Monday, 27 August 2012

Scarborough!


Chris and I headed to Scarborough last Tuesday for a short break away. We chose Scarborough because neither of us had been there before, it was fairly quick and easy to get to be train. We found a cheap apartment to rent from Atlantis Flats, and with that booked only the day before we went, we packed and prepared to head off to the seaside!
 
We arrived at lunchtime on Tuesday and headed straight to our apartment, which overlooked the North Beach (well, it overlooked the back street, but if we'd been on the other side we would've had sea views!). After a quick lunch of cheese and biscuits (thanks to a deli we passed en route to the flat) we headed out to explore the North beach below us. After wandering along and paddling in the sea we were approaching the far end of the beach. A sea life centre, mini tourist steam train and a couple of crazy golf courses ensured that there were plenty of people milling about, and without much ado, we were soon pitched against each other in a piratical putting paradise.  
 

I won by 2 strokes, but it was close all the way through, and Chris was definitely beating me at the beginning. After all the exercise we headed a little further along the coast to slate our thirst with ale from the pub, sipped while overlooking the North beach and Scarborough castle. It also meant that there weren't loads of children immediately surrounding us. Scarborough is very much a family holiday destination.


Following our drinks we slowly meandered back along the promenade, watching the oncoming of ominous looking black clouds. It was obvious rain was coming and before long the skies darkened further, cold hard drops of rain was falling and thunder was rumbling in the distance. Needless to say we quickened our pace, but the heaves opened with a downpour to leave you drenched in seconds. We quickly ducked into a close by dinner to escape the weather over coffee.
 
It looked a fair bit different to the sun of a couple of hours earlier. Once the downpour had subsided we retreated to the flat (Chris had to change his jeans having gotten a sandy bottom on the beach) before heading out in search of food. This proved harder than anticipated. I was greatly looking forward to locally caught fish accompanied by vinegary chips, but all the fish and chip shops proved to be closed (from 6) except for a few on the seafront of the south beach. I'm always a bit dubious of sea front places as better food is often found further inland and away from the major tourist areas. We did however, find a cafe called Bamfords (Chris's surname is Bamford) which was fairly amusing. After a lot of wandering around we finally succumbed to our bellies grumbles and headed to an Indian. The food was good, and there was plenty of it so feeling full, we headed to the North Riding brew pub on the street parallel to where we were staying. It was full for a Tuesday night, we had to stand at the bar until some people left. It was a good pub with tasty local beer, but it did seem to be lacking a buzz. In fact, it seemed a bit sleepy. That didn't matter though, as we drank up and headed to bed.
 
The morning dawned warm and sunny. It was perfect for a walk south to Filey, so that's what we did after buying breakfast and lunch from a bakery en route. WE headed to the south beach and got beautiful views of Scarborough in the morning light. The walk began by following meandering paths through garden above a spa complex at the end of South beach, before reaching the first signpost pointing along the Cleveland way. Unusually for us we lacked a map, but we knew that Filey was easily within walking distance along the coast path.
 
The walk was very pretty, with lots of flowering Pussy Willow and great views back to Scarborough as we rounded each headland. The views ahead were also impressive, and the sunny holiday mood was definitely upon both of us as we rambled merrily along. Before too long we round another headland to see a beautiful beach stretching away below us. There were a few people from the nearby caravan site on it, but it was quieter than the sands at Scarborough and was very inviting.
 
I quickened my pace, eager to get onto the beach and paddle in the sea before munching an earlyish lunch. Chris was a wimp however, and wouldn't paddle out into the sea with me. He did provide me with plenty of amusement however, as he hopped around on one foot when putting his boots back on. The walk continued with beautiful headlands, views back to Scarborough, and rocky bays below the cliff tops. Despite spending a good hour on the beach at lunch we made good progress, and it wasn't long before we first saw the beach at Filey.
 
It was huge! It stretched around the bay for miles. The sun was out, and it was very inviting. Once again my pace quickened to find the way down to the beach. Once there shoes and socks were discarded and It wasn't long before we were heading towards Filey, walking in the surf. Well, I was. Chris neglected to remove his footwear. It was warm, we had reached the end of our walk, and Chris was eager to build a Sandcastle with a bit of broken pipe that had washed up, (he had neglected to take the spade). Leaving him to it I stripped to my Bikini and soaked up some sun before a further paddle followed by an ice cream and, reluctantly the train back.
 
A search for food followed our showers. It was about as successful as the previous nights, even though we explored different streets around the town centre. Eventually we came across an Italian and enjoyed pizza and wine. We then headed to the seafront to walk it off. Evidently it worked as the sea front Fudge shop proved too much of a temptation for us. After a quick drink in a pub in town, which had more of a lively buzz than the previous nights owing to music and a younger crowd we called it a night.

Thursday saw us headed north, along the coastal path once again. This time we were armed with a map, and decided to follow the path to a nearby village. It was a short walk, but could extend our route further along the coastal path past the village and head back if we decided, and return to Scarborough by bus. The path was fairly pleasant, our route encompassed lots of fields. There was some building work near the start of the coastal path once we'd walked to the end of Scarborough's North beach, but once we'd gotten past that we relaxed into the countryside much more. The scenery was nice, but by no means atty or dramatic as the previous days walk. still, we enjoyed heading along, spotting butterflies and surrounded by the buzz of crickets.

