The tide has come in over my usual routes around North Yorkshire, so in order to avoid trench foot I jumped on an early train for what proved to be a dry-ish five-mile route around Scarborough.
Alight at Seamer and once the signalman releases you from captivity on the platform, climb the steps and turn right over the bridge.
Go left at the bus stop, then left again in front of the houses, but as the road curls tightly right, drop down the grass on your left to a path that aims directly for the big road junction away in the distance.
At the end of the field, access the footpath and skip nimbly over the junction to follow the blue cycle/footpath signs down a soggy track. This soon becomes a stony path with the railway and the A64 howling away to your left.
They ran out of stones in the woods where you should follow the lower route adjacent to the railway. Emerge from the woods over a grassy field and soon you arrive on the narrow road around Scarborough Mere – a natural lake below Oliver’s Mount.
Follow the route to the left (so with the water on your right), and soon drop down to a lakeside path, eventually taking the opportunity to cross the water on a couple of footbridges.
Bear left after the bridge, and after 100 yards turn sharp right to climb steeply up the road, continuing to follow it uphill after a hairpin bend.
There’s not much in the way of pavement, so take care on what is a quiet road, unless there is a motorcycle race taking place in which case it would be wise to do as you’re told by anyone in a white coat waving a flag.
There is some clear motor racing paraphernalia around, (I complemented it with a passable impression of the Michelin man after too much post-Christmas cheese), signalling that you are in the middle of the Oliver’s Mount Racetrack, where bike races and hill climbs have taken place regularly since 1946.
At the top, follow the road along the edge of the woods until you reach the impressive War Memorial, where you will also find stunning views across Scarborough.
I lingered in the sleet for, ooooh, almost 10 seconds, before following the road past the café. 150 yards later, a green post (missing its sign) indicates a path that zig-zags its crazy and slippery way down through the woods to the road below, where you should turn left.
Turn right along the next road, to snake down to cross the A165, then follow Belvedere Road, opposite.
This is an impressively affluent area of Scarborough – don’t mention Jeremy Corbyn – which hugs the grassy slopes above the seashore. Across another road, follow the signs down to the Italian Gardens with its ornate and peaceful terraces, ponds, a statue of Mercury and several hundred squirrels.
Descend further and you emerge next to the illuminated star disk on the site of the old South Bay swimming pool.
Switched on in 2006, it depicts 42 of the brightest stars in the sky above Scarborough and I guess looks a tad better after the sun sets.
Impressive and innovative stuff. I remember swimming in the open-air seawater lido.
Once the biggest pool in Europe and showcasing a huge diving board, it was regularly topped up by spray from the North Sea in Easterly gales and my memories include sand and barnacles and little crabs swimming around trying to find a way out, though it is possible that I was hallucinating due to the extreme cold.
Bear left to pass the Spa Theatre (panto starring “Double Trouble” – whoever they are – and future performances promised from impressionist Rory Bremner and the polished wit of Chubby Brown), then you are more or less at the South Bay seafront.
I resisted a walk down the prom to see if Jimmy Corrigan was still in business.
In 1966, he appeared on a balcony in his huge amusement arcade, dressed almost exclusively in gold chains, in order to wave at all the punters shovelling money into his bank account via a raft of noisy slot machines.
As he did, I got two cherries up and while there was a dull mechanical clunk, only a small cloud of dust fell into the money tray. My sustained protests led me to be thrown out and the 4d he owed me is now worth nearly a million pounds (I expect they’ll read this and send a cheque).
Instead I made my way up to and past the rail station, where, 200 yards along, lies the Stumble Inn Micropub.
Don’t expect the gratis grub every day (I got a free sarnie), but do expect a warm welcome and beautiful beer.