The Long march to the finish.
After being assured the night before by some fellow tent campers, who unnervingly were filling two hot water bottles, that I was going to freeze to death I had slept in all of my clothes. This seemed to work as when I woke there was a chill but my toes were still working and my hair was the only part of me that was slightly frozen. The hot shower that followed was very welcome as was the hot chocolate. However, I must say that the hot chocolate was not a patch on the chocomilk from PA which if sold in bulk would have the same attraction as Coca Cola or Heinz Tomato Ketchup. On returning to my tent I was somewhat surprised to see some ferocious beasts attacking it but after the chickens had dispersed I was able to pack up and was ready for the off.
I knew what to expect for the majority of today’s section and so wasn’t surprised on leaving the campsite to find myself on a high ridge with wide-ranging views over the Vale of Pickering. Making good time my first landmark was a fourth wooden sculptured seat which featured an emotional moment for me as I said goodbye to an old friend. Capri Suns had kept me going up until now but now it was time to say adieu to the final one. Walking on, the path was inundated with the droppings of a Welshman’s favourite animal. So much so that if someone gets through this section without stepping in any they should be knighted.
The ridge walking continued, via a brief descent then climb out of Sherburn and a pig spectated golf course, to the village of Ganton where the route again came down the slope. However, before long I was on the up again as a steep ascent brought me to Staxton Brow. Having not partaken in lunch as yet I did consider a stop at Staxton Brow picnic site, however the busy road to get there made me reconsider. Pressing on, the annoyingly long tarmac section that followed was a disappointment. This took me on tip toes, looking down past the m.o.d’s top secret radar air defence station at Staxton Wold. Negotiating this obstacle another testing climb was a prelude for a return to the field paths through dales that had been my home for the past three and a half days. Passing through Raven Dale, Camp Dale and Stocking Dale this was to be my final taste of the Wolds landscape and I decided to make it last a bit longer by finally taking a well-earned sun-drenched lunch.
From here the walk made its last gradual descent off the Wolds and a view towards the coast at Flamborough Head, the location for many a geography field trip, was a fitting finale. The Head was not my destination though and walking through Muston (the gateway to Filey) my anticipation was growing as I knew I was nearing my finishing point at the Brigg. However, two barriers stood in my way, first the incredibly busy A165 connecting the famous seaside towns of Bridlington and Scarborough. This time in the spirit of Dodgeball I made it across and I was in Filey. Here the second barrier presented itself, namely the disappearance without a trace of all Wolds Way signs. But with the help of Roger Ratcliffe’s bible I made it through the streets to the seafront.
I was close now (and not having completed any national trails before) I imagined what would greet me at the finish. Would it be dancing girls, a brass band, some popping champagne corks. Unurprisingly, no, a familiar stone marker on Filey Brigg marked the spot where my 79 mile walk came to an end. As I took a seat I was happy with my four days work and tempted by the Cleveland Way sign declaring ‘Helmsley 110 miles’. But I decided that was for another day.