Yes, the Bi-Coastal, NH/WA team finished the Coast to Coast walk today at 2:30, far ahead of the other C2Cers huffing up the long steep hill out of Grosmont this morning. It’s not that we were faster, just “sensible” as a woman weeding her garden said to me when we walked by and I told her we’d taken some shortcuts from the Wainwright route.
Wainwright himself encouraged people to find their own alternatives to his original path, which we did today, saving about 7 miles. After yesterday’s dispiriting walk in pouring rain across the moors, we looked at the map last night and decided to eliminate a long loop north on the route to walk back south to Robin Hood’s Bay on the headlands. Good decision, as the coast was fogged in all day and we wouldn’t have had any views, the reason for the loop.
We walked through a rising mist this morning through the lovely Egton Bridge into sun at Grosmont, a village still served by a steam engine train.
England has been hit hard with record breaking rains and flooding, but the villages along the Esk River are clearly used to high waters. We passed two road fords today with water height markers and had to take footbridges to cross.
When we got to Little Beck we decided to also skip a long vee of path to the south through a supposedly beautiful forest (we agreed we all have beautiful forests at home) and cut across the top of the route on a back road through farmland. It led us to the road that reconnected with the Wainwright route with the added delight of swaths of wild orchids blooming on the shoulder.
Another trek across a boggy moor brought us to the road into Robin Hood’s Bay, a delightfully quaint town perched on the cliff side above a tiny beach. We still hadn’t caught any of the reported possible sightings of the North Sea as we approached the bank of fog over the water.
We walked the very steep road and steps down to the water, alleys and staircases leading to stone shops and houses on both sides. And there we were, on the beach ramp with rocky low tide flats stretching off to the North Sea.