Our 1st day back in the North York Moors – a day on the coast

We arrived back in the North York Moors fresh from falling in love with the Yorkshire Dales.  We found ourselves in a place called Great Ayton which turned out to have strong links to Captain James Cook, celebrated 18th century explorer, owing to the fact that he went to school here and lived nearby.

Our campsite was a working farm at the end of a lane, as so many of the best ones have been on this trip!  We spent the 1st afternoon settling in and the 2nd day was set aside to visit the coast.

After Guisborough we headed down one of the roads across the moors before heading across to Runswick Bay, which is just north of Whitby.  We headed down the, really very steep, road to the bay itself looking for parking that didn’t involved having to climb back up this road!  Massive fail…  That’s not to say there wasn’t parking; there was; however we weren’t happy with the cost of £2 per hour (parking could easily be our biggest cost on this trip), so we went back up to the top (I wasn’t entirely sure that the little white car would make it!) and parked for free.

Steps have been provided on the hill to make the walk up easier.  They were very shallow though which was a little awkward walking down, although still easier than walking down the slope!)  On the way back up though they were an absolute godsend!

The main photo shows the view of the bay from about halfway down.  There is a lovely sandy beach, a pub, a café, walks and many places to stay 🙂  You will find a charming cluster of houses on the edge of this steep hillside.  The village was originally sited a little further north, but had to be rebuilt in it’s current location due to a rock fall.  Erosion is still an issue but these days there are more sea defences.

Another thing to note is that there is a lifeboat but it’s not RNLI as would normally be expected – it’s a local rescue service known as the RBRB.

Click here for a couple more pieces of information on Runswick.

The Cleveland Way, which starts in Filey, passes along the coast as far as Saltburn on Sea (so all the places we were visiting today) and then heads inland to skirt the edge of the moor before heading along the southern edge into Helmsley (which we visited on a different day).  It was being well used the day we visited 🙂

Our next stop was Staithes via Port Mulgrave which we completely missed (we should have stopped and walked!)  Port Mulgrave was actually abandoned in 1916.  I wish we’d seen it for ourselves 🙂

Next stop was Staithes where we had no choice but to pay for parking at the top of the hill and walk down – just £1.50 this time.  After another steep walk down to the village we found an old fishing village, another with links to Captain James Cook – he was apprenticed to a grocery store near the harbour.  There was a nice enough beach here, a pub, art galleries (there are a number of artists in residence) and lots of narrow alleys.

Again a good place to spend a pleasant hour or so.

On the way to Saltburn from here we took the coast road through a place called Skinningrove.  There was stunning scenery as we approached but unfortunately the town itself was rather depressing, a great shame as it’s in such a lovely location.

The next decision was straight to Redcar, which was our original destination after all, or stop by Saltburn on the way.  We very nearly didn’t swing by Saltburn – I don’t know why but I had a feeling it would be somewhat disappointing….  How wrong could I be??!!

Saltburn by the Sea was absolutely charming!  A steep windy road takes you in, which we followed until we were at the top of the cliff, where we found another furnicular!  We chatted to the guy operating it at the top and watched it’s operation.  It’s the last remaining cliff tram that still uses water to operate!  We decided to walk down the steps to the promenade, look at the pier and take the ‘cliff lift’ back up (I think it was about £1 each).

At sea level there is a pier, a small amusement arcade, crazy golf, beach huts, café, toilets (best seaside toilets I have ever seen) and outside showers.  To top it all there were horses riding on the beach and surfers running out into the waves 🙂

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This was such a delightful way to end our day, that, although we did drive to Redcar, we carried on through as it didn’t seem to have as much charm as it’s near neighbour.  And we were getting tired!

There is far less going on in Saltburn than in Scarborough or even Filey, but the beach is probably better and I think we could quite happily spend a hot summer’s day here 🙂

Next up I’ll either be telling you all about a couple of walks we took, or 1 of our drives through the moors (including visits to Helmsley, Goathland (aka Aidensfield)), our discovery of old mine kilns high in the moors or a trip across the Tees on the Transporter Bridge – I haven’t decided yet!

Keep travelling 🙂




Author: MandoraTheExplorer

Having given up full-time work we currently work a year to travel for 4-5 months, and we're hoping to continue this until we can retire properly! Currently living, and loving, life to the full :)


memories and moments spent travelling



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