Tag Archives: Camping & Caravanning Club

First published in 1962 and reprinted 1963, Know the Game- Camping offered sage advice to the beginner and was a collaboration with The Camping Club of Great Britain and Ireland

Organised outdoor activity in the UK- The Camping and Caravanning Club

Commemorative plaque recording the creation of The Camping Club,affixed to bridge 58 near Wantage, Berks

Enamel club badge. These were available for members to purchase from the outset. Their use was recommended to enable members to ‘recognise their fellows in the sport, and as a passport when camping on an official site’

Enamel club badges were available for members to purchase from the outset. Their use was recommended to enable members to ‘recognise their fellows in the sport, and as a passport when camping on an official site’

The metal plaque shown above is fixed to a stone and brick bridge across Letcombe Brook in Ickleton Road, Wantage. The ‘group of campers’ mentioned was small, just six in number. That simple coming together of friends, including three brothers, from 2nd -5th August 1901, was the first camp meeting of the oldest such club in the World.

Two of the people who had camped in the small English meadow- Thomas Hiram Holding and the Reverend Edward Pitt-Johnson had founded the Association of Cycle Campers earlier that year.

Holding had first experienced camping aged nine when he travelled with his parents across the United States in a wagon train and became the association’s first President. There were thirteen members initially, six of whom attended the first official camp over that four-day August bank-holiday. There were over 100 members of the club the following year and 33 of these, with friends, met for dinner in London in February 1902 to celebrate the beginning of their club. This dinner, or supper, became an annual event and the number of attendees had risen to 92 by 1909. A hundred years later the club was supporting over 500,000 members in their activities.

The Camping Club of Great Britain & Ireland, 1901, second. 1920 - 1983

Enamel badge of The Camping Club of Great Britain & Ireland, 1920 – 1983

“civility and courtesy are cheap, but purchase a great deal”

An annual winter ‘Camp Fire’ was established in 1904 with 150 members present at the first winter camp. Even then, there were camping ‘gear-heads’ and improvements in camping gear were avidly discussed. Displays of tents and equipment were arranged. Lectures and lantern slides were organised. From a total membership of 820, around 400 people attended the ‘Camp Fire’ held at West Kensington in March 1910.

“early to bed; but not too early to rise”

From 1909 members could also view ‘lightweight’ camping equipment at the club’s central office in London. The Association of Cycle Campers shared this central office with two allied clubs- the Caravan Club and the Camping Club, the latter was more for those who enjoyed camping but did not use either cycles or motor cycles for transport. The three clubs supported each other and progressed under the designation of the Camping Union. Central office moved from London to Coventry in 1990.

“if some misguided genius should invent a camping equipment that no one could find fault with, half our pleasures in life would be swept away”

Small lapel Enamel club badge. 1920 - 1983

Small lapel enamel club badge. 1920 – 1983

An annual Christmas Camp was inaugurated in 1904. Nine members pitched their tents near Chesham. This was not an exclusively male affair as four ladies were amongst the sixteen campers at the Christmas Camp at Cudham in 1909. District Associations were instituted in 1907 with the Birmingham District Association leading the way. Official campsites were created for members- 15 in 1906 of which Weybridge was the first. These had increased to 204 by 1910. One of the most popular of club meets, the Club Feast of Lanterns, was first held in Dorking in 1921. Members of the Caravan Club decorated their caravans with hand-made lanterns.

Suggested layout for an A frame tent as specified by the Amateur Camping Club in 1910

‘Ready for occupation’- Suggested layout for an A frame tent, complete with steaming kettle. Amateur Camping Club, 1910

Enamel badge with gilt surround given to new members as a goodwill gesture. 1950-1964

Enamel badge with gilt surround given to new members as a goodwill gesture. Also for presentation to friends as souvenirs. 1950-1964

The Camping Union dissolved amicably in 1909 with the Caravan Club going their own way and the remaining organisations amalgamating and extending their scope to include the needs of pedestrians, pony campers, cyclists, motor-cyclists, motor, caravan, canoeists and boat campers. The new ‘Amateur Camping Club’ was amongst the earliest of organisations formed for all members to enjoy convivial group camping activity. Membership fees were five shillings per annum. The club incorporated the Association of Cycle Campers, the Camping Club and, later, in 1910, the National Camping Club (also formed by Holding). By happy coincidence, the initials of the new association- A.C.C. were already widely known from the predecessor organisation. The Amateur Camping Club was aimed at what they termed ‘light camping’, though the equipment available at the time was no doubt considerably heftier than much available today. In 1910, one member introduced the use of a hand-cart for carrying the necessary camping equipment for him and his family of five that included three small children.

