A 10k walk for an ice cream

Day five of the Slaw’s North Yorkshire adventure. Yesterday they arrived at Cayton Village CAMC campsite and an afternoon of catching up with friends was enjoyed (with one or two beverages imbibed 🤣)

It was a lazy morning with only a trot around the campsite dog walk for the pooches. Another bright blue sky and sunshine, but bitingly low temperatures. Mrs Slaw was now pretty desperate for a quality holiday ice cream, so they decided to walk along the Cleveland Way from Cayton to Scarborough to frequent the famous Harbour Bar. A journey via road of about three miles.

Picking up The Cleveland Way at Cayton Bay.

The Cleveland Way runs 110 miles from Filey Brigg to Helmsley. The section the Slaws took was well signposted and very well defined. Mrs Slaw felt quite giddy with life. It was so good to be out walking in the fresh sea air with the sun on her face (although she did get a sunburnt face yesterday 🔥) The gorse was magnificent against the azure blue sky and the heady scent of coconut was pungent in the air. Slaw was transported back to holidays many years ago when all the young ladies used to use Hawaiian Tropic sun lotion 🏝

Magnificent golden gorse against azure blue skies.

There was hardly a soul about and this meant there was wildlife in abundance. A kestrel hovered above, fixated on his lunch somewhere on the ground. A heron flew, long and lazily, over the rock pools in the bay, and a roe deer was nonchalantly grazing in the undergrowth seemingly disinterested in the Slaws excitedly peering at her through binoculars from the cliff top.

Roe deer in the undergrowth zoomed in on a mobile phone, hence very poor quality photo 😂

The Cleveland Way has many different facets keeping your interest and delight as each corner is turned. Cliff tops, dingly dells, steep ascents and descents, wooded glades, links golf course and short sections on the road. Magnificent views over Cayton Bay and Scarborough South Bay. Cayton Bay with its raw natural beauty and South Bay overlooked by the infamous Grand Hotel and Scarborough castle.

Cayton Bay.

Prince William and The Cottingham Cowgirl enjoyed racing round on South Bay beach, chasing, rolling and splashing in the sand and water. Okay, only the Cowgirl did. The Prince came off the beach looking as pristine as when he went on and the Cowgirl looked like a Gremlin!

The three mile walk ended up being nearly six! With up hills and down dales of the Cleveland Way, but it is a footpath well worth taking and Mrs Slaw finally got her quality ice cream. Although the Harbour Bar is only doing takeaway and no sundaes, she tucked into a fabulously creamy, dreamy, delight of a strawberry swirl cornet. Heaven 🥰

Happy Mrs Slaw with a strawberry swirl cornet.

Lower Wensleydale to Cayton

By it was a nippy one last night! Mrs Slaw needed gloves and a scarf this morning while taking the pooches on their morning constitutional. There was a hard frost, icy cold but beautiful, as the morning sunlight danced on the white grass making it sparkle and shine like diamonds.

Even blue tits are joining the caravan club!

The Slaws are on day four of their North Yorkshire adventure. Yesterday was spent in Leyburn and today they move on to Cayton. All campsites are Caravan and Motorhome Club sites and this is their first outing for six months due to COVID lockdowns. To say they are giddy is a bit of an understatement 🤣

This morning’s constitutional took Mrs Slaw, Prince William and the Cottingham Cowgirl down to Harmby Waterfall. It’s a busy road that runs past them and the sound of traffic usually drowns out the sound of the falls, but this morning was still and the traffic light. The sound of the water was loud and unmistakable. Mrs Slaw wasn’t sure how to get to them though 🤔 She ended up going down what appeared to be a private driveway. The pooches refused point blank to go into the thick, spiky undergrowth with Mrs Slaw (well, they have got short legs 😂) Pooches tied to a tree and Mrs Slaw set forth determinedly like Indiana Jones minus the machete, hat and boots. Okay, not like Indiana Jones at all. The falls were clearly visible not too far in luckily. The whole expedition taking less than 30 seconds. There must be an easier way though surely!

Harmby waterfall

The Slaws left Wensleydale and the vista opened out to a wide expanse; hills only found far on the horizon. The journey took them through the pretty market town of Thirsk. No sign of the Yorkshire Vet though. Mrs Slaw really is slipping in her stalking skills 🤣 Taking the A170 from Thirsk to Scarborough, is particularly scenic, especially as you enter the North York Moors National Park. However, you are bombarded by road signs warning of the impending Sutton Bank; the severity of the gradient means that car and caravans are prohibited. Even though Helga is a motorhome, this was a red rag to a bull and a mist enveloped Slaw. He became glassy eyed, not seeing or hearing anything. Steering wheel gripped tightly; teeth clenched. Oh no, another Bealach Na Ba feared Mrs Slaw 😱 Helga selected her own gears and the Slaw’s sailed up Sutton Bank with ease. What was all the fuss about? The perfect photo opportunity was also thwarted by the trees lining the ascent. Such a shame.

