Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge

The next morning in Blakey Ridge we were reunited with the fast-walking bacon eaters and although they were no M&G, it was nice to see a familiar face just the same. We began with a bit of road walking and the heather, which I understand is usually in full color later in the season, was beginning to show its purple.

When we initially organized the trip, we thought that the long stretch to Blakey Ridge might just be too much and we might need to have a light day to accompany it. We didn’t realize the contagion of walking and the way that your body heals itself over night and leaves you eager to walk again the next day. We strolled into Egton Bridge by about 1pm, an hour before our luggage.

On the road I had noticed that a street sign indicated it was six miles to Whitby. As literary Anglophiles, we knew that Whitby had a connection to Bram Stoker’s Dracula; however, it was a connection we made after arranging our trip, otherwise we would have wanted to find a way to include it as a post-trip excursion from Robin Hood’s Bay. It was serendipitous that we arrived in Egton Bridge early enough to have a day trip and when a few paces later I saw a sign for commuter rail, I begged my husband to consider an excursion.

For those of you who may be a loyal follower of 30WaysofWalking, you might remember that I had been initially concerned when The Old Mill Egton Bridge did not appear on any search engines. We are happy to report that The Old Mill was one of our favorite B&Bs. We were the only guests and the establishment had been recently renovated. It was gorgeous on the inside, the room was humongous and my husband was thrilled because there was a giant flat screen TV with real cable.  The proprietors were so kind and offered us a train schedule and helped us to plan our trip to Whitby.

We quickly changed our clothes and headed on board the commuter rail to Whitby. The ride was short, only about 20 minutes. The seaside town of Whitby was crowded on this gorgeous July day and we were eager to be out and about in the sun. To complete our literary pilgrimage we climbed the 99 steps up to Whitby Abbey, which towers above the town. After the joy of abbey hopping and exploring along the C2C walk we were a bit shocked to find Whitby Abbey as part of the National Trust and at twelve pounds per person (almost $50 for the two of us) we opted to take photos outside, rather than go in. The steps and the Abbey are referenced toward the end of Stoker’s Dracula.  As a scholar my husband was excited to find the memorial to Caedmon’s in the Whitby cemetery. Caedmon, whom I had forgotten from my coursework, was an illiterate stable hand in the who through divine intervention composed the first alliterative verse poem in Old English, aptly titled Caedmon’s hymn.

We spent the remainder of our time poking in and out of tourist shops and giggling at all of the ridiculous Dracula paraphernalia and extreme gothic marketing. It appears Whitby is the place to be for Halloween.

On the train ride back we enjoyed the views of each picturesque seaside town and again were a bit saddened to know that tomorrow would be out last walk.

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About 30 Ways of Walking

Gina Liotta's writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, Slate, The Paterson Literary Review, LIPS, and The Healing Muse, among others. She lives, writes and teaches in New York.
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