Thursday 14th July Littlebeck to Robin Hood’s Bay

The last day dawned bright and clear, amazingly. Looks like we are going to make it after all. Although, when we ask, we find that Trish had to give up when she got to this B&B. Must have been gutted. Can’t take finishing for granted.


Feeling a little mixed about the last day. Its great that we have got this far. A bit sad that its nearly over. Pleased and excited too.

Anyway, off we go… Back down into Littlebeck village, then on into Littlebeck Wood. “… a stunning 65 acres of woodland, filled with oak trees, deer, badgers, foxes and birdlife galore.” Actually, quite a pleasant, if muddy, tack through woods. Needless to say, any wildlife kept well away. There is a sort of cave thing, called The Hermitage.

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And a ‘beauty spot’ waterfall, Falling Foss, which has its own tearoom open later in the day. But it is soon traversed as we roll speedily onwards towards the finish line.

The last ‘problem area’ is Greystone Hills. Another scrubby boggy moor area, where the path disappears amongst many others. But today even that doesn’t catch us out, as we find the obscure posts, and hit the boardwalk over the worst of the bog. No one was there to appreciate how clever we were though.

In such a short time we are back on the road, and underneath the first sign for Robin Hoods Bay.


The trail diverts through Low Hawsker.

Things are beginning to look more coastal. There’s a caravan park. The sun is shining.

We stop for lunch in the caravan park café, the oddly named Woodland (??) Tearoom.

Two minutes later we are ON THE EAST COAST!!


Our cup runneth over when we rejoin The Cleveland Way for the final motor into our destination.

Oh The Cleveland Way, The Cleveland Way

Lets all hear it for The Cleveland Way!!!

The clifftop walk is beautiful in the fresh sunshine. Blue sky, blue sea. White cloud scudding along in the breeze. You can’t help but smile, as the last few miles undulate away underneath your boots.

Too fast, too fast, our destination is in sight. We sit for a while to try to make it last longer. We don’t want to stop.


We are so quickly finished with the cliff path, and walking through houses leading on to the main road down into the little town.

The long road down to the harbour is so very steep. Lovely old cottages and buildings crammed together so precipitously line the road. The place is packed with tourists, day trippers. No one seems to know what we have done. Not even when, oh there it is, the slipway, no not even when we go down and dip our boots into the North Sea.

Where is the Reception Committee? the bunting and congratulations? Someone should be here!


Well let’s go on down to the beach anyway.

It is only really there, down on the beach, that it starts to sink in.

We take off our boots for a paddle. I find a couple of pebbles from Fleswick Bay carried in my pack all the way. We are supposed to throw them in now. Just then a young couple, probably teenagers, turn up, and you can just tell that they have finished it too.

“You just finished?”

“Yeah, us too.”

I give the girl one of my pebbles, as she hasn’t got any. We plunge our feet into the sea together, throw in the pebbles and take photos for each other.

Now we have really finished.

It really is true. We walked across the North of England. Wow.

We really did it!!


Wednesday 13th July Grosmont to Littlebeck via Whitby

Our walk today is a short half day, and we are at a loose end. There really isn’t anything to detain us in Grosmont. There’s nothing in Littlebeck. And there’s no diversion en route. The weather isn’t good enough for sitting about either. We go down to the station for another look around, and find that its possible to get a train in 10 minutes, which will give us 2 hours in Whitby and arrive back leaving plenty of time for our short walk. Decision made.


We therefore desert the trail for a joyride to Whitby. In Whitby station (one working platform) the train schedule is designated as ‘Steam’ or ‘Diesel’. It really is an integrated service. The steam trains are huge, though, while the diesels are the more usual one or two carriage affairs.

In the town it is freezing, with a cold, cold wind blowing. Just like last time we were here, although that was the end of October. We do the tourist hotspots. The Abbey (more than one school trip is here today). The harbour. Into the town for lunch via the market square. You can see the Whalebone Arch up on the hill, as we cross over the river to explore the other half of the town. A quick circuit of the North Town, then back on the train to Grosmont. Not a bad diversion into civilisation.

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By the time we restart our walk, the weather has improved a little. We watch the trains pull out, then begin the quite hard 700’ ascent out of the village onto, you’ve guessed it, more moors. We climb onto Sleights Moor, pausing briefly at the Bride Stones.

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As we cross over into the next valley we can see Whitby Abbey in the distance. Odd to think we were there a few hours ago. The marvels of modern transport!!

Meanwhile, as we descend to Littlebeck, our feet carry us back into summer. The lane is sheltered and warm, and full of Meadowsweet and Honeysuckle.

The tiny little village, at the bottom of a steep sided valley, has a Woodcarvers Cottage, a Kelp House and a Methodist Chapel. There is a pretty bridge across the stream.

We carry on uphill to Intake Farm, our bed for the night. As contrasts go, this couldn’t be more of the opposite to last night than it is. We have a really warm welcome into the farmhouse kitchen, where the Australians are already installed. Tea and homemade cake is swiftly thrust upon us. Our room is warm, sunny and cosy. Looks like it was a child’s room.

We later have an evening meal all together. Ten guests squeezed around a huge table. Two of them are elderly Yorkshire folk of a type I would have thought no longer in existence. She with grey permed hair, twin set and pearls. He of the cap and jumper persuasion, although he couldn’t have been wearing his cap at the table. They were very proud of Yorkshire, and not at all intimidated by so many walkers. We all helped to clear away afterwards. The farmers, being religious, we had no alcohol and an early night. But after last night it was great.

