Cleveland Way ~ The End (Cayton Bay to Filey)
So this is the end of the road. We have finally reached the last leg of our walk along the Cleveland Way, the spectacular 109-mile national trail that runs from Helmsley, across the North York Moors, and down the coast from Saltburn to Filey.
Walking the Cleveland Way this last few months has opened my eyes to some magnificent scenery including vast heather moorlands and the dramatic coastline of North Yorkshire. But as well as this, I have also learned so much about the fascinating history of the places we've travelled through on our route.
I've kept two books close to hand; one is a handy little guide that I have packed along with my OS map, The Cleveland Way, A Cicerone Guide by Paddy Dillon, which has helped out on occasion when following the path.
The other is a very entertaining read, which I've perused either before or after our walks at home. It's called Moors, Dales, Nabs and Wykes, Rambling about the Cleveland Way by Alex Wilson. It's a book packed with very amusing historical anecdotes that bring to life the trail we've walked.
So the evening before our final leg, I dipped into Alex Wilson's book and read about Cayton Bay. I discovered Cayton is one of 31 'Thankful Villages in England.' These were villages, so named because all of their men came back from World War One - Cayton returned 43 men, more than any of the other villages. As Alex Wilson says, Cayton has double cause for thanks because they repeated this next time round in World War Two. It's a lucky place.
We'd taken a train from Malton to Scarborough for this stretch and caught the number 13 bus from Scarborough station to Cayton Bay to pick up the path we'd left the week before. It was another beautiful day with the bluest of skies and a smattering of cotton wool clouds.
We climbed up onto the headland overlooking the bay with a view of the promontory of Scarborough in the distance.
We walked past the surf shop (no crashing waves for riding high on today) and climbed over Lebberston Cliff, always accompanied by spectacular views inland and out to sea...
...with Scarborough never far away...
As we turned the headland, we followed the path uphill along Gristhorpe Cliff, passing a caravan site. At this point we heard a low-frequency noise reverberating over the sea below. What was it? We soon spotted where it was coming from. On the rocks below there was a colony of seals, some bathing on the rocks, others belly-flopping into the water. What a wonderful sight!
There are some sheer cliffs along this stretch with the occasional sign to remind you to take care. As we looked back now and then to see the path we had trodden or the one ahead, it was often alarming to see how far the shelves of the cliffs jutted out.
Not far from here we came across a sign directing us back 109-miles to Helmsley along the Cleveland Way where we had started out several weeks ago.
Oddly enough the Cleveland Way finishes at the rocky outcrop of Filey Brigg - a beautiful spot, of course, but for the end of a walking route, it's the middle of nowhere and you're going to need to continue to reach civilisation.
So, here the path joins the Wolds Way to take you the half mile or so into Filey itself.
The end of the Cleveland Way is marked, as it was at the start in Helmsley, by a stone carved with the National Trail symbol of the acorn (if not a life saver, this little acorn has been our time saver on many an occasion over the past few weeks keeping us on the right path) and some of the places we'd passed. We asked a couple of friendly lady walkers to take our photo. They were walking from Scarborough to Filey on a reminiscing trip together having spent many of their childhood holidays in Filey.
The Cleveland Way doesn't actually include Filey but most people walking it, ourselves included, made the walk into the town and onto the beach to meet the family who'd joined us for a celebration at the end of our walk.
Walking the Cleveland Way over the last few weeks/months has been an absolute delight for my mum and myself. There isn't a section we have finished that we haven't enjoyed. It has offered us amazing scenery; breathtaking views; pretty fishing villages; ancient monuments and a fascinating insight into the history of this part of Yorkshire.
We've met other walkers, shared stories as well as our appreciation of the beauty of the land and the coast. And as for the British summer, well, we couldn't have chosen a better one for our walk as we've been blessed with blue skies and sunshine on almost every section.
So, now I am looking for my next challenge and my thinking is why stop at Filey? I've spotted a path from Filey to Bridlington, a trail that takes in the white, chalky headland of Flamborough.
So, if you fancy joining me on my next adventure, watch this space for more tales...this time along The Headland Way...