It was not too far along the path, when we were setting a good pace, that a very tanned, fit looking man in his 60's passed us. A little further along he had stopped for a bite to eat and asked us where we were headed, so we told him. He replied saying he was walking to Robin Hoods Bay. At first Chris (with the map) thought that was about 18miles away. However, after a bit more walking and much discussion and map reading, we realised that it wasn't quite as far as Chris first thought, although still a fair way. Unfortunately, the route was half on one side of the map and half on the other, which makes it a lot harder to tell. Still, a useful signpost pointed Scarborough out as 3 1/2 miles behind us, and a village of Ravenscar 6 1/2 miles ahead. Ravenscar looked to be about 3ish miles south of Robin Hoods Bay, and we were making good progress, so, not to be outdone by an old man, we decided to head to Robin Hood's bay too.


That flat terrain and less spectacular countryside helped us to keep up our pace, and by the time we were thinking of stopping somewhere nice for lunch we saw that we were approaching a small rocky bay where a river met the sea in a waterfall. It all looked very exotic, and we quickly decided to have lunch there. We perched on a rock at the top of the waterfall and soaked in the unexpectedly pretty scenery over sandwiches. After we'd eaten we went down to the bay to look at the waterfall, but mindful of the long walk left to us, and the fact that Ravenscar had no buses back to Scarborough, we didn't linger long.
 
Our pace slowed. The terrain was more undulating, and I am not fast at all at going uphill. I still set a decent pace on the flat, but our progress had slowed. Still, while we were conscious of the time we weren't worried, we knew we should make it in time for the last bus back. The heavens however, showed looming grey clouds ominously surrounding us, and we soon felt some spots of rain. It was still hot however, so the breeze the rain brought was welcome, and luckily it was a very light shower. It did encourage us to quicken pace however; neither of us fancies getting drenched.
 
  Luckily it wasn't too far to Ravenscar, which was a small village with a rather grand looking hotel. after a quick bite to eat on some benches outside the visitor centre we headed off, ready for the sights of Robin Hoods bay and the rocky beach that stretched along from it. We'd both been there before, so it was easily recognisable when we first spied it. We didn't hang around absorbing the view for long though, thanks to clouds of pesky flies that were crawling all over us. They even went down my top, there must've been 20-30 of the little b*****s down there. Once again, our pace quicken to escape the onslaught. Luckily it didn't last for long.

Before too long we were on the beach (we decided it would be nicer walking along the beach than along the cliffs because it would be flat, and because it was different to all the rest of the terrain we'd walked along that day. Besides, I really like being on beaches!) The beach at Robin Hoods bay is fairly long, and mostly rocky (although there is a bit of sand) so it's great for rock pooling. We wandered over the rocks slowly, peering into the pools to see if we'd find anything exciting. We didn't, anything lurking there was probably well hidden amongst the seaweed.

The tide was coming in as we meandered along the rocks, gazing into pools and marvelling at the amount of shell fish crowded on the rocks. Chris was busy bird spotting, while I concentrated on closer wildlife. It wasn't long before we heard the sound of a landslide, as small sections of the earth cliff face fell. It happened a few times, but they were only very small slides. Still, I hadn't expected it, even though it is a common occurrence there. The tide was coming in quickly though, and we had to somewhere find energy to leap over streams winding their way to the North sea. Chris may look spectacular flying through the air in the photo, but really he still got a wet foot. So I did, when my leg failed to produce the extra force to make a leap. Well, our short walk had quickly turned into a 14 1/2m one (according to the signpost) so no wonder our legs weren't quite in leaping mode. We'd definitely earned our Fish and Chips and pint before the bus.


We headed out to a pub (unsurprisingly) again that night. Chris wanted to try out the Leeds Arms as it was in the Good Beer Guide and I was happy enough to go for a quite drink, although I would have been equally happy to sit and read at the apartment. It was our last night though... The pub was very quite when we went in, but it was nice. The walls were covered with scenic photographs of Scarborough over the years, there were boat oars hung between the beams of the ceiling around the bar, and the adjoining room had fish netting suspended from the ceiling. All in all, there was definitely a nautical theme. The land lord and land lady were very friendly too, and I have even been inspired to start knitting after seeing the land lady busy with her needles, making bags that she then sold. We ended up staying there in a pleasurable evening.
 
After a good nights sleep we woke and packed, our stay was at an end. We didn't leave immediately though. After a cafe lunch we headed to the South Beach to say goodbye to the sea. A slow wonder around the marina followed, watching a pirate boat take people on 15 min cruises of the bay, and speedboats whizzing out of the harbour periodically for a more exhilarating tour by boat. There were also adverts for a 1 hour coastal cruise, and lots 3hr fishing expeditions. Surprisingly they all cost £3 (except the fishing). Given that fact, I was surprised how many people chose a 15min trip around the bay on the motorised Pirate ship, rather than a longer, relaxing cruise, or the thrill of a speedboat. We sat watching the sea from the marina for a bit, before slowly trudging up the hill for the train.
 
It wasn't quite over yet though. We had to change trains at York, and Chris wanted to visit the newly opened York Tap at the station. I was also quite happy to as I like the Sheffield Tap, and they're owned by the same people. The bar in the York Tap was large and circular, in the middle of the room. Even with 20 hand pumps on the bar, there was space left for more should they be required. After a half each, and then a bottle shared between us our lack of cash encouraged us to head for the next train to Sheffield. We arrived tired, but happy, having enjoyed a good few days away together.