Thursday, July 21, 2016

Day 21 -- Grosmont to Robin Hood's Bay, 15 miles

Grosmont is the home of the North York Moors steam railway, so there is a lot of railroad memorabilia around here, including what is thought to be the first railway tunnel in the world. How many opportunities does one get to walk through the world’s oldest railway tunnel? Life just doesn’t get any better than this.

A long, steep climb out of Grosmont leads to the top of Sleights Moor, providing sweeping views of the North Sea. Far to the horizon, near Middlesbrough, is a distinctive hill shaped like a shark fin, with the unlikely name of Roseberry Topping. I’ll try to climb it next week. But today, on the moorland all around me, the heather is starting to bloom. I suppose that Trevor Swales is moving his bees up to the moor about now.

While I moseyed along at my typical daydream pace, Andrew caught up with me, and we walked together most of the day. Near Littlebeck in 1790, George Chubb hollowed out a large sandstone boulder. He even carved a bench along the interior perimeter. It’s not clear if he actually made the rock his home, but it isn’t hard to imagine what his wife may have thought of his little project. He probably would have been better off to have walked the oldest railway tunnel.

Andrew at the Hermitage

The traditional Coast to Coast route approaches Robin Hood’s Bay from the northeast by a four-mile loop along scenic bluffs above the sea. Because I’ll be walking those bluffs tomorrow to Whitby, I took a more direct path through the Greystone Hills. My path was well-marked on the map, but not on the ground. After several frustrating attempts to find the proper route, I finally rejoined the Coast to Coast path Andrew was following, but he was long past by then. I did meet Robin (not the same Robin previously referred to in my postings) at the junction and he and I followed the Coast to Coast track until I found another way to achieve the route I had been seeking.  I may have saved a mile of walking, but probably didn’t save any time.

Path disappears

Robin No. 2

Robin Hood’s Bay is an old fishing village that has a reputation for harboring smugglers who moved their untaxed goods through a maze of narrow alleys. Today it is a tourist town, harboring walkers who can’t navigate the passageways any better than I can navigate the moors.

Later, while trying to navigate to the bar, I stumbled into the dining room where I met the Ullswater Steamer group who had successfully completed their Coast to Coast walk.

Dennis, Lynne, Lost-a-lot, Sara and Dave 

Andrew, Paul, Robin 1, Normand, Marie-Helene and I filled the evening with funny stories over dinner. When I completed my first Coast to Coast walk (actually my only Coast to Coast walk, since I joined this one at Grasmere) there was nobody with whom to celebrate. Andrew had the same experience when completing his first Coast to Coast two years ago. An end-of-the-walk party is a much more fitting conclusion, even for those who may not have walked through the oldest railway tunnel.

Paul, Normand, Marie-Helene, Lost-a-lot, Andrew and Robin No. 1