A rare survivor, A.C.C. flag that once fluttered gaily from the apex of a club members tent

A rare survivor, A.C.C. flag, or pennant, that once fluttered gaily from the apex of a club members tent

Ogden's Cigarettes. No. 2 of a series of 50 showing various club badges.

Ogden’s Cigarettes. Number 2 of a series of 50 cards showing various club badges. c1914

An Ogden’s Cigarette Card series of club badges included the official badge of the Amateur Camping Club in its selection. Also shown on this card is the first ACC Club Pennon, which measured 7 ½” x 13”, the letters A.C.C. were white on a green background with a ‘rosy’ red’ background. The club’s handbook instructed members that- “the cost and weight are very small, and it should always be used, as it adds to the appearance of the tent”. I doubt many campers today are adorning their tent with a flag fluttering in the breeze.

Captain Robert Falcon Scott was President of the Amateur Camping Club from 1909. He took the club pennon with him on his ill-fated journey to the South Pole. Following his death during his return from the pole in January 1912, he was still being recorded as Club President in 1914, news of his death only having reached England the previous year. In 1919 there were 755 members of the club.

“a ready made camping outfit is a delusion and a snare”

Enamel club badge of The Camping Club-North Warwickshire District Association,1970

Enamel club badge of The Camping Club-North Warwickshire District Association,1970

The club has always sought to aid not only well established long term members but also advise and welcome people new to the experience of camping. For many years the club stocked just about any piece of kit that the budding camper could wish for. Guides to camping, site lists and general information were regularly published. The Know the Game guide at the head of this post was approved by The Girl Guides Association and, if basic in its limited reach, was nonetheless authoritative, concentrating on safety, comfort, camp hygiene and ‘country manners’.

“choose your camping companions with care”

Three Points of the Compass has pitched up on many a Camping and Caravanning Club site. Perhaps looking a little incongruous amongst the plethora of caravans, and the subject of avid curiousity, I have always been met with friendliness and found the welcome facilities excellent

Three Points of the Compass has pitched up on many a Camping and Caravanning Club site on longer hikes. A lightweight backpacker’s setup can look somewhat incongruous amongst the plethora of caravans, and often the subject of avid curiosity. I have always been met with friendliness and invariably found the welcome facilities excellent

Youth Camping Association. post 1941

Enamel badge for the Youth Camping Association, sponsored by the Camping Club in 1941

Various other name changes to the club took place over the years. While the larger tents and caravans are a prominent sight at the club sites today, the club has not forgotten its roots. Revisiting its original 1901 incarnation, in 1944 the Association of Cycle Campers was reformed as a specialised section of the main club. In 1965 this changed to the Association of Cycle and Lightweight Campers and, finally, in 1984, to the Association of Lightweight Campers.- “a special interest section of the Camping and Caravanning Club …. no-fuss camping by cycle, foot or any type of powered transport”

Specialised sub-sections of the club have been created over the years. Cycling, canoeing, mountaineering, folk dance and song were all represented amongst others. There are now nine specialised section. The Boating Group is also affiliated to the Royal Yachting Association.

“don’t expect the use of the whole farm for the sum of sixpence per night”

Enamel badge for The Camping and Caravanning Club, post 1983

Enamel badge for The Camping and Caravanning Club, post-1983

The caravan section was formed in 1933 and ever increasing numbers of current members are now caravanners. Reflecting this change in emphasis, the parent organisation changed its name to The Camping and Caravanning Club in 1983. The club member’s badge changed in its design and name to reflect this change in emphasis. Yet another enamel badge was made available for members to purchase. Today, some forty per cent of the membership choose touring caravans though one in four of those who own a caravan also own a tent.

