Saltburn by the Sea

We decided we needed another short break before the year is out so I booked us a four night stay in an apartment overlooking the beach in Saltburn by the Sea. As we often are, we were again very fortunate with the weather, for the whole stay it was mild, dry and mostly sunny.

Monday, our day of travel was probably the worst weather and even then not bad, just dull and misty. However, driving over the North Yorkshire Moors, the fog came down and was so dense that visibility was only about 100 yards. What with stupid sheep wandering across the road at will, I was driving at about 20 miles per hour for quite some distance. Once we descended off the top of the moor, the fog lifted though. I think we had driven through an actual cloud!

We arrived at the apartment to be greeted by our hosts who were just finishing up the cleaning etc. Patrick and I couldn’t help but be amused by the guy’s appearance, he was styled like an anime character with long, blond, shaggy hair completely covering his eyes and wearing a brilliant white tracksuit. They seemed very nice people though and very helpful. The welcome pack of basics like bread, milk, butter etc., was much appreciated. There was a problem with the hot water initially but a plumber soon turned up to fix it and we were then able to get ourselves settled down with our customary beer.

The only problem with Saltburn is that the town is at the top of the cliff and the beach, pier etc., are at the bottom and to get between the two, there are lots and lots of steps! There is a funicular tramway but as it is run by volunteers, it has been closed since the first Covid19 lockdown. So, Tuesday morning, steps it is then! We walked down the steps directly opposite the flat and set off in the direction of the pier. After walking back towards the steps, we decided to continue along the enormous and beautiful beach with no particular destination in mind. I was amazed at how many people were on the beach, mostly with dogs but lots of people just enjoying a stroll. There were lots of black headed gulls, sanderlings and turnstones at the water’s edge poking about for a morsel to eat and we enjoyed watching them. The sanderlings in particular had us laughing, the speed at which they run along the beach is really amusing. We could see a large offshore wind farm in the distance too but it never seemed to get any closer no matter how far we walked! We stopped at Marsk on Sea and headed up the slop to the clifftop, but quickly decided that there didn’t appear to be much there so didn’t bother to stop. There was a signpost telling us it was 2 miles from Saltburn and a further 1.5 miles to Redcar so we opted to continue walking along the beach to Redcar, It’s not the most glamorous place we’ve ever visited but we stopped for a coffee at a cliff top cafe which was pleasant and did delicious looking mini cheesecakes, of course I needed one after all that walking and it tasted as good as it looked! Although we’d only walked about 4 miles in total, I was so tired and couldn’t face the walk back, so I looked at public transport and found there was a train every 30 mins. Patrick found a micro pub we could pop into near the station. The Gypsy Rover only had two cask ales on but one was the excellent Double Maxim so we settled ourselves at a window table – as far away from the three already well lubricated locals as we could get – to enjoy a beer before catching the train back to enjoy a soak in the jacuzzi bathtub.

Over the next two days we did quite a lot of walking. As we often do, we tried to cram in so much and ended up feeling really tired. On Wednesday, we decided to explore the town which took us a couple of hours at most, and that included a coffee and teacake in the lovely Signals cafe next to the train station. We then found our way to the Valley Gardens and set off for a walk through there. After first having a look around the pretty garden at the woodlands centre, which is managed by the Friends of Saltburn Valley we took a detour for a walk through the woods. Lots of steps and slopes made for a tough walk for us being the unfit old fogeys that we are! We walked down to see the Saltburn viaduct, which was huge as you can see from the picture with Patrick standing next to it, and then back to the path which we followed to the beck and crossed using the stepping stones. A bit further along and the path through the woods alongside the beck just disappeared and so after yet more slopes and steps, we decided to head back the way we had come to continue our walk through the gardens. The gardens were lovely with a nice paved walked along the beck to the miniature railway, sadly not running at the moment. I think it would be a nice little ride through the gardens on mini train, especially in the summertime. We made our way to the pier next, just because you can’t visit Saltburn and not walk along the pier, I think that’s actually illegal! We struggled up the (seemed like) millions of steps from the pier to the town and made our way back to the flat to relax for the rest of the day and evening.

On Thursday visited the area called Saltburn Gill, an SSSI managed by Teeside Wildlife Trust. Descending into the valley it was so peaceful and felt almost prehistoric down by the beck with it’s steep rocky sides. This was to be a linear walk as the only way out was back the way we came and after another steep climb, we’d both had enough and decided to turn back. Perhaps if we hadn’t done so much the two previous days we might have enjoyed and appreciated Saltburn Gill more but we were just knackered and couldn’t much be bothered by then. In an effort to find a different path back out, we crossed the beck and found ourselves climbing (yes, again) up towards a field. A check on the OS map on my phone showed that the footpath along the field led to the road back down to the town which we decided to take. Big mistake! The winding and busy road had no footpath so we were fighting with traffic and it was a bit nerve-wracking approaching the bends. Perhaps if we hadn’t been so tired, we might have gone back across the field and through the valley again but we diced with death instead! Back in the town, we stopped off at the Vista Mar pub, close to the pier, to fortify ourselves with a beer before having to walk back up the steps to town.

We’d decided that as Thursday was our last evening in Saltburn, we’d go out to the local micropub Guns Bar and the pizza restaurant a few doors down. Guns didn’t have any cask on but a few keg lines to keep us interested. We enjoyed a couple of beers before heading off for pizza and then home to bed.

Friday morning and I was awake by 7am so decided to go down to the beach for sunrise. Sadly the part of coast we were on doesn’t face east so the actual sunrise over the horizon isn’t visible, however, the colours in the sky and on the beach were spectacular anyway. The moon was still hanging in the sky and it was absolutely huge! Reflected in the pools on the beach it looked so beautiful.

There were already a lot of people out, walking alone or with dogs, a fair few surfers and I even saw two middle aged ladies leaving the beach after an early morning swim! Brrrrr! I took so many pictures of the beautiful light and colours but despite trying to whittle down to a small choice for this blog, I just couldn’t choose so have just put them all in the slideshow below.

Back to the flat for breakfast and then to pack up to leave, feeling sad that I hadn’t made the effort to get up early every morning. When we’d packed the car, we decided to have another walk on the beach but to drive down and park at the pier rather than tackling the steps again. The weather was glorious and again, I was amazed at the number of people enjoying the beach and pier. There were mothers with small children, dog walkers galore and at least a dozen surfers in the water.

I’ll leave you with another slideshow of pictures from the beach and pier. I was sad to be leaving this lovely place but it’s always nice to get home.