Wish You Were Here

C2C – Day 17: Monday 18 April – GLAISDALE to ROBIN HOOD’S BAY (19 miles)

My airborne pebble, carried in my backpack from the beach at St Bees in Cumbria, about to plop into the waters of the North Sea at Robin Hood’s Bay on the Yorkshire coast

Rob and I discussed the song ‘Wish You Were Here’ as we walked across the moors from Ingleby Cross a few days ago. We used to listen to Pink Floyd together, as their seminal albums came out in the mid-1970’s, and this title-track from 1975 was part of the backdrop to our lives around that time. So the song is an appropriate heading for today’s Blog: it is a great shame that circumstances have led us to finish this long walk on two separate routes, after so many days walking together. I’d like to thank you Rob, not just for your company, but also for all of the arrangements that you have made for the C2C Walk, including the route planning, the logistics and bookings, and the arrangements with Parkinson’s UK. And additionally for taking charge of the navigation along the way – we were very rarely more than a few yards off-route!

To Rob’s wife, Christa, and to our close friends Rick and Eleanor, who were also scheduled to be with us at our final C2C Walk destination, my thanks for all you have done to support our efforts. Lastly, but certainly not least, my thanks to my wife, Rachel, for her unstinting kindness, support and love throughout the preparations and during this trek. As ever, I could not have made this journey without you – and thank you too for holding the fort at home, particularly with all of the Easter family commitments that I have missed this year.

Back to the walking, and today was a wonderfully varied trek, through forest, pasture, villages, moorland and coast, befitting of the longest daily section of our C2C Walk in terms of mileage. With the fine weather today, this section was somewhat less demanding than at least a couple of our days in the Lake District – assisted by my nordic poles, and notwithstanding two steep climbs and a most boggy traverse of Fylingdales Moor, I was able to cover the ground quite quickly. Having skipped breakfast I was walking before 7.00 am and got in to Robin Hood’s Bay in the early afternoon, stopping just for a snack at Grosmont and for a sandwich lunch on the cliff tops overlooking the North Sea.

The day started with a wonderful early morning stroll on the Esk Valley Walk through East Arnecliff Wood, to the sound of birdsong and the rat-a-tat-tat of unseen woodpeckers, whilst I must have counted at least a dozen different species of tree in the mixed woodland
I had the feeling that I awoke this pair on the lane down to Egton Bridge!
Toll charges on the broad track from Egton Bridge to Grosmont – these two villages plus Glaisdale, all situated on the verdant slopes at the foot of the moorland scarps, afford scenic surprises at every turn
The intricate Grosmont village sign
After the steep ascent out of Grosmont (an extraordinary 1 in 3 climb up the lane), my first view of the North Sea provided a morale boost – but still with around 15 miles to walk!
The C2C path progressed up and over Sleights Moor, providing me with a chance to say adieu to the grouse and skylarks that had graced our last few days, before descending to the pretty hamlet of Littlebeck and its alum workings, and then crossing the notoriously boggy Fylingdales Moor
Shetland ponies grazing at Hawsker
Approaching the coast, with a view over the fields to far-off Whitby
And, at last, the final leg of the C2C Walk – three stunning miles along the cliff-top coast path, . . .
. . . before striding down to the finishing line in Robin Hood’s Bay!

With perfect timing the sun came out on my arrival at the beach at Robin Hood’s Bay, and the incoming tide allowed just enough sand for my end-of-trail photographs. Here are a selection.

By the North Sea – 17 days of walking, and 203 miles since leaving St Bees on the Irish Sea coast of Cumbria!
With my pebble, transported from St Bees
Taking a dip, . . .
. . . and taking a sip!
Tonight, in the Orangery at the Victoria Hotel, I was fortunate to have the excellent company, once more, of Rob and Christa’s friends, Derek, Nikki, Tim and Carol, where we assembled for the proposed ‘Gala Dinner’ and celebrated Rob’s achievement, whilst drinking to those missing from tonight’s table

And so ends the story of our C2C trek. Before I finally sign off from these Blogs I will post some reflections, facts and figures in the next day or so. Until then thank you all for following our journey, for your messages of support, and for all your kind donations to Parkinson’s UK. Go well, and enjoy life’s journey!

I’ll drink to that!

(NB For many years Alfred Wainwright met the cost of a half-pint of beer from his own pocket to anyone completing the Pennine Way at the Border Hotel in Kirk Yeltholm in Scotland, and he honoured the landlord’s bills every year until his death in 1991. When I completed the Pennine Way in 2019 the current owners were continuing this tradition at their own expense. It is a different story though on the C2C Walk – the corresponding pub in Robin Hood’s Bay is Wainwright’s Bar at The Bay Hotel, where the above photo was taken. Here Wainright directed that walkers would need to “Pay for your own, I’m skint!”)

4 thoughts on “Wish You Were Here

  1. Well done Nick and Rob. Its a pity you didn’t cross the finish line together but you had each others company for most of it. An amazing walk and achievement.
    I’ve really enjoyed reading the blog.

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  2. Excellent blog on your route Nick and we’ll done to both of you. I hope Rob’s feeling ok with the dreaded Covid.
    Another adventure completed- where to next??
    Linda

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  3. A big up Nick!
    Well done on your completion of the coast 2 coast walk, no mean feat.Really enjoyed your blog. Will catch up soon xx

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