.  It didn’t help that we met another family who were insisting they were going the right way.  One thing for sure was that they were defintely not going the right way.  We let them press on a little and pushed on ourselves down the route the family went.  It wasn’t long until we caught up to them and by that time we were sure of our location and direction.  We set them right and headed off down May Beck.

Once you come out of the woods at May Beck car park you turn up the road and head back up onto moors.  I think I had started to dislike moors walking by now and wasn’t looking forward to more of it.  The walk got a little boring again as we trudged over moorland again.  It was pretty uneventful until we reached more calf deep water at Sneaton Low Moor and had to skirt round it.  I gave in and just got my boots wet.  Michelle was a little more patient and managed to avoid a soaking, but not for long.

The SwampAs we went over Graystone Hills towards Hawkser we crossed many boggy bits and didn’t mind them much.  We thought we’d been through as much as we could’ve been through when it comes to wet and boggy ground.  We were mistaken.  As we neared Hawkser there was a small stream on the map.  We assumed there would be a bridge or some stepping stones or it would easily be crossed some other way.  What we should’ve assumed was that it was going to be a 25 meters, reedy, boggy, smelly, oily, skanky, swampy, muddy peice of rubbish.  If you look in the picture on the right, the bit where the path leads into the reeds is where it starts to get horrible and it didn’t stop until the foot of the incline where we were standing taking this photo.  I think it was so bad Michelle even had a little panic attack.  We both took separate routes over it and we both thought that we’d found a decent route until halfway across.  I came out the worst on the other side but even the photo of me doesn’t do justice to how skanky this crossing was.

By this time the weather had closed in even more and it was fitting that we were going to finish the walk in similar weather to how we’d started it.  In fact the end of the walk was a complete reverse to the start.  The village you get to, Hawsker, is as run down as Moor Row and reminds you of what seems like ages ago.  We stopped for a pint of coke and a sneaky bit of flapjack just to gather our composure for the final couple of miles.  We we’re excited to be getting close and it’s a good sight to see a roadsign pointing to your destination.  We headed up through the caravan park, getting a little lost on the way.  Those caravans all look the same you know!

THE SEAOnce through the other side of the caravan park WE FINALLY GOT TO SEE THE NORTH SEA!! The weather had closed in so much now you can only just make it out in the photo and we were only a few meters away from the cliff top.  Now I’m not usually an emotional bloke but there were two times this walk nearly brough a tear to my eye.  The first was sat on top of Calf Crag as we headed along the ridgewalk into Grasmere and this was the second.  Once you see the sea there’s quite an overwhelming sense of acheivement.  You still have a few miles left along the clifftops but you can relax into them now and just enjoy the scenery (fog in our case) as you saunter along the Cleveland Way into Robin Hoods Bay.  And saunter we did.  We weren’t in a rush to finish, despite my boots being on their last legs on our last legs being on our last feet we didn’t really want it to end.  There’s a certain mgic about long-distance walking and it’s one we want to experience again.  As we wandered along we chatted about how long it seemed since we’d started and all the things we’d done.  In reality all we’d done was put one foot in front of the other for two weeks in a row. Our reminiscing was interupted first by a sneezing sheep (yes…a sneezing sheep. it was the first one we’d seen too!) and then by the view of RHB itself.

We wandered down into town, dropping into our B&B to say that we’d made it, heading for the beach.  We grabbed an ice cream and sat and just watched the waves coming in over the launch for a little while.   The tide was in so we didn’t have far to go to dip our feet.  By this time we’d left behind all the people we’d walked with at the beggining of the walk.  Wayne and Linley had headed off to France after Kirkby Stephen and we’d heard rumours along the way that most of the others had dropped out.  The only one’s we weren’t sure about were Mrs Redcoat and her husband.  If they stuck to their timings they would’ve been in the exact same spot two days earlier.  The only person we bumped into was a lone walker we’d met a couple of days before.  After we dipped our feet we went in the pub to find him for a beer but we must have missed him.

The foot dipping and the stone throwing went well with Michelle only getting a little over-indulgent and was followed by the obligatory photo in front of the plaque and a well earned pint.

And that was it.  We’d done it.  We’d walked 192 miles from one side of England to the other and we were both well chuffed.

We walked back up the cruelly steep final hill to the B&B and headed in for a well earned shower and to get in out of the rain.  All we had left to do that night was eat, drink, take part in a quiz and sleep!

Awesome time, I wish I was doing it now!
Back to the B and B


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