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DAY 13. Thursday 29th June 2006 - Grosmont to Robin Hood's Bay

"This final stage of the walk has a wide variety of scenes: a lovely river and woodlands, heather moors, charming villages, prehistoric relics, a stately waterfall, a forest trail, steam locomotives, and, to end it, an exhilarating cliff path and the North Sea extending to a far horizon.... In fact many walkers will consider this section the best of all, quite apart from the satisfaction of completing a mission"

We enjoyed an evening in the company of John, Sheila, Paul and Sue the two couples who we have met regularly along the route each day and the two girls who have been walking the route with their dogs camping out each night, everybody was looking forward to the final day. Unfortunately it was  pay back time for having stayed in the palace yesterday, we spent our last night  in the worst guest house so far, (room wise), pictures showing how they had eradicated the dry rot in the bedrooms adorned the guest area so we were keen to be out and heading off for Robin Hoods Bay.

A steam train chugged out of the station as we headed up the 1in3 hill out of Grosmont, Lizzie leading the way as I huffed and puffed behind. After walking along the road for some time we decided to take a path marked on the map heading over moors with the intention of rejoining the route just as it left the road to head east further on.

Wondering why the path we were about to take wasn't mentioned in the guide books we set off along a good track that slowly turned into a swamp, luckily the ground wasn't too wet, then we had fun following a maze of sheep trails through the heather before finally emerging in the right place on the road.  A bit of excitement to start the day and now we know why the guide books ignore this path!

Back on the official path we headed towards Littlebeck and a wonderful walk through the wooded valley meeting two elderly people who having parked their car were wandering the short distance to see a waterfall, they seemed a little concerned asking whether there were many flies on the path we had just walked up, 'none now' Kev replied, 'they are all following us, we have been walking for 12 days!'

Further stretches of heather moorland followed and we noticed John and Sheila behind us.  Carefully following posts and the plotted GPS route we crossed the final stretch of moors with views of Whitby and the East Coast, the sea was getting closer all the time.

Our choice of path was described in one of the guide books as slightly overgrown, the book was wrong, it failed to mention that it was a stream! Not for the first time on this walk our boots were sploshing around in water! When a clear path finally emerged we strode off, crossing the last main obstacle, a busy road, before heading towards the cliff tops on the East Coast.

Once over the road Kev started to get a little emotional, all those horrible days we had encountered going through the Lakes and now we were only 2 miles away with a straight forward cliff top walk into Robin Hood's Bay.

As we were walking along the cliff tops a walker passing by asked if we were finishing the coast to coast? How  did he know? Perhaps the big smile across Lizzie's face gave it away?

Then.........13th day, Friday maybe we need to take paramedics with us when we go out walking, Lizzie fell again, at least she only twisted the same bad ankle so still had one good one to hobble the final miles along the cliff and down to the sea. (Plus keeping with the tradition of falling over on the last day of a holiday).

As we made our way through the village Lizzie heard a shout, it was the two girls with dogs sitting at a café having arrived some time before us. Just one final hill into the little bay to go, typical bad timing, the tide was out!

So as at St. Bees the boots were dipped into a large puddle on the beach. We had made it! The pebbles we carried with us all the way placed in our little puddle waiting for the tide to carry them out to the North Sea.

Pictures taken and time for a celebratory drink, John and Sheila were now heading towards us, down to the bay. It was a fitting climax to our walk that even though we met many people along the way, here we were finishing at the same time as two people we had met on the very first day. As we headed back up the hill to the car park Paul and Sue passed on their way down to experience the thrill of having walked 190 (192?) miles from one coast to another.

It's still difficult for us to put our feelings into words, it was certainly a wonderful feeling to have made it, in Kev's case after 25 years, even if we did have a scary moment towards the end.

There are going to be many things we didn't include in our daily journal and even in this updated version which we will no doubt remember as time goes by.

We may not have had brilliant weather but all that added to the experience, it is still possible to have an adventure and I am very pleased that I shared mine with Lizzie.

Thanks to all all of you we met along the way, sheltering from storms, enjoying the sun when it appeared briefly, the terrific views, good and bad, bars/guest houses and all those fried breakfasts and helped to make the walk an unforgettable experience! 


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