The last two sections of the Coast-to-Coast followed a rather circuitous route to the final destination of Robin Hood’s Bay. The penultimate day started with a long walk that followed a huge circle, keeping the Lion Inn in sight for a long time.
That day’s first landmark was Fat Betty, a mediaeval marker stone. The guidebook says that the tradition is to take one of the items of food left on this stone and replace it with something else. It was apparently a tradition to leave gifts at such places, but I’m not sure how this has shifted to the idea of exchanging items.
The penultimate day has some boring roads, but set in beautiful countryside, including the gorgeous Great Fryup Dale. We passed through Glaisdale, which was mostly closed, and we did not have time to visit the boutique Museum of Victorian Science. The Horseshoe Hotel had some great vegan options which seemed heart-breaking as I was too full to eat.
Despite being on the Coast-to-Coast, and being on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Grosmont had no decent options for food, so we ended up taxi-ing back to the Horseshoe Hotel, where the food was as excellent as it appeared.
The final day’s route was even more wiggly than that of the penultimate one. It started with a cruel climb out of Grosmont. During this stretch one of my toenails began cutting into a toe, drawing blood. I was lucky that Dave had some scissors with us for me to trim this. Something else to remember for future planning.
The route took us into Little Beck Woods where we stopped for coffee at Falling Foss just as the heavens opened. We waited out the sudden storm with some excellent coffee and cake. The rest of the day’s weather was fantastic.
The route continued through boggy moorland and quiet roads. We got chatting with a runner who told us how he’d taken up running when he was 55 with a 48-inch waist, and was now into ultramarathons. Very inspiring.
The final stage of the walk took us across clifftops heading south towards Robin Hood’s Bay. We were blessed with perfect weather for this section – I’ve talked to people who found themselves finishing the route in thick mist. We booked to stay overnight, which meant we had to travel back through a rail strike, which was a frustrating end to a good walk.
Tradition dictates that you carry a stone from St Bees Head to Robin Hood’s Bay. We walked the route in three stages, but I somehow managed to keep track of my pebble through two house moves.
Having done five national trails, the Coast-to-Coast is the one I would most recommend. At 190 miles, it can be comfortably completed in under two weeks. It’s well-organised and extremely friendly. I think the Pennine Way is a better walk, but the Coast-to-Coast is much more engaging.