|Saltburn to Port Mulgrave (17 km)|
The old part of Staithes nestled under Cowbar Nab
A wonderful introduction to the dramatic sea cliffs on England's eastern coast - including its highest point on Rock Cliff near Boulby. The classic North Sea fishing village of Staithes is encountered and you even get to walk along a sandy beach. A warning is in order: remember that falling off 100 metre high cliffs is not healthy - keep away from the edge, beware of slippery paths and occasional slumping. Also be careful when taking routes along the shoreline (except where shown in guidebooks) - an incoming tide is nothing to fool about with when there are few escape routes.
|Brydene Guest House||B&B||01287 622653|
|The Spa Hotel||Hotel||01287 622544|
The first task is to gain the sea front of Saltburn by following the zigzags of the A174 road down from the road (steps form short-cuts for the bends). Past the beached fishing boats, the bridge over Skelton Beck and the historic Ship Inn (famous for smuggling connections), the Cleveland Way climbs steps onto the cliff edge leading to Hunt Cliff. A gentler rise leads to Hunt Cliff and the site of a Roman signal station (marked by a plaque). A mineral railway line serving the Boulby potash mine (passed further along the way) is meet and accompanies us on the right for about 500 metres or so. After the path has swept around the arc of Hunt Cliff, the edge is regained and followed until a set of steps takes it steeply down to Cattersty Sands. You may find it easier to walk out to the high water mark and pick up firmer sand for the trek down to the jetty.
Skinningrove village is barely entered before a steep path goes back up to the tops. The village is a strange mix of fishing and mining with the boats often parked near Kilton Beck and the terrace houses built when the "iron rush" of 1847 caused an influx of workers for the nearby mine and (now demolished) blast furnaces. The modern steelworks still give an industrial cast to the view back over the village.
|Rock Cliff to Boulby and Staithes|
The path along Hummersea Cliff all too soon leaves the cliff edge to take a path further inland. However in another kilometre the cliff top is regained above the extensive former workings of alum quarries - these remains are followed for the next 2 kilometres. At Rock Cliff (203 metres above sea level) there is an interpretive plaque overlooking the Boulby Alum Quarries. Further on the path begins to gently descend to the buildings at Boulby and there is a great view down the coast to the modern cliff top parts of Staithes.
|Grey Stones||B&B||01947 841694|
|Harbour Side||B&B||01947 841296|
Two country lanes separated by fields take the Cleveland Way to the houses on top of Cowbar Nab. The old part of Staithes is nestled in the shelter of Cowbar Nab and in the tiny inlet of Staithes Beck. The lane from Cowbar drops steeply and gives a dramatic and often photographed view over the village. You will usually find a fleet of gaily painted Yorkshire cobles (pronounced 'cobbles') sheltered in the beck - these sturdy boats have a pedigree stretching back to the Viking long-boats. There is a connection to Captain James Cook here - his first job was behind the counter of a local merchant's shop (demolished by the sea in the 18th century). North Sea storms have remodelled the sea front of Staithes several times - the Cod and Lobster Inn has been rebuilt three times (the latest time in 1953).
The Cleveland Way continues by twisting up a narrow lane (Church Street) until the houses are left behind further up the hillside. A fork to the left is taken and leads over the fields to meet the cliff edge again. An easy kilometre later Port Mulgrave is reached. The tiny forlorn harbour below was built in 1874 to transport ironstone ore from the Grinkle mines, 5 kilometres inland (the ore reached the harbour by a series of tunnels, the outlet of which is now sealed). The iron ore was shipped for use in the manufacture of ships on the Tyne. The harbour closed in 1917 when the railway reached the mines. Its breakwater was demolished in order to prevent any German invasion force effecting a landing in World War 2 and erosion has taken its toll. My accommodation for the night was at the Ship Inn 500 metres along a lane pointing away from the coast.