Following the road ever eastwards, the higgledy piggledy cottages with their red tiled roofs are so quaint and photogenic. Their tiny doors and windows seemingly perfect for the vertically challenged Mrs Slaw.

What a difference a day and a few miles makes. From yesterday’s golden triumph, the daffodils lining the route to Cayton have now turned. No longer standing proud and tall, shining radiantly, but brown, wizened and bowed. A sad end to their glory.

The Slaws arrived at Cayton Village; a newly revamped CAMC campsite and chose a pitch on the upper site. Slaw always get his compass out and checks where the sun will go down. He chose well and they enjoyed barbecuing and drinks with friends in the sunshine until it set over the hill at 7.30pm.

Hawes to Lower Wensleydale

Day three of The Slaw’s North Yorkshire adventure dawned with sunshine and birdsong and all was well with Mrs Slaw. The pooches’ morning constitutional was a circular walk from Hawes to Gayle and back via Mossy Lane. A lovely sunny walk with photo opportunities in every stone building and rustic signpost. Mrs Slaw got all arty farty with the photos 😜

Hawes church from the Gayle footpath.

Around midnight last night, Mrs Slaw decided to check if there was availability at Lower Wensleydale for day three. It had always been the plan to feature Leyburn in this trip; indeed, Slaw merrily told anyone that asked that the Slaws were going to Leyburn 🤣 So much was this ingrained in his brain that he actually ignored the sat nav, carefully programmed by Mrs Slaw on day one, and head for Leyburn instead of Threshfield. It added a good half hour onto the journey, but it wasn’t a problem as Mrs Slaw had ensured Helga is well stocked with Werther’s Originals 😜 Anyway, we digress. Yes, there was availability for Leyburn. Bookings were swapped and plans changed.

Pennine Way through Gayle.

After the very pleasant walk this morning, it was time to head off to the next campsite. Helga was dutifully packed up and off they went. It’s a wide Dale from Hawes to Leyburn. Bright blue skies were scattered with white powder puff clouds. Limestone walls zigzag across the rolling hillsides as far as the eye can see. The roadsides swathed in the glorious spring triumph of golden daffodils. The road wend through lovely little villages following the course of the river Ure, but every so often was an ominous flood marker giving a stark reminder for the unsuspecting traveller of the force of nature.

Leyburn.

Check-in at Lower Wensleydale campsite was pretty pain free. The Slaws chose the same pitch they had last August. Lots of sunshine! A quick bite to eat then a 20 minute walk into Leyburn along the main road. It is quite busy, but a pleasant enough walk. As the Slaws walked into the market square Mrs Slaw’s heart sank. The Bymor Ice Cream kiosk was closed! Poor Mrs Slaw; thwarted yet again in her quest for a quality ice cream. It will end up being a Mr Whippy in Scarbados 🤪

An empty table was spied on the veranda of the Golden Lion in the Market Square. The Slaws settled in for a couple and a bite to eat. Oh dear! The pub stopped serving food at 2.30pm and they had no Pinot Rosè 😱 Mrs Slaw really is struggling on this holiday 🤣 A packet of Pipers crisps and a white Pinot Grigio it was then. All was well until Mrs Slaw realised that the crisps were £1 a pack 😳

Golden Lion.

It was a day of two halves. When the sun was shining it was toasty warm, but with cloud cover it was biting cold. What to wear at this time of year really is a dilemma. Oh well, just to be out socialising and sitting outside a pub with a drink is such a treat after lockdown that the Slaws will take it!

Wharfedale to Hawes

Mrs Slaw slept the sleep of the dead. Straight through without waking. She awoke to the rat-a-tat-tat of a distant woodpecker and the surrounding birdsong. A perfect dawn chorus.

Yesterday was the Glorious 12th. The first day of the lockdown easing where you can spend the night away from home in self-contained accommodation. The Slaws tripped off in Helga to Wharfedale Caravan and Motorhome Club site near Grassington in North Yorkshire and a lovely afternoon was had by all.