The Club Badge

“its use is recommended to enable members to recognise their fellows in the sport, and as a passport when camping on an official site. Its cost and weight are small”

Club Handbook, 1914

Enamel badge for members of the Motor Caravan Section of the Camping Club

Pre-1983 enamel badge for members of the Motor Caravan Section of the Camping Club

Enamel badge for members of the Motor Caravan Section, this badge reflects the change in name of the Camping and Caravanning Club

Enamel badge for members of the Motor Caravan Section, this badge reflects the 1983 change in name of the Camping and Caravanning Club

The caravan section continued to evolve, not only at last reflecting the changes in propulsion from horsepower to internal combustion but also the growing preference for self-contained and motorised recreational units and a Motor Caravan Section was formed in 1962. An annual meet for members of the sub-group is held. 2022 will see their sixtieth anniversary.

“the best position for a lady to adopt in a tent whilst dressing her hair, is kneeling. There is no difficulty then. If nobody is about, go outside”

Enamel badge for members of the Trailer Tent Group- a sub-sction of the Camping and Caravanning Club of Great Britain & Ireland

Enamel badge for members of the Trailer Tent Group- a sub-section of the Camping and Caravanning Club of Great Britain & Ireland

Enamel badge for members of The Camping and Caravanning Club, with 25 Years membership, post 1983

Enamel badge for members of The Camping and Caravanning Club, with 25 Years membership, post-1983. Continuous veteran membership was signified differently

Another sub-section was formed in 1967 with the creation of the Trailer Tent Group, the same year that the club held their first Canadian tour.

“re kit:- boil it down”

The club never abandoned backpackers however. Beside welcoming them to the great majority of sites, specific backpacking facilities have also been provided at a handful of locations.

A new style badge for the 21st century

A new style badge for Veteran members was introduced in the 21st century and levelled the prominence of tent and caravan

The Lake District’s Windermere site, Milarrochy Bay on Loch Lomond and the Hayfield site in the Peak District, provide campers with food preparation areas, indoor and outdoor seating, vented lockers, boot cleaning facilities, bicycle stands and electric points. The latter always appreciated by power starved hikers.

“don’t boast about the set of your flysheet if your tent is full of wrinkles”

Enamel badge for the camping club youth section. This is aimed at young people between the ages of 12-17

Enamel badge for the camping club youth section. This section is aimed at young people between the ages of 12-17

“To encourage in young people, particularly those of limited means, a pioneer spirit of adventure, and self reliance and closer contact with nature and the countryside by the practice of camping”

Following on from the Youth Camping Association formed by the club in 1941, a Camping Club Youth section was created to encourage younger campers and this has remained a focus of the club throughout its existence.

Suggested light kit for one, 1910

  • single tent with guys, slides and pegs
  • poles and pennon
  • single groundsheet of proofed material
  • eiderdown, with valance to tuck under body
  • ‘sirram’ saucepan-kettle stove, windscreen and spirit can
  • matches
  • small aluminium frypan
  • single canvas bucket
  • cup, plate, spoon, fork and knife
  • aluminium condiment box
  • three [proofed bags for bread, oatmeal and tea
  • down pillow
  • string bags, straps and basket

should not weigh more than 9 1/2 lbs.

“if the weather be fine and warm, there is nothing better in life than to lean over the parapet of the bridge and watch the weeds and the quick fishes”

Camping Club Recruiter. Pre 1983

Acrylic badge for Camping Club Recruiter, pre-1983

Acrylic badge for Camping & Caravanning Club Recruiter, post 1983

Acrylic badge for Camping & Caravanning Club Recruiter, post-1983

Acrylic ‘recruiter’ badges were earned by recommending another individual for new membership of the club- ‘friends recommendation’. These were cheaper produced badges than the much loved enamel badges of yore. Again, a slight change in design was introduced following the 1983 re-branding exercise. Recruiters may be doing quite well, for today, there are over 720,000 club members.

