Cleveland Way – Robin Hoods Bay to Scarborough

Today we’ll learn about an app that tells you about ships, their registration and cargo and another that tracks aeroplanes and delivers similar information; we’ll have a short poem and we’ll be on tenterhooks as one of us suffers from exhaustion and finally, we’ll stay at a hotel that might be referred to as under par.

There is an English ballad about Robin Hoods Bay in which Robin is purported to have nipped across from Sherwood when he heard there were French pirates causing havoc on the coast. He gave them a good thrashing and returned their ill-gotten gains to the local people, re-flowered the de-flowered virgins and resurrected the men who had been killed defending them. As an act of gratitude, the villagers named their row of houses after him as a thank you. OK, there may be a modicum of exaggeration and maybe a hint of embellishment but you get my drift.

It’s a cracking little village now with quaint narrow streets and secret passageways here and there. It used to be a major port for smugglers and you can see why. There are rumours of underground passageways that link the houses to enable contraband to be moved about quickly when coast guards or their equivalent came sniffing.

One of the earliest examples of its existence is a letter from Lois I, Count of Flanders who wrote to Kind Edward III complaining that someone had pinched his fishing fleet and their catch and sailed it to Robin Hoods Bay.

It’s now celebrated in verse by Paul Gerard Reed:

The dreary sky belied your charms
As we cautiously stepped that day
Into the warm embrace of your open arms
Down the path and along the bay;

At last we found you there
Waiting, sleeping, hidden for so long
A forgotten Friday, hung in the air
Over the secret place where you belong;

Where waves have crashed and gently foamed
Against your slopes and cliffs severe
With hopes held tight we fondly roamed
We finally found ourselves here.

It’s many years since I’ve been here and I shall come back again when I’m not doing a challenging walk, it’s truly fascinating.


Click on any image and you can page through them at full size…

We follow the signs out of the village and begin the ascent into the woods and then out of them emanating on the edge. The shade in the woods is welcome as the sun is rising and becoming increasingly strong. We’re all well equipped with loose clothing, significantly creamed with sunscreen and lots of water; all of this will be working overtime today.

The track meanders in and out of woods, along meadows and cornfields with the ever-present and beautiful North Sea on our left. It’s been flat calm since we started and will remain that way until we finish. Whilst this state is less exciting it does enable us to see the wonderful colour shift that’s associated with the rock or sand that it covers and that also varies subtly with depth. There is constant sea traffic of every type from tiny rowing boats (cobbles) to larger fishing boats, the odd sea-going posh motor cruiser to ocean-going monsters that are containerships or tankers. Louise has got an app that tells you who they are, where they’re from and where they’re going, all quite fascinating. The Pilgrim counters with her app that identifies aeroplanes in the sky and has similar information. I refer to them as sophisticated modern-day train spotters and get a pretend clip for the comment!

Before we know it we’re at Ravenscar. Now here’s an interesting place. First things first though, we have an ice-cream.

Now a little info. I remember my dad didn’t come every time we had ‘a day out’ but he did come on this one when we were brought here. I think we’d been in Whitby and this was a bit of a detour. He said he would take us to the “Town that never was” and I remember seeing the streets all laid out with junctions, drains and the odd lamppost but there were no houses, it was eerie.

Apparently, this was a very busy little area at the turn of the 19th century with alum mines producing the material for fixing the dye in the clothing and leather industries. Going back even further there is evidence of a Roman signal station, one of many on this coast, and this one was in the 4th century.

However; getting back to my tale, apparently, it was planned to establish a town here to rival Scarborough. Consent was given and all of the foundation and street work was completed and then the company went bust. The development was never picked up and finished, so there you have it, a ghost town.

We set off again and the following few miles are fairly easy-going which is fortunate as the sun is getting hotter and there is little movement in the air. We meet a few people walking both ways and then bump into a couple who are sitting on a bench overlooking one of the many beautiful viewing points when the gentleman asks, “Is one of you called Louise?”

Several people respond with a yes and point to Lou.

“Your friend Roger has been waiting for you but he’s returned to Scarborough now”, says our correspondent.

So, one of Lou’s rambling friends was trying to meet up with us but didn’t want to wait so we’ve missed him but the amazing thing for me is the track is so well signed that you can do this sort of thing and the other people on the walk will convey the messages, nice eh?

Someone recommends taking a break at Hayburn Wyke. It’s a tiny cove that you won’t easily find and as we clamber down some unpleasantly high steps it emerges slowly through vegetation and ferns. I’m looking down at a small river that’s cascading over huge boulders with a footbridge straddling it slightly inland. It has a beach but it’s a stone beach and that’s probably working to its advantage in as much as there are no commercial reasons to develop it. This is idyllic in every sense so here we stop and have our lunch in beautiful sunshine with feet in an exquisitely clear cool brook sitting on huge stones that have been solar heated.

