Once again I woke to rain, and hoped it would clear. I had breakfast with the other couple round the big farm table and we discussed the price of wool with Judith, as you do; it appears that imports of cheap foreign wool have hit UK sheep farmers hard and some years they are lucky to break even after shearing costs. I also learnt that it takes approximately five minutes to shear each sheep- the actual shearing can be done in around one and a half minutes, catching and ‘setting up’ the sheep takes the rest of the time. Judith described stuffing the boots of blistered walkers with wool to get them to Robin Hood’s Bay and we felt that there could well be a market for this!

The Hermitage

I left the farm fairly early as I was being picked up from Robin Hood’s Bay at 4pm, and walked into Intake Woods, passing the Hermitage, carved out of solid rock, the impressive Falling Foss waterfall and a wooden bridge complete with troll.

‘Who’s that trip-trapping over my bridge?’

Leaving the woods I was dismayed to see that it was still raining. I was also surprised to see that we were so close to Whitby, in fact it felt almost as though we were headed towards it and I could clearly make out the abbey ruins on the hill. After a climb by road there was a lot of moor land to be crossed, which was surprisingly boggy. This felt like being back on Nine Standards Rigg and I was dismayed to get completely wet feet once again. Eventually, after much weaving and bog avoidance the moor gave way to a horrid, narrow, stony, muddy and slippery path. I am afraid my language deteriorated here!

Crossing boggy moorland

It was a relief to reach the road through the village of Hawsker- I was aware that time was marching on and it was still raining, which was a shame as it meant I wasn’t enjoying this stretch as I just wanted to reach the end.

First sign for Robin Hood’s Bay!

After going through a rather cheerless caravan park, I reached the cliffs, where it finally stopped raining. I felt much more cheerful as the views were interesting, the end felt in reach and two deer bounded across the path in front of me.

Reaching the North Sea!

Robin Hood’s Bay is so well hidden I started to think I had much further to go but eventually I caught my first glimpse of it through a hedge. I couldn’t say how I felt… a curious mixture of relief, regret and disbelief that I had spent the better part of the last two weeks walking here from the other side of England.

Robin Hood’s Bay

There is a very steep descent through the town itself. As I passed a bed and breakfast I was hailed by an Australian guy I recognised from earlier on the walk. He said that sadly he had had to cut his walk short due to illness at the Lion Inn, but congratulated me on my completion. I reached the shore near the Bay Hotel, but could initially find my way to the sea, scrambling over slippery seaweed. I eventually realised that the sand met the sea directly just a short distance to my left, so dipped my boots and chucked one of my pebbles, picking up another to keep with my St Bees one.

At the Bay Hotel

I collared a lady into taking my photo against the Coast to Coast sign on the wall of the Bay Hotel before going in, ordering fish and chips and signing the Coast to Coast register. A couple started asking me about the walk and then insisted on buying me a drink which was lovely of them- I chose half a Wainwrights as it felt appropriate.

Walking back uphill to my lift back to the car, I passed a couple studying a Coast to Coast information sign and managed to stop myself saying ‘I’ve just done that!’
To my delight Alan was waiting to drive me back, so he was able to witness my success. Another couple were also travelling back with us; funnily enough they were driving back to a few miles away from Poulton.

Champagne and cake!

I had another lovely surprise when I arrived at my sisters- she had bought champagne and a cake as a gift for successfully completing the Coast to Coast! How lovely! I also had an email from Kathy updating me of their progress and others we had met. It was all very surreal, I couldn’t believe I had actually walked the Coast to Coast after so many years! It felt really strange not to have to think about walking tomorrow…

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