Today was our last day on the Coast-to-Coast Trail. We crossed a final moor in the Cleveland Hills and descended toward the seacoast and our final destination of Robin Hood's Bay. We encountered increasingly obvious signs of civilization as we approached the town of Hawsker: dirt trails turned into paved roads, scattered farmsteads gave way to neighborhoods, which gave way to a downtown dense with brick buildings and busy traffic. A street sign made it explicit: only 3.5 road-miles remained between us and Robin Hood's Bay.
After passing through town, the trail slipped through an outlying trailer park and emerged onto a panoramic bluff with a stunning view of the North Sea from atop a scalloped landscape of sheer cliffs. From here, it wound along the crest of high bluffs with dramatic drop-offs to a rocky, surf-pounded shoreline. In places, the trail crept daringly close to precipices, some of which had collapsed recently enough to require re-routing of the pathway.
Curves around headlands, detours around ravines, and repeated ascents and descents of hilly topography restored mileage and effort to our trek, belying the misleadingly short distances declared by the street signs seen earlier (for direct driving routes), but Robin Hood's Bay hove into view when we rounded a final bluff. Sharing the same name, the bay and town presented a picturesque joining of natural shoreline and red-roofed houses.
Our blufftop pathway suddenly intersected the main street of town, ultimately leading to the official ending point of the Coast-to-Coast Trail at the bottom of one last steep hill. The narrow road was crowded between close-quartered buildings and filled with tourists on holiday.
The town ended abruptly at the high-tide shoreline. The tide was out when we arrived, exposing a large rocky and sandy beach beyond the Bay Hotel.
We walked out onto the wet inter-tidal zone and strode out to the sea to celebrate the climax of our coast-to-coast journey...
We returned to the Bay Hotel for a final photo beneath the seal marking the official end of the Coast-to-Coast Trail with a mixture of happiness for the success of our trip and a twinge of regret that it had come to an end. Traversing the country had truly been an enriching experience, one that will serve as a model for future trips we will take.