“if you snore, have a separate pitch”

'Veteran's' badge, signifying longstanding continuous membership of the Camping and Caravanning Club

‘Veteran’s’ enamel badge, awarded post-1983 to those who had achieved 25 years continuous membership of the Club

'Veteran's' enamel badge, signifying longstanding continuous membership of the Camping and Caravanning Club

‘Veteran’s’ enamel badge, signifying 25 years continuous membership of the Camping Club. Pre-1983

Club members who had completed 25 consecutive years of membership, and were eligible for state pension, could claim Veteran Membership of the Club. This gave a much reduced membership fee. This has caused vexation amongst members who have racked up considerable years of membership but may have taken a break of a year or two due to circumstances.

On the centenary of their creation, the Camping and Caravanning Club released a large button badge for their annual 'National Camping Week'

In 2001, the centenary of their creation, the Camping and Caravanning Club released a large button badge for their first annual ‘National Camping Week’

In 2019 Three Points of the Compass was completing a hike on the Cleveland Way around the North York Moors and coastline and was drawing close to the nights halt. After a windswept and wet day, I was damp, hungry and looking forward to my booked pitch on the Scarborough Camping and Caravanning site. I knew a hot shower and pristine pitch awaited. I needed to properly rest and recuperate prior to setting off on a further fifty miles across the Tabular Hills. I walked through ranks of caravans and motor units, not a tent in sight anywhere beyond a few awnings. The receptionist apologised and said he wanted to amend my booking, I sighed inwardly and wondered what was coming- “I can give you a special backpacker rate, I’m just refunding your account“. I was soon tucked away on a secluded part of the large site and given exclusive use of a family shower block. Result!

“an old campaigner is known for the simplicity and fitness of his equipment”

This, and other quotes in bold above, are ‘hints and tips’ from-

The Handbook of the Amateur Camping Club, 1914

Arrivals leaflet, Scarborough Camping and Caravanning site, 2019

Arrivals leaflet, Scarborough Camping and Caravanning site, 2019

Quality metal and acrylic badge for Camping & Caravanning Club Recruiter, post-1983

Quality metal and acrylic lapel badge for Camping & Caravanning Club Recruiter, post-1983

On hikes still to come, Three Points of the Compass looks forward to the occasional break from wild-camping and will often enjoy nights on the well-appointed sites run by the club, assured of good facilities and a great welcome.

Current metal badge for The Camping and Caravanning Club

Post 2001 metal badge for ‘The Friendly Club’

Three Points of the Compass may stick out a little with his lightweight tent amongst the motor-homes, modern caravans and frame tents, but The Camping and Caravanning Club with its many thousands of loyal members really does remain ‘The Friendly Club‘.

In 2001 The Camping Club celebrated its centenary. A second commemorative plaque was placed beside the first plaque shown at the head of this post

In 2001 The Camping and Caravanning Club celebrated its centenary. This second commemorative plaque was placed beside the first plaque shown at the head of this post

There is a timeline of many of the most important or influential UK outdoor organisations on my main website. I will be covering a number of these later in the year. Do have a glance at the list and see where today’s organisations fit in, you may even be able to suggest a glaring omission to the list!

Trail talk: The Cleveland Way: Days 4 to 7, Margrove Park to Filey

Staithes is reached on the first day of the coastal section of the Cleveland Way

Staithes is reached on the first day of the coastal section of the Cleveland Way

Day 4- Margrove Park to Runswick Bay

My pitch at Margrove camping and caravan site had been ‘OK’ but the rain continued throughout the night. Dry, warm and snug inside my tent, I didn’t sleep well for some reason. I also struggled to enjoy my breakfast but that is nothing new for me. I am still on the search for something I enjoy ‘out of the starting gate’ when on trail. I get bored very quickly with porridge or granola and often feel a bit queasy. Yet recognise the need for slow burning carbs first thing. What seems to work best for me is to skip food first thing and eat bars within the first couple of hours while hiking. My pint of tea was, as always, very much appreciated. Today’s section was a good deal shorter, just 16.8 miles to cover so I tried to doze a little longer and was away fairly late at a little before ten.

