Thursday, 3 April 2014

A Magical, Misty Tour

Was undecided where to visit yesterday - torn between somewhere on the main-line to York, or heading up the disused tracks towards Whitby. After much deliberation - and realisation that the former would require a bus trip (a feat for which I was not mentally prepared) - I decided that, despite the light sea-fret I would opt to have a gentle stroll up to Cloughton and back.

After a hearty breakfast, of an out-of-date bagel and cream cheese - seriously, do those things ever go off? - I headed out, via the shop for the required pack of fags, and onto the abandoned trackbed behind Sainsbury's. The first section out of Scarborough is populated mainly by dogwalkers, of both the old-lady variety and the chav-towing-an-evil-killer variety, so consequently there tends to be a liberal sprinkling of turds to watch out for. Watch your step...

Just after the playing fields, which have replaced the Northstead Carriage Sidings, light entertainment was provided by a deceased trampoline, upturned across the path like some sort of alien spaceship- presumably blown out of some council-house back garden - but thankfully, just as I was pondering how to get past it, a gang of burly blokes carrying tractor tyres appeared, and lobbed it into a hedge. I'm not sure if they were from a gym, or the local TA centre, but their muscly thighs provided much needed visual entertainment for a short while before I crossed the viaduct to Scalby.
Scalby Viaduct, from the riverbank below

Ah, Scalby. What a disappointment you are... Now don't get me wrong, Scalby as a village is very pretty, with nice pubs, a nice church, a nice red phone box, a nice war-memorial with nice flowers round it. Unfortunately, the station (Closed in 1953) with it's nice stone buildings and nice little hump backed bridge covered in nice ivy, was purchased by Scarborough Council, and demolished in the 1970s, and now looks like this:
A suitable grimace in Scalby.
I pressed on, away from this disappointing scene, into open countryside, hoping for some rural pleasantness, but alas it was not to be - the light sea-fret was turning into more substantial mist. The lack of view, due to the weather, and the arrow-straight route of the trackbed towards Burniston, combined to make the next section BORING! Luckily, there was a pleasant snail for light relief.

A dull bit, behind the rugby club
A nice snail

My arrival at Cloughton cheered me up - it always does. The station buildings, which closed in 1965, have been turned into a tea-room, with a garden between the platforms, and even a railway carriage to stay in. They even have station cats! The present owners must be commended for making it so lovely, and they do very good teacakes too. If you're in the area, it's definitely worth a visit.

Cloughton makes me smile - and I only look partially idiotic - Double win!
So. Either I'd been walking very quickly, or I had completely misjudged the distance, but by this point it was only an hour and a quarter since I left my house. It wasn't too cold - yeah it was foggy but at least it wasn't raining. I just wasn't ready to just head back straight away, so I checked my handy OS map (absolutely filthy from where I overwatered the geranium and muddy water seeped all over the dining table where it lay) - Hayburn Wyke wasn't much further on.  I've been to Hayburn Wyke several times before - but the actual timings and distance are always a bit hazy in my memory, due to the proximity of the pub. This time though I only had £1.70 in my pocket so didn't get a pint - they do take cards, but only for purchases over a tenner (I made that mistake once before and ended up weighed down with peanuts, scampi fries, pork scratchings, and a cigar, just to make it up to to the right amount...)

Not a great deal left to see of the station, which closed in 1965 - just a platform, covered in weeds and shrubs, a bit of fencing, and the odd lamp post, but still, at least it's not as crap as Scalby.
Hayburn Wyke: Gardener required?
At this point, I still wasn't tired enough to turn back, so once more, out came the grubby map, and again it told me the next station wasn't very far away - just tantalisingly round the next bend! The route took me deeper into the mists - which could probably now be classed as fog - through some woods, and indeed there all of a sudden was Staintondale! The map was speaking the truth!
Staintondale (Or Stainton Dale. You decide...)
Staintondale station is just as attractive as Cloughton, but it's now just someone's house, so don't go knocking on the door asking for a cup of tea, or they'll set the hounds on you. Or maybe an angry chicken.
I'd love to live somewhere like this - it'd be fantastic. Apart from the lack of shops and services nearby, obviously. And the terrible public transport links, meaning I'd have to learn to drive. And the cyclists, horseriders and hikers passing my front windows... Perhaps I'll stick where I am after all...

Bent Rigg Lane overbridge
At this point I thought to myself, "I've come this far, I might as well continue to Ravenscar, and get the bus back" - after all it was only a mile or so to go - almost exactly half-way between Scarborough and Whitby. I trailed on, through the fog (or was it just cloud now? I was after all, several hundred feet higher than at the start), occasionally getting a curious feeling of being watched (just sheep, or the odd horse). Just as I reached the platforms, of the bleak remains of Ravenscar (also closed in 1965) I had a sudden flash of memory - the bus service was to be axed at the beginning of April. What day was it today? The 2nd April... Balls...
The view is lovely. Apparently.

So my only option (apart from a ludicrously expensive taxi, or stealing a horse) was to repeat the 10 miles back the way I'd just come... Oops.

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