Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day Fifteen: Littlebeck to (sniff) Robin Hood's Bay

Littlebeck to Robin Hood's Bay: 18.5 km

We had our usual porridge breakfast at seven thirty, watching the rain pour down outside. In addition to being a B&B, Intake Farm provides camping spots for tenters, and there was a Dutch couple on the first day of their hike out tenting in the rain. We were very glad to be cozy and dry inside.
Packing up in our room
Intake Farm house
We put all of our rain gear on right away and after saying goodbye to our friendly farmer hostess, headed out into the beautiful leafy green forest. It was absolutely pouring and the woods were squelchy wet because of all the rain on the leaf-covered ground. Water ran in streams down the paths and we had barely started before we were quite damp.
Wet again
We stopped at a beautiful cave hermitage. The date carved into the rock on the side of the small cave was 1790. In other words, it had been there a while! It was almost perfectly round inside and had a bench all the way around carved into the perimeter. On top of the cave were two seats carved out of big rocks. We spent a little while in the hermitage, enjoying the dry peacefulness of the hermit dwelling in the thick forest.
The view out the hermitage door
Sitting out of the rain

Past the cave, we came to a set of lovely waterfalls called Falling Force. We thought that was kind of funny because we aren't aware of any other kind of waterfalls except the falling kind. So perhaps not the best way to destinguish this particular set of falls from any other. The English term for waterfalls is "Force" or "Foss." Thus, Falling Force (as opposed to Rising Force?). At the waterfall there was a house and the directions in our guidebook were not very clear at this point . We wandered around a bit in the mud before setting upon a track that seemed quite illogically in the wrong direction but nonetheless matched our guidebook.
The forest through which we traveled
We padded along in the endless mud and rain through the forest and then headed out onto our last North York Moor, which was just as soggy...if not worse. You know the part in Lord of the Rings when Frodo and Sam wander through the bogs where there's dead people under the was a little like that. There were paths crossing all different directions, some people trails and other sheep trails, and we tracked our direction from post-marker to post-marker with the help of our compass. The fog was pretty thick again, so the compass came in handy. There was one section of bog that was so deep that as I stepped through it, I sank through up to almost my knees. Brent was walking a bit faster and was wearing his gaiters as well as his rain pants and so he didn't get too much wetter than he already was, whereas I had water gushing into my boots. Interestingly, the peat bogs turns the water a dark red colour, and my boots and socks are now permanently stained red.
North York Moors as they were
We weren't lost, right?
Following the marking posts
Sopping wet

We stopped in the town of Hawsker at a pub for lunch. We could have pressed on to Robin Hood's Bay before we stopped but we had lots of time and were hoping the rain would let up while we were eating. I had a ploughman's lunch--which I had seen on the menu all through the trip and at last got to try. It turned out to be a hot bagette, 3 large chunks of different kinds of local cheese, salad, a small bowl of English pickles (looks like brown relish), butter and a pickled onion. Not quite what I expected but I had to try it once. I really liked the cheeses. Brent had a ham sandwich, to which he added my English pickles (I wasn't a big fan of them). I also had a pot of hot tea and Brent had hot chocolate.
2 1/2 more miles

Anyone for a sheep shower?
It did not stop raining during lunch and we put our wet clothes back on and trudged on in the wind and rain. We reach the coastline shortly thereafter and rounded the coastline along the edge of a steep set of cliffs. We waved hello to Denmark across the sea.
The North Sea
Robin Hood's Bay in the distance
Once in the Bay town, we wandered down the street, past of B&B, looking at all the shops along the way.
Tall narrow houses
We got to the sea front and were surprised by how fearful we were of the crashing waves. Landlubbers we are indeed!
The shoreline
We threw into the ocean the rocks that we had carried across from the Irish sea and took our picture at "the End" sign by the Wainwright bar (named after Alfred Wainwright, who created the hike in the fifties).

Our B&B was a Victorian lodging house that the owner has kept very Victorian looking. The light fixtures, the furniture, everything was done up Victorian. The bed there was wonderful; long enough for Brent and with soft sheets and plump pillows.
The Villa B&B
We were the only people staying there that night, and the place was very quiet, and it felt quite lonely being the only people finishing the hike on that day; with all of our new-made friends either finished earlier or yet to come. Nevertheless, we toasted our completion with pints in the local pub that night.

And that was the end of our fifteen day trip across the island that is England. It was worth every blister, every penny and every sunburn.


Anonymous said...

hello kirstin, I'm italian, and I'm planning to travel the coast2coast trail from st.bees to robin hood's bay next summer. I would like to bring with me my daughter aged 13, do you think is it too tough for her? thanks a lot for any other suggestion, your blog of the trail is really great!
all my best, giuseppe

Anonymous said...

How can I get in touch with Kirstin or Brent? I am from Ontario and planning to do the C2C this summer. Would like to chat if possible.

Kirstin said...

Sure, Sandy, we'd love to chat. If you'll post your email address in a comment, we'll email you and then delete the comment so your email address isn't visible anymore.