The rain had come down through the night but not heavily, so when I rose to the sound of voices out on the trail I was able to begin packing the tent without too much trouble. The view was still very nice and the air here was clear as a bell, a hint of brine from below filling my nostrils and helping me to relax. The bag felt a little heavy, though I still believe it to be about 15 kilos. I wound along the cinder path for about half a mile before the old tunnel was blocked this time with an iron gate and no doorways open. Unless I wanted to scale the 9 foot expanse and get over the top, with my back pack on. The steps at the side looked annoyingly steep though, and they were. Annoying and steep.....
The resultant relief at the top of the climb was worth every step up and aching muscle. Views for miles in both directions and a very fresh breeze. I had still not really had an answer about the Robin from yesterday that had tried to deliver me a message. Maybe I was out of tune or the frequency was higher than normal, but as I had been packing the tent away another vision of a tent had struck me as rather odd, and the feeling left came back to remind me to be paying attention again this morning. The track was a bit marshy still in places, but no damsels to save this morning or cover in thick gooey mud. I had been walking for about 20 minutes when I came to a stile on the headland, and as I climbed over it, guess what was to my left???
No not the German girl in her dirty clothing, but a tent, and it was behind a fence just to the side of the trail. Funny hey, how some things seem more startling than others. The tent looked closed and yet I felt drawn to investigate a bit further, without startling the occupant/s. A voice called out as I approached and he opened the fly screen to reveal that he was inside. I apologised for being nosy and said that he may find it a bit odd as to why I was keen to speak with him. Brian, a Scottish fellow of about 40 years who lived close by was doing a bit of outdoor pursuits for a change, as his sister and mother were staying nearby at Robinhood's Bay I believe. I found Brian to be a very chatty and interesting guy, who quickly made me laugh and was able to engage me in some interesting thought honing. He has similar views to me on many subjects, though he didn't know that as I listened to him talking. I liked the way he found some very unusual but new ways to show analogy and illustrate his points of conversation.
For example, on the subject of the way tension existed between mankind and nations in general, he used the analogy of a molten core of the planet causing the plates to shift and release tension at the fault lines when they rubbed and moved against one another under immense pressures from above and below. So he explained that mankind was also like the shifting plates, where they met tensions would break into conflicts etc... Yes I was right there with him and fascinated at the new way to look at the old debate about human conflicts. The core underlying our struggles is also very fluctuating and dependent on local pressures can cause explosions of tension out into the world, much like so many current national situations around the globe.
We also talked about god, the universe and religion though briefly, as this can often be the real conversation stopper when two people feel the need to not have these views challenged. Not that either of us felt like this, but well, best to leave room for other topics. Brian was out of his tent now, but a lot of his clothes were wet and his boots were sopping wet, as too his socks. He didn't seem bothered to be avoiding the cow pats as we talked. He told me that when he had arrived last evening that there had been several large cows in the path ahead of him, so he had hopped over the fence to avoid their stamping him into the ground. I said that it would appear that there were also cows in the field in which he was, and as if to confirm this a lady with many dogs arrived and explained that he was in fact in her farm field and that indeed the cows were in that field too, though some way away. Brian nearly died from fright, that he could have been trodden to death during the night. The lady farmer was very polite and explained that he need be a bit more careful in future. Her dogs followed, bounding their way along the field behind her.
Brian quickly packed his tent up whilst I looked on, and asked if he too could walk a while with me. I got to telling him about my vision of the tent last evening and again this morning and also what part the Robin plays in all of this. He was fascinated to hear my grandmothers old wives tales, restored to 21st century reality. I felt compelled to mention something about angels to Brian and strangely enough, but not a surprise, he told me that he had written a book about angels and that he was in the process of getting it to the publishers. The story line sounded incredibly good, maybe not completely original but the detail certainly made me want to read the book asap.The characters I heard about were real people I had met over the years, but I was interested as to how they all fitted into this young mans tales and how the twists would reveal. (Listen Brian, you need to get this book finished, seriously, it will be a good story to read.)
We walked as far as the beach together, where the Cleveland way wound down into the valley and the path only exited at the beach. The steep steps were a bit tricky with my pack on, but the poles saved me a time or two. Brian was due to be meeting his family here soon, so we parted company and said our respective best wishes for each others onward journeys. I waved as I turned to leave, and was sure that I felt a strange thing occurring here, though couldn't determine exactly what. Maybe some things are not meant to be known I concluded.
I walked the few short minutes to the next seaside village alone and was smiling at my good fortunes and the way in which some things had been revealed to me during the mornings events.
I was now at Runswick Bay and there was a cafe at the front, the only one I could see actually but it was nice and I found a seat outside in the shade, a favoured spot as these past days temperatures were picking up. I ordered tea and a few sandwiches and sat enjoying the views. There were a small group of younger walkers here and we began a conversation easily, as my bag is quite a talking point. I actually think it is lighter than people think it is, but Ruth, her brother Julian and their friend Rick who all come from the Manchester area, top of the yorkshire moors I believe wanted to know how I managed to carry it as they were walking only with daypacks. I sometimes tell people the many wonderful experiences I have had so far, if they ask. Not to make anyone feel pressured to suddenly give me their kindness but to reveal just what others had done, and my appreciation for such acts of kindness. Julian said that he could offer me a packet of shortcake biscuits as a donation. I love these biscuits, and have wanted to buy some, but resisted so as to lose weight. But I cannot refuse a gift now can I? They were buying sun hats and spreading sun tan lotion as the weather had become a bit more like one would expect of a summer at the beach. I asked if any of them needed or wanted a walking pole as I had one to offer. Julian was made up for the exchange, though as I tried to explain, I was grateful of his gift and mine was not a response so much as a desire not to have to carry it on further..... We laughed..
