Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 9: Scarborough to Filey

N.B. This is the last of 11 posts about my trip to Yorkshire England in 2010. Feel free to browse forward or backward using the navigation links.

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Today's path was re-routed due to crumbling cliffs. Apparently, there was a serious landslide last year. So we had a fair amount of street walking (along the road to Filey) until we got to the point where the road was closed due to the unsafe conditions. At that point, we followed the trail down a gulley along the road, and then up again onto the cliffs....

However, with all the road walking, we passed a number of bus stops. The temptation was very strong to wait for a bus or see if I could flag down a taxi.

A last look back at Scarborough Castle as we head off to Filey on the route proper:

We traveled along more pastures:

Today was also the first day where we were warned about dangers of walking along the cliffs:

Yes, they were sheer:

Amazingly steep:

We made it! We got to the trail end marker, then hiked an additional mile into the town of Filey for a grand total of 110 miles over 9 days. We somehow outpaced our luggage, so we went to a cafe and enjoyed some refreshments (no Crabbie's though).

We took the train from Filey to York together, and then I caught the intercity train back to Kings Cross, London. Next time, I want to make a reservation at Novotel St. Pancras. That looked really luxurious! I got a delicious hummus salad wrap for dinner, and vegged out with some Dr. Who, a program called "Scaling Britain" which was very cool (history + architecture + rock climbing!), and a game show or two (probably "Eggheads"). It was strange to be really alone after 10 days of camaraderie.

An early night, and an early morning for the trip to Heathrow and back to JFK. Bought a copy of The Girl Who Played with Fire at the airport, and declared it on my customs form, but it went all too quickly and did not in fact make it off the plane.... And I was not treated to a boot cleaning this year. Oh well, you can't have everything.

N.B. This is the last of 11 posts about my trip to Yorkshire England in 2010.
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 8: Robin Hoods Bay to Scarborough

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Today was probably the toughest day for me. My muscles were aching from the somewhat unexpected ascents and descents on yesterday's long day of cliff walking; today was equally long and the elevation changes continued. I became a zombie, almost indifferent to the unfolding landscape. (But without the eating brains part.)

Still, it was all pretty spectacular for the first part of the day:

We stopped for lunch...

We encountered more and more people walking the trail (day trippers!), and eventually descended into the northern suburbs of Scarborough. We stopped for drinks at the first pub we saw, thinking we could see the end in sight.

It turned out, however, that we were about 3 miles away from our final destination. It took us a while to figure that out, but we had a nice walk along the water. As we began climbing up again, we saw Scarborough Castle:

After descending again into the heart of Scarborough, it turned out to be a tourist-heavy boardwalk town complete with beachgoers and sand sculptures. My favorite was the Sand Dalek:

We saw Coney Island en route:

A lift took us up again to the top of the town and walked around to the furthest bay where our hotel was.

We stumbled upon a bar which had recently re-opened its kitchen and was offering a one-day promotion: a full turkey or vegetarian dinner, with Yorkshire pudding, for £ 2.00. Yes, we couldn't believe it either. But there was no catch. It was delicious as well as economical, and we dined on the terrace overlooking the sea.

To be honest, much of Scarborough felt depressingly industrial - so far removed from the natural beauty of the rest of the walk, including the towns and villages we'd stayed at or passed through - and this made the 3 miles through town seem much longer than it was. But the neighborhood we stayed in was refreshingly "old school" with gracious Victorian homes and lovely views. The neighborhood had seen better days, perhaps, but the buildings are well-built and hold promise for restoration when people are ready to breathe new life into them.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 7 (pm): Whitby to Robins Hood Bay

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After lunch, we crossed town and climbed up to St. Mary's Church to continue the walk.

According to Sacred Destinations,
From 1890 to 1896, Whitby was the home of Bram Stoker, who set an important scene in Dracula (1897) at the church:

For a moment or two I could see nothing, as the shadow of a cloud obscured St. Mary's Church. Then as the cloud passed I could see the ruins of the Abbey coming into view; and as the edge of a narrow band of light as sharp as a sword-cut moved along, the church and churchyard became gradually visible... It seemed to me as though something dark stood behind the seat where the white figure shone, and bent over it. What it was, whether man or beast, I could not tell.
Although we didn't see any vampires, I noticed that the graves have a good sea view:

I liked the see-through ruins of Whitby Abbey:

Coastline and clouds:

Coastline in bright sunshine:

Sarah and Bill forge ahead, eyes on the prize:

We hit the jackpot in Robins Hood Bay: a store window replete with Crabbie's Ginger Beer!

View down a narrow street:

I got a "single en suite room" at Raven House, which basically consisted of a toilet and shower next to the bed, with a partition to block the toilet from the view of persons who might happen to look in the window as they walked by. But it had a nice view of the bay.

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Day 7 (am): Runswick Bay to Whitby

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Today was the 9th anniversary. How time flies. Unfortunately, the news was dominated with foolish discussions. So it was especially good to be walking today.

We followed the trail through the town of Runswick Bay, down to the beach.

Bob and Poppy joined us, which was lovely.

The first of many looks back to the town of Runswick Bay:

A boat is stored just above the high tide line:

We did not see the much-lauded fossils, but there were some caves to look at:

The skies begin to clear:

We crossed a long stretch of beach with little in the way of encouragement from the Cleveland Way trail markers:

In other words, picking up the trail from the beach required some faith as we kept walking with no clear guidance:

But as we passed a small rock outcropping, we were rewarded with this glorious ascent across a gully stream:

A look back down the slope:

Bill traipsed on ahead once we got to the top:

Another look back:

Sarah and Bob took their time, talking of academia and Ph.D.'s.

I couldn't stop looking back and taking pictures of Runswick Bay as it receded from our path...

The ever-changing shoreline:

And the ever-changing sky:

We stopped briefly at the end of Sand's End for our elevenses, only to stop an hour later for lunch in Whitby.

Whitby seemed to cover a large geographic area. For example, at this point, as I recall, we were well within the town's outskirts, although far from the town centre:

It was a fine day for sailing:

A glimpse of Whitby Abbey on the headland overlooking the town centre:

Finally arrived in the heart of downtown Whitby:

We stopped for fish & chips (or in my and Sarah's case, just chips). Let's just say, based on my experience, that may not be the mid-day fuel of choice for a full day's walk.

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