Coast to Coast Final Stages with 4 Intrepid Petersfield Ramblers
Day 17 – The Last Leg
How do you start a blog about the last day of such a fantastic journey? The last 15 miles of a 192 mile trek that began with a casual conversation between Christine and Val, resulting in four of us – along with our trusty Sherpas! – walking from St Bees on the West coast to Robin’s Hood Bay in the East.
Photo duly taken before we set off, the route was brutal for the first mile or so. Climbing up the road out of Grosmont it angled sharply up until we entered the moor. Pausing to catch our breath we checked our route and at this stage had decided to deviate from the prepared way. There seemed to be a clear path across the moor which avoided more road walking. Mistake! The path was indistinct, taking us over heather strewn areas which were difficult to walk through. Much consulting of OS maps on phones eventually helped us gain the main road on the far side, then we were off again across more moor with views of Whitby Abbey.
This sight of the sea spurred us on as we dropped down into a delightful valley that took us through a nature reserve alongside a river. We came across a hermit’s hut built in 1792 by George Chubb, out of stone. It did not look inviting! Then we came across a tree that had coins pressed into its bark. Why? We didn’t find out. The path wound its way through the trees and flowers, it would have been great to explore further but Robin Hood’s Bay beckoned. We began to meet tourists the further along the valley we walked as there is a lovely waterfall in the valley with a nearby car park, so people can enjoy it without the long walk.
Another long slog up a road took us back onto the moor, which, due to the rain we had overnight was quite squelchy. Lunch was sorely needed but with nowhere to sit in the dry we ploughed on. Deviations from the path were needed to avoid the wettest patches. All the time Whitby Abbey could still be seen in the distance, a wonderful sight but not the one we were aiming for. Eventually we came across a grassy knoll in the moor, just vacated by other C2Cers, we sat and gratefully ate our lunch in the sunshine.
As we began to descend off the moor sheep became more evident, lots of mums with their lambs, all with completely black faces. The road led us along eventually into a place called High Hawsker, a place that we knew signalled that the coast was not too far away. We came off the road and started to descend to a holiday park and the view of Whitby disappeared. Wending our way through the park we reached the cliff top! Quite an emotional moment. Although we weren’t at our destination we had walked from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, a fantastic feeling. Now all we had to do was manage the last 3 miles to our finishing point.
The coastline was lovely, each bend tempting us to think we would see Robin’s Hood Bay, but each time deceiving us. The wind was blowing strongly into us but we knew the end was nearing. Doggedly we continued along the track, savouring the moment that we would finish our long and exciting journey. Then we were descending towards the town, past houses and hotels, wondering when we would meet the beach. Out popped Rob and Alan, two of our trusty Sherpas, from the garden of the hotel we were staying in. Together we all walked steeply, very steeply, down to the bay to find the tide was right in. It didn’t matter. We had accomplished it. Gratefully we dipped our toes in the water, threw the stones we had carried from St Bees into the sea, then with aching muscles climbed back up to the hotel.
Was it worth all the effort? Yes, definitely. Four, shall we say mature, walkers managed 192 miles together through the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the Yorkshire Moors, navigating together and cementing friendships. We loved every (almost) step of the way and over supper reminisced about our favourite parts. All of this fantastic journey would have been so much harder to organise without our trusty Sherpas – Rob, Alan and Bob- to whom we owe many thanks.
Author & Photographer: Lynne Burge