This morning, Prince William and The Cottingham Cowgirl enjoyed their morning constitutional around Threshfield Quarry. This is a pleasant walk from the site up the hill and down into the quarry. Lots of information boards and sites of industrial heritage telling the stories of the lime kilns. Then it was time to leave the site and move on.

Threshfield Quarry Lime Kilns

The journey north from Threshfield to Hawes was beautiful. Single track roads, through quaint stone villages of chocolate box cottages with pocket handkerchief gardens and quirky names such as ‘Starbotton’. The Slaws meandered in Helga along the dale bottom; past Swaledale eyes and lambs grazing in pea-green meadows. Stone shepherd huts randomly dotted around. Climbing out again past the waterfalls and stone bridges at Cray, underneath the terraced limestone hillsides, before finally reaching the main road and turning left to Hawes.

Yorkshire Dales

A warden at the campsite was on hand to meet and greet and explain the COVID procedures. No toilets open on this site. Pitch up, NHS track and trace, then up to reception to pay. Not as many empty pitches here, but still plenty of choice. The Slaws chose their pitch then Mrs Slaw head off to reception to pay. As she was putting her arm out to open the door a man swiftly side-stepped her and shot through the door first. He must have felt Mrs Slaw’s piercing stare burning into the back of his head as he turned around and held the door open for her to follow him in. Mrs Slaw clenched her teeth, breathed deeply and calmly informed him that it states very clearly on the door that only one person is allowed in at once and she had been just about to walk through the door. He blithely said ‘oh sorry, I didn’t see that’ and shut the door in Mrs Slaw’s face. Now, he either caught Mrs Slaw on a good day, or she is mellowing in her old age, as the pocket rocket didn’t launch on this occasion 🚀 She merely chuntered outside about how this is the exact same attitude as those people who park where the hell they please, and they think it’s okay because they have put their hazard lights on!

Mrs Slaw was now in dire need of an indulgent creamy ice cream from the Wensleydale Creamery. Off the Slaws trotted through the charming little town of Hawes and up to the creamery. Shock horror 😱 No ice creams!!!!!! Mrs Slaw is not having the best of days 😭 Back down the hill and a ‘table a deux’ was spotted against the pub wall. Then ensued a relaxing afternoon chatting with locals and tourists alike and watching the world go by. How do you tell the difference between a local and a tourist? Tourists have clean wellies and locals have sh*t caked wellies 🤣

Hawes

The Crown has a good range of drinks and food on offer. Table service and patio heaters made for a very pleasant experience. The two waiting on staff were very friendly and efficient. Dog chews for the pooches and attentive service for the Slaws. The landlord made an appearance every now and then, reminding punters of the rule of six. One party of eight squashed onto a wooden bench seat which only really fits six at a push! Why do some people think the rules don’t apply to them? The Slaws both had the rotisserie chicken it was moist and tasty and a good choice. A random rain shower cooled things down and it was soon time to head back to Helga to settle down for the new series of Our Yorkshire Farm. Amanda Owen does shop in Hawes, but Mrs Slaw, super stalker, didn’t spot her today 😜

Chocolate, cars and a cave on the NC500

Hurrah! A West Coast sunset was achieved. Slaw and the Mrs stayed on a Crofter’s campsite last night in Sheigra, deep in the Scottish Highlands, on a clockwise NC500 road trip in Helga the motorhome. So called because she is a big German girl 😜

It was a beautiful day spent mostly sunbathing and snoozing surrounded by sheep. Slaw was feeling very smug as the day was organised by him. There was nothing in the colour coordinated folder with activity notes stuffed in plastic wallets, carefully, methodically and time consumingly compiled by Mrs Slaw in the weeks prior to their NC500 road trip. Oh no, this a manly thing. A macho ‘leave it to me’. Planning is not needed. Slaw came up trumps. Mrs Slaw was happy. This makes Slaw happy. It’s so much better when Mrs Slaw is happy!

The sun disappeared over the cliffs at Sheigra. Fellow campers trooped up the hillside to get a better view; like sheep following their heaf, staying together for protection. Mrs Slaw had another glass of wine and Slaw sent the drone up. It was beautiful!

