20090828_Boggle Hole-Coast Path-Ravenscar and Robin Hoods Bay Walk
When : 28th August 2009
Who : Me and my Family
Where : Boggle Hole Youth Hostel, Robin Hoods Bay, Between Scarborough and Whitby on the North Yorkshire / North Sea Coast.
Map : 1:25,000 OS Outdoor Leisure mapNorth York Moors NE sheet
Start, “middle” and finish points : 955,040
Furthest point south (big loop) : 977,015
Furthest point north (small loop) : 956,060
Summary : A figure of 8 walk on coastal paths centred on Boggle Hole, rising to the outskirts of Ravenscar village and then return via a slightly inland disused railway and gentle countryside and then an additional loop up to Robin Hoods Bay Village and return again.
Approx distance : 5.5 miles (Just over 8 km)
Total height climbed : About 865 feet (but not in one go and steep only in short lengths).
Approx distance : 5 miles (8 km)
Total height climbed : About 630 feet (mostly walking up through Robin Hoods Bay Village on roadside pavements).
Small Loop : The Family
heights : Nothing on the beach, plus roads/alleys in RHB village.
After my early (very early) morning wander on the beach, the family got together over breakfast in the self-catering kitchen of the hostel to discuss the day ahead … I was delighted when everyone agreed to a walk and I’d soon sorted out a nice looking circular on the map. In next to no time, we’d put up packed lunches and drinks and were soon outside the hostel boots on and raring to go (even daughter).
The Big Loop :-
As most good walks seem to do, the start of this one was a stiffish (but in this case quite short) pull up the coast path starting near the hostel just off the road-cum-slipway and heading in a south-ish direction. The sun was shining and being quite sheltered in the valley and with shrubs/trees around us it didn’t take long for outer layers to be stripped off, down to shirt sleeves. The climb wasn’t long and we emerged onto the cliff top path to some be greeted by some great panoramas.
- To the north was the promontory of Ness Point protecting the village of Robin Hood’s Bay.
- Eastwards looked straight out over Robin Hood’s Bay itself, a sweeping Curve of The North Sea maybe 3-miles wide.
- Looking south-east, the coast-line swept around to another promontory – Old Peak or South Cheek on my map – with the very odd village of Ravenscar perched on top.
- Inland the cliffs gave way to farmland heading steeply up towards the North York’ Moors.
Once on top of the cliffs, the path opened up considerably, exposing us to a really quite stiff breeze blowing off the land and out to sea. It was strong enough to get nervous about Craig who being the littlest, lightest and most prone to run about was probably the most vulnerable to being blown off the path and at times I grabbed a handful of shirt just to slow him down a tad and get him “land-side” of me. The exposed section didn’t last very long before we dropped down, bounded by coarse hedgerows again, to reach the bottom of the cliff just where Stoupe Beck breaks out onto the beach and then into the sea. This is a lovely quiet spot and rather than head straight over the utilitarian concrete and steel footbridge over the stream we headed down onto the beach where the kids amongst us (Katie, Craig … and me!) threw and skimmed pebbles out into the sea. The little bit of artist in me particularly liked the remains of a tree branch sat part buried in the sands. It was then back to the walk, and all the height lost in the descent to the beach had to be regained in classic coast path mode. The way ahead not in doubt as concrete steps and a railing headed up steeply in front of us.
After regaining the cliff top (didn’t take long) we reached a concrete pill-box (I assume a relic from WW2) which Craig in particular liked. Slowly but surely the cliff is falling away from beneath and around it, how long before it all falls into the waves below is anyone’s guess but it doesn’t look like there’s any attempt to shore it up for prosperity … probably impossible anyway given the state of the cliff. There was a narrow strip of cultivated farmland hereabouts, sandwiched between the cliff and a steeply rising hill side, the most stand-out crop being a small strip of sunflowers not looking overly vigorous but colourful non-the-less. Soon afterwards the path split, one staying close to the cliff edge, the other branching right up a field.
My map showed the inland route to be the right of way, so that’s the way we went although finding our way through some field boundaries proved a tad awkward through long grass, nettles, less than ideal stiles and the like, although we did emerge onto a farm track absolutely spot on (so I was pleased with my map reading) …. it turned out the cliff path had also made an inland turn and rejoined us hereabouts, so we needn’t have put ourselves through our minor difficulties – typical and easy to say in hind-sight!
The track led us on, passing a nearby cottage, looking somewhat isolated against the hill side; I thought it was nicely proportioned with its five windows spaced around the centrally positioned front door – A bit like a child might draw; quite simple clean lines. We’d now climbed a good way above the sea line and the golf links ahead marked us nearing the village of Ravenscar still some way above us. Although I don’t play the game, the golf course looked like it could be quite tricky to negotiate being spread out on the steep hillside and at least one fairway looking very close to the sheer drop to the rocks and sea below. With a strong wind blowing I’d say it looks unplayable – Is that a challenge to all you golfers out there ?
From here the well made track now steepened again and we resolved to take a break where it was due to join an old disused railway bed. We needed to use our powers of encouragement to get Craig and Katie to our intended rest point … right on cue, it started to rain – not hard but it was definitely rain! ughh. We couldn’t join the course of the railway straight away because of a path diversion, but almost doubling back on ourselves wasn’t a problem as a path led us beneath an embankment to a double arched stone bridge where we passed underneath and then swung around and up to reach the old track-bed, but not before chatting to a group of volunteers clearing undergrowth (I think with the national trust?) and doing a superb job.
