Walking the Cleveland Way in the Winter Sun
Posted on February 24 2017
The North York Moors has lots to offer the outdoors fan. From rolling moorland to huge plantations, from bubbling streams to secluded, hidden forests, not to mention the miles and miles of public footpaths, bridal ways and open access land. It really is one of England’s best outdoor playgrounds. The Yorkshire Coast is one such area, and like the Moor’s themselves, not nearly well known about nationally, (or used for that matter). I was lucky enough to get out in the unusually warm winter weather and walked from Hawsker Bottoms to Whitby and back. It was a great day to explore the magnificent views the coast had to offer, accessing the Cleveland Way, a national treasure in itself! While I did a there and back again walk, the coast offers many opportunities to do circular walks. This is mainly done by accessing the cinder track, (which was the old Scarborough to Whitby line). There are also many paths crossing between the two, giving endless possibilities. There’s quite a difference in the views and feel of the paths too. Be warned about the Cleveland way though, it’s got a deceptively large amount of ascent in, so its quite a demanding path on the legs, (and arms if your using walking poles, my Leki poles came in very handy).
I did the walk in part as my role as a volunteer ranger, (hence, in part, the there and back again, as it gives me a better chance to assess the path and address any issues). The path, due to its location and national trail status is well maintained by the National Park. However, the going can be muddy and slippy at times. There are also some very exposed cliff edges, so caution is advised in many places. But these tend to give the sea views.
The Nature on the coast was great to see too. The sea gulls where courting and building their relationships before breeding. It was great to see them preening each other and preparing for spring. The coast is so full of life, from great bird populations, to some large mammals, not only Roe deer can be spied in the green spaces, but out to sea, grey seals can be seen bobbing in the waters and there are colonies along the coast. There’s also a wealth of wild plants to see, with some wonderful foraging opportunities. With my Trailblazer Wildcraft Bushcraft hat on, I can spend hours identifying useful species and carefully collecting the ones in abundance for personal use.
As a final thought, the other reason I did a there and back again was to keep the walk shorter than I would normally do. I have had the dreaded winter cold and this year it was a bad one! My normal pace was slowed and a short steep section felt like a log haul and got me sweating buckets! I was very thankful for my full Paramo, (jacket and trousers), and my Deuter bag’s air back system. They managed to keep my moisture moving away from my skin, keeping me dry and avoiding feeling the cold. This is the great thing about quality kit built for purpose; it keeps your body happy so you can enjoy your walk.
Hope you all managed to get some of the winter sun!
Enjoy your outdoors time,