The sea, the coast, the coast trail, a beautiful sight. Wow, it really follows the coastline, up and down the ravines cutting into the sea. A large walking group is passing on the trail so I sit, rest, eat a trail bar and enjoy the view. The sky has been clear since I emerged from dark Littlebeck forest. My plan is to walk to Whitby and stay at the hostel next to Whitby Abbey. Then tomorrow take a bus north to Staithes and walk back to Whitby. Next day, on to Robin Hoods Bay to complete the C2C, then the last day on to Scarborough. Hopefully, this will satisfy my desire for some good coastal walking.

C2C Meets The Coast Path

I eventually catch up with the group, about 15 walkers, and pass as they stop to regroup. I talk to one fellow and find out they are from Lancaster on a three day walk. Lo and behold, I then meet the foursome from several days ago in Osmotherly and the Cleveland Way. Of course, we are now on the Cleveland Way again and they are a couple of days from their finish. We had a great reunion, laughing at the coincidence of our meeting. Soon I see the Abbey ahead and then I am there, a very dramatic ruin. But where is the hostel? Oh yes, just below. It doesn't open until 5 pm so I go into town down the famous 199 steps.

Whitby Abbey, An Imposing Place

I went to the TIC for a map and bus schedule, then found the bus station for my jaunt to Staithes tomorrow. Thought I should have some proper food so I had fish and salad, bought an apple, then back up the steps to the hostel at 5 pm. Washed my dirty pants legs and socks etc so I will have enough clean clothes to last the trip and chatted with some older (my age) guests. An American, now living in Edinburgh, fled to Canada to avoid the Vietnam war and never regretted it. We went back into town together to find a pub for a pint of Black Sheep, boring pub, good company.

Next morning, I leave half my clothes at the hostel so I have a very light pack. Twenty minutes on the bus to Staithes. Its a steep walk from the road down to this very picturesque town climbing off the bay. I see a crab sandwich advertised, yumm. but the place isn't open yet. Maybe I'll find one in Runswick Bay. Nice climb up onto the cliff tops, but weather is overcast so photos are less than ideal. At lunch time I descend steeply into Runswick Bay, but the only cafe is a very ordinary diner, not even any fish. So much for my crab sandwich.

Pub In Staithes, Now That's My Kind Of Place

Looking Back At Staithes

About the time I reached Whitby the rain started so I ducked into a restaurant for a pot of tea and a sandwich. Then up the 199 steps to the Abbey to visit the visitor center and bookstore. My wife Cathryn is studying medieval English history so requested me to look for books not widely available. With a helpful clerk, I found three books that seemed to qualify; St. Hilda, Medieval Women and a history of Bede which has information on St. Wilfred. All great stuff, yes?

Even though its raining, I decide to go out to the famous Trencher's restaurant for dinner. I got the Fisherman's Casserole, an amazing amount of fish and shellfish, excellent. I stop at the pub next door for a pint of Theakstons XB. It was a very picturesque place with beer coasters hanging from the rafters, hundreds of them. At the hostel, I hang my jacket in the drying room. A group of fishermen have come in; it will be a full house tonight, at least in the men's dorm.

In the morning, I get the continental breakfast, cereal, two croissants, orange, pear, juice and coffee. Very satisfying! I don't think I could face another English fried breakfast. Goodby to the Edinburgh American and out to take photos of the Abbey. Weather is very windy, dark clouds blowing across. Sun for photos can be fleeting. One of two women from the hostel walk by seemingly lost. I point the way to the coastal path. She will meet her friend in RHB. Photos taken, I also start on the path but remember that I forgot to photograph the great cross of Caedmon at the church with his famous poem. Ahh, Cathryn will never forgive me! Caedmon was an ordinary herdsman who supposedly learned to compose poetry one night in the course of a dream and became an inspirational religious poet and a quite zealous monk. Of course, he was based at Whitby.

Whitby Abbey, Last View

Storms Sweeping The Coast South Of Whitby

Muddy Coast Path

Its very blustery. Actually, severe winds. A huge storm comes sweeping down from the north and I put the duckback cover on my pack. The storm is gone in 15-20 minutes, out to sea, leaving an extremely muddy path. The several walkers are having trouble negotiating the mud. Following anothers example, I begin following a parallel path on the other side of the wire fence where there is a grassy verge next to a farm field.

