After a good journey, we arrived at the Victorian resort of Saltburn-by-the-Sea to sunshine and blue skies. We were greeted by Alice and Judy who had already walked the inland section of the Cleveland Way – mostly in the rain!
This was a walk that had something for everyone whether you were interested in history, industrial history, archaeology, geology, flowers, photography, landscape, birds - the list seemed endless and every day became a voyage of discovery which someone in the group knew something about.
Leaving Saltburn-by-the-Sea, we passed the site of a Roman signal station dated 367AD, which has now disappeared over the cliff edge. A similar site was originally built at Ravenscar.
The villages we walked through were historically interesting particularly Staithes with its tales of smugglers, fishermen and being the home of Captain Cook.
Evidence of the use of the Cleveland Ironstone was present in the landscape with old quarries and a steelworks at Skinningrove. Cliffs in the area were formed of slag from steelworks which had originally been in a molten state, then solidified and were now covered in vegetation. Overgrown quarries also indicated old alum works and there were ruins of the Peak Alum works just past Robin Hoods Bay. Approaching Staithes we passed the Boulby Potash Mine. In some areas we walked parallel to a dismantled railway line which provided easier walking if you wanted to avoid the ups and downs.
The whole of the coast in this area is geologically interesting with rocks aged from 204 million years overlain by drift from the last Ice Age. Fossils were abundant and of particular interest were the jet factories in Whitby.
The flowers along the cliff top made a dazzling backdrop to our walk. They included the common orchid. We saw so many of these that we decided we shouldn't call them common anymore. There were many species of birds and we particularly enjoyed seeing nesting kittiwakes on the cliffs.
Overall, our accommodation was good. Our stay at the Captain Cook in Staithes was disturbed by a rock band whose concert started at 9pm in the bar with the noise continuing until 1am.
Our thanks were given to everyone who had organised the holiday. We all agreed it was a great success and the Cleveland Way was a beautiful walk with spectacular scenery.
Written by Antoinette Pearson