We awoke to overcast skies and a definite chill in the air. It’s only June and we’re in layers and thick jumpers. We weren’t particularly quick this morning, but finally we got organised and decided to walk into Scarborough.
Opposite the campsite, across a busy road, was a footpath down the side of a wheat field that led down to the Cleveland Way path on top of the cliffs. Pertinent signs warned of erosion and to keep away from the edge. We peered cautiously over – it didn’t exactly plunge, but it was a series of steep drops down grassy slopes. Basically you wouldn’t stop until you thudded down at the waters edge in a messy heap. We kept The Dog on her lead and followed the grassy path, well away from the edge. It was very windy up here and the cold northerly wind was biting. We even had our hoods up! The cliff path snaked its way along the cliff before branching off and heading down between a series of gorse bushes and a set of dirt steps edged with stones and seriously plunged downwards. At the bottom, we crossed a little bridge across a small river pouring into the sea and hit the concrete promenade of Scarborough’s northern end of the North Shore.
The tide was coming in. We passed the Sea Life Centre and a sad crazy golf course, gone to rack and ruin. The promenade was wide and was a pleasant stroll. We dropped down onto a small patch of beach and let The Dog off for a bit of a run, but it didn’t last long as a sign, about 100 yards away, informed us “No Dogs allowed beyond this point”. So we clipped The Dog back on her lead, she not being very impressed by this at all and climbed back onto the promenade, alongside a long row of very brightly coloured beach huts. They were quite a stunning sight – most were locked up, but a few brave souls had opened theirs up, sitting under blankets and clutching hot mugs of tea, determined to enjoy their time on a cold windy summers day. Wouldn’t it be fun to own a beach hut? But they are very much in demand and their prices reflect that. Some are eye wateringly expensive – more than an average house sometimes for a glorified shed. But they’re very cute, with little kitchens – I don’t think there’s room to sleep in them!
Further along, a new apartment block had been built, curving around the corner with balconies to match. Below were trendy cafes and shops. I could almost live there, sipping coffee in the morning with glorious views over Scarborough and the sea. It looked very nice.
And then right next door, a wall of boarding surrounded a derelict site, neglected for several years by the looks of things. Years ago, if my memory serves me right, it was a small amusement/aqua park, but was obviously earmarked for greater things that obviously haven’t come to fruition. It was a slight blot on the landscape. Opposite, was Peaseholm Park, an oriental themed public park which improved my mood immensely. A lovely municipal park lovingly looked after with a large boating lake weaving its way through the centre, surrounded by pagodas and Japanese styled buildings. Just totally unexpected in an English Northern seaside town – a lovely diversion. Brim full with trees, shrubs and plants, it’s really quite a treat with a cafe and seating everywhere. It was a lovely stroll around the park, with paths heading off at all angles. It was very tranquil and well cared for.
We finally waddled out and crossed back over the road towards the Open Air Theatre. We followed the path, heading back towards Scalby. On one side was a low building which housed a cafe and other amenities while on the other side was a small miniature railway (the North Bay Heritage Railway) with an steam engine tugging a line of small wooden open carriages. It looked fun. We stopped at the cafe for coffee and pondered whether to have a ride on the train, but a quick investigation of prices (£3.50 and £1.50 for The Dog one way) and the length of it (1.4km) put us off it somewhat. So we sunk our coffees and continued walking up past the Open Air Theatre – a vast stand of seats facing a covered stage opposite that attract international stars to perform. I don’t know why but it made me giggle, the thought of the likes of Lionel Richie travelling the world, playing at Scarborough. On one level, it was fantastic that they could attract such artists, but the idea of touring New York, London O2 and other major venues and then Scarborough’s little open air theatre seemed quite funny. But I also loved the idea that Scarborough could make it happen and I liked this little town even more.
We walked on, following the railway line and eventually dropped back down onto the promenade by the Sea Life Centre. From here we retraced our steps, back up the steep dirt steps and back onto the cliff tops. We were now heading into the wind and met a couple more walkers facing the bracing wind. The Dog started to lag as we walked down the side of the wheat field, unsure whether she was actually tired or she didn’t want the walk to end. We kept encouraging her, but she hung back behind us, pretending to sniff and grabbing the odd blade of grass to chew. She had done well walking all that way for her age – we had walked a good 6 miles.
Later we decided to check out the Primrose Valley area and drove down through Scarborough and bypassed Filey. We drove down this dreadful road which was so riddled with badly repaired potholes that the original speed bumps weren’t really required. The road was full of detached properties set in big gardens, looking very upmarket and middle class and then around the corner was the infamous Primrose Valley caravan park, static caravan central, a sprawling metropolis of tin holiday homes as far as the eye could see. Owned by Haven Holidays, it’s like it’s own little self contained city. Such a contrast! We parked up on a large apron of tarmac overlooking the sea, a seemingly free car park which I thought was very generous really, considering. We walked along the path to a large meadow with paths mown through it which we followed until we did a little dog leg across a back road, down some steps and onto the path down to the beach. At the bottom, we were spat out onto another wonderful arc of cliffs, beach as far as the eye could see and crashing waves, throwing up a mist of sea spray. We walked towards Filey, The Dog enjoying yet another beach, amazed at the stunning scenery despite the cold overcast day. We wandered so far and then walked back, spotting a fantastic house sitting low in the cliffs, a tall Art Deco styled property painted white. It looked stunning. We had seen it before in a previous trip, but The Dog was wilting again and we trotted back up the path and across the meadow to the car. We drove slowly back to the campsite for tea and as the evening wore on, the sun finally broke up the clouds and we enjoyed a beautiful sunny end of the day.
It will an early start back home and reality tomorrow, but it was nice to revisit Scarborough again after several years of being distracted by other places.