They all said that they would try and check me out once they had gotten back to civilisation and I asked them to bear in mind, perhaps walking with me as and when I came around their neck of the woods in the autumn. I need to get this walking sorted out a bit more ahead of time or I will not actually get to have any walking partners in the spirit of the project, other than those that have randomly chosen to accompany me for short periods, which of course is also very important and I am more than pleased by those random takers. Like Jayne of Staythorpe, Dan Gosling, Brian the Scottsman, Christoff and Alexandra, Rosie at Horseshoe point, Bill, Levi from Hull, and my good friend Chris from Ravenscar.
I set off up the steep hills out of this small village and found the entrance to the Cleveland way at the side of a public house, but didn't stop for a drink. The walk took me back out to the cliffs and more incredible views of the bird and see life below.
Some way along the track as I rounded a corner I met with a couple of walkers, one carrying a hugs camera. Mike Harding (not the D.J) camera wielder and his friend Judith Scott both from Suffolk were here on a two week walking trip, though they were not doing one complete walk, just days out. Interestingly enough I spotted something about Judith that made me think of the Camino de Santiago and sure enough it turned out that she had indeed done the walk before, though not all at one time. Being teachers they have only the school breaks to use, but that had not been long enough for her to have done it all at once. Mike seemed to want to know more about this, but as yet had not been convinced to actually go and walk it himself. I hope that the chat we had may change his mind one day. We got carried away in conversation for some time, before we realised the day was getting along. They happened to mention that they had met a lady out walking her dogs who was staying at a camping site at the next village of Staithes. Maybe I should think about this option as I arrive there, was my thought. A hot shower would go down well with my aching back and knees. Today had been a bit rough with the inclines and steps on my fragile joints.
As I came along to the next bay I met a couple walking their dog and shared a very pleasant walk to Staithes with Liz and Marie from Ellerby. Being from the locality they helped me find the right paths to the small village where apparently captain James T Kirk, sorry James Cook, had been brought up as a lad and learned to sail. You know the famous captain of the Bark Endeavour. Staithes was also once, (some hundreds of years ago I fear) the largest fishing port in England. Hundreds of Cobles (a type of fishing boat with a small sail) were launched everyday and much tradition for the seafaring life was and is modeled on what took place here, even the smuggling..........OOh argh me hearties..... Jim lad.....
Oops sorry I got carried away there....
The campsite was back at the top of the next summit and I made it just as the rain looked like it might come. It didn't thankfully but I got the tent up in a very waterlogged field and made my way to the local public house for something to eat. I briefly met Marge the teacher from Ambleside as I set off and we chatted about the joys of camping, though she had a campervan now as it was far more comfortable than hard and wet floors. (I know what she means....) The Captain Cook was a nice friendly sort of place and hardly anyone was frequenting it at that moment, so I was able to get a bit done with my writing. The fish and chips smelt lovely, but I decided to go for the Chili con carne as the weather had turned a bit cooler now. Ooh the food was absolutely fantastic and they brought hot bread with it....such a great way to end the day.
A man who had recently sat opposite me looked very interested in what I was doing and we struck up a conversation about just about everything. Richard was the assistant harbour master from Whitby along the coast, where I had been a few days ago. He was also full of knowledge which he gladly shared with me for free. I learned about Potash. Yeah what is that I hear you ask.... Well it is used as fertilizer and it comes out of the ground just along the road here at Boulby. I could see the mine head from the pub windows, it looked like a big plant. But apparently they dig it out of the ground over a mile down from the surface and almost 20 miles out to sea. I asked why the roof didn't cave in or it fill with water, showing my ignorance again, but it is apparently below a huge slab of rock and nestled between layers of salt. So there you go, and now you are as wise as me...!!
The cliffs at Boulby head, are apparently 640 feet high and the very top of the headland is 666 feet above sea level and this makes it the highest cliff on the East coast of Britain and the second highest on our island. Maybe the highest is Beachy Head???? TBC.
Richard who had been working for many years from the south of England on the Hamble river had recently gotten the job here as his wife needs more daily care and his traveling away had meant he was only home every other week. He had loved the sea and sailing his whole life, much like Captain Cook, but now he was here his desk job was not giving him as much freedom to sail as he would have liked. He was really a mind of information about so many things. He told me that Ellen Macarthur had once written about him briefly in one of her books, before she had been made a Dame. Poor man, now he has been emaciated in my writing too.... (Joke, sorry Richard) I liked very much the time he shared with me and all the things he was able to enlighten me on. I must pop by and see him at Whitby some time..
Soon it was time for me to get my rest as I had had a long day and now so many new and wonderful things experienced.
The tent hadn't blown away yet so I was fine to sleep in the comfort of my meager arrangements. The shower had been a gift and now I was ready for the dreams to come.
Day 28 comes to an end.