Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Day 12 Egton Bridge to Robin Hoods Bay 16.5 miles

Once again sunshine, blue skies and warm conditions greeted us when we woke, perfect weather for our victory walk in to Robin Hoods Bay. After a quick breakfast of muesli and toast we hit the trial for just after 8am, we wanted a confidant and early start today, the last day is still fairly challenging with enough up’s and downs to leave you suitably shattered on arrival, especially on a hot day like this we thought.
We had a fine walk that morning leaving Egton Bridge, it was a nice mix of bridle tracks and woodland walking before we arrived at the Falling Foss cafe in Little Beck Woods, surely no other cafe can have a setting like this, deep in Little Beck Woods with the Falling Foss water fall visible near the outdoor seating area and the trees providing some welcome shade from the sun, a perfect stop for lunch, even if it was only 11:30am.
Already sat down, guess who, yep, Astrix and Martin were already enjoying coffee and cakes, still just one step ahead of us, but not finishing their C2C until tomorrow, so they were only heading to Hawkster today, planning the final stretch across the cliff tops to the bay in the morning, so they were in no rush enjoying their “brunch”.
After our tea and cakes we said our goodbyes to our friends, for what we thought would surely be the final time. We followed the bridle track and road out of Little Beck woods, just at the right time it seemed as day trippers were now beginning to swamp Falling Foss overwhelming the tranquillity we were enjoying. The walk along the normally wet and boggy moors was an easy one; the hot sun had dried all the bogs making the crossing of Sneaton Low Moor a much easier one today. Walking across the moors provided fine views of Whitby Abbey, the North Sea clearly visible beyond.  We arrived at Hawkster at around 14:30, still feeling pretty good, but now ready for a coffee and something proper to eat (not cake).
We stopped at a cafe at the North Cliff Caravan Park, wanting to save the last walk along the Cliff Top to the Bay for just a little longer.
After our lunch stop I put my Rucksack on for one last time for our final 2-3 mile walk along the cliff tops to Robin Hoods Bay, the weather hazed over slightly which I was really pleased about, just enough to take the direct sun heat off us for our final section. The walk across the cliff tops is a dramatic one, with stunning views both north and south cross the ridge, it’s great to end the walk as it’s starts with a cliff top walk, it is very similar to St Bees and memories of our walk setting off 12 days ago came flooding back.
We arrived at the end of the cliff top walk and began to descend the steep road into Robin Hoods Bay, as we did I noticed a bloke who looked just like Sarah’s dad taking photos of everything that moved, only two groups of people take photos of literally everything, Japanese tourists and Sarah’s dad Bill which confirmed that it was him!
So the three of us walked down the final stretch down to smugglers bay to touch the North Sea and throw our stones. After meeting up with Lyne Sarah’s mum & dipping our boots in the sea Bill said “right, who’s for a drink” great idea we thought, we sat outside the Bay Hotel reflecting on our walk and telling stories of the up’s and downs of or journey for the next hour or so. Sarah’s parents had also bought us a certificate from Cromwell’s at the bottom of the bay; on our first C2C in 2011 our friends had bought us one similar for our achievements. The special thing about this certificate was it combined all three C2C walks, 2011, 2012 and 2014, 576 miles in total, thanks guys!
We finished our drinks and walked back down to the sea, with the tide now fully in and lapping around the foot of the bay to throw our stones in to complete our journey, quite an emotional moment really and officially ending coast to coast 2014. One good thing about Bill’s continual picture taking was he got some great shots of us throwing our stones into the North Sea, pictures we’d no doubt look back on with happy memories.

And that was it, our Coast to Coast journey was over, and far too quickly it seemed. I think our previous C2C walks, as well as some other long and multiple days walks we’d done had mainly been enjoyed on reflection, but this walk had been enjoyed right from day one, and every day since. Even though it was our 3rd C2C we still found out more about this walk, again tweaking our route from previous crossings. Each C2C was very different from the last, which each being its own unique experience.
We both agreed C2C 2014 was our finest experience, with no injuries or blister problems to speak of, lovely places we’d stayed, good navigation, in particular on the tricky days over in the lakes shrouded in cloud, wind and rain we remained positive and on route (easier said than done). And with that in mind we’d discovered more about ourselves on C2C, yet again, on this walk you will always learn more about yourself and each other.
People ask me “why don’t you have a relaxing holiday, instead of hiking almost 200 miles?”, We always feel totally away from the rest of the world on C2C, no traffic, emails, phone calls (even phone signals are rare), and so return totally refreshed after our experience, plus the people we meet and places we see make this walk.

We never did find out what happed to the two guys who got lost on Dent Hill on day one, did they carry on from Ennerdale? Did they ever make it to Borrowdale?, who knows, I have my doubts, we also never met Paul and Tony again as we left them after lunch back in Danby Whisk on day 9, which was a shame.
Me and Sarah are getting married next year in the Lakes, so we perhaps won’t get the chance to walk C2C again for sometime at least, and we definitely want to walk another long distance trail at some point too, the Pennine Way won’t stop bugging me until I’ve done it I’m sure, so maybe that next? But I’d hate to think this is our last Coast to Coast, and we’re hopeful it won’t be, but maybe the last for a few years we suspect.
And there it ends I’m afraid, 2 years in the planning, 12 days in the walking and a life time in the memories, Coast to Coast 2014 is at its end.
If anyone reading this is contemplating walking Coast to Coast you must, it is a truly fantastic experience and one you will never forget, but proceed with caution, you might just become addicted......

Sarah & Sean’s Coast to Coast

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