So Peeps we’re on the last day. Bittersweet because we’re delighted to be finished at the same time as being sad to be finished.
We’re up and out in the sunshine by 0700. The morning is clear and sea like a millpond out on North Bay. We’re taking a car to the end of the Cleveland Way at Filey. It’s 10 minutes according to the receptionist, but then, so is everything else! It takes about 35 minutes to get to the monument at the end of the walk but that includes a little bit of driving about and trying to get advice from a man who turned out to be somewhat intellectually challenged and responded to the question,
“Excuse me, could you tell me where the end of the Cleveland Way is please?”, by a most defensive, “It wasn’t me, I didn’t lose it, you’ll have to find it!”…
We’re back at the hotel now and ready for food. In the breakfast room it’s like an old folks home, there’s more blue rinse than you can shake a stick at but the food looks adequate and plentiful. On asking about the menu we’re told that we have to have our cereal first then we’ll be asked for our selection and it will be cooked to order; so we follow the instructions and true to form, the waiter arrives.
He takes our respective orders with a flourish and disappears through a door to have them cooked ‘fresh to order’, he’s out for less than a nanosecond and reappears with said ‘cooked to order’ breakfasts as if he’s been subject to magical revolving doors that prepare, cook and present food. He pauses on his re-entry and straightens his clothes then flicks his hair which has become somewhat dishevelled due to the rapid change of direction associated with his boomerang back into the room.
We finish our food and prepare our bodies for the final push. No holding back on suncream, socks with no rucks or creases, laces tied just right, hats to cover our heads (some in more need than others) and sunglasses or transitions at full strength. We’re ready and now we’re off.
The walk to the Spa is via the Esplanade and it takes about 40 minutes. The Mountain Goat is looking chipper and demonstrates it by complaining about having to wait for an hour; he’s clearly forgotten that we’d knocked the start time back by an hour to enable friends and other folks that have supported us to get here in comfort. The fact that he’s complaining is a good sign anyway so we’re happy.
Within a few minutes, we’re all assembled and make our way along the seafront to the first ascent. It’s a good turn out with new faces so there’s lots of talk although it does subside a little as we make each ascent.
The track follows the coastline so there is a fair amount of zigging and zagging, it’s also very much up and down which is a bit of surprise as one of our knowledgeable locals had assured us that after the first ascent it was fairly flat, I can assure you dear reader (and Rob), it isn’t!
There are a lot of trees and they’re welcome. They shade us and walking in dappled shade is a delight to all the senses; the eyes, you don’t find yourself squinting; ears, the birds are a delight with their cheerful song; and nose, the smell of the plants and earth is constantly changing.
Back out of the trees we pass the appropriately named ‘Perilous Rocks’ and I can imagine the number of boats lured to them for the cargo and pickings if the ship could be ‘accidentally’ wrecked.
We stop for food above Cayton Sands and watch as a group of school kids are given some kind of project and then let loose to work on it. What a day to be doing a school project and what a place, they won’t know how lucky they are, but then, I didn’t when Miss Wise took us on our nature walks when we were at the Applegarth – but I do now! I remember her enthusiasm for out wonderful surrounds. She’d ask us a question about the flowers and would always give us every opportunity to reply and if there were no responses she’d ask us a supplementary question that either contained the answer or at least, pointed to the answer. No-one was ever allowed to be ridiculed for a wrong reply and if we wanted to tell her about what we did when we played over Castle Hills, she would listen and prompt us to say more. I’ve mentioned her before and would love to be able to tell her how much she influenced our growing up then our lives through adulthood and beyond including the effect on own children. She taught us respect for all things regardless of size or status. God Bless you, Miss Wise, you were a great teacher.
We’re in serious reminisce mode now and talking of pocket money when we were kids. Half a crown was the best coin ever. It was big for a start but more importantly, it had a buying power that was astonishing by today’s standards. Using this coin we could go to the cinema for 9d, buy some crisps including blue bag of salt for 4d, buy a drink for 6d…then Lou interjects and says, “And still have enough change for the deposit for a house”. It did have considerable buying power though and we loved it, especially when we started smoking.
The Mountain Goat is holding up well and is well ahead of the main body of us, we’re steady away in the sunshine and enjoying the walk. There’s Blue Dolphin caravan park to our right and I remember the name from when big sister Mary had her caravan at Primrose Valley many years ago. We stayed there once when the kids were only tiny and had a great time. I’m not sure about the year but the music at the time was Papa Don’t Preach and Take My Breath Away.
To our left is Gristhorpe Sands with two people on them then more cliffs and views. We’re now almost immune to the beautiful coast and start looking for anything that may be about of the ordinary when we bump into Chris and Dave who’ve come from Filey to meet us, it’s good to see them and they walk the last few miles back to Filey Brigg.
Many people do the Cleveland Way in bits and that’s really laudable and to be encouraged but doing it on consecutive days is rather more interesting and does require a degree of stamina that’s quite significant. It generates a special bond between the people that complete the whole thing in one and there’s a real feeling of accomplishment.
The walk-in takes some time but as we approach the first and last signpost with the words “Cleveland Way, Helmsley 109 miles” carved into it I notice that everyone has slowed down, it’s almost imperceptible but I realise that the intention is to let Lou through to the front. It’s her show and right that she takes the accolade of first across the line and the effect of the mass ‘slow down’ has that effect and she reaches the sign slightly ahead of us. All of this is done without comment or other communications and I think it’s a fitting tribute to her for initiating this project and inviting us to join her. Thanks so much, Lou this has been a great and slightly challenging adventure.
Louise Graydon, Cecilia Kennedy and Peter Hymer take a bow. 109 miles in 9 days over some challenging terrain is a great feat and nobody is under 60.
There are countless thanks necessary not least George Preston for supporting us in the middle section by being there at points when it may have been necessary to bale out and ensuring there were coffee and biscuits to replenish blood sugars and maintain hydration, George Renwick for all the liaison and ensuring that we knew who was doing which section and Dave and Chris Bowman for attending the end with a boot full of hydration even though it wasn’t used. It really is appreciated,
From a personal angle, I loved the sun, the rain, the history, the art, the poems, some of the hard slogs, the easy slogs, the time to think, the thoughts I thought, the characters we met…but most of all I really loved the company, thanks so much xxx
For the last time on this walk: 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: https://www.yorkshireramblings.com/short-stay-hospital/