Stroll With Stu: Batteries worn down? Queen’s Speech over? Get some fresh air!

Whitby Abbey and the piers.
Whitby Abbey and the piers.

What do you do after you’ve crammed all that wrapping paper into the recycling bin?

Watch your 12-year old crash his brand new drone into the sea on its maiden flight? Wizard of Oz? Packet of Rennies? Argue about whose idea it was to buy little Jonny that set of drums?

Black Nab.

Black Nab.

Well here’s an idea – switch off the repeats of Dad’s Army on the telly and get out for some fresh air.

This two-hour stroll will help stave off sprout poisoning, gives you time to think about creating something inventive with turkey bones and in glorious fashion, ends up in a brewery.

I caught the X93 and started at Hawsker, but you can add a few miles by walking from Whitby along the cinder track if you feel especially energetic.

From the bus stop opposite the Hare and Hounds, immediately turn left on a track alongside a farm, soon crossing a bridge over the old Whitby-Scarborough railway line.

Saltwick Bay.

Saltwick Bay.

Your wide and clear track meanders its way seawards until you reach Gnipe Farm, where you should ignore the sign pointing straight on towards the Cleveland Way on the Cliffside. The National Trail is a veritable mudfest at this time of the year so I recommend leaving it till later and turning left ahead of the farm buildings, to quickly join another wide track between the fields.

This is a positive red carpet of a path compared to the splodging carnival going on at the cliff edge.

Carry on for a mile or so, doglegging left and right halfway along, then about 250 yards shy of Whitby Laithes Farm, look out for a stile on your right, leading to a path in a grassy gully heading sharp right towards the sea.

Turn left along the Cleveland Way admiring frequent and spectacular views down to hidden coves and cliff faces, only accessible to men armed with geology hammers and tide tables, looking for ammonites and bits of dinosaur. Soon you pass the rear of the lighthouse building (now holiday cottages), then down steps and in front of the decommissioned – but still hugely impressive – fog horns.

Lighthouse.

Lighthouse.

They were powered by oil-fired engines which compressed lots of air and fired it through the double horns.

Apparently, it sounded uncannily like Bully, who snorted derisively on Jim Bowen’s TV show Bullseye when some bloke from Pontefract ran out of time to answer a question which would have won him a hostess trolley.

OK, it may have been a tad louder than that, but as you happily whistle the Bullseye theme tune to yourself, you will presently arrive at the Whitby Holiday Park at Saltwick Bay. Now having failed to get down to the beach at Port Mulgrave a few months ago AND since I’d only been walking an hour, I had a walk down to the beach signposted from the centre of the caravan park.

I’d never been down there before, and was pleasantly rewarded with a lovely sandy beach surrounded by cliffs and spectacular rock stacks at either end of the bay.

Whitby Brewery on the Abbey Headland.

Whitby Brewery on the Abbey Headland.

Lovely-jubbly and worth the trek down (and back up) the winding path.

Resume the Whitby-bound Cleveland Way and what a great view you will get as you approach the end of this walk. I had high snow-clad moors away to the left, then the silhouette of the Abbey, then another secluded beach framed by high cliffs and finally both Whitby piers poking their way out into a slate grey November sea speckled with white horses and the odd plucky fishing coble shuffling between lobster pots.

All very fabulous, but with one more treat still to come.

As you approach the Abbey car park, double back slightly along the road and you will find the new home of the Whitby Brewery.

Established in 2013, they moved here in Summer 2016 and have very recently opened a tap bar adjacent to the brewing room.

It’s a tiny but lovely little lounge to which they are making improvements all the time. I popped in for a quick pint, and such was the quality of the beer (which had travelled about 15 yards) I ended up having three.

A constant stream of impressed visitors came and went, pleasantly surprised like me to find a bar where you’d least expect one.

I heartily recommend the Abbey Blonde and the Jet Black, or indeed anything else. Coffee and soft drinks are also available (I’m reliably told), as are their bottled beers individually or in packs. So, stagger onwards down the 199 Steps and when you get home in time for curried parsnip soup with chestnut croutons, explain that the slippery nature of the Cleveland Way is to blame for the wobble in your knees.