1 Jan 2013

New Year's Day walk from Robin Hood's Bay

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2013. Noelle and Tim wanted a walk avoiding the mud and set off in the sunshine with blue sky to Robin Hood's Bay for a walk along the beach to Ravenscar. The hope had been to climb the steep path up to the hotel at the top and return along the cliff top. As it turned out the main path had been washed out in the rain and the narrow alternative was thought to be potentially unsafe by a local woman we met on the beach. The walk started in the carpark at RHB and we were soon descending the steep Bay Bank, through the village and down to the sea. We met the fishman who delivers weekly to Middleton who advised crab sandwich to be unwise - they are too chilly to feed so the flesh is not good to taste until about April. Deflected from our first intention we forgot to find anything in the many shops until we arrived in the square at the bottom. Fish and Chips it just had to be. I remembered my childhood holidays in a tiny tall cottage half way up the Bank with sounds of horses hooves echoing around the narrow streets on their way to the beach and the ginger beer from the grocers opposite. All shops seemed to be owned by Browns and there was a man by the pub who seemed to make a living from cleaning sea-urchins and selling them to tourists. The village is very pretty but I have yet to capture it well. We joined quite a few dog walkers and families enjoying the sun and brisk wind, heads down peering into rock pools, searching for fossils or grandfathers carrying small well-wrapped bundles. Plenty of dogs for Millie to enjoy and large flocks of unidentified white birds flying over the breaking waves at the very low tide. A good day to look for jet perhaps? We wandered along the beach for about an hour and then slithered over greasy rocks at the foot of the cliff while above was the Ravenscar hotel. An enthusiast imagined Ravenscar would be the new tourist destination and built a substantial hotel on the cliff top, the only part of the grandiose scheme to be built. Perhaps visitors would be put off by the path down the cliff - one of the highest of the Yorkshire Coast. We arrived where the path should be only to be told it had been washed out by the rains. The skinny path a few yards away was deemed risky by the local lady who was happy to share her local knowledge. The circular walk would have to be adjusted but we stumbled over the treat for the week - three seal pups pretending to be rocks just around the point. There were said to be a further 25 or so out at sea and the woman said she saw them often on her walks. I think we will be back. It was possible to get quite close before they showed any concern. They are very beautiful and very childlike with their huge eyes. Our trio seemed to have an unreasonable number of scrapes on their skin and rather gummy eyes. Maybe normal for scrapping pups or maybe the reason they had been left behind. Someone will know! We headed back along the beach past spouts of water shooting off the cliff face which punctuated the muddy somewhat crumbly mud and rock cliffs which could have been an opportunity to check for recently fallen fossils. The tide was on its way in and it was chilly, delay would result in the last part of the walk happening in the gloom and darkness so we pressed on. There are two ways up the cliff, we went up at Stoop Beck and came across many runners nearly at the end of their 30 mile run. Mmmm. Not for me. The path along the cliff top was somewhere between soup and soap that has sat in a pool of water overnight. The views from the path were great - a wide panorama of the Bay and the village in the late evening light. Noelle has a seventh sense when it comes to walks, she announces her need for a cup of tea and within minutes, in the middle of nowhere, up looms a delightful cafe. This time it was the Boggle Hole Youth Hostel. Delicious tea and very tempting cakes but maybe a bit too soon after the fish and chips. Pity. It was also a pity to lose height and drop down to cross the stream but it gave us the opportunity to try out our quads as we hauled ourselves up the sloppy steps and headed for RHB under a mile away. It would have been wonderful had the path taken us to the carpark but we had a further chance to walk up through the village and burn off more festive calories. I feel sure we will be back to check out the seals again. If you are to follow this walk it would be well to check the tides and arrive in Robin Hood's Bay just before low tide which gives plenty of time to enjoy the walk and have plenty left over for an adjusted return as we had. Not good to spend 6 hours clinging to the cliffs. Try the App - Tides UK. Invaluable.

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