Cleveland Way #6 – Skelton to Staithes

Back on the road again! There are no other guests at breakfast this morning so landlady Pat comes over for a chin wag. She is hosting an annual charity event at the pub in aid of the rescue helicopter and confides that she was once rescued herself after injuring herself on a nearby cliff path. In fact the path I will be taking today…

By the time I’m packed and leaving cakes and garden produce have materialised on the tables downstairs. Most exciting is the appearance of huge cardboard cheques to be held up in publicity photographs once the amount raised is known. It turns out you can just walk into a bank and they will give these to you!

Saltburn Pier near the start of the walk
Saltburn Pier near the start of the walk

Departure from the Wharton Arms feels somewhat strange. I arrived out of a storm an exhausted drowned rat but depart refreshed into clear blue sunny skies to the chimes of Sunday church bells. What a difference two days make, as the unimaginative B-side to a song once went.

The wooden footpath to Saltburn is littered with debris from Fridays flooding plus a few residual puddles. After a brief detour to pick up some lunch my abused “back” legs haul me up yet another hill, this time to Hunt Cliff with panoramic views south over Saltburn.

My face in the way of a good view
My face in the way of a good view

I have been looking forward to the coastal path and it was worth the wait, with endless sea to my left, perfect golden fields to my right and a gently undulating footpath in between.

Olympic funded art on the coastal trail
Olympic funded art on the coastal trail

It’s a surprise to see a railway track so close to the cliff edge and my Cleveland Way guide book explains that this belongs to a mining company. Iron stone has long been extracted here but now it is an unattractive steel works that dominated the landscape at Skinningrove. There have been far more walkers on this stretch than I have seen so far, plus a flick of bird watchers for good measure.

Iron-rich stone
Iron-rich stone

Skinningrove itself seems to be a Mecca for dog walkers with the beach alive with happy hairing hounds who are making the most of this giant play area.

Old boat at Skinningrove
Old boat at Skinningrove

A mile after lunch tiredness kicks in and a bench on the headland tempts me into a lie down under the cloudless blue sky. Without realising it I nod off and awake from a loud snoring doze just as some walkers pass by.

Alum heritage
Alum heritage

The following 4 miles to Staithes are characterised by former alum quarries and coastal erosion, as witnessed when my road simply ran out.

Road to nowhere
Road to nowhere

I have heard that Staithes is very quaint and so it proves to be, reminding me of a Cornish fishing village with its narrow quirky alleyways and old stone buildings. Finding my B&B is easy. My landlady tells me this is the newest cottages in old Staithes harbour, which still makes it over 100 years old. It’s a lovely cosy B&B with a nautical theme and a random low ceilinged layout as quirky as Staithes itself.

Staithes - click to enlarge
Staithes – click to enlarge

Out into Staithes for a few pictures before the light fails. There’s a film crew recording the CBBC kids programme Old Jack’s Boat. The producer and crew pile into the pub I’m in – the Cod And Lobster – to wind down and plan tomorrows filming schedule. It’s only after a while that I realise I’m drinking an ale called Old Jack’s Tipple. According to the producer there are other tie-ins around the village. It’s reminiscent of Balamory/Tobermory.

Bay at high tide - click to enlarge
Bay at high tide – click to enlarge

Tis a perishing cold night as I crawl back up the hill to my lodgings. Staithes has captured my imagination and I plan to take a more thorough look in daylight.


Here’s today’s walk in point form…

In a nutshell
After 5 days on the moors comes the coastal section of the walk

High point
Lovely Staithes living up to it’s reputation

Low point
Absolutely none

Looking ahead
Whitby – one of my favourite places

Daily Stats
Stage  6 – Skelton to Staithes
Distance  12.2 miles Speed  2.6 mph
Lowest  138ft Highest  843ft
Ascent  823ft Descent  1207ft

…and the route taken…

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