A Stroll With Stu: nice little jaunt from Ruswarp to Whitby
At under five miles, this is a nice little jaunt that doesn't necessitate hauling yourself up into thinner air just to have a coughing fit, and showcases some of the fine independent shops and attractions that can be found on the west bank of the river.
I should add that there is no map today (frankly, it was too hard) so, pay attention to the text!
Start by taking the path to Ruswarp at the far end of the Co-op car park running between the river and the railway.
At Ruswarp, turn left over the bridge then left again down the back road towards Whitby. (No pavement, so no daydreaming either).
After crossing over Stainsacre Beck, the road curls steeply up to the left, soon reaching steps up to the cinder track.
Turn left across the viaduct, where I defy you not to stop and admire the stunning views over either parapet.
At the end of the structure take a path left (signed for Ruswarp).
This soon drops down to cross the old railway incline that linked the Esk Valley and coastal railways and it is difficult to imagine one of Northern’s 30-year-old trains rattling up there now.
It’s straight on at the top of the steps, but after a short distance edge right to meet a stone trod alongside allotments that will ultimately take you to Mayfield Road near Caedmon College.
Cross over, and drop down through a gap in the hedge, kindly created by generations of schoolkids and go left on what is also, weirdly, Mayfield Road.
Quickly go right down St Andrews Road, following it as it curves right.
Escape the estate by turning right down Sunningdale Grove taking a path at the end that bisects a giant hedge.
Cross a little footbridge and turn right along a path for some distance until you reach some large iron gates ahead of a rough road, where you need to turn sharp left and climb back up to a gap in the houses then left down the long and rambling Kirkham Road.
Curve right for several hundred yards, to turn right along Byland Road past some shops.
Dogleg left after the pub, to take a wide path that takes you to Stakesby Road via a large gate between two old houses – East and West Lodge. Clearly these have a certain history, though I’m afraid Google failed me on this occasion.
Cross over, then take a quick right (also Stakesby Road – there are some frugal town planners in Whitby), then quickly follow a cut onto Station Avenue where we arrive at something a little more interesting than 2 up/2 downs.
On your left is the old Whitby West Cliff station, an attractive brick built structure now converted to residential use, part of which is humorously called Beechings Mews.
That in itself is a tad misleading though, as the station serving the line to Saltburn closed in 1961, a few years before the good Doctor Beeching got busy with his scissors.
Beyond the station, a stone bridge points the way north, though why it is blocked off with several square yards of wire mesh is another question beyond the reach of t’internet.
Back at the station buildings, continue down Station Avenue to turn right along Upgang Lane before heading left on a path towards the sea past various grassy leisure opportunities.
High above the waves begins our little tour of some of Whitby’s west side treasures.
First up is the minigolf course, personally constructed by Arnold Palmer.
The whale’s jawbones are a tad more celebrated down the road where you should turn right along East Terrace, curling right to a junction then left again along Havelock Place, soon morphing into Skinner Street.
Shortly after the celebrated Botham’s bakery and café is a little treasure – Holman’s bookshop.
The window display suggests a standard stationers but at the back of the shop is the best selection of quirky local books in the town.
Take the next left to head right down Silver Street for a coffee and scrumptious cheese and sage scone in the yard at Rusty Shears café with its resident fig tree.
Have a quick look at the shops of nearby Flowergate, including the excellent Masons fruit & veg shop (where I first realised that turmeric comes in the form of a tuber rather than a glass jar), then turn left to follow Cliff Street for a few hundred yards.
Little alleys past timeless cottages take you down to the sea front where Ben Shephard will be in residence supervising the Tipping Point machines in the amusements, and you must finish your walk by partaking in a cuppa at the timeless Tea Hut where Captain Cook enjoyed a quick hot dog before his tour of Australia.