Final Destination for the Coast to Coast Walk:
We woke to a cold morning. This was to be our final day of walking. We enjoyed our last English breakfast, ate the boiled eggs with lots of tasty homemade wholemeal bread, a variety of local jams, and finished with hot tea.
Outside the weather didn’t look good. A few large raindrops flattened themselves against the windowpanes as the wind played havoc with the trees. We made our way back down to the village and followed the leafy track along Little Beck.
The path diverged from the beck and climbed uphill to an unusual rock formation. The Hermitage was a curiosity, a single chamber hewn out of a solid boulder. It was the work of George Chubb, who completed it in 1790; the year Wordsworth began his European walking tour. Standing inside it, I imagined the amount of effort that had gone into it and wondered what had driven him to do it.
Further on we came to Falling Foss, a large waterfall which had pre – announced its presence by the wonderful sound of cascading water. The track continued to a picnic ground and soon veered away from the beck.
Then we climbed up to Sneaton Low Moor. Up here, outside the protection of the woods and the valleys, the wind blew strongly and the sky had darkened, threatening us with storms. It was a marvellous view, the windblown trees starkly silhouetted against the dark, grey sky.
We followed the map carefully, as there were no Coast to Coast signs to be seen. There were a number of caravan parks perched on the slopes approaching the cliffs. Finally, we came upon the North Sea, leaden in colour, brooding. In the distance, whitecaps indicated friction between air and water. The wind was exceptionally strong here.
We had now walked most of the 190 miles across England. Just eighteen days ago we had left St Bees and the Irish Sea behind us, crossed Lakeland, the limestone plateau, the valleys of the Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors, and now almost unbelievably, we were standing at the edge of the cliffs overlooking the North Sea.
According to the map, we had another three miles of coastal walking before reaching Robin Hood’s Bay.
The walk seemed to take forever but as we rounded Ness Point, for a brief moment, the clouds parted and the sun shone through. Across the inlet the picturesque village of Robin Hood’s Bay, precariously perched on the cliffs, was bathed in golden sunlight.
A solid concrete seawall, designed to prevent further erosion from the battering waves, separated the sea from the village. We hurried through the outskirts of town, passing buildings of Victorian vintage, and found the old main street, which led into the heart of this old smugglers’ stronghold. And checked in to our B&B just before the rain started.