In June my walking buddy and I walked 80 miles of the Cleveland Way, from Helmsley to Whitby, the long way round! So far I’ve shared photos up as far as where the walk meets the sea at the top of the east coast of Yorkshire. Up to this point we had mainly been walking along escarpments on the North York Moors, now we were heading south along the coastal path, calling in at all the pretty little villages and towns along the way. The path reaches the coast at the busy village of Saltburn by the Sea.
It has an old pier as you can see, but the building at the head of the pier is the water powered cliff lift, one of the oldest funiculars in the world. I didn’t know either but a funicular uses cable traction for movement up a steep incline.
Erosion is a huge problem on this coast you can see old landslips on the photo above. The cliffs are mainly clay and unstable rocks, so the coastline is slowly retreating inwards, houses do occasionally go over the edge – in 1993 a hotel fell over the edge! The coastal path has a route change every so often, we certainly saw some pretty big cracks as we walked along.
We stayed the night in the village of Skinningrove which worked well with our distances, the next day we had a pleasant 8 mile walk to our next hotel.
The next village down was Staithes, a very pretty fishing village which has managed to reinvent itself as an arts and heritage centre. It’s built on a steep ravine and the cottages cling to the sides.
In between each village we had a climb back up to the cliff tops and several ravines to descend and ascend! We aim for about 10 to 12 miles a day, but with all the ups and downs we were glad of a couple of shorter days. We were pretty near the cliff edge in places which did cause me a few anxious moments!
Our next stop was at Runswick Bay, a lovely spot where our OH’s joined us for the night. It was lovely to see them again after a weeks walking, but we did have ulterior motives as well! The hotel was a bit more cost wise than we like to pay, so it made it a bit more special when they could come and join us, it also helped us with transport at the end and taking our luggage for us for the last days walking!!! We use a carry on service for our walks now, we book our hotels, give our itinerary to the company and they will pick up our suitcases each day and take them on to the next one, so we just have a day rucksack to carry. It’s not expensive and it makes a huge difference to the walk.
Every day of this walk seemed to start with a steep climb up, either onto the escarpment or up the cliff. The paths were well maintained with steps up and occasionally handrails, but our knees complained! We climbed lots of these…
…and lots of these too…
Sometimes the guide books told you how many steps, it doesn’t necessarily help to know there are 169 steps to go!
From Runswick Bay it was just over a five mile walk to Sandsend to meet our OH’s for lunch. We sat and ate a pizza overlooking these cottages on the other side of the inlet.
Sandsend to Whitby is only three miles, we had a choice of walking on the road or along the beach. Walking a distance on sand isn’t particularly easy, but it sure beats walking on tarmac! The tide was out so we headed along the beach to Whitby. This photo is looking back towards Sandsend.
Whitby is a lovely old fishing town, I have lots of happy memories of holidays up there with my children when they were little, it has great rockpools to explore, fossils to hunt for and a lovely historic town centre. We finished our walk down by the harbour, having glanced across towards the abbey to the 199 steps up to the church which would be our first challenge when we returned to finish the Cleveland Way.
Having reached Whitby we had walked 80 miles of the Cleveland Way in 9 days, we just had 30 miles to go to Filey to finish the walk. We needed a bit of a rest first though!