Sunset over Sheigra

Drone put away, Slaw set up his next gadgetry (he is Mr Gadget); the camera and tripod to photograph the night sky. Oh dear. Some very inconsiderate campers arrived in the dark and started to pitch their tent with their headlights on facing straight at Slaw and his camera! A lot of chuntering, muttering, huffing and puffing, stomping and swearing took place until the offending lights were extinguished. Peace resumed. Mrs Slaw wrapped herself in a blanket and lay back in a reclining camping chair with another glass of wine (well, she is on holiday 😉) The sky was superb! Layer upon layer of twinkling stars. The harder you looked the more you saw. Shooting stars flashed across the vista and the Milky Way was clearly visible. Mrs Slaw was not Rosie Probert in the darkness of the darkness to forget she was ever born. Mrs Slaw felt reborn and revitalised, and snug under the blanket with wine.

The night sky and Milky Way over Sheigra

After yesterday’s beautiful sunshine, this morning broke with a sea fret. Mrs Slaw took Prince William and the Cottingham Cowgirl for their morning constitutional up the hillside to the top of the cliff. It was slippy underfoot and Mrs Slaw daren’t let the precious pooches, aka the explorers, off their leads for fear of them jumping off the cliffs like Lemmings 😱 Even with the sea fret, the raw beauty of the Crofter’s campsite was clear to see. Wild, bare; just perfect. Leaving was very difficult. More so, as it was the last stop on the magnificent West Coast.

Sheigra Crofter’s Campsite

It was only a 20 mile drive this morning from Sheigra to Durness on the North Coast. Once on the road, Mrs Slaw drew forth the colour coordinated folder and informed Slaw of today’s activities. A visit to Cocoa Mountain and Balnakeil beach, before arriving at Sango Sands campsite, then a walk to Smoo Cave. Slaw smiled good-naturedly.

The landscape has now noticeably changed. Gone are the lochs and glens. Gone is the heather and the bracken. It is now a rocky desolate landscape. Helga arrived at Cocoa Mountain. Mrs Slaw was salivating. One ginormous, famous, hot chocolate topped with molten milk and white chocolate, and a side of chocolates later, Mrs Slaw was uber happy 🥰

Cocoa Mountain’s famous hot chocolate

It’s just a ten minute walk down to Balnakeil beach from the hot chocolate shop. It was a hairy walk though as there are no footpaths, it’s a single track road with passing places and The ‘Big Ball Rally’ came through. A dozen or so supercars ‘doing’ the NC500 in a weekend and this was one of their stops. Mrs Slaw was rather taken with the Aston Martin 🤩 Slaw got talking cameras with the camera car man, who spends his time suspended in a harness from the car taking photos of the supercars 🤪

Sango Sands campsite is extremely busy. Mrs Slaw tried to book a month ago and all electric pitches were already booked for the Saturday. We could have left it to chance for a first-come-first-served non electric pitch. It was too much of a risk for Mrs Slaw, so we booked the Sunday electric pitch. Slaw got chatting to Helga’s neighbouring motorhome driver at Sheigra last night. He had experienced negativity on his anti-clockwise route on the North Coast. He had tried to free camp in one area near Durness and was moved on by a local. He ended up free camping in a car park and was rudely awoken by cars beeping their horns at 6am. Mrs Slaw is glad she spent hours researching and booking on sites in areas of hostility!

Durness doesn’t have the allure of the West Coast for Mrs Slaw. For her, it is reminiscent of a Yorkshire East Coast holiday resort. However, Mathers Shop is worth a visit. Donnie is a dog lover and always has a treat for them. He prefers dogs to humans. A good choice! Donnie has a good selection of NC500 stickers and pin badges too. The difference is the beach. Oh my! It is simply stunning.

Durness beach

It’s a nice headland walk up to Smoo cave from Sango Sands. Local farmers have placed bales of hay along the road to prevent people from free camping on the machair. This is the first place on the NC500 we have seen anything like this. It must have been bad for the locals to take this step 😢 Smoo cave is accessed via a steep descent down the cliff side on a good path with handrails. Due to Covid, the tours aren’t taking place, but you can still access a part of the cave over a quaint wooden bridge. The colours of the stone are magnificent!

Access to the inner sanctum at Smoo Cave
The inner sanctum at Smoo Cave

Mrs Slaw made full use of the facilities at Sango Sands. Another velvet blankie washed after Prince William puked again! He will eat seaweed and sheep sh*t 🤦🏻‍♀️ Only £2 a wash here, as opposed to £4.50 at Ardmair! The shower blocks are clean and plenty of hot water. The pub is open on site and a table was booked for 6.15pm. Only two-hour slots are allowed and the Covid rules are strict; but that ensures your safety. A couple of drinks later, Slaw and the Mrs got a takeaway from the Sango Sands Oasis restaurant. Surprisingly very good. Tomorrow, the route takes us across the very top of Scotland and gin is involved!