Every weekday, around 1pm, a flock of seagulls gathers on the rooftops where I live in Redcar, writes Stuart Bell of A Stroll With Stuart.
They then proceed to follow gangs of schoolkids through the estate, clearing up discarded chips, Monster Munch and assorted biscuits that the little cherubs manage to drop on the complicated journey from their hands to their mouths.
It would take the council at least three months to perform this operation and it’s a shame the gulls don’t eat crisp packets and pop bottles.
Gazette readers should beware that this column, written by a regular day visitor to Whitby, is staunchly pro-gull.
I’m all in favour of plastic polar bears too. And steam buses. And Moaning Lisa.
And tuppeny nudgers. If that offends, make yourself a sausage sandwich and turn over to read the sports pages.
This seven-mile walk begins outside the Red Lion in Cloughton (a few miles north of Scarborough), where Arriva’s X93 bus dropped me after converting several gallons of diesel into blue smoke as it climbed out of Robin Hood’s Bay.
Walk back up the A171, and 200 yards after the sharp left bend, take a left down Little Moor Close into a small estate. At the end of the houses, go left again before joining a path going right, adjacent to the last house.
This brings you to Cloughton Cricket Club where you should follow the boundary edge. Nod pleasantly at the old codger who’s been posted out of harm’s way at Third Man, and head on to a gate with a stream on your left.
Criss-cross the stream over two footbridges and continue heading south with Cloughton Beck and a few bungalows on your left. At a metal gate, turn sharp left to head back towards the busy main road.
At a suitable gap in the traffic, run like the wind and scamper straight on down Station Lane where, at the end, you’ll find old Cloughton railway station – now a coffee shop – a family holiday spot for me in the 1960’s.
It’s nearly 50 years since the last train service so it is good to see the place looking so neat, tidy and functional.
An interesting sign on the wall warns that trespassers could be fined 40 shillings - that’s two of your English Pounds, the equivalent today of £32.78. Network Rail will now charge you £1,000 for the same offence, a rate of inflation which is also applied to their Director’s salaries.
Go right in front of the station house/cafe and join the cinder track through a gate.
Follow this for a mile or so until you drop down steps on your right to double back under the bridge on a minor road heading towards the cliffs.
After another mile or so, in front of Cliff Top House Boarding Kennels, follow the road right for a few hundred yards and shortly after an information board, take the field path to your left to soon reach the cliff edge.
Lovely views have emerged over the last few minutes, including the silhouette of Scarborough castle and, on a clear day, the cliffs at Flamborough 20 miles away.
The path curls back north past an old coastguard station at Long Nab – now used for birdwatching – which was used in the war by Clive Dunn and co to track enemy submarines. (A long way back to the toilet for Private Godfrey, mind).
With skylarks and swallows on the landward side, and gulls using the air currents rising up the cliffs to soar lazily over your head on the off chance of you unwrapping a sausage sandwich, this was English Nature in full cry.
After a few dips and twists, you curl around the rocky beach of Cloughton Wyke where, as a child I spent many a happy hour with my parents and brother, searching among the rockpools for crabs and winkles. Simple pleasures and a nice cheap day out for my Dad!
The path winds up through woods to a viewpoint at Roger Trod, where I met a nice couple from Hull enjoying a cliff walk to the pub at the Hayburn Wyke Hotel, a few miles further north. It was tempting to join them, but I’ll go there another day and on this occasion I turned sharp left on a path that soon joins a metalled road.
Fifty yards later, at the railway bridge, climb up left to the cinder track and follow it to the next overbridge where you can climb steps to access the minor road back to your start point at Cloughton.
The Blacksmiths Arms offers suitable refreshments but a late running x93 bus was handily waiting at the bus stop to take me north to more familiar watering holes at Robin Hood’s Bay.