George has been looking at us as a group and then at his ‘phone, he clearly wants to say something so I look up inquisitively and he says, “I was just looking at us as a group of mates and an old photo of my dad and his mates, you know, we have the same thing”. At that, he showed me the picture on his ‘phone. His comment is filled with nostalgia and affection and I share his sense of comradeship and closeness, we have a good core to our group and it really works.

It’s seriously warm now and we’re beginning to cross a number of inlets that require some steep descents followed by equally steep ascents at the other side. Most of them have steps which can be lethal in wet weather; however, today is dry so they’re ‘only’ exhausting. Our mountain goat aka Pete normally spends his time well at the front on the ‘ups’ is uncharacteristically struggling a bit and I notice he’s leaning a little to the left. We’ve been very lucky with our walks and whilst we’ve had one or two interesting situations, we’ve never had an emergency.

We’re still some way from Scarborough and this is amplified when we manage to see a faint outline of Scarborough Castle just about distinguishable through the haze.

There are more ups and downs as gullies are traversed and by now our Mountain Goat has adopted an alarming lean to the left and as we negotiate the cliffs and more gullies we take turns in walking in close proximity behind and slightly to the left of him should he suddenly decide to fall towards the cliff. As time goes by we help by taking turns with his rucksack, we reverse it against our chest and find that it’s quite easy and well balanced and certainly not an imposition. His tenacity is admirable and with a few pit stops on the way and little help on the steps he manages the final few miles and with a final burst we end up at the Olde Scalby Mill where a pint of Peroni helps to repair any damage. It has to be said that we also breathe a bit of a sigh of relief that we’re in town and things are looking more positive.


Lou (Our leader) at the end of this leg – still looking fresh as a daisy!


From here we make our way to respective hotels and buses via our old farts passes and the town bus service. Four of us are going back to Robin Hoods Bay to retrieve our cars so that we’re ready for tomorrow. The Pilgrim overhears a couple discussing folk music and she asks them about events or music in Scarborough and we’re given the name of a singer and bar “Jessie Hutchison at The Cellar” on Valley Road.

So, we’re in our hotel. It’s the Davenport and is fabulously sited overlooking the North Bay and the Castle and we’re in a bedroom that overlooks both. That’s about the end of the positives! Breakfast doesn’t start until 0830 but we can live with that, the paint is flaking, the carpets are threadbare, the ensuite toilet is made of an old tea-chest and the doors are like office doors with hardboard nailed to a frame. They were probably varnished at one time but now just have spots and drips of paint splashed on them with evidence of half-arsed attempts to rub it off. We have stayed in something similar but I’ll not go into that and they have taken the money so we’re snookered; oh, but it is clean!

After finding the soap that had been cunningly disguised as the bottom of a beaker and tested the shower we venture out and meet Lou in the bar. We ask reception about walking to see the Mountain Goat who has managed to book a hotel infinitely superior at half the price across town and we’re told it’s 10 minutes away. I later discover that the answer to any question about distance from this lady is 10 minutes.

So we’ve been walking for 20 minutes and I ring the Mountain Goat and he asks where we are. I reply and he agrees to walk towards us as we’re on the same street. As our end of the street is somewhat sparsely populated with pubs or restaurants I ask him to keep an eye out for anywhere to eat and within a minute he’s back on the ‘phone.

“I found somewhere to eat”, says he. “It’s just a couple of doors away from my hotel”

“Brilliant”, says I, “Could you nip in and ask that they’re still serving?”

Two minutes later and the ‘phone rings again. “Yes, they’re still serving and there’s a bonus, they have a live act on, he’s singer guitarist called Jessie Hutchison”

“Err, could you tell me the name of the bar please?”, says I.

“It’s The Cellars Bar”, was the reply.

Well, I don’t know what the odds on that one are but we spend the rest of the night eating, drinking and listening to great music followed by a taxi back to our hotel. Excellent.

Then we get into bed…

The mattress has collapsed at one end and it’s 1130, the last thing either of us wants is to be kept up with someone bringing a new one, or even worse, having to move rooms. So we move the pillows to the other end and live with it. Certainly a memorable hotel.

This is a challenging part of the Cleveland Way due to the distance and the ups and downs associated with the inlets.

I believe the Mountain Goat slept well.

Enjoy the snaps…G..x


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This is life after an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm open repair. Don’t be afraid of the operation, it set me free. Please be encouraged and inspired to walk, it’s liberating.
You can read about it here: www.yorkshireramblings.com/short-stay-hospital/

G..x


Here’s the next article:

Cleveland Way – Scarborough to Filey

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