The Cleveland Way is 109 miles long and made up of glorious heather moorland and stunning coastal scenery. It turned out to be a very hot and humid Sunday morning that I chose to do the walk, to give the new walking shoes a test!
Starting the walk in Staithes
I had thought a lovely walk along the coast would be the cooler option over the North York Moors or Dales. How wrong I was! There wasn’t a breath of air and the sea was just like a mill pond. I parked in the public car park at the top of Staithes and headed down the steep bank with my backpack containing a sandwich, apple and a bottle of water and, of course, the obligatory sunscreen.
Once at the bottom, I passed the Cod & Lobster pub overlooking the harbour and headed right to a further steep climb to reach the Cleveland Way and the start of my walk for the day.
Enjoying the view
Now on the footpath, I took in the view of the lovely harbour below. Do you know that the young James Cook was an apprentice shopkeeper here before heading off to the South Seas on his maiden voyage? Staithes was also one of the largest fishing ports along the North East Coast.
It’s a lovely walk which undulates here and there with a few steepish ascents and descents.
I met a few fellow walkers along the way who were also enjoying the scenery and hoping, like me, for a little breeze. There were some lovely wildflowers to enjoy along the way, like vetch, clover and bird's-foot-trefoil.
Passing by Port Mulgrave
The next little hamlet I stumbled across was Port Mulgrave, a former ironstone port with a cluster of cottages at its head.
The original path used to be a little lower down than the current path but sadly, due to coastal erosion, it’s now been placed a little higher for around a half mile.
Skylarks accompanied me for most of the walk, often difficult to see but ever present with their melodic song. I also saw blackcaps, swallows, sandmartins and, of course, a variety of gulls dipping and diving on the thermals.
The Crocodile Head at Runswick Bay
The next landmark to come into view was the rock promontory known locally as The Crocodile Head at Runswick Bay, pronounced “Runsick” by the locals.
This gorgeous horseshoe bay holds a very special place in my heart; I visited it on many occasions when I was a little girl.
In those days there was a stretch of wooden chalets located just above the shoreline, halfway down the beach. They were magical and a fabulous place to spend my annual weekly holiday.
It was way back in the 60s when I was reading the adventures of The Famous Five and Secret Seven. You could just imagine Rory, Julian and Ann enjoying lashings of ginger beer there.
Happy childhood memories
My happy memories also included sitting outside the chalet overlooking the beach watching the little boats bobbing in the bay. On an evening Mum and Dad would take me along to the Royal Hotel, which is still there, where I could join them outside with a glass of lemonade and bag of crisps while the pipistrelle bats flew above our heads; happy memories indeed!
The myriad of tiny streets host quaint and picturesque cottages which clamber on top of one another for the best sea view. It also boasts the last remaining thatched former coastguard's cottage on the Yorkshire Coast which clings to the rock face like a limpet.
A stop for refreshments
On this occasion, I didn’t drop down into the bay but enjoyed a well-deserved stop at The Cliffmount Hotel where I had a refreshing glass of lime & soda with plenty of ice to quench my thirst before heading back along the track.
It was a very enjoyable 10-mile walk, which took me around 4 hours. I did 19,000 steps and apparently burnt off 515 calories. I’m also very pleased to report that my new walking shoes. A gorgeous coastal walk that I would highly recommend.
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