The Cleveland Way. Robin Hoods Bay to Hundale Point
Day 6. 9 miles
Today was one of those lovely days where I had no set end point in mind, so I could pretty much do as I please, go where I desired and take as long as I wanted getting there. I’d around 25 miles left of the Cleveland Way to be completed in two days - three if I really wanted to take it easy - and so I decided to slow it down as much as I could. Therefore I laid in as long as possible and ended up checking out of Boggle Hole at bang on 10:00. Normally late starts annoy the hell out of me but the relaxed mood of the day continued with a walk back along the beach, on a bright and sunny morning, and back to Robin Hoods Bay for a light breakfast. I planned to stop at the highly regarded Tea, Toast and Post but it was typical of my rotten luck that it was closed. I instead decamped to the Cove Cafe with a lovely area outside to sit and admire the sea. I also ordered a bacon sandwich which must have been off the children’s menu going by the size of it, but it tasted nice and that and the tea set me up for the first section of the day to Ravenscar, which was only three miles away and where I planned another pitstop for lunch.
But back to the present, and once I’d re-crossed the beach back to Boggle Hole (thankfully the tide was still out), I climbed some steep steps to join the cliff top path and set off for Ravenscar. The sunny morning was again an autumnal treat - warm and a soft breeze creating ideal walking conditions. The path to my first stopping point was, to be fair, pretty uneventful and in truth I don’t recall much of it at all, except from the path initially having the sea views obscured by the some woodland before the trail took a turn for the better, with some wide and open fields having to be circumnavigated on the coastal side of them for a mile before heading inland to eventually reach the National Trust Centre in Ravenscar which I walked straight past to head instead to the tea rooms on the southern side of the village.
I arrived in Ravenscar in sunshine but it was good timing, as no sooner had I sat down in the cosy tearooms than the skies outside blackened and it absolutely threw it down. I ordered a pot of tea and a cheese toasted sandwich from the friendly owner, and when I’d finished both and glanced outside to see it still raining, another pot of tea came my way. The location of the cafe was lovely, the coastline 200 meters away was separated by fields and trees, and rather than needing to retrace my steps back to the main road I came in on, instead a path led straight back down to the clifftop and the Cleveland Way. A point of interest appeared not long after I peeled myself away from the tearoom, with the path passing the Ravenscar World War Two radar station. The area back then housed, in addition to the radar, a coastguard look out that I had a climb up to the viewing deck, the calm blue skies outside made it hard to imagine the Luftwaffe flying over all those years ago. There was also a store and engine house and domestic and admin buildings, some of which still remain in situ. Many other radar stations were destroyed after the war, but now protected as an ancient monument the station is a relic of a bygone era that should most certainly be remembered.
The walk thereafter over Beast Cliff was a windy one, but I did get my first view of Scarborough in the far distance, and beyond I could also see the trails end point at Filey Brigg. It was my first visual of the finishing line, but still a good fifteen miles or so away, and there was lots of hard walking to be done during those miles. In the meantime, I bumped into a retired couple coming the other way, and we stood talking for ages. Really lovely people who had met at university in Nottingham in the late 60’s, so with that and the walking side of things, we had much to discuss. One of the joys of walking solo is the chance to meet nice people on the way. I enjoy my own company on the trail, and when there are people about there are some who are completely in their own world and may or may not offer a quick hello as they pass, others stop for a chat, and both of those are fine. But on each day since Helmsley I’d met someone along the way and ended up enjoying a good conversation for at least a quarter of an hour each time. I found the Cleveland much more sociable than the Pennine Way, though that does make sense going by the remoteness of the latter.
Studying my guidebook, I read that due to a landslip, a diversion had been put in place to direct walkers away from the coastal path and inland between Ravenscar and Hayburn Wyke, and it was anyones guess whether this still existed or not. I found my way down to the southern part of Beast Hill and initially followed the diversion through some woodland, before realising that I hadn’t actually checked whether the original path had been re-opened. Retracing my steps, I could see that it appeared to be and took my chances, and sure enough the path along Herbert Hole was clear and landslip-free. It was stated that some people prefer the diversion to escape temporarily into some different scenery after three days of coastal views. For me, I can’t get enough of them, living in landlocked Nottingham as I do. However, once I’d reached Hayburn Wyke I did pop into the woodland for ten minutes and found myself a beck running through there, and took the opportunity to top up my water bottles for the last camp, and indeed the last night of the trail. Where this would be, though, I still hadn’t a clue.
As it transpired, my home for the night was only around a mile and a half away, at Hundale Point. Walking along Tindall Point and Iron Scar, on the horizon were flat fields of green, sheltered by thick trees and from a distance, around there seemed an ideal spot to pitch up on. I carried on walking until I saw on the other side of some barbed wire a sheltered dip in the ground that had sea views, and protection from the strong wind that had been a feature of this afternoons walking. I popped over the barbed wire fence and had a look around, and it seemed as good as I was going to get. Good soft ground and with barely a breeze down there and with not a soul to be seen, I pitched up and enjoyed the sunset. One dampener was the realisation that somewhere along the line I’d lost my water filter which knowing my careless nature I’d packed haphazardly into my bag which would most likely have fallen out the minute the top of the bag was opened up. Still, I didn’t think the water from the woods would be too bad, though I double boiled it, just to be sure. My last night in the wild was a sumptuous and filling tea of supernoodles followed by a flapjack I’d bought in Robin Hoods Bay this morning, and a few snacks as well to have with my twilight hot drink, which was much needed by how cold the night had turned. The sky was completely clear and full of twinkling stars.