Memory is a strange thing, isn’t it? I was sure I’d walked this walk with you, from Ruswarp to Whitby and back again. I even remember telling how I was like a drowned rat when the skies opened on the way back. Sitting in a puddle, eating a cheese sandwich and looking out of the pub window at the rain is not my idea of fun. The Guinness was good, but it was a sunny riverside setting I had in mind. Apparently my memory lies. Nowhere could I find that original post! Nor photos to accompany it. Strange tricks memory plays!
I walked this way again recently, with a sunnier ending, and this time I’m determined to share it with you. It’s tinged with sadness today, because it’s a year ago that Dad died. There was nothing he liked better, if he had company, than to whisk them into his car and off over the Moors to Whitby. Fish and chips and a pint and he was happy with life. He couldn’t walk far but was always fiercely independent (in a soft, gentlemanly way). The last time we were there together he parked the car on the cliff top. Somehow we ended up down at street level, and then were faced with the challenge of getting back up there again. I seriously doubted we’d ever make it but, with many pauses, we did.
Ruswarp is a charming village, a little over a mile inland from Whitby, along the River Esk. The Esk Valley Railway runs through the village and sometimes you’re treated to the sight and sound of steam. By the riverside you can hire rowing boats and canoes, and take canoeing lessons. This gentle walk is signposted off the main street and follows a stone pannierway, known locally as Monk’s Trod. Watch out for a bit of an uphill haul as you leave the river and approach Whitby, on the Esk Valley Walk.
You have a couple of choices for leaving the walk to enter Whitby. Last time I followed the Cinder Track but this time I opted for West Cliff. Either option will bring you close to Pannell Park and from there you’re close to the seafront, and the monument to the bombardment.
This is where Dad parked, close by the monument to James Cook, looking across to Whitby Abbey and near to the whalebone arch. I remember the relief with which he subsided onto a bench when we made it back up that cliff.
I was lucky to be heading downwards, admiring the views on the way. Into the ‘Screaming tunnel’, alleged to have been used by Dracula to frighten his victims, and out the other side. Best done in daylight.
Down on the harbourside the seagulls are in raucous control, while St. Mary’s church looks down with the serenity of centuries.
The swing bridge remains locked in position, while Whitby is full of its usual bustle. To escape the crowd for a while we duck into our favourite little eating place, tucked away in the quiet of Sander’s Yard. Healthy food, you’ll note! (I won’t show you his chips) And I only looked at the cup cakes.
Leaving the bucket and spade brigade behind, it’s time to carry on, past the marina and down to the very end of the car park. There you will find a footpath that runs between the railway and a boatyard. Hold on- you’re in for a treat! Look what’s coming!
It’s always a sight to gladden the heart, and I watch it disappear into the distance before turning my gaze back to the river. At this point we have lovely views back to Whitby, while ahead lies the 120 foot high viaduct, built to carry the Whitby-Scarborough railway. The route was closed in 1965 and the Cinder Track walking and cycling path I mentioned earlier now runs across it.
The River Esk was used to power corn mills in the village of Ruswarp, though the last closed in 1962. The weir built to channel water into a mill-race has been adapted to power a hydro-electric project on the south bank. As I follow the river, suddenly I can hear a whooping and a hollering. Looking over the hedge I’m amused to see what looks like a scene from ‘Swallows and Amazons’. The schoolkids are having a whale of a time.
I’m almost back to my start point when there’s the hoot of a whistle behind me. Spinning round I’m delighted to see the engine racing along, black steam pouring from its funnel. Steam trains don’t stop in Ruswarp, but slow at the level crossing where our trail ends.
Five minutes later and we’re back on the riverbank, where we began. I hope you enjoyed coming along with me.
Yesterday we did what Dad would have wanted. The family got together in a pub that he liked, and we talked and we laughed. It was easy to imagine him there with us. Today it’s all just memories. God bless, Dad!
Thank you all for your company. I hope you can find a little more time to visit these walks that people have kindly contributed. If you’d like to join in, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page. I’ll make you very welcome. Time to put the kettle on now.
Let’s start with an introduction. Melodie lives in Manchester and she loves tea :
You’ll enjoy Jude’s stroll in the YSP. I certainly did!
Maybe you should bring a blow-up boat for this walk with Violet :
Jackie’s raring to go, as ever! And well supplied :
Fitbits are all the rage, aren’t they? Marsha has it under control!
Sometimes you can simply overdo it. Believe me, Liesbet, I know!
Janet shares some fascinating details of this National Park :
While Lady Lee is living the good life!
You have to get up early for peace and quiet in Singapore, but you’ll be welcome to join Ju-Lyn :
Kathrin’s planning on some physical hiking in Yosemite. I’d love to join her :
While Woolly has some fun with the birds :
I’m ending today with my lovely friend, Gilly, showing us yet another side to beautiful Firenze :
Many thanks to you all, and wishing you a great week!