Monday, 10 July 2017

Day 14 - Grosmont to Robin Hood's Bay

Day 14 - Grosmont to Robin Hood's Bay

15.5 miles
Start: 8:30am
Finish: 3:45pm

This is it. The final day. 176 miles walked, 15 miles to go. 
The 192 miles are 'flat map miles' of the original walk.

Route: Grosmont, Little Beck, Falling Foss, Fylingdales Moor, Hawsker, Coast Path and Robin Hood's Bay.

The sun shone on our final day. 

After a steep road walk out of Grosmont, we headed across heather moorland and then down to Little Beck, with superb views across to Whitby Abbey and the North Sea. The woods of Little Beck are wonderful, with the Hermitage hidden away amongst the trees. Even more wonderful was the tea and scones at Falling Foss tea rooms (Midge Hall). After 2 weeks, we've become aficionados of tea and scones; these were the best of the trip! Forget your protein bars, carb gels and other marketing-hype rubbish, the best food for getting you up a steep hill is a scone covered in cream and jam!

Beyond Falling Foss, it was back across boggy moorland before we hit Hawsker and the coastal path. A wonderful hour's walk then took us into Robin Hood's Bay where we were met by friends and family for a glass of champagne as the North Sea waves lapped over our boots outside the Bay Hotel.


Thoughts & Musings from the trip...
  • It is tough. No, really it is a tough walk. Walking non stop for 192 miles over 14 days is hard work. Some of the days are over 20 miles, and some sections go over mountains. To get the most from this walk then do loads of training. 
  • Stay in B&Bs. I camped for most of the walk, which made it just that little bit harder each evening setting up my tent and then breaking it down in the morning. Not to mention the rain, midges... Walking this far really does require a little bit of luxury in the evenings, like carpet and a bed!
  • Book a table at a pub or restaurant each evening, as some of the pubs get busy
  • Don't rely on guidebooks to navigate. Most of the time the route is quite well signposted BUT the path is sketchy in places across the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales and is difficult to follow in mist. And it is often misty in the Lakes and Dales. 
  • Be prepared for 'winter weather' in summer. We met some ill-equipped walkers who got caught out in the Lake District. Waterproofs, gloves, walking boots, spare layers, first aid kit, survival bag etc are all essential bits of kit. As are maps and a compass PLUS the skills of how to use them.
  • Hire the services of a Baggage Transfer company (such as Coast to Coast Packhorse)
  • Most B&Bs and/or pubs will make a packed lunch for you, and almost all overnight stops have a village shop. You rarely pass pubs or cafes along the route, so take food and drink with you. The best cafes were: Black Sail Hut, Ravenseat Farm, Joiners Shop at Ingleby Cross, Lordstones Cafe and Midge Hall (Falling Foss).
  • It is a fantastic walk, made greater by its purpose of walking from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, BUT it is not all beautiful. There are monotonous sections, and also some sections that frankly no one in their right mind would walk for pleasure, such as many stretches on Day One and also along the shores of Haweswater (monotonous), much of the Westmorland Plateau (monotonous), and the section from Richmond to Danby Wiske (some of which was dreadful, mainly the new A1(M) interchange). Then came the highlights... Upper Ennerdale, Borrowdale, Kidsty Pike, Smardale, all of Swaledale, the Cleveland Hills and Robin Hood's Bay. But you can't appreciate the highs without the lows. 
  • It is a sociable walk, as you will bump into people on the trail from across the world. We met Australians, Americans, Canadians, Germans... That said, for most of the time you will be walking by yourself.
  • It is a great way to spend time with friends/family, as you are with them all day for 2 weeks with time to talk and think. 
  • Would I do it again? YES!

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