Impressive 19th century Saltburn Viaduct is walked under on the approach to Saltburn-by-the-Sea

Impressive 19th century Saltburn Viaduct is walked under on the approach to Saltburn-by-the-Sea

My body felt good today and I was able to maintain good positivity and enthusiasm. Such an outlook is vital on trail. Not only would I be reaching the coast today but I also knew it would be raining hard for much of the time. I followed gentle farmland and woodland tracks, then beside the Skelton Beck it wasn’t too long before I reached the outskirts of Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Having walked under the brick railway viaduct, built 1872, I paused to discuss it with a couple of locals, one an amateur historian who was both proud and knowledgeable about the early mining history of the area. The historic discovery of Iron Stone in the nearby hills bought work, prosperity and the railways to the area. The stone is evident in the ground as you walk.

Excellent haddock and chips are to be had in Saltburn-by-the-Sea

Excellent haddock and chips are to be had in the Cat Nab Fish Bar, Saltburn-by-the-Sea

Victorian Saltburn looked pleasant enough but the heavens opened. I doubt it could have rained any harder if it tried. Making my way down to the coast I sought lunchtime refuge in the first (and only) chippy I passed. I walked in dripping and unpeeled my sodden pack and outer clothes. Tucked away at the end of the cafe the staff pointedly ignored the growing pool of water beneath my table as it drained off me and continued to bring me pots of tea while I tucked my meal away and waited for the deluge to cease outside.

Beyond my lunchtime halt I had no need to pause any longer and was soon walking up on to the cliffs for the next part of my trail. The Cleveland Way really is a walk of two halves. The first part loops up and round the edge of the North York Moors, following the Cleveland Hills. Then, leaving the moorlands, the coast is reached at Saltburn and the trail completely alters. I was now going to follow the coast southeast to Filey. The coastline rises and dips along its length, edges are crumbling and dodgy in places. Winds can threaten to throw you over the edge and muddy slippery tracks add to the fun. I was looking forward to it.

Now garbed in hard shell and rain skirt, I climbed the cliffs and left Saltburn-by-the-Sea behind me

Now garbed in hard shell and rain skirt, I climbed the cliffs and left Saltburn-by-the-Sea behind me

The trail wanders up and down the cliffs. Some sections bring you right down to sea level before climbing back up

The trail wanders up and down the cliffs. Some sections bring you right down to sea level before climbing back up. The clouds were heavy with rain and the wind picked up, bringing passing inconsistent squalls

Beside the trade in minerals and ore, the villages along the coast have maintained a small yet important fishing industry. Though much reduced today, a pride in this heritage persists

Beside the trade in minerals and ore, the villages along the coast have maintained a small yet important fishing industry. Though much reduced today, a pride in this heritage persists

Erosion of the cliffs is constant. Some sections of path have had to be re-routed where the original path has disappeared over the edge

Erosion of the cliffs is constant. Some sections of path have had to be re-routed where the original path has disappeared over the edge

I reached Staithes in the afternoon. This is such a pretty place with steep streets, winding narrow alleys and clusters of old buildings. Unbelievably picturesque, it must draw photographers and artists in their droves. Again, I had no need to halt beyond taking a few photos, so passed through and continued the trail. But this would have been a lovely place to stop the night.

Crossing the Staithes Beck in to town on my first day on the coastal path

Crossing the Staithes Beck in to town on my first day on the coastal path

As it was, I only had three or four miles to that nights halt at Runswick Bay but had to get a bit of a shift on as daylight was fading. When I reached it, the outskirts of the little town felt odd, a bit run down, as many parts of the coast are. Once I had finally found the hidden driveway entrance to my campsite I walked in to the huge site. I arrived late and reception was closed but I had already paid and was pre-booked in, a note on the window instructed me to pitch just about anywhere on the almost empty site. There were no other hikers, no tents of any description and just a few camper vans. I got the impression as the evening drew on and through the night that many people were coming in late, hooking up to electric supply, using the facilities and vacating without paying, before the site managers arrived in the morning.

I pitched close by the shower block with shelter from the wind. I was the only one there with no other campers within at least two hundred metres yet two late arrivals decided to park close by, with consequent slamming of doors, music and chatter for a few hours. Having made good use of the clean shower block, I changed into ‘town garb’ and walked down to the Runswick Bay Hotel to enjoy a couple of fairly indifferent pints of Cumberland Ale and an equally average and overpriced trio of sausages, mash and peas, complete with uncooked onion in gravy. Nonetheless, I was hungry and it was all appreciated. Back to the tent for ten for a good nights kip. No rain forecast tonight.

