Posted by: sweetpea | July 2, 2007

Sunshine and fossils on the coast.

Yesterday I finally made it out on another YOG walk after such a long break (Nov last year was my last walk with them!), thanks to a suggestion from Tony.  To be honest the weather almost put me off going, but I’m so glad it didn’t because it was such a good day. I was also a little concerned I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but I needn’t have worried as we only did 6-7 miles, and the pace was very relaxed for YOG walks 🙂

We were a fairly small group, I suspect the rain had put some people off, and apart from the leader I’d met everyone else at least once before.  Ling and Ned were out, so it was good to catch up with them, don’t think I’ve seen them since January, musn’t let it get so long again.  I have definitely re-kindled the walking bug again so  I expect I’ll be seeing much more of the YOG group in the near future.  Bit disappointed that I won’t be able to make it out on another walk until the 29th though, what with going home for a week and being on duty at the Lottie shop, but I do have a weekend in the Lakes before then so looking forward to that.

So back to the walk……

We parked at Ravenscar (which funnily enough is where the first walk I did with YOG started from) and headed south along the coastal path looking for a path that would take us down to the shore from the cliff top.  John had a bit of difficulty finding it as it was so overgrown, but eventually he did and we all glanced at each other a little uneasy about the steep climb down. But it actually turned out to be quite fun.  It felt like we were intrepid explorers hacking our way through the jungle, for it really was quite overgrown.  I spotted a few Common spotted Orchids on the way down (which reminds me I must post about the 2 RHS workshops I did last week), poking their pretty pink heads above the fine grasses.  It was in fact really nice to see the wildflower meadows along the top of the cliff, especially since I’d been learning about them only last Wednesday, if we hadn’t been on a walk I might have stopped a little longer up there to see if I could remember any of the names.

Carrying on down the slope, trying not to slip and slide on the wet soil and grass or stepping into hidden dips, we eventually made it to one very steep section which had a couple of ropes to aid the intrepid explorer in their descent into the unknown (Hmmm, me thinks we were possibly not the first intrepid explorers to have braved these parts!).  At this point we sadly lost one of our party, Shirley (not sure if that was her name) had to give in to her fear of heights and turn back, but she seemed to have had a nice walk on her own when we met up with her later.  The rest of us clambered down the remaining slope, through a bit more scub, and finally out onto the rocky shoreline.

I’ve never worked out quite why I love being by the sea so much, I suspect it is down to a number of things.  Looking out to see is so restful as there is only blue with the odd breaking wave and seabird to distract you, it’s almost like a meditation.  Wish I’d stopped to enjoy it more yesterday but my brain was in walk mode, not wanting to hold anyone up! Then there is the sound of the waves breaking over pebbles, pebbles rolling, it’s so constant and soothing.  I think it’s the fact that it is such an open space too, as just being on the coast doesn’t always do it for me, it has to be away from the coastal towns, although coastal villages are quite quaint.  We saw quite a few birds along the shore, but I hadn’t taken my bins with me (was expecting not to see much due to rain!) so could only really identify the cormorants and oystercatchers, oh and a pied wagtail.  We were very lucky to see a seal close up, really amazing to watch it flop along the rocks to the sea, think it was probably a Common seal.  And there were a surprising number of ladybirds sunbathing, it’s obviously the place to be seen if you’re a ladybird 🙂

We took our time to walk along the shore over the rocks as John is into geology so explained the different rock types, and history of the area, although I’m afraid I can’t recall much of it now as fascinating as it was.  The area around Ravenscar and Robin Hoods bay is a fantastic place to look for fossils.  John, Tony and I quickly lost the others as we were so engrossed in trying to spot them.  Once you get your eye in it’s amazing how many you find, they ranged from ammonites, belemnites, and shells, through to coral. I took home 4 ammonites, 3 small ones I found and a 4th one Tony managed to prize from a rock, had to stick it together but I think it looks pretty good.  One of the ones I found had crystals in it so looks quite pretty, and Mark found a very fragile looking one.  I used to go fossil hunting as a child so recognised some of the things we saw, but it was good to have an enthusiast with us who could tell us exactly what we were looking at.

Eventually we neared the end of the path that comes down to the beach from Ravenscar (just realised I haven’t mentioned that we were walking North along the shore towards Robin Hood’s Bay), up until this point we had been bathed in glorious sunshine, but now our luck changed a little as we did get caught in a brief shower, but it was actually quite refreshing.  We headed up back onto the cliff top and back along the somewhat muddy coastal path to Ravenscar.  We arrived back at the cars just in time as no sooner had we got into the cars the heavens opened and there was a terrential downpour for a good 15 mins I’d say, you couldn’t see where we’d come from for the blanket of rain and the sky was so black.  On the way to the little tea rooms we passed a family on their bikes, I really felt for them but I suspect that it might have been quite exciting for the children at first, they were like little drowned rats by the time they reached the tea shop though.  By the way, I’d thoroughly recommend the little teashop at Ravenscar, don’t know what it’s called but I think it’s the only one so you can’t go wrong.  I think ‘Homemade cakes’  should be enough of a temptation, I had lemon drizzle cake which was lovely.

A perfect end to a perfect walk 🙂


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