(First leg of English coastal walk – Broadstairs in Kent to Berwick at the border with Scotland).
Map: L/R 101 and 94
Distance: about 10 miles
Difficulty: Moderate. Energetic cliff walking – a few steep climbs.
Terrain: mainly cliff paths, some pavements
Access: parking at both ends
Public transport: train at Scarborough and 115 bus runs Scarborough to Ravenscar – check the times - only about 3 a day each way.
Before leaving Scarborough I would like to mention the theatre and cricket. The Stephen Joseph theatre, opposite the railway station, is well worth a visit if you have the time. It is strongly connected with the renowned playwright Alan Ayckbourn who lives in the town. His plays are regularly premiered here (should you be lucky enough to catch one). The theatre, named after a much revered director, is ‘in the round’. We saw a very enjoyable production of The Mikado set against a background of cricket (the Scarborough cricket festival being a very popular event featuring the county team).
Re-join the walk at the North Bay of Scarborough. One of the features that impressed me about the resort was the care taken to make the frontage look clean and attractive. The town dates back to the mid tenth century. It suffered from many Viking raids and was burnt down prior to the Norman invasion, only recovering in the reign of Edward 11. In the middle ages the famous Scarborough Fair lasted for six weeks and people flocked here from all over Europe.
As you walk along the front look out for the train that runs along the edge of the sands and what appears to be a defunct ‘ski lift’ type contraption to the cliff tops. At the end of the bay is the Sea Life Centre – follow the path up the cliff. The walk continues along the cliff tops following the Cleveland Way. The attractive coast includes Scalby Ness Rocks and the ominous sounding Sailors’ Grave! At Long Nab there is a coastguard station built in 1927 and a mine shelter erected in 1939. The latter was to protect the coastguards during World War 2; its main function was to look for mines and torpedoes. During the Cold War it was linked to the Nuclear Warning System.
Continuing north, the walk passes through the peaceful areas of Cloughton Wyke and Hayburn Wyke. A ‘wyke’ is a Yorkshire word for a small sheltered bay. At Hayburn Wyke the cliffs give the wooded glen a lot of shelter. Ash, hazel, hawthorn and various mosses and ferns abound in this area which is managed by the National Trust. Along this stretch you will notice a lookout and some grey buildings set up on the hill behind some barbed wire. During the Second World War this site helped detect invading German ships and aircraft. It was built in 1940 and was one of many around the coast. The radar building, generator and transmitter have been preserved as ancient monuments. It was staffed by up to 30 people who had overnight accommodation in basic huts – I think it is these that you can see at the top of the field.
At Ravenscar there is a gap where you can walk to some good tearooms - these were once part of a hotel. The name of Ravenscar may have come from invading Danes in the 3rd century who had images of ravens on their standards. Prior to this the Romans had built a signal station on the headland. At the beginning of the twentieth century developers tried to build a resort here, however few people bought the plots of land and the plans failed. Even plans to build a rail link failed to attract. The winter weather was thought to put people off – it was called ‘the place that never was'.
The photos show: A view of the north bay of Scarborough from the path leaving northwards, the coastguard station and mine shelter at Long Nab and Hayburn Wyke.