With renewed energy I start this new day. I’m looking forward to a challenging and exciting cliff walk to Staithes. Coming down from Saltburn town to sea level, the England Coast Path is joined by the Cleveland Way. Right from the start it’s a steep climb up to about 150 metres. On a very muddy path. This turns out to be the theme of the day.
Today I have to leave my wonderful B&B in Hartlepool. With pain in my heart, because it was such a nice, warm, welcoming place. I decide not to walk along the river Tees, because of all the heavy industry and only paved paths probably, which is bad for my foot. So I go by train back to the coast path at the coastal town of Redcar.
Hartlepool is a lovely town with distinct Dutch influences, which struck me immediately when I arrived here on Friday. The buildings of the Royal Navy Museum could have been relocated houses from Amsterdam, Delft or Leiden.
I start off on the wrong foot thinking it’s a little less cold than yesterday, so I don’t put on my extra legging, underneath my trousers. That’s a misjudgment because it’s even colder. Many roads and paths are still covered with a thin layer of white frost, which gives it a beautiful, but also slippy look. Apart from that, I miss bus 23 to Easington (long story), so I take bus 24 to Horden to start the coast path from there. Well that’s the plan anyway.
Just before sunrise, during rush hour I’m back on the road. First I have to make my way through the more deprived areas and industrial estates of Sunderland. The council made an effort to create a pretty look along the river banks, but up here in the southern part of the city it’s a very bleak picture. Fortunately I have to keep my eyes peeled to the ground, because most pavements have become ice tracks and I also have to slalom around many dog poo heaps. But I don’t pay enough attention to the ECP signs and so I miss one.
Have you ever been in a Hotel or Inn where you were all on your own, no one else around, just you. It’s very uncanny and not normal is it? It is what I experienced this morning. Yesterday I ordered breakfast to have this morning at 8.30. But when I come down this morning, there’ s nobody there, anywhere. Not in the restaurant (which is locked), not in the bar, not in the lobby.
I must be crazy, going on a coastal walk in the middle of winter. The freezing, cold wind blowing straight through me (which I love actually), the short hours of daylight are not ideal. Truth is, I just have to do this. January is dragging me down (again), even before it has properly started, on new years eve. Starting a new year is like staring into a black hole. I need a change of scenery, need to be moving, in nature, away from too much comfort, meet challenges, new places and people.
Het geeft me een weemoedig gevoel als ik een plek moet verlaten waar ik van houd. Maar ik verlang er ook naar om terug te gaan naar de mensen waar ik van houd. Dus het voelt heel dubbel om vandaag terug te reizen naar Nederland.
Het wordt tijd om afscheid te nemen. Morgen ga ik weer met de ferry van Newcastle naar IJmuiden. Maar er knaagt nog iets in mijn achterhoofd. Vorige week heb ik namelijk bij Dunbar het stukje kust rondom het John Muir Country Park overgeslagen. Deels omdat het te ver was om in een keer door te lopen naar North Berwick, deels omdat het vlak kweldergebied is en dat vind ik niet zo spannend.
Vandaag ga ik wat anders doen. Ik heb even genoeg van pittoreske vissersdorpjes en misschien mijn lezers ook wel, dus trek ik de heuvels in. Ik ga de East Lomond Hill beklimmen. Een mooie bult midden in Fife van 434 meter hoog.