Pitch at Runswick Bay

Pitch at Runswick Bay

Day 5- Runswick Bay to Robin Hoods Bay

Beermat from the Helmsley Brewing Co. celebrates the fiftieth birthday of the Cleveland Way in 2019

Beermat from the Helmsley Brewing Co. celebrates the fiftieth birthday of the Cleveland Way in 2019

Having slept well, the campsite being silent for much of the night, I rose at six as I wanted to get away fairly promptly. Perhaps because I had started pretty fast in the beginning part of the trail and I was lacking ‘hill fitness’ I was feeling a little weary on the climbs. I also hadn’t been sleeping well consistently which can have a gradual debilitating effect. I knew I had a bit of ascent to complete today despite only being a 15.9 mile section and wanted to give myself plenty of time to take it steady and continue enjoying my trail. The Cleveland Way was shaping up to be a superb walk. You could look on it as a mini Pennine Way as there are some similarities. It would make excellent training for that great trail, completed by Three Points of the Compass in 2018.

Day 5. Leaving Runswick Bay behind

Day 5. Leaving Runswick Bay behind

I skipped breakfast with the expectation of finding some later in the morning. Down into the quiet streets of Runswick. It has endured tragedy in the past. The entire village slipped into the sea in 1664 and the new red roofed houses were rebuilt further back. The tide was out so I was able to walk along the sands, past the boat club to the second ravine where I climbed back to the top of the cliffs.This section of coast endured considerable mining for Alum and the scars of the former industry are frequently visible particularly at Kettleness where the extensive alum workings, derelict railway and tunnels can be seen. Greatly enjoying my walk along here I followed the old cinder trackbed into Sandsend where I at last had a brekkie of sausage and bacon roll with pot of tea at the Tides cafe.

19 foot tall Whalebone Arch framed my arrival at Whitby

19 foot tall Whalebone Arch on West Cliff framed my arrival at Whitby

Beyond Sandsend it was less than a couple of hours to Whitby and despite my late breakfast I had a particular place in mind for lunch. I have visited Whitby a few times over the years and one restaurant is a favourite of mine, with good reason as the traditional Magpie Cafe enjoys a reputation that extends far beyond the town boundaries. I arrived at midday and remarkably there was no queue as yet. I tentatively approached the desk and enquired as to a table for one. Very conscious that I was mud daubed, didn’t smell too good, was unshaven and not the clientele they probably desired. The staff never batted an eyelid. Showed me to a prime window table that I declined, preferring to tuck myself and my pack away in a corner, hopefully unobtrusive to the lunchtime crowd out for enjoyment not tribulation.

The fantastic Magpie Cafe- an unmissable lunchtime halt

The fantastic Magpie Cafe- an unmissable lunchtime halt

The YHA maintain a public cafe near Whitby Abbey. Bram Stoker's Dracula features on their handstamp

The YHA maintain a public cafe near Whitby Abbey. Bram Stoker’s Dracula features on their handstamp

Lunch was Whitby Scampi, mixed salad plus pints of beer and water. Really enjoyed this and exited to find expectant diners queuing down the steps and along the street. The seaside town was heaving with visitors and its continued fishing industry is very apparent, though obviously diminished from its previous heyday. There is a strong literary tradition here and when I visited in the past it was hosting the bi-annual Whitby Goth weekend which is both odd and fascinating.

I crossed the River Esk via the swingbridge and climbed East Cliff via the 199 steps to the prominent ruins of Whitby Abbey. This was the third Abbey I had explored on the Cleveland Way and it enjoys a very good explanatory museum where I spent probably more time than I could afford. But, I’m on holiday….

The Cleveland Way brushes right past Whiby Abbey and Three Points of the Compass took time off from trail to explore

The Cleveland Way brushes right past Whitby Abbey and Three Points of the Compass took time off from trail to explore. A monastery was founded at Streanæshealh (the original name for Whitby)  in AD 657

The afternoon miles came slowly but the good coastal walking still led me to an arrival at Hook House farm campsite just a little after five. I was invited by Gill into her farmhouse for a cup of tea but politely declined as I wanted time to set camp, shower and enjoy the view of gathering dusk over Robin Hoods Bay below. There was thick rolling mist but this gradually cleared and while standing eating tonight’s lentil curry, I watched a Barn Owl quartering the field beside me. The sky was filled with stars, a satellite passed overhead, various town lights far below were lit then gradually extinguished. It was a lovely night.

Farm pitch gave a view over Robin Hoods Bay

Farm pitch gave a great view over Robin Hoods Bay when the mist cleared

Day 6- Robin Hoods Bay to Scarborough

I slept pretty well until the wind built and heavy rain passed through, this cleared by dawn however and I rose at six-forty five. For some reason my phone had lost almost all battery charge overnight so I put my Anker powerbank on for a couple of hours charge before leaving as I was unsure what opportunity for this would present itself over the next few days. As it was, once I had packed and was ready to clamber out and strike tent, the rain started hammering it down. With just 13.7 miles to complete today I thought what the heck, put the stove on and enjoyed a further two pints of tea eating spoonfuls of peanut butter while I waited for it to pass.

With a low tide, it is easy walking out of Robin Hoods Bay at the foot of the cliffs

At low tide, it is easy walking out of Robin Hoods Bay at the foot of the cliffs

Rain halted at nine thirty and I packed and left the site. Needless to say it started up again immediately and that was the pattern of things for the remainder of the day. Reaching the lowest part of the road before the sea, I checked with a couple of fishermen working at loading their small craft. Actually, one was doing all the work while his mate sat in the boat doing nothing but direct activities. Assured that I had a couple of hours walking and wouldn’t get stranded at the foot of the cliffs with a rising tide, I was able to keep low and walk to Stoupe Beck where I then had to climb the cliffs to carry on. A fit young lad that had been digging for lugworm strode past me up the steps, wearing wellingtons and carrying a bucket and spade, he was travelling at a rate of knots that I can only dream about. I asked if the bait was for him or for sale- “too much like hard work for sale”.

Visiting the disused Coastguard Lookout station near the World War II Ravenscar Radar Station

Visiting the disused Coastguard Lookout station near the World War II Ravenscar Radar Station

There are a number of climbs along this section (needless to say), and a stiff climb inland past abandoned alum works and Ravenscar brick works. I left the trail briefly here for a couple of hundred metres to visit the Ravenscar tearoom for lunch- Two pots of tea, bacon sandwich followed by quiche and beans. All very good and I exited to bright sun. Though that never lasted and heavy rain squalls passed for most of the afternoon. Little toads crossed my path frequently. I paused beside a wire fence briefly and rested my poles against it. A previously unseen hare shot out from beneath them and crossed the field.

Easy walking in parts but the grassy slopes like ice after the heavy rain

Easy walking in parts but the grassy slopes are like ice after the heavy rain

This was an autumn walk and fungi were much in evidence

This was an autumn walk and fungi were much in evidence

Most of the paths were pretty slippery after the heavy rain, none more so than the big descent and rise at the Hayburn Wkye hollow. It would have been very easy to come a cropper here and I slowed right down in order to remain upright. I took the very short side trail to see the little waterfall that drops to the beach here but it is hardly worth the additional effort. I wasn’t actually going as far as the town of Scarborough today. Instead I turned off inland shortly before it to go to the smart Camping & Caravanning site at Scalby Mills. I received the usual friendly welcome these sites are known for and was told there was a problem with my previous online booking and payment. I was then refunded much of my payment and given a special ‘backpackers’ rate that is not shown online. Ray showed me to a pitch but when I enquired if there was anywhere more sheltered, he then took me to a lovely quiet little pitch away from all disturbance and well sheltered, I also got exclusive use of a family bathroom block nearby. Result!

Tent up, gear sorted, showered and clean. Did some laundry and hung it to dry over the radiators in the bathroom. I had a short day tomorrow to the trail end and it was time for a decent meal. The Stonehouse Carvery is quite close to the site and a side gate from the campsite led straight to the rear of the pub. I enjoyed the basic carvery priced at £6.99 and returned twice for extra veg. I also managed to bag the only table that had a nearby plug socket so charged my phone and powerbank while eating. A couple of pints of Black Sheep and a bottle of Shiraz saw me mellow and re-hydrated. Back to the tent for a good nights kip.

Pitched at Scalby Mills Camping & Caravanning site

Pitched at Scalby Mills Camping & Caravanning site

Day 7- Scarborough to Filey

Breakfast on the final day on the Cleveland Way

Breakfast on the final day on the Cleveland Way

I slept well and this was my final day on the Cleveland Way. With just 11.9 miles to do, I made a leisurely start. Breakfast of tinned beans and corned beef (purchased from the site shop) along with lashings of tea with real milk. I was returning to this site after today’s hike so was travelling light. The pack and tent and almost all gear remained at Scalby Mills and I simply carried my Z Packs chest pouch packed with Patagonia windshirt, mapbook, Cicerone guidebook, journal and pen, phone and camera, full water bottle and some money. I was away from site for nine thirty and through the outskirts of Scarborough to the promenade. Though very run down in parts, Scarborough retains a lot of character and I enjoyed my unencumbered walk amongst the crowds. Beach huts were newly and brightly painted. Despite the crowds, the mini-golf looked tired and the promenade mini-railway unused.

Busy fishing harbour at Scarborough

Busy fishing harbour at Scarborough

Three Points of the Compass had a treat in store today. A fan of working Victorian engineering and funicular railways in particular. Scarborough is well served, though not to the extent that it once was. With a town at the top of the cliffs, a way had to be found to encourage visitors to the bottom and steep cliff railways, or funicular, were built. There used to be five and two remain working today. My first was the Central Tramway, opened in 1880 and operating from 1 August 1881. I paid my £2 and enjoyed a return trip up and down. The operators seemed a little bemused by my almost immediate return to the bottom.

Art deco decoration in 1932 the replacement cars on the Central Tramway

Art deco decoration in the 1932 replacement cars on the Central Tramway

South Cliff Lift funicular railway ticket

South Cliff Lift funicular railway ticket

Funicular railway at Scarborough

Descending on the UK’s oldest funicular railway at Scarborough

Just a short way on from here is the St Nicholas Cliff Lift operating from 1929, both cars are now permanently parked at the top and form part of the cafe there. Again, just a short way further on is the first funicular built in Scarborough, opened in 1875. This was also the first funicular built in the UK. This is the South Cliff Lift and I paid my £1.60 return journey and went up, pottered around for a few photos and back down to the base. Though older, this is a tattier affair than the Central. I doubt there is much money to be made here and little to pay out on expensive restoration. Still, a bit of thrill for me.

At the end of the promenade it was a walk back up to the cliff tops and onward. Good walking, lots of day trippers, some rain showers, both light and heavy, the wind quite strong and threatening to push me off the cliff edge. Though I was only carrying a windshirt which eventually wetted out, I was warm beneath this. I dropped down to Cayton Bay for lunch. Two mugs of tea and a massive cheeseburger were £8.60. The weather really kicked in for the afternoon all the way to the stone sculpture at Filey Brigg. A couple of people paused from battling the elements during their brief walk from their car to take my ‘triumphant’ photo. The rain briefly cleared off and I then walked out to the end, the tide was in so thankfully I didn’t have to brave Brigg End.

The end

The end

That may have been the end of the Cleveland Way but I still had to get back to Scarborough. The stone sculpture not only marks the end of the Cleveland Way but also the beginning of the Yorkshire Wolds Way. So I followed the acorn markers for this path down into Filey where I caught a bus back to Scarborough. Yet again, it was bucketing down outside. Changing buses outside the railway station for another that took me back to my campsite. Once back at the site, another welcome shower and into insulation layers as the temperature had dropped. Back down to the Stonehouse for another carvery and bottle of Shiraz. Not only was I celebrating my successful completion of the Cleveland Way, but I was stacking up calories before hiking out again the following day. My aim was to follow the 50 mile Tabular Hills walk back to my start point at Helmsley.