The sun shone and the day was beautiful. The sea was blue and calm, a vast expanse always there on our left, simultaneously calming and terrifying, beautiful and completely other.
and massage oil, and set off up the first steep hill of the day. There weren’t too many hills – we only came down to sea level twice – but they were certainly hard work.
bottle of rum (OK, Koppaberg).
We went through Skinningrove – Valley of Iron, where there were a profusion of makeshift huts, building works, and ponies up on the hillside. We sat for a few moments on an iron bench grafted onto the hillside, before beginning another steep climb.
Today I was tired, my legs and feet aching, but I could imagine another leaner, fitter me emerging. That I could walk myself out of the extra layer of flab that I’ve allowed to develop. Yesterday I could not imagine this. I like to think it’s a vision of the future.
At Boulby we found ourselves on the highest bit of cliff on the east coast of England at 666ft above sea level. At some point in the past it had seemed expedient to quarry into this bit of headland, so there are huge holes in it as if it’s been bitten into by massive sea monsters. The path meanders its precarious way along the edge, sometimes only a couple of feet away, and it looks as though the rock face is crumbling. We reassured ourselves that someone would keep an eye on the path, would divert it if it wasn’t safe, that we weren’t about to fall to our deaths in a rock fall. Poppy peered over which made me feel sick. If I could I would have walked with my eyes closed.
And then we met a little dog, a beagle, wandering all alone. Poppy was convinced that its owner had fallen. She thought it looked confused. But no one was calling for help, and the dog wandered on, and even if it was confused, it didn’t seem distressed.