The Coast to Coast

Walked in August 2008

Day 14 – Friday 29th August

Robin Hood’s Bay - London

We were up in good time to walk back to Robin Hood’s Bay and up to the top of town to catch the bus to Scarborough where we’d be getting a train back to London. We stopped at a bakery to get a couple of sweet treats for breakfast then ate them while we waited. When the bus arrived it was already full with the blue rinse brigade. I’ve got nothing against retired folk using their free bus passes to go out for day trips (I’d make good use of it), but when they monopolise the service so that tired walkers (some with injuries) have to stand for the best part of an hour with their packs still on and their feet throbbing and screaming at them, the whole idea can begin to seem rather foolhardy. I think it’s probably the only time in my life that I genuinely thought an elderly person should give up their seat for someone younger. Ridiculous I know, but I was in pain! Darryl tried to engage me in conversation about my writing, but I was fed up at having to stand and always feel self-conscious when discussing such things with other people around so I mumbled a few quick responses and hoped he’d give up. He must have thought I was being a right miserable sod. Which I was. Thank God he put up with it.

The bus rattled along winding country lanes and eventually (thank God) delivered us to Scarborough which was already bustling. We dropped our bags by a bench in a small park. Darryl said he’d go and have a look for shops, cafes and the train station while I sat and read. When he returned he said there was a greasy spoon cafe nearby where we could get ourselves a good breakfast, so we hoisted our bags and walked down the road to it. Entering the cafe we were hit by a cloud of heat. You could almost see the grease in the air - it was palpable. We sat at a table and ordered two egregious breakfasts and cups of tea and coffee which we devoured by watching the world go by outside through the shimmering grease haze. When we were done we headed off to the train station and were still fairly early so while Darryl guarded the bags I went off to buy a magazine and another drink. I got back to find the train would be delayed by an hour which really annoyed us, especially as the cause seemed to be the arrival at the station of an old steam engine. Tourists cooed over it and took photographs while we fantasised about blowing the bloody thing up or having a huge helicopter come and pick it up and dump it in the North Sea. Eventually our train arrived and we scrambled on board, the whole thing being about as organised and dignified as a rugby scrum. I have a vague memory of that trip, but I think the train filled up very quickly and Darryl and I had to sit on our packs in one of the doorways for the whole trip. I hope it wasn’t like this because it sounds like a miserable end to the trip, but it is believable.

Arriving back in London we said our farewells and shook hands, congratulating each other on accomplishing our task. It had been a lot harder than we had expected, proving yet again that these walks can really surprise you in terms of what they demand from you, especially when you’re carrying everything on your back. We both headed home pondering what we would do next. The West Highland Way had been suggested, and I was quite interested in doing the GR20 route across Corsica. As long we could find somewhere nice to walk, it didn’t really matter where it was. Maybe we could find somewhere a little flatter...

The End.


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