Tuesday 19 May 2015
Skinningrove to Hartlepool
Brafferton Guest House
To make the most of my expensive guest house I ate, ate and ate some more at breakfast, so much so that I was late leaving. As soon as I set off the first rain squall hit and that set the pattern for the morning. I headed up the hill and back onto the Cleveland Way. Walking across Hunt Cliff I was afforded great views back to Skinningrove Pier and the lovely-looking Cattersty Sands.
The cliff path was next to a railway line for a while and I enjoyed the strange art works on display as well as the remains of the Guibal Ironstone Mine works.
In between the showers the sun shone on the wonderfully clear sea and the views were great. The most captivating one was as I came off Warsett Hill and there was Middlesbrough spread wide in front of me and looking like a Lowry painting without the matchstick men. The threatening sky added to the drama of the picture of this industrial landscape and, in its own way, I thought it looked quite stunning. Unfortunately I couldn’t take a photo that would do it justice.
Saltburn-by-the-Sea is a Victorian seaside town and where I finally left the Cleveland Way, as it curved inland, and took to the beach along 3 miles of sand to Redcar.
The squalls kept coming, as did the thunder and then the hail. For the hailstorm I was forced to stand in a hotel entrance to take shelter as the stones were rather large and painful, and covered the ground white. At one point on the beach I could see rain to the right of me over the sea, rain to the left of me and a huge black cloud in front of me. I had to stop in a cafe at Redcar to try and avoid the heaviest rain. I ate the greasiest cheese toastie I’ve ever seen swilled down with a mug of tea and took advice from the locals on walking through Middlesbrough. The Teesdale Way was fine but don’t go into Port Clarence if I want to live.
Bearing that in mind I set off, in the now constant rain, along the Redcar seafront heading for the Teesdale Way.
The reality of this path is that it goes alongside the railway line and the industrial works by the Tees. Although signposted, it was badly overgrown, fenced in to point of being claustrophobic, dirty with waste and grime, and at one point had a contractor fence across the path that I had to climb over. It was not a pleasant walk and I was glad when I reached the road once more.
I finally reached The Riverside football stadium and could see my destination clearly, the transporter bridge across the Tees to Port Clarence and the road to Hartlepool. Built in 1910 it is essentially a section of road that is suspended across the river and moves from one bank to the other. Is never seen one (apparently there are 7 left in the world) so paid my 60p for a ride across.
I finished the day with a bus ride along the main road, past more industrial works, to Seaton Carew and then Hartlepool. It had been a long, wet and industrial day.