The Cleveland Way ~ Day Ten (Cloughton To Cayton Bay)
One of the things that has struck me while walking the Cleveland Way is whether it matters which direction you walk it in. Most of the guidebooks take you from Helmsley to Filey along the 109-mile trail and most people walk it in this direction. There's actually no wrong or right way. But what I've noticed from my photos is that I often turn back to take a photo of the bay we have just left behind - like this shot looking back at Hayburn Wyke on our latest walk.
So, maybe if we'd walked it in the opposite direction, we would have been greeted by each bay and coastal resort in turn. But for me, it feels right to walk it so you finish with the the last few walks being the coastal ones. Anyway, we've almost finished the trail and this time our walk was from Cloughton Wyke to Cayton Bay.
We parked up in Cloughton village and we (my mum and I) walked the 3/4 mile walk down to the coastal path, taking a flight of steps up onto the cliff top.
From here it was an easier cliff top path that continues around Hundale Point and it's not long after this that the Cleveland Way leaves the North York Moors National Park.
As always the scenery is stunning all around with the odd well placed bench along the route.
After walking down some steps and passing through a wooded valley at Crook Ness we emerged back onto the cliff path. We came to a signpost pointing inland marking the start of the Tabular Hills Walk, that would lead you back to the start of the Cleveland Way at Helmsley, effectively linking up this trail into a full circle.
In the distance we could see the promontory of Scarborough and the distinct outline of its castle perched high on the headland. We could also hear a drum beat. A fellow walker told us it was the Stereophonics rehearsing for their performance at the Open Air Theatre that evening.
The Cleveland Way keeps to the cliff side and as you approach Scalby Nab you can either walk along the cliff path, which we did, or take a short cut across to reach a footbridge that takes you past the Scalby Mills pub. We stuck to the cliff path then walked along North Bay Promenade, past the jaunty row of beach huts.
From here there are no waymarkers for the Cleveland Way so you are left to choose your own route across town. There's so much to see in Scarborough beside the bright lights of the harbour front. It has a lovely old town to explore and we wandered through its streets. We visited St Mary's Churchyard and the grave of the novelist Anne Bronte, who died here age 28 in 1849. Anne portrayed Scarborough in her novels, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and the town was a place she loved and she had hoped to open a school here.
The cobbled streets and distinctive houses of Scarborough's old town just beneath the castle headland are evocative of its rich historic past.
We then walked back down to the seafront and along to the Scarborough Spa Theatre to locate the path out of the town and onto the coastal path. It's a wonderful view looking back at the town from this perspective. There used to be a saltwater swimming pool, the South Bay Pool, in front of this café. Built in 1915, it was a glamorous spot with diving boards and competitions and was the largest outdoor pool in Europe.
From here we followed a network of paths that criss-cross a wooded valley on South Cliff. I never realised there was so much to see in Scarborough beyond the Spa Complex, least of all these beautiful 1930s Italian gardens. What a hidden treasure!
The South Cliff Gardens were designed by landscape designer Harry W Smith in 1912, featuring formal planting, a rose garden and a fishpond overseen by the Roman God, Mercury. They are part of the former Belvedere Gardens, which belonged to George, Lord Beeforth, a successful art dealer. He built many of the houses along the southern end of the Esplanade including his own house, The Belvedere. There is an underground subway from his house to the rose garden which was used as an air raid shelter in WW2. This grid on the opposite side of the road shows where the tunnel is.
From here we walked through a residential area before dipping down to find the coastal path. On the way we passed the site of the Holbeck Hall landslide, which happened 25 years ago between June 3rd and 5th 1993. The photo on the right is where the hotel was before it slipped onto the beach, an event which was documented by TV crews as it was happening.
We picked up a sign for the Cleveland Way here and were soon back onto a track heading towards Filey. The route follows the edge of a golf course before veering to the right to head along an uphill track inland.
A left turn at the top takes you along a grassy path along the top of a wooded slope with the village of Osgodby in sight as you reach the road. There is another signpost on the left into the woods near Knipe Point. You can get down the the beach at Cayton Bay here but the actual Cleveland Way path veers off towards the right.
The path then climbs up a stone path on Tenants Cliff to a higher level and passes through a meadow to reach the cobbled path down to the beach at Cayton Bay.
This was as much walking as we were doing for today. Ostensibly a 7-mile hike but in reality more like 10 miles plus, as we'd taken a meandering route through Scarborough. Not for us the A to B route march. Part of the enjoyment of walking the Cleveland Way is taking the time to explore the areas we pass through.
There are lots of buses back to Scarborough from Cayton Bay - numbers 12 and 13. Then we had a change in Scarborough to catch the X93 back to Cloughton.
It's the final leg next time, just a short walk to Filey to celebrate the end of this wonderful national trail.