12 miles

My British friend, Jean, had offered to drive us from her home in Rufford, Lancashire to the C2C trail’s eastern terminus at Robin Hood’s Bay, about a 3-hour drive. After the 12 hour flight from San Francisco to Manchester, Leslie (my son’s mother-in-law), my mother and I had a brief visit in Rufford where Jean was ready to drive the final leg north to the trailhead. Quite jetlagged, we did our best to stay awake as we traveled. However, Robin Hood’s Bay was such an interesting, quaint village that our foggy brains cleared, and we were ready to explore the myriad of tiny streets winding through the little coastal town. After bidding Jean and my mother good-bye, Leslie and I spent an enjoyable afternoon wandering the little lanes of this charming village. Smuggling was a community activity here during the 18th-century and apparently there is a network of tunnels under the community connecting many of the houses and enabling the locals in their “craft”.

Robin Hood’s Bay

We stayed at our first B&B of this trip, The Villa, at the top of town with the very hospitable Jane as our host, getting up early the next morning, excited and ready to go.

Leslie and me ready for our adventure

This trail’s hiking traditions include a proper initiation to the path. The hiker is expected to start from the actual coast by stepping in the sea and collect a small stone to carry throughout the hike. Returning this stone to the sea at the far end of the hike while standing in that sea is the traditional (and only acceptable) completion of the path. So, in order to keep with this tradition, we walked down through Robin Hood’s Bay to the sea that lapped up on the boat ramp. We touched our boots into the water and collected a tiny stone to carry to St. Bees where it would be thrown in the Irish Sea.

Toe tap at the boat ramp in Robin Hood’s Bay

The trailhead for the Coast to Coast Path was back up at the top of the village, so taking one last look at this wonderful village, we walked up the street and prepared to jump on the trail.

Trailhead of the Coast to Coast Path

And what a day to walk – a beautiful, blue bird day! The blue sea and amber gorse made a stunning backdrop for the trail.

North Sea coastline

Turning to the west, we left the coast behind and quickly were in sheep country (really, most of England seems to be sheep country).

Ewe and twin lambs

A good portion of the day was spent walking through the Sneaton Low Moor, the first of many moors, which are large areas of open, uncultivated upland. These moors are a little dreary, but still interesting. We came upon a group of people making a board walkway across a wet section covered in underbrush. Just as I took a step, I looked down and, to my horror, I was about to step on an adder, England’s only poisonous snake. I am terrified of snakes and knowing this one was poisonous did not help my state of mind. Once I had regained my composure, one of the workers came up to me and said, “you are so fortunate to have seen one of our adders, they are shy and are rarely seen.” Not so lucky, to my way of thinking! At least, I thought to myself, the odds were slim that I would see another of these creatures.

One of the highlights of the day was Littlebeck Wood, a 65-acre woodland that abounds in floral and fauna. May Beck is the brook that accompanies a portion of the path.

Leslie alongside May Beck

A unique manmade formation in the midst of the wood is the Hermitage, a very large boulder with a room carved into it. The initials G.C. 1790 are carved above the entrance. It is believed that the initials are those of George Chubb, an out of work seaman who may have been commissioned to do the carving by a good-hearted philanthropist.

The Hermitage

We were delighted to find a cute cottage, Midge Hall, that was serving tea in the midst of the forest. It was perfect timing for a well-earned rest, since Leslie had begun to suffer from foot and knee pain.

Tea at Midge Hall

Leaving Littlebeck, we climbed the hillside to find our B&B for the evening, Intake Farm. A glance behind us revealed a pleasant view of our morning’s woodland walk.

View back to Littlebeck Wood and farmland

There was no way that we were going to sneak up on this farm. Their Border Collie watched us very carefully! (I was, of course, reminded of our Border Collie at home in California and missed him all the more.)

Dog watcher

Judith, our host at Intake Farm, was a delight. At her direction we set our packs down (after taking off our boots…a requirement at all B&Bs) and entered her kitchen, where we sat around her kitchen table. As she chatted and served us tea and cake, Judith made us feel right at home at this most congenial B&B. When dinner was provided, all her guests sat around one big table enjoying the wonderful fellowship we came to enjoy and anticipate in other B&B’s to come.

Judith at Intake Farm

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