Well how did that post escape me? Saltburn to Filey

Well what I meant to say was … Saltburn is a sweet little town with a busy bandstand and a pod of dolphins cavorting for our entertainment, though it was a faintly depressing walk in through a dismal housing estate and past a group of yellow vested young offenders making amends tidying and digging. It all had a Tony Hancock Sunday afternoon feeling.  But maybe that was just us. We’d had a long haul in from somewhere delightful on the moors through a forest whose footpaths didn’t resemble any of our assorted guidebooks. It was down to the Forestry Commission doing their thing and churning it all up. It was pretty much “Here be dragons’ , but we made it through with only minor cuts and abrasions.

We ate pie and cherry tomatoes and some strawberries and went to bed, if not to sleep. Next morning we set off in fine weather and saw some intriguing sculpture.IMG_0298IMG_0299















The weather was set fair and the moment arrived which happens every year when I look to  send stuff home. Such was my head before the walk – brain scramble might describe it – I brought far too much kit. So I bagged it up and, thanks to Around Me, found a post office in Skinningrove – it was Monday morning and they were super friendly and helpful. They gave me a bin bag, labelled it and sent my extra (and dirty) kit home. The women behind the counter were friendly and concerned and advised us to ‘Hug the fence girls’ as we were approaching Boulby Clifftop the highest point of the East Coast of England.

After that Staithes: very pretty, steep, and postcardy. I saw a Salty Dog but not Bernard Cribbens. IMG_0313IMG_0307















Runswick – a very welcome pot of tea and cake. And onto Sandsend and a very smart hotel. Before then though, an adventure.

Remember Jim. He grew up round here and knew the area well and had told us excitedly of a number of disused railway tunnels he was planning to investigate and do some recording. We hadn’t seen him for a while but came upon him just as he had discovered one of them. Down an embankment, through more rough stuff and plentiful cowpats. We followed him just for a look. The most appealing aspect of this tunnel, for him, was that it curved in the middle and just for a few moments it was impossible to see the light from either end.

Don’t ask me why but we climbed in after him. As we followed Helen said to me, “Do you realise Verity we are going in to a dark disused tunnel with a man who carries an axe?”

But there was no backing out now. We advanced feeling our eyes open wider and wider to accommodate the darkness. We had a headtorch and he stormed on ahead with his torch which showed up piles of rubble and bricks and human detritus. We carried our poles, our best hope in a fight. Not that we distrusted him, he was a decent guy we were fairly sure. But it became clear that other people had been there too. What would we find?

Actually it was just a long dark tunnel. We reached that black midpoint and it was scary, but worse still was the realisation when we reached the other end and realised there was no way we could climb the embankment to reach the footpath. Back through the tunnel was the only way. And Jim has disappeared up a side tunnel recording dropping water  and echoes, we saw his torch flickering, shouted our farewells and quickmarched and climbed out onto the welcoming cowpats. Helen made it through first and just as I began my scramble over the fallen brick and wire I thought of all those films when the last survivor of a zombi infestation is grabbed from behind, and falls back into their greedy clutches. Helen imagined addicts and lonely death in a dark tunnel.

I dreaded zombies.




Walking/resting update

We’ve had two tip top days of walking. Dry weather and two excellent hosts. Robin in Clay Bank/ Chop Gate and Ian from Sunderland who runs a superb B and B in Kildale. The building The Old Rectory is like something from old school Joanna Trollope, warm stone and paintings and indeed an Aga. Both places had quiet rooms and crisp linen and a Quality Breakfast. I have to saying that our milk was in a flask but it was like something I’d buy, not rescue from Granny’s attic. Or find for 50p at a boot fair.  

 A Quality Breakfast has juice, fruit, yoghurt, granola maybe and other cereals. Then all that fried stuff which I eat then regret when I go up the first hill. And nice bread and butter please. This is my holiday after all. 

