Coast to Coast Stage 12 – Littlebeck to Robin Hood’s Bay

Intake Farm had won the warmest welcome award on Thursday evening on our arrival and Judith, our host, even had Sainsbury’s Rooibos teabags available (my favourite).

Having been shown to our room, and settled in, they also had a contender for the best shower on the entire route.

I had misgivings when Ian told me we were booked to stay on a working farm, especially with me having asked for a vegan meal but Judith, our host, could not have been more friendly. The evening meal on the Thursday and breakfast on Friday morning were spot on.

The personal service we received throughout was also second to none and entirely genuine.As a relatively new, but committed, vegan I obviously experienced some personal contradictions but, when it all comes down, nice people are nice people.

On a glorious Friday morning, boasting a cloudless sky, Judith led us to the farm gate and pointed us in the right direction.We descended into Littlebeck village and then into the wood which was idyllic with rays of early morning sun breaking through the trees. The first way point on the map was the hermitage :

… Quickly followed by Falling Foss waterfall…

A short climb on a stretch of road led us to the first stretch of moorland. There were patches labelled as “boggy” in the guidebook and we had to pick our way over the last bit. Socks were kept dry up to this point but there was a sense of trepidation as the next section of moorland was labeled “very boggy”. They weren’t wrong but by taking our time and picking our foot placements (the white ‘straw’ bits are usually your friend) we were able to get through the last moorland stretch relatively unscathed.

There had been skylark and (the sound of) lapwing up to this point and the distant call of curlew but just at the end of the section a curlew took flight just in front of us.

Leaving the moors behind, the authors of the guide book promised the first Robin Hood’s Bay sign and they did not deceive:

A short road section and a walk through a caravan site then led us to the coastal path!

We quickened our pace here, almost involuntarily, as the finish line beckoned. The scenery was amazing and the going easy underfoot.

The coastal cinder path eventually gave way to the B&B heartland of Upper Bay which, a minute’s walk further on, led to the tumble down lane leading to Robin Hood’s Bay.

I was reminded of childhood summer holidays in Polperro in Cornwall and a more recent visit to Clovelly in Devon.

At the bottom of the hill lay the harbour and the accepted end of Wainwright’s unofficial Coast to Coast walk, The Bay Hotel.

We resisted the temptation to head straight to the bar of the Bay and instead took the few steps further to the water’s edge to deposit our pebbles, as required by the accepted traditions.

These pebbles were acquired on St Bees beach in June 2017, when we started our Coast to Coast adventure. I must point out however that Ian had to drop a ‘Ronnie Wood’ (a replacement Stone), as he had left his original one at home.

We were expecting to be treated with bemusement by the RHB tourists milling round but quite a few seemed familiar with the traditions and spoke to us after seeing us drop our pebbles at the waterfront. The barman in the Bay Hotel (excellent veggie curry) also enquired as to how long the walk had taken us.

Another visitor asked is if we’d like him to take our picture in front of the finish line plaque:

And that was the Coast to Coast. Thanks for following my blog – I hope you found it interesting and somewhat amusing. The walk was something I’ve wanted to do for years and I’d recommend it to anyone. We were incredibly lucky with the weather – I think we had an hour of rain over the entire 192 mile walk! I’d probably make a few adjustments to the route and itinerary if I was to walk it again however – I’d certainly break up the Richmond to The Lion Inn stretch differently. The walk from The Lion Inn onwards however is fantastic.

I can’t finish without a word for IW (the mountain goat), my companion for the 192 miles. Having walked Glyndwr’s Way on my own last summer it was great to have someone to walk with, have a laugh with and generally be able to pick each other up when it got to be a bit of a slog. We’ll reminisce for the rest of our lives over the trek from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay – hats off sir, hats off!

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