Monday, 27 August 2012

Day 14: Littlebeck to Robin Hoods Bay

The last day.  I'd been walking every day for two weeks.  So far I'd got two blisters (one on each little toe) and after about the first five miles each day my left knee ached and my left ankle was giving me jip!  But I was really excited about finishing my 200 mile odyssey today.  We started where I had finished yesterday, outside the Methodist Chapel in Littlebeck.  I was joined by my Mum, who attends a walking group in Cotgrave, and our friend Charlotte.  The weather was a mix of cloud and sunny spells, and some light showers were forecast in the afternoon (they never came).

Starting the day at Littlebeck with Mum and Charlotte
The path through Littlebeck woods was muddier than I had anticipated but Mum  and Charlotte soldiered on through, and insisted it was fine (however, the mud was nothing compared to the bogs and soggy peat hags on the way from Nine Standards to Ravenseat).  We eventually came across the Hermitage, a picture of which is below. says that "It is in fact a folly and was carved out of the rock about 1760 by an out of work seaman on the instructions of the local schoolmaster. 2 wishing chairs were placed on the top of the Hermitage, it is said that if you made a wish in one, you must then sit in the other one to make it come true."

The Hermitage
We got to the Falling Foss waterfall and Midge Hall tearooms shortly afterwards, but we were so early that the tearoom was not open yet.  We decided to press on after a brief stop to admire the falls and the beck.  Just beyond the tearooms we crossed the river on stepping stones and carried on through the forest to the car park at the end of the forest.

Falling Foss Waterfall at Littlebeck
After leaving the beautiful woods near Littlebeck, we started to cross the moors on our way to Hawsker and the coast.  The sun was shining and the going was good, but soon the moorland became boggier and boggier.  There were patches of moorland where the three of us had to negotiate some fairly deep bogs which on occasion rivalled those found on the moorland near Ravenseat in the Yorkshire Dales.  I was surprised at how boggy this part of the walk was as the guide book did not mention it as an issue here, and we had only had one bout of rain the the last fortnight.  We all got wet feet and trousers but continued on our journey.

After one last session of back tracking, jumping and tiptoeing over some very wet ground, we found the track which would lead us up to Low and High Hawsker.  The road walking was both a refreshing change but also hard on the feet, and I was glad when we reached the tearooms at the caravan site where we all stopped for tea and a butty.

Feeling suitably refueled and refreshed, we wound our way through the static caravans and found the path along the cliffs which would take up to Robin Hoods Bay.  I experienced a mixture of feelings as we enjoyed the sea views.  I was excited and keen to see my family, having been away from them for two weeks, and I was also feeling wistful as for all of the trials and tribulations endured along the way, I had enjoyed the walk immensely and would miss getting up every day and walking an average of 14 miles!

Looking North from Bay Ness, north of Robin Hoods Bay
The walk along the cliffs lasted ages and the landscape conspired to keep the sight of Robin Hoods Bay from me right until the last minute.  When I first saw the picturesque jumble of houses and seaside cottages peeking around the headland I was ecstatic!  I instantly sped up, my pace increasing with my excitement as I marched past the first houses by the footpath.  The track became a path and the path became a road, and I had to watch my step going down that steep hill in case my over-excitement resulted in an accident!

My first view of Robin Hoods Bay
I finally made it down to the bay to be met by family and friends who had all come up to spend a day or two with us to celebrate my achievement.  It was an emotional moment as I saw my boy and my wife for the first time in two weeks, knowing what I had achieved and knowing how much money we had raised. 

Dipping my boots in the North Sea
After photos and hellos, Helen, Lachlan and I walked down to the sea on our own, and tossed our pebbles into the North Sea.  I had bought five pebbles with me in my rucksack, all the way from St Bees beach.  One for me, one for Helen, one for Lachlan, and one for each of the babies we lost.

I signed the book in the Bay Hotel, got my certificate, and was enjoying a pint when Helen went outside onto the balcony with Lachlan and called me outside.  A rainbow had appeared over the sea, just opposite the bay.  
A rainbow over Robin Hoods Bay
The ukulele song that night, and fitting end to this adventure was 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'. 

1 comment:

  1. The rainbow pic looks amazing! My mum and sister did the walk a few years ago and loved it. I would've liked to go, but unfortunately couldn't at the time. I did write an article about it - giving advice from what they'd told me: