Want it enough?

Day 36 – Scarborough to Redcar – 25th June – 32.5 nm

I spoke briefly with Mick O’Meara last evening, he is currently roaring around Ireland – heading for a record if things carry on as they are. Obviously it’s not over until you cross the line, but Mick really wants it and is pushing hard. I need to take a little inspiration from The Man - currently we are in line for a 90 day finish and I have to wonder if I'm pushing as hard as I could.

I set off a little early, before the tide, in order to try to get more miles out of the day and to try not to finish too late. But once I paddle off the beach I’m a little disappointed to see that the tide is already running - more notes to be appended to that Alamanc when I get back then.

I'm looking forward to the paddle along the cliffs here, it’s an impressive sight as the Yorkshire Moors fall into the sea. On the other hand I’m a little nervous that it could be a tricky day if there is any swell running, get-outs are limited for long, intimidating stretches. But the Swell Gods are having a day off and I head north into a slight chop, under muggy grey skies.

The cliffs slide by in a slightly featureless sort of way. The low-water rocky ledges of Robin Hood’s Bay come into view, scattered with random boulders. I remember fossil hunting and an interesting landing at Boggle Hall the last time I paddled here. Today it’s calm and I'm happy to take the miles.

More cliffs follow and then Whitby looms into view, marked by various styles of fishing vessels gently wallowing just outside the bony fingers of the harbour. There is a brief shower of rain and then as I head north the wind drops away completely, it gets a little stuffy beneath the grey skies. Just short of Runswick Bay I come across a sit-on-top fisherman weaving his way against the tide towards Whitby. He tells me he is ok, I wonder if he will be – it’s going to take him a long time to get to Whitby like that, and he’s looking non-too fresh.

We both continue, and once again I watch more cliffs slip by, before I spot the seagull-spattered village of Staithes, shoe-horned defiantly into the cliffs. I watch a rubber-clad couple of surfers tip-toeing hopefully across the rocky ledges - optimism over forecast I think.

Still more cliffs and then the tiny settlement of Skinningrove appears, squatting stubbornly in a cleft in the high coastline. During a coastal walk day last summer, we hurriedly left here after a bit of a ‘Deliverance’ moment in the gloom. Time to move on.

I round the headland and glance across towards the pier at Saltburn, famous for its impressive knitted decorations.  The tide is starting to fade now as I paddle along the day’s first stretch of sandy coastline, towards the Dantean silhouette of the steelworks beyond Redcar.

I’ve not visited Redcar by boat before; I sneak across the shallow rocky ledges and land through a rather smelly slick of life-expired seaweed. We sort kit in a grey car park under the watchful eye of a couple of dubious types, before we head across the road to a high-street Italian restaurant for some excellent food.

There is a constant stream of drunken tattoos and draughty skirts staggering by the window, heading vaguely towards the pub next door;  our meal is accompanied by the soundtrack of high street high-jinks and swearing.

Notch up 32 uneventful nautical miles for Team Fatboy.