This bracing short five mile coastal walk, approx 2.5m there and the same back, was an extremely enjoyable but windy one and embraces the 'Sea Dog' side of my Dad.
Dad's connection with the sea started early on as he was 'Sand Grown', a title given to Children brought up on the Fylde Coast as Dad was. When he left school he, as many of the young men in his area did, started to consider if a sea-going life was for him. Being a lover of adventure, travel and the outdoors he thought "why not!", and so he did. Having been an avid Radio Ham for many of his formative years, building radios and morse keys, putting up masts and organising licences, operating under the call sign of G3 WAX, or as it was properly said phonetically Golf, 3, Whiskey, Alpha, X-ray. Dad made the decision that if he was to have a life at sea then a Comms or Radio Officer (RO) role was for him. After a number of years at Radio School he passed with flying colours and then began his maritime career serving in the British Merchant Navy as a fully qualified RO.
Dad on-board The Serviceman in the late 1960s
He worked for the Marconi Marine Company and was assigned the vessels he served on and was in charge of all the 'Ship-to-Shore' communication whether that be over the Radio or by Morse. He also took down all the shipping forecast information (cue the melodic sound of 'Sailing by'), fish and maritime traffic reports. He also looked after the radar systems on-board and he passed all his findings onto the Captain and was key to the vessel and crew's safe passage and that all the records and logs were maintained accordingly. Legally the ship could not sail without him, a fact he liked.
He regularly sailed out of Liverpool, Fleetwood, Grimsby and Hull and spent a huge amount of time at sea clocking up thousands of hours traveling around the globe. The vessels he served on were very varied from large cargo ships, oil tankers, small motor tugboats, to deep sea fishing boats. Dad had a large repertoire of adventure stories of deep sea trawling which always started with the same opening gambit "When I was at sea...". For some time he worked out of Norway in the frozen northern seas in all weathers catching some incredible fish and 'hot-bunking', meaning to roll into a bunk at the end of your shift as soon as your colleague rolls out of it... A hard life! The final part of Dad's adventures at sea was to see him working for a number of large oil companies on a lots of Oil Rigs and Platforms mainly out in the North Sea, including, for a time, the ill-fated Piper Alpha. So the Sea, you could say was in his blood, he even enjoyed a bit of sea angling on holiday, fresh mackerel caught in the Med, prepared and then straight on to the BBQ was his favourite.
I often feel 'I need the Sea' like Dad did from time to time, just to be stood, looking out, enveloped in the associated sounds, smells and salty air can be a very grounding and healing. I have been developing this strong need recently so off to the sea, for the first time this year, I went.
My walk took in a short section of the 'Cleveland Way' a 109 mile walk taking in the dramatic North Yorkshire Moors and Cliff Top Paths. The section I did was from Runswick Bay to Port Mulgrave, a popular sea fishing site for the Whitby Sea Anglers Association and hidden treasure.
The start of the walk takes you through a pub car park and to a path through fields.
The sea is suddenly visible and, low and behold, aptly looks out over a shipping lane.
The well trodden cliff top path takes you passed a number of bright sulphur coloured, coconut fragranced Gorse (Ulex europaeus) plants which are regulars in this type of coastal environment.
Willow (Salix caprea) and Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) are also important flora found along the path edge.
The path works parallel to the cliffs edge with the occasional bits of fencing as and when.
The views out to sea and along the coast line are breathtaking.
Shortly after you pass the sign for Port Mulgrave there are two options, through a kissing gate, down some steps into and across a field and then onto a path the takes you to the steps down to the sea. Or continue along the path and walk out onto a road, then over a style and to the steps down to the sea. Going I took the former and returning the latter.
At this time of year the sweet but steep little steps/path that take you down to the sea and beach are bordered by more of the beautiful flowering Blackthorn.
Other than a past industrial heritage, Port Mulgrave has treasure on its shores in the form of fabulous fossils everywhere. Now I am really resisting the temptation to liken Dad to an old fossil but hey ho it appears I just have.
This lovely little beach has a real secluded beauty.
I had a lovely opportunity to sit, look out and reflect while I took the weight off My Dad's Boots.
Strangely a colourful little boat bearing my Sister's name was in port... Thanks Dad, that did make me smile.
The return to Runswick Bay brought a view of that part of the coastline and a well earned drink and bite to eat at the rather nice Cliffemount Hotel.
A beautiful little walk with spectacular sea views and plenty of little gems along the way. It might be worth doing a bit more of the Cleveland Way soon. http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/cleveland-way
Till next time... MDB or -.-..-.. -- -.. -...