WITH autumn upon us many head for the coast for a bracing walk. This one way walk covers some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in Yorkshire and makes a change from sitting around on a freezing cold beach.

Park near the Runswick Bay hotel which is where the bus leaves from (the X4 every half hour).

On arrival at the bus station in Whitby. The station is on the north west side of the estuary. I did not fancy the climb to the abbey but did have a wander along the harbour walls before climbing up the narrow street to meet the Cleveland way path on the Cliffside.

Whitby Sands are below whilst the grand North Cliff buildings are inland, a reminder of the past and Whitby’s popularity as a Victorian sea side town. The Cleveland Way accompanies you all the way to Runswick Bay providing a navigational comfort although you cannot go far wrong by keeping the sea to your right.

The path follows the edge of the cliffs for 400 metres before dropping down to the A174. Walk alongside the road till you arrive at the sands of Sandsend at the Raitwaite Estate. At this stage you can either follow the pavement on the road in to Sandsend or take to the sands, I prefer the latter. There is nothing special about Sandsend but there is a pleasant café on the sea front which did tempt me. Almost immediately after crossing the road bridge take the path north and climb above the cliffs. The scenery for the first half a mile is unusual. It is the remains of the old alum quarries dating back to the 17th century. Alum was a chemical used in the textile industry to fix dyes. It is extracted from shales found on the cliff side and does not occur in its natural state in the UK. The remains show a bizarre moonscape style landscape.

The cliffs become more natural before long as the footpath meets the old railway that used to link Whitby and Scarborough to industrial Teesside along the coast.

There are places along the coast where the erosion of the cliffs has meant the railway has disappeared, the power of the sea and the crumbling cliffs being a lesson of geography in action. The path reaches the spectacularly situated Kettleness Head. It was here in 1829 that the original Kettleness village collapsed in to the sea, the present hamlet built a bit further back!

Kettleness other claim to fame is its reputation for fossils, I am led to believe the most profitable foraging can be found under the cliffs in the country.

From the head the path heads westerly along the southern end of the beautiful Runswick Bay. The views here are as good as anything along the Yorkshire coast. Drop down off the cliffs to the sands, it is best to approach the village along the beach. The bay is sheltered from the strongest winds and the village provided an excellent port for fishing boats and smugglers alike. The situation is picture perfect and it is worth exploring this pretty village before heading back up to collect your car.

Fact file

Distance: Roughly eight miles.

Height to Climb: 500 metres (1,640 feet).

Start: NZ 572036. There is parking in upper Runswick Bay.

Difficulty: Medium/hard. The route is easy to follow but has some strenuous uphill sections.

Refreshments: After the café at Sandsend there is nothing to Runswick Bay with a choice of pubs and cafes.

Be Prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL27) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales:

•Jonathan has written a book, the “Dales 30” which describes the highest mountains in the Dales

•2019 dates now available for Beginners and Intermediates Navigation Courses.

•Offers a Guiding serve for those less confident in the outdoors

To find out more details on any of the above and details of the 100s of walks in the Yorkshire Dales & Moors visit his popular website, Where2walk.co.uk https://where2walk. co.uk/