Leader : Elaine Anderson. Distance : 8 miles
Left click the map and elevation profile to enlarge
We weren’t by any means the first Darlington invading party to descend on Saltburn-by-the– sea, indeed were it not for those Quaker industrial titans of yesteryear, the Pease family (did they invent ‘pease pudding’?), the town may never have been. In 1858 while walking along the coastal path to visit his brother Joseph, Henry Pease saw a prophetic vision of a town arising on the cliff with a lovely garden in the sheltered glen below. Soon thereafter the town was born. And here we were some 160 years later to explore.
Our circular walk for the day was to begin and end adjacent old Henry’s visionary garden so once we were garbed up for the elements, including some members sporting their magnificent Christmas woolly pompom beanies, the 14 of us headed off inland through light woodland adjacent a small tributary to the nearby Skelton Beck. The snow of the previous days had disappeared with the overnight rise in temperature with the upshot that the beck was fast flowing at full bore and the underfoot conditions were –well-just a little ‘clarty’. Undeterred, and if you pardon the unintended part pun, we ploughed on.
Keeping company with the little water course we gently climbed through the woodland with the occasional series of stairs to negotiate and to generate a little aerobic activity until our ‘Great Leader’ called a halt in an open clearing and where we took sustenance.
Moving on we soon reached the outskirts of the village of Brotton, known primarily for its ironstone mining past. Fortunately our visit was a short one and one we will not remember with pleasure as most of our time on two grassy lanes was spent dodging the shedload of canine faeces strewn along them. A not very good advert for the community, we were glad to leave. Only deft footwork by most avoided contamination.
On leaving the village we headed more or less due east over open fields and skirting the Hunley Hotel & Golf Club we arrive at the Heritage Coast towering above the Cattersty Sands and the adjacent Hunt Cliff where from February the loud calls from the its kittiwake colony herald the start of birds returning home .
And the wind blew.
Joining that old friend The Cleveland Way which at this point enjoys one of its most magnificent stretches we were confronted with beautiful views and comfortable underfoot conditions but a strong gusty NW wind that seemed determined to transport some of our lighter companions to an early bath in the chilly North Sea below. The Echo headlines can be imagined describing how a number of lightweight ramblers were last seen airborne heading in the direction of Scandinavia. But we survived without incident and indeed until that point despite the mud and the valiant attempts of the wind we had only one minor episode when Kate’s attempt at a backflip failed miserably and she took a tumble. Fortunately she was unhurt although some unkindly soul did call into question the contents of her drinks bottle.
A relief from the wind came in the form of a late lunch call that was taken atop a small hillock which is home to an interesting large metal ring sculpture. Created in 1990 by artist Richard Farrington as one of three artworks on the coast the ring embodies 10 ‘charms’ each representing a story of local culture, tradition or folklore. Many times have groups from our club paused ‘neath its portals.
Continuing on the ‘Way’ we passed Saltburn Scar and soon made the somewhat tricky descent down the irregular ‘staircase’ to the promenade and past the well known ‘Ship Inn’ steeped in the history of smuggling as indeed are most settlements along this section of the Heritage Coast.
The front looked a little forlorn with the absence of the funicular lift cabins away being refurbished for the forthcoming tourist season but a traditional post walk slurp in the pleasant, but expensive, Vista Mar saw us reinvigorated and reminiscing on a lovely bracing day out only slightly spoiled by the unpleasant sortie through Brotton.
Happy New Year to all