This very short note -- several days after my last entry -- is written just in case anyone thinks I have given up the challenge or have already stumbled off one of the stupendous cliffs that guard the North Yorkshire coast line. But I haven't, and this evening I find myself in Redcar, just south of the river Tees. I would have blogged yesterday evening, but there was no signal at all in the tiny cove of Runswick Bay under the high cliffs.
For three days prior to that I had the company of a band of co-walkers. My oldest friend Roger, his sister Val and her husband Rob, as well as my cousin Lou and her husband Chris -- all of them seem to me to be experienced, properly attired and well-equipped hikers -- travelled many miles up to Yorkshire to cheer me up, reintroduce me to civilized society, wine and dine me, and shepherd me for a few miles along this magical shoreline. I must admit it took a while for me to shrug off the introverted mind-set into which I had fallen, but now they have all returned to their homes I am once again alone with myself and my thoughts. I should however thank them most profoundly for coming such long distances to support me, and for some exceptional meals, especially dinner at the Magpie Cafe in Whitby (thank you so much, Chris). Reader, if you haven't ever visited this famous seafood restaurant in the tiny port from which Captain Cook set forth, you really should.
To day I walked 20 miles to Redcar, a hike which included climbing and descending from Boulby Cliffs. At nearly 700 feet these are the highest in England, and I found them, and the long-abandoned ironstone and alum mines, a real slog. I must confess I have this evening compounded my weariness by drinking one or two pints (or was it three?) of Black Sheep ale, a truly wonderful local brew.
The air, the mud, the terrain, the gusting winds and rain -- all these make for unstable and exhilirating walking. Somehow I manage to continue to stumble along, mile after mile, and often complete the day along the huge empty beaches to my destination provided the tide is favourable. I am beginning to look a bit dishevelled, and my broom handle walking stick prompts a few comments, but despite my vagrant appearance I am becoming quite fit after all these miles despite the occasional rioting among my toes, some of which complain loudly about the daily pounding they receive from the footpaths.
Enough of this; the Black Sheep leads to sleep....and so, good night.