Tuesday 12th July Blakey to Grosmont

The day dawns grey, and a cold wind whips across the moors. Its not exactly ‘wuthering’, but its not exactly July either.

We set off up the road, on the look out for Old Ralph, and Young Ralph crosses. The old feller proves elusive, Then we turn left towards ‘Fat Betty’

Fat Betty ( sometimes referred to as White Cross ) stands just north of, and is easily accessible from the road that leads
from Blakey Rigg to Rosedale Abbey, at the junction of the Danby, Westerdale and Rosedale parishes

The head of the cross is an ancient wheelhead painted white, set into a large stone base, also half of which is painted.
It could possibly be Norman and is only one of two known wheelheads on the North York Moors

It perhaps takes its name from a Cistercian nun, Sister Elizabeth from the Priory at Rosedale
These nuns wore gowns of undyed wool and were referred to as ' White Ladies'

Another tale is that a local farmer's wife, Fat Betty, fell from their horse and cart on a dark, foggy night.
When he arrived home and noticed she was missing from the back of the cart he retraced his route across the moor
and all he could find was the large, squat stone


Ooo… Its all a bit weird up here. As far as the Coast to Coast goes, it is customary to leave an item of food and take one that has already been left by someone else. But when we pass by, the cupboard is bare. (Later John and Trish report that when they passed a short time earlier, there were several sweets and some money there! Its one for Poirot evidently.) Whatevs. We leave a cereal bar.

Continuing on, we cross more moors… Glasidale High Moor (views to Great Fryupdale). More Moors. More grice.

We descend down a long tongue of moorland, eventually passing into the Glaisdale Valley.


Just at the point where the farmland starts, there are 2 birds of prey noisily circling and diving around each other. They are making too much noise to be hunting. The book says to look out for Merlins. Maybe that’s what they are.


Glaisdale Village is a rather eccentrically strung out place, separating into 2 roads. It’s a case of ‘you take the high road and I’ll take the low road.’ All roads join back at the Arncliffe Arms. Amazingly there is a café under the pub. We have been in so many pubs it makes a change to have a choice. We are already installed when John and Trish make the same decision.

Unfortunately the place is being run by one rather feckless individual who is making ‘slow’ into an art form. He hasn’t much of a clue about making food, and is sooo painstaking, doing one thing very slowly at once. Lucky we only ordered fruitcake and cheese, but even this modest request takes half an hour.

The conclusion is that he is the son of the pub owner, told to get downstairs and make good. Meanwhile the unwashed dishes mount up, and he has to keep going upstairs for things he has run out of... Like tea bags.


After lunch we walk along the river for a while, via Beggars Bridge, then up through a muddy wood, next dropping down a lane into Egton Bridge. We pass The Horse Shoes. It looks pretty enough with its flower filled window boxes. But it is quiet. Too quiet!!

We have plenty of time, so we make a stop at St Hedda’s church (Catholic), to see some wall friezes in the Catholic style. Then we continue along a toll road belonging to the Egton Estate.


Coming into Grosmont we again bump into John and Trish, who are looking rather forlorn at the prospect of continuing much further. They are last seen heading off towards Littlebeck.

In the village the level crossing gates are shut, so we stand and watch the train steam out on its way back to Pickering. Large, noisy and nostalgic. We came here some years back, on a rainy day, whilst staying in Kirkbymoorside. We spent some time going round the engine shed. In those days the line stopped here, but now it goes on to Whitby, which enjoys an integrated steam and diesel service.

Which brings us to Grosmont House, our stand-in B&B.

Something strange happened to me there. Inexplicable.

From the outside it looked like a rather run down Gothic pile. Inside we were welcomed by the owner, who took us on a tour around long dark corridors, and an amazing dark galleried dining room hung with flags. A dark visitor’s lounge packed with books stored higgledy piggledy on old wooden shelves… so reminiscent of, and even smelling like, Penlan before we moved in. A huge staircase with a similarly huge gothic stained glass window. Somewhere, the smell of lilies. Another long corridor, and our room. An odd combination of posh and dirty. There were crumbs on the slightly greasy Chinese rug, as though someone had been eating biscuits there. There was a new metal four-poster bed, on which the curtains looked dingy. In the (dark) bathroom there was a 1970’s mouldy plastic shower unit which had seen better days. Everywhere dark cold slightly damp.

I freaked out big-time. Seriously. Just wanted to get out ASAP. Couldn’t wait to get out for tea. Didn’t want to go back. Slept poorly and fitfully. Couldn’t eat breakfast the next day. Was never so glad as when we left.

I cannot explain how I felt in any adequate way. It reminded me of the house in ‘A Handful of Dust’, Hetton. The house that Tony Last tries so hard to save from decay. It reminded me of our own house, and the struggles to keep it up. And the Jones’s. Clearly the owners here were being overwhelmed by the decay around them. The smell of lilies reminded me of the undertakers’ lounge so recently visited.

All that.

But it doesn’t cover how I felt in that house. I felt trapped. Endangered. Like being in ‘The Shining’, a film I’ve never really seen but know by repute.

Even stranger THE BOOK gives it high praise. “A delightful place”. “The fresh lobster salad is said to be divine”. Trip Advisor also seems to have this schizophrenic dichotomy in its reviews. Half of them think its great, 5 stars. The others seem to have had my experience. I can only conclude that there are 2 wings. One where everything is fine, and the other which is never cleaned. Either that or there is some weird evil mansion which slips in and out of time a la Brigadoon.

I know which one I was in.

One for the XFiles.