- Chris Jones
Day 18. Mon 23 Jan. Whitby to Port Mulgrave.
"Tell me why, I don't like Mondays, tell me why"... Despite being an 80's brat, I wasn't a big fan of the Rats but that Irish pillock did ask a pertinent question didn't he ? I know it's not just me either and clearly it's mostly just a mind set but why... I was brought up with a strict routine on Sundays, uniforms ready, shoes polished, homework books all packed ready for school (the homework being done was another matter entirely) but the books were packed. Bath and hair washed and an early night so we were ready for the new week. I know my wife Michelle was brought up exactly the same and we continued the ritual with our three kids so it must have been right. Even now there's something deeply set in our minds, we can't go out to the pub on a Sunday night, it's a school day tomorrow !!!
Well, me and David nipped round to his local pub in Ruswarp on Sunday night for a couple of pints, 4 pints later (I always was crap at maths) we were home, bags packed and ready for an early start in the morning.
And, for the first time, in a long time, I didn't have that horrible feeling about it being Monday morning... maybe I'm cured... maybe it was the four pints, maybe it was fantastic brew David made, maybe it was because I was off on another little adventure... what would the day, the week bring ???
I walked a couple of miles in the dark back to Whitby along the river, I had to stand and marvel for a while at the viaduct, what an incredible structure. As a bricklayer, I could imagine all those brickies loading out on mornings just like this, I'm glad I wasn't one of them this morning....
We love Whitby, I'd never walked through early in the morning so it was nice to take it all in, the shop keepers setting out, the cleaners sorting out the pubs and bars, the fishermen checking their nets and pots, (to be pc, are they called fisher people these days) ? well there were only men on the 2 boats I watched so definitely fishermen....
Up onto Westcliff, I found the Masonic Centre easily but nobody about so I couldn't get in. I learned that there was possibly 2 lodges here that were merging so the meeting dates were changing.
On to the trail then. More spectacular stretches of coastline, there was a gentle breeze blowing in my face which was chilly enough for me to keep my coat on but what a lovely Monday morning.
I sat on a bench and kicked my boots off by the boat ramp in Runswick bay. It was so peaceful, no wind, no hordes of tourist, just me and the sound of the waves gently lapping on the ramp. I was fast asleep in no time... a yapping terrier running up off the beach startled me and I realised I'd been asleep for about 20 minutes... this Monday was just getting better and better. A grandad nap in the afternoon is a must, I wiped the drool from the side of my face, very attractive as Michelle would say, boots back on and up the very steep streets to get out of the bay and back up onto the cliff path.
Just after 4pm I'd had enough for the day, I'd walked 14 miles. I found what I thought would be the perfect spot to pitch the tent so I sat on a bench waiting for last light before I set about it. After about 20 minutes I was starting to get cold so was about to start pitching up when a family came wandering over the path from the direction I had come. They were very nice, we had a chat and as it was obvious what I was loitering there to do, the lady suggested that if I walked a bit further on there was a cutting which was out of sight and would be a better spot to camp. I thanked them and when they left, I slowely followed them. I'll make an assumption that they had never been in a tent, yet alone put one up. The cutting was useless, steep banks covered in thick thorn bushes and the ground was minging wet... I had no choice but to keep going to find something suitable which took another half an hour so it was almost dark. I had to pass by a number of houses which isn't good when it's getting dark, it would make me nervous if I lived there and there was a bloke dressed all in black wandering around outside.
Anyway, I found a spot a little further on, not ideal but it would have to do. I set about pitching up and half way through I just happened to look up to see the siloute of a man standing on the hill above me clearly watching what I was up to. I made out I hadn't seen him and cracked on and when I'd finished I looked back and he'd gone.
I'd got sorted out, had a wet wipe shower, got my nighty on and started prepping my dinner, Thai green curry with soup and chicken bites.... mmm....
Then I heard him, and the dogs... I lay there for a bit with no light on watching his torch flashing all over the place occasionally stopping and focusing on my tent. He hung around with his dogs sniffing around the tent, one of them pissing up the side of it... 😳🤬 I guess he must have thought I was asleep so after what seemed like an age, he left. I'm sure he'd come down to get me to move on but I had no intention of doing so, the 'pretend your asleep and therefore invisible' trick worked wonders... He did come back later with his dogs but this time went straight past and he either didn't come back or I was asleep so I didn't notice.
In future, I'd listen to advice from good meaning folk but I'd stick to my gut feelings.
It had been a tremendous Monday which nearly went wrong at the last minute but turned out ok. I slept really well.