Eventually, the grassy path ends so I duck under the wire to get back to the regular, muddy path. Then it happens. The wire snags my pack cover which was loosened by the wind, my walking pole slips, I slip and my foot is twisted around back and under me as I land on it.. A strange noise and PAIN. After clearing my head, I manage to get up and hobble over to a place to rest and assess the situation. My right ankle seems to be a little wobbly, but intact. Maybe its just a sprain. Thankfully, I can walk on it with walking poles supporting me. Its about 4 or 5 miles to RHB, I'll just go half speed. I have plenty of time. After a half hour, I rested on a bench, then passed the spot where C2C joins the coast, rested again enjoying the view, then finally I reach RHB.

I ask for a chemist shop so I can get an ankle wrap. No, there isn't one, but a Surgery is nearby. Its still early, Surgery is open and doctor is in. She wraps my ankle and calf. Its swollen and turning colors, hard to fit back into my boot. She thinks it should be x-rayed to see if the small ankle bone is broken and suggests I go to the hospital in either Whitby or Scarborough. They can't do xrays here, but give me some painkillers so I can make it to the hospital without keeling over. I try to pay for the exam but she waves me off, no charge. Wow, is this what national health service is like? Impressive!

I gingerly walk down to the bay, take some photos and pop into Wainwright's Bar to sign the C2C book and have a pint. I need it. I'm still looking for a crab sandwich. The Victoria Hotel had them, but I got there a half hour after it closed for food (2 pm). I saw another restaurant that had them but its closed now also. Woe is me! I slip into a little bakery/sandwich shop and get a pasty and a chocolate covered trifle. Not bad. I decide to walk the 3/4 mile along the cliff to Boggle Hole YHA where I am booked in. Just suck it up! Tomorrow I will take the bus to Scarborough, visit the hospital and stay the night at the hostel. Then if all goes well, I can keep to my schedule and fly home the next day. I'm not going to let a silly ankle keep me from my schedule. But I'll have to admit, I just barely made it to Boggle Hole.

Seashore At Robin Hoods Bay

Bar At The Bay Hotel

RHB From Near Boggle Hole

At Boggle Hole, I'm the only one in a small two bunk room w/wash basin. Dinner is vegetable curry w/rice and apple crumble. They sell ale and wine so I get a bottle of Landlords, made in Keighley, Yorkshire. Excellent. Many families are here with lots of kids of all ages. After dinner, I call Cathryn and tell her about my fall; she is quite upset and I promise to call tomorrow after the hospital. I wash the mud off my pants and boots, take more painkillers and settle down to writing and reading.

Next morning, the hardest thing was putting my boots on over my swollen foot; I loosen the ties as much as possible.
Breakfast is mediocre but coffee is good. I pack carefully, taking my time. I have another cup of coffee in the common room, check out and call for a taxi to meet me in the carpark up the road. Nice lady driver, a native, loves it here, advises me to go directly to the A&E (accident and emergency) entrance for treatment.

The bus drops me in front of the hospital and the walkway leads me to A&E. They take my info, a nurse examines me, then calls in a doctor who orders an xray. I wait, then they order two more xrays. Wait again. The doctor come in with the xrays and shows me where the small vertical bone in my ankle is fractured. There is only a slight displacement which is why I could walk on it. They don't operate in this case, but stabilize the fracture with a cast. We decide that in my case, a cast would not be good for a plane flight. I ask if there is something more secure than a bandage wrap that is portable and can be taken on and off. He goes off to consult with an orthopedist and says there may be something. Eventually, they find an orthopedic boot. Now the doctor, nurse and the orthopedist crowd around reading instructions to figure out how to install the boot, lots of straps and velcro. It works! Feels good. They give me some medicine and pain killers, hand me the xrays to show my doctor in the USA, and say goodby. No charge. Amazing. They were really great. A lady explained to me that, for foreigners, accidents are treated at no charge but there is a charge if the treatment is outside of A&E. Fair enough.

The hospital called a taxi to take me to the hostel where I was prebooked. It was a nice friendly place, good location and even has an internet. I called Cathryn to give her the news, then called for a morning taxi to take me to the train station.

This is my accident story. It was a very traumatic event overall and its taken me three years before I've felt like writing about it on blogs or walking forums. My 2009 C2C walk was therapeutic in that respect.

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