We don’t really do lunch, so a decent breakfast is crucial to see us through to dinner. Yesterday evening Ian took us to a pub in the next village which was ok . Fish cakes and salad. Tonight we had a picnic in our room from Sainsburys which I enjoyed more. Sometimes like today  I feel too tired to sit up straight at a table so noshing down salad and pie and pistachios on my bed  is all I can manage. 

Some ideal walking   

  Helen scrambling over the Wainstones  
 I never thought I’d love the moors but I do. We’ve been blessed with dry weather and can walk enjoying the heather and birdsong, with an appreciation of those volunteers who laid a path for us over the boggy terrain. We’ve met very few people -again-  some Coast to Coasters, who admire us  carrying  our own packs, but otherwise only one companion we meet every day a young man I’ll call Jim. Because he’s wild camping while making films and soundscapes. He’s an independent, cheerful and fascinating character and last time we saw him he was sitting on a bench with a rapt audience of old ladies. 

Tonight we are in Saltburn which is very pleasant and we’ve seen a pod of dolphins off the pier. It’s warm and windy and we’re halfway there. It’s a wrench leaving the splendid isolation off the moors but we have some headlands and seaside to come. 

The contrast between carrying your pack ‘out there’ and in the town feels huge. We are grubby and windswept and we are mixing with people dressed up and out for lunch at a carvery. They don’t mind. Everyone without exception  has been pleasant so far. But feeling dirty in a clean place is eye opening. 

So far so good. One small blister. A lot of yawning. Tomorrow is a longer walk still. 17 miles. Down the coast to Sandsend. Down – should be easy. Yes? 

Tips for B and B owners

We are middle aged women and homeowners- we will take our boots off. I’m not going to stride into your hall with them on. In fact I probably want them off more than you do. 
Welcome me with tea and preferably homemade cake. High maintenance, moi? Not really, just saying. A Hobnob will do. This sets the tone. If this doesn’t happen it often becomes clear that this is a financial transaction rather than an exercise in hospitality.  
Tea making facilities in the room are ideal but you don’t need to leave a dessicated cookie shrink wrapped in cling film. I’m not going to eat it, in fact I don’t have the energy to do the unwrapping. Neither does a dribble of milk in a 1970s flask augur well. 

Explaining the vagaries of the hot water system is kind but actually I just want a shower and a lie down. Or the other way round, depending on which of us (H or me) gets first dibs. 
Some kind of cleansing product is useful. Youth hostels provide a hand wash dispenser which I’ve showered with – it was ok. I could reach it from within the shower. You – should you have wanted to, bizarre thought – could have sat on the loo and enjoyed my shower as well, so bijou was the arrangement. 
If you provide a hair dryer, think about a mirror within reach of the cable. I dried my hair craning to see my head and then didn’t bother. Told Helen and asked if it was ok, mmm maybe a bit fluffy came the reply. Walkers hair. Sticky with sweat. Flattened by rain. Blown every which way by howling wind. Washed in generic cleanser, Delightful and hard to rectify. 

Laminated notices deserve a post of the own but to be fair none of our stops have gone overboard, yet.
The place we are today is lovely and comfortable and very welcoming. We rang Robin our host from the top of the Wainstones- a little scramble with a full pack- and he said he’d come to pick us up in a red pickup truck with an exuberant sheep dog. And he did. And fed us tea and cake. And provided very decenthair products in the bath room. And is providing a Quality Breakfast in an hour or so’s time – I believe him. And is taking us back to Clay Bank for our onward walk today. And all for £60. Jolly good value. 
It’s sunny outside already. I feel the pull of those hills. I’d like my breakfast now really so I can leave; but I also feel the pull of my tired legs so maybe it’s best I stay lying down for a bit longer. 

A most excellent walk

Lovely walking in glorious country side.  

 And rather marvellous weather. I’ve packed too many of the wrong clothes but it doesn’t really matter and thats what I love. Everyone looks hot and sweaty and a little crazed with tiredness and exhilaration.we all talk about other walks we’ve done and pick up tips on the next projected trip. Swapping info on good accommodation, helpful hosts and where to get a fine cup of tea.