We’d now made a complete 180 degree turn from our outward journey and the railway stretched out ahead in a generally north westerly direction and the gradient was now extremely easy and on a well maintained surface. Good views could still be seen out over the bay and the rain eased as blue skies returned and we started to make quite quick progress. We played silly word games and sang songs as we went, however, after maybe 2-miles comments were being made about the monotony that was growing. So after a refreshment stop near Browside farm I found a bridle track heading off to the right dropping down towards Allisons Head Wood. This path would sort of cut off the corner instead of taking the railway as it set off on a big almost semi-circular loop inland to maintain its contouring heights. It also meant having to do some proper map-reading, so I was doubly happy, and we soon reached the bottom of a small valley – A brand new looking footbridge aided our route over the small stream. This was the second crossing of this stream as it was the Stoupe Beck crossed earlier in the walk down on the beach. My daughter Katie especially remembers this quiet spot, (now some 8-months on), not for its rural charm but as the place with loads of spiders !!!, a fact long since lost from my memory banks. The route onwards from here was on a track heading gently up through the trees to soon reach the minor road “Bridge Holm Lane” which happens to be the only road serving Boggle Hole about a mile way. The others said they’d be happy to just head back to the hostel at this point, so we all headed off, to the right, down the lane passing occasional farm-houses/cottages as we went.
We were soon back at the small car parking area above Boggle Hole and as we continued on, Craig decided he wanted to head down the lane wearing his bandana as a blind-fold …. Don’t ask why, he’s a boy and he was just 8 years old, so who knows what was going on in his head …. Anyway we held hands with him down the steep road to prevent what would have been the inevitable head over heels accident. At the bottom of the hill we reached our start point and the hostel again, where we made ourselves a cuppa before deciding on what to do next.
The small Loop :-
As the tide was far enough out to allow access around the small cliff protrusion at Boggle Hole (The Nab), we decided to head up towards The Village of Robin Hood’s Bay and as a departure from the norm, I donned sandals instead of the customary boots so that I could paddle along in the sea. It didn’t seem like we were doing “a walk” now … It’s strange how walking on a beach changes the perspective on this.
It’s about a mile along the shore to the village and the beach was quite busy with bank-holiday week-end visitors making the most of the sunshine and fine weather. This was quite a contrast to the morning where we saw very few people … Obviously most people don’t tend to go too far from the honey-pot spots with their ice-creams, fish and chips and pubs. Despite the increased numbers, the walk along the shore line was enjoyable and afforded some good views across the lines of low rocks jutting out into the sea and it didn’t take long to reach the village where we climbed the slip-way to be greeted by the famous Bay Hotel and it’s “Wainwright’s Bar”… The first or last pub on the much lauded walker’s “A Coast to Coast” route. I resisted the temptation of a pint … There was the village to explore.
We then wandered around this lovely picturesque village for quite some time, exploring its steep streets and alley-ways, perusing its touristy gift shops and the like before heading back to the front. There’s plenty of info on the World-Wide-Web about Robin Hood’s Bay, its history, smuggling past, it’s legends and it’s sea-faring links, so I’ll not regurgitate it again here, so instead I’ll just show a few of my photo’s to give a flavour of the place.
After a while, it was suggested that I take myself off and extend my walk and we separated, my family to retrace their steps back along the beach to Boggle Hole Hostel, whilst I set off back to the main street of the village and the steep twisty-turny way to the top of the village. I took a small side street to find the coast path to emerge on the cliffs tops (heading northwards). Soon after, a strange looking post appeared in the field ahead and thankfully there was a notice board explaining what it was – A Rocket Post – and I think it’ll probably be worthy of a post all of its own. I pressed on some more and I managed to catch a glimpse or two back down to the village below and across the bay.
I didn’t want to go too far northwards, but nor did I want to retrace my steps exactly backwards, so as the fields on my left were designated “open access”, I headed inland rising across a field and found a place where I could easily straddle the boundary fence to gain a way onto the disused railway (the same one we were on earlier in the day) snaking it’s way around the coast. Turning left on the old track-bed, I stretched my legs out enjoying the added pace only tempered by grit getting inside my sandals (now there’s a good reason to wear boots). I was very soon at the top of RHB village again and made my way past the car park and old station to head southwards back towards the hostel still on the railway bed. Now it’s maybe a mark of the great views we’d had for most of the day, that I wasn’t really enjoying the old railway and I took the 2nd opportunity available to me to leave it, taking a footpath off to the left (Mark Lane on my map) to rejoin the cliff top path about mid-way between RHB and Boggle Hole. The views across the bay immediately lifted my spirits again, so much better than the old railway.
Rather than head straight back indoors, I returned to the shoreline as the evening light was superb and I was doubly rewarded by a little wading bird allowing me to get quite close and take a few photo’s. Using the RSPB’s bird identifier web-site I think it may well have been a Sanderling or a Little Stint, or some other Sandpiper type bird …. any readers who know for sure, please let me know.
And that was that … walk over … I hope you enjoyed my scribbling.
Next post … 20090828_Rocket Post – Robin Hoods Cliff Tops