The Cleveland Way ~ Day Seven
It couldn't have been a more perfect summer's morning as we walked down from the car park into the delightful little fishing village of Staithes to start the seventh leg of our walk along the Cleveland Way.
The artists were already out with their easels down by Cowbar. If you wound back the clock, you'd also find artists painting en plein air more than a hundred years ago when the Staithes Group art colony set up home here.
Although the sun was already out and we had a good forecast, there was a gentle north-westerly breeze which was ideal for walking. It was very pleasant strolling along the quiet cobbled streets at this time of day.
Staithes is so photogenic that I couldn't resist taking a few more photos to add to my collection at home. Here's looking back at Cowbar from the harbour.
The Cod and Lobster pub, which is perched almost at the water's edge, has good views over the harbour...
Then continuing towards the signpost for the Cleveland Way behind Church Street past Captain Cook's Cottage. Here's a classic Staithes shot looking back down the street...
The Cleveland Way takes you on some cobbled steps, past a farm and onto the headland where you get a fantastic view back over Staithes.
The route follows a path along the cliff edge with views out to sea, over open countryside to the right and extensive views along the headland in front. Between here and Runswick Bay is a popular walk so not surprisingly we met several other walkers.
The route then takes a slight turn to the right with a steep uphill hike to the top of Beacon Hill. Time for a drink at the top and the chance to take in the breathtaking views as well as offering other walkers encouraging words as they reach the top of this 330 ft cliff.
After enjoying the view, we pressed on along the path along Rosedale Cliff. We passed the tiny village of Port Mulgrave with its old fishermen's cottages and its sand and rock beach, once a bustling harbour where ironstone was shipped up to Jarrow for processing.
We soon arrived in Runswick Bay. The path brings you out by the Runswick Bay Hotel which is on the road down to the beach. There is a prettier way that we took which takes you down small paths in between the houses that hug the cliff side.
We had our lunch sitting on one of the many benches before you reach the beach - just a short hop from the shop where we treated ourselves to an ice cream.
The Cleveland Way takes you along the beach at Runswick Bay. So if the tide is in this is one section of the trail that might hold you up while you wait for it to recede. We were right on high tide with very little evidence of sand let alone a route across. There are worse places to hang around so that's exactly what we did. Once we had access we headed for the river valley that cuts through the shale rocks at the far end of the beach.
There's a lovely little footbridge across the stream and a very, very steep climb up onto the cliff top once you've crossed it.
But, as always, you do get a fabulous view back from where you've come from. And look at that blue sky!
On these walks I am always spotting dream houses as a coastal retreat is always at the back (well, if I'm honest, I mean right at the front) of my mind. And as we reached the hamlet of Kettleness I spotted this blue and white chalet that I could quite easily move into.
The Cleveland Way is split almost evenly between moors and coast. We're well over half way along the trail now and if we needed a little reminder as to how far we've travelled and how far we've got to go, we found it.
The path continues along the coastline. There are paths off from here to Goldsborough and to the village of Lythe, whose distinctive church you can see in the distance. The cliff path then drops down a wooded slope into a valley which is reached by some very steep, wooden steps. It emerges on the disused railway bed. We continued along this track for while passing heaps of old alum workings.
There is a well-placed rock to sit on beside the path further along, which offers great views to Sandsend itself and also to Whitby beyond.
We had made good time on this walk so were able to have a wander around Sandsend and to take a stroll by the beck to admire the lovely cottages either side of the valley.
We had a choice of eating here or back at Staithes. We opted for Staithes as it meant we could get a bus back shortly and be back where we had parked the car so wouldn't be in a rush with our meal.
Now dab hands at the coastal bus routes, we hopped on the X4 which took us straight back to Staithes. We ate fish and chips at the Cod and Lobster sitting outside and watching the world go by. It was the end of another perfect walking day.