 Rivelaux Abbey with this inscribed on the window:

Everywhere peace, everywhere serenity and a marvellous freedom from the tumult. Alered of Rievaulx.

But not for these poor creatures who graced our B and B a few nights ago. It was what Helen calls a chintz palace – with a lot of taxidermy thrown in. Unnerving.  

The badger was outside our bedroom door. The fox was across the hall. The poor deer watched us eat our breakfast, alongside a little owl and a tawny owl. So many questions. WHY? ? Who? And dear to my heart, how do you clean them? 

Last night we slept here 

And tonight we are here.  

Random thoughts and photos to give you a taste of what we’re enjoying. 

Found wifi will blog

Meeting people Not my best thing. I’m reserved by nature and live off the beaten track which doesn’t incline me to sociability. So actually coming away, taking public transport and staying in a youth hostel means I interact with many more people than usual. It’s my annual dip into the wider world. And you know I like it. I like them.

I’ll never be a chatterbox but I can make the first move and be friendly. I can be be curious. I can ask for help. I do not have to be shy or self conscious.

These things I learned on the Camino. Most people are lovely and only too willing to offer help and advice or direction. There are some who can’t be bothered (but they are easily to spot and usually God/ the universe guides you to someone more appropriate). And there are some crazies. They want to take you by the hand and walk you to the hostel and stay to dinner, or grab the timetable and turn to an entirely different and wrong page poring over some irrelevant route or reading it slowly and spelling out my options as they see them. Helen and I have been known smile thank you and walk in the opposite direction to their pointing finger. My experience with the crazies which makes me cautious but it shouldn’t paralyse me. Otherwise I don’t benefit from their knowledge and wisdom. I won’t enjoy their humour or our shared humanity. I remain isolated and stuck. 

So far I’ve had conversations with a elderly couple who were about to go up The Shard as a surprise birthday treat. Rather them than me. She didn’t have a good head for heights 😁.

A pair of Canadian sisters who are walking the CW too , remarkably perky and interesting for people who had just arrived and were jet lagged. 

And a jolly lady who with her husband is taking her three grandsons away for a week – they do it every year. These kids were aged 8-13 and they were boisterous but loving it. They sat and ate their lasagne up chatting all the while (maybe an occasional sideways punch but nothing disruptive). This woman had run a scout troop and had a lovely easy way with them. I salute her. I’ve got a lot to learn in the art of managing boys. 
Helmsley to Sutton Bank today. It’s overcast but not raining. A good day to start. 


Day 1 Had supper at the YHA – a very commendable vegetable lasagna and hefty sticky toffee pudding. Pretty rib sticking and barely a mile walked so far.  

 Helmsley is a delightful little town with an abundance of tea rooms. You could stay a week and not visit the same one twice. And maybe when I’m in my dotage I’ll come in my bath chair and be wheeled from scone to scone. For now though I’m thinking of the walk to come tomorrow and hoping my kit is sufficiently waterproof.

This is a nice youth hostel, friendly and clean and busy with a few families and while I d prefer it without the thumping and creaking about in the room above my head it’s for one night… And it is only 20.25. Good night. 

Yorkshire Day

This morning’s Thought for the Day informed me that today, August 1st, is Yorkshire Day. Famous for tea, cricket, plain speaking and grit, this county is where I am heading tomorrow with my trusty walking friend, Helen. We are walking the Cleveland Way, which is shaped like a bass clef, starting in Helmsley and then crossing hill, moor and dale till we reach the coast at Saltburn by the sea. From there we keep the sea on our left and keep walking to Filey. Taking several days to do it. This walk was inspired by someone I follow on Instagram -@bexbromwich – who did it early this year and posted glorious and atmospheric pictures. I’ll hold her responsible if it doesn’t deliver. But my experience of Yorkshire folk is that they do deliver, in spades, and so doubtless will the county that spawned them. I’m looking forward to all of it, the tea most of all as H has bought a stove,  even the grit and plain speaking. (You can keep the cricket.)