Smuggler’s Trod Challenge Walk 2019 – Yorkshire Coast LDWA

On August Bank Holiday in 2018 I thought it’d be a marvellous idea to walk the Yorkshire Coast LDWA’s Smuggler’s Trod challenge event which starts in Robin Hood’s Bay. I thought it’d be another marvellous idea to do the same in 2019, especially as I was able to book a good value B&B which was just three minutes walk from the start of the event.

There were seven of us from Norfolk & Suffolk group, Jane, Clive, Simon, Brian, Kathleen, Hayley and last and certainly not least, me. I’d note here that this post is just about my experiences, as the others might not want me to broadcast what they got up to. And I am the sole of discretion as everyone in the group knows.

Unlike some others on the walk, I didn’t get confused by this   🙂    It’s the black token which is dropped off at the, well, drop off bucket, and the tally card which is cut along the route. Being only three minutes from the start of the walk meant that I could walk over to register, then go back to get breakfast at the B&B before starting the event at 08:00.

The turnout on the walk seemed high and there was a positive atmosphere at the beginning of the event. I was over confident and planning this as some sort of training event for the 100. As usual though, around three hours in I launched an inquiry whose idea it was to go on the walk. We had a debate and thought it must have been one of Peter’s ideas.

Walking across the moor thing, the start of the walk is also the beginning of the Coast to Coast route. Although I don’t like being reminded of that bloody walk, but that’s a story explained in more than enough detail elsewhere on this blog.

This is the drop down into the first checkpoint and it’s quite a fun little scramble down. Well, it’s not really a scramble, but I’ll call it that so that I sound braver. It can be quite slippery though and the marshals advised us to take extra care. I was extra careful as I knew that the checkpoint was nearby and I was hungry.

The first checkpoint where I accidentally ate about three bags of jelly babies and several Yum Yums (doughnuts). This was just after the breakpoint of the short and long routes and although secretly I wanted to go on the short route, I didn’t want Simon to think I wasn’t as good a walker as he is.

We went a bit wrong in this area last year, but all went well this year.

I really like this checkpoint on the Moors, especially with the smuggler’s flag flying high. We caught up with Brian and Kathleen here, although Clive had long since sodded off. We had several theories why, but I can’t reveal on a public post why I thought he went off. I had more jelly babies here and I even had some tomatoes, which I hoped wouldn’t counteract with the healthy aforementioned jelly babies.

I found the walk harder this year than last year, but it was because of the heat. The sun was rather unrelenting and the walk is quite exposed for some stretches on the moors, although there was a reasonable breeze throughout much of the day. Like some other walkers on the route I spoke to, I drank more water than I’ve ever done on a challenge event. One of the marshals said they’d had a few people drop out during the event, and they thought it was the heat which was the cause. It was a tough day out there on the moors for nine hours is all I can say.

Incidentally, I heard one of the female entrants (not from our group) say that they had ‘chub rub’. I hadn’t heard of that, but it seems that it’s a real thing. I won’t give too many details here….

And one of the smaller checkpoints where I got more jelly babies. Jane and I had been agreeing about how brave we were at this stage, but I won’t go on about that here.

This middle section of the walk is beautiful and is much easier when it’s dry, otherwise it can be a little soggy in places. It’s a lovely part of the country to walk through, although I did wonder about how many snakes there might be in the undergrowth. I let Hayley go through first in case there were swarms of snakes as I thought she might know how to deal with the situation if it did arise.

Winding through the trees, this was a welcome stretch of the route as it was shady. We didn’t know where Clive had gone, so we kept an eye along the route in case he had got lost, which was something which happened to certain members of the group last year. Although we don’t mention that of course.

This was the checkpoint that I was looking forwards to, the one at the campsite. We were still in a big group at this stage that had sort of formed together, around thirty of us. The volunteers coped marvellously, making a variety of sandwiches quickly and efficiently. I had jelly babies and as many salty crisps and snacks as I could to ensure my salt levels weren’t depleted. I had more tomatoes as I’m reckless like that. Oh, and lots of cheese and jaffa cakes.

It was shortly after this that one of our party managed to get ordered out of the pub for using their toilets. I won’t go into details though, but I’m sure that the story will be retold…..

Robin Hood’s Bay comes into view.

Just before the mast with about six miles to go. So very brave. I’ve still got a slightly sore foot from the Birmingham Canal Canter from two weeks ago, which never really got chance to heal since I did the 21 miles last week on the Suffolk coast, but it will be getting a lot of rest this week. Quite a lot of that rest will be in the pub.

I did miss Jayne at this point, as she would have been able to do some bandaging and tell me how brave I was. Well, nodded knowingly when I asked if she thought I was being brave. It’s the same thing.

The mast thing.

The checkpoint near to the mast and I was pleased to get here as it marks the walk back into Robin Hood’s Bay. There was another entrant struggling at this point who had been affected by the heat. I knew that I wasn’t feeling entirely right as I started to crave melon, which can’t be healthy for me. I had some more jelly babies too though as I assumed I must be low on sugar.

Walking along the coast towards Robin Hood’s Bay, it’s a lovely view.

Onto the railway line….

This is the former railway line which ran from Scarborough to Whitby and we were on this for over two miles as we approached Robin Hood’s Bay.

I enjoyed this railway line section as it was flat and it was easy on the feet, although I still made Simon talk about politics to help the miles go even quicker. I also made Simon listen to my thoughts about the rail network, which I’m confident he very much enjoyed and I suspect was a real boost to him to help get him to the finishing line.

That was kind of it for the walk, albeit there’s a very steep (I’m from Norfolk, it’s very steep to me) hill at the end. It wasn’t quite as bad as I remembered, so with one final exertion to climb this mountain I was within sight of the end. It was very lovely indeed to be able to see the hall where the event finished….

A slightly blurry photo, there was either sweat or tears on the lens, I can’t recall which. I must admit, and I hope no-one from the Yorkshire Coast LDWA group reads this as I don’t like any negativity about the wonderful events run by volunteers, that I was marginally disappointed with the pie. I liked the pie and gravy they supplied last year at the event, and I had rather hoped for that again.

Anyway, in the absence of my planned main course I did have two desserts and several Yum Yums, so all was well with the world. And there were some jelly babies left as well, so I helped the group eat them.

On the subject of the Yorkshire Coast LDWA group, they were wonderfully friendly as ever and the event was very professionally organised. It’s so very kind of the marshals to give up their time and they were all happy throughout the event, although I don’t think I’ll be getting Norfolk & Suffolk LDWA to dress up at challenge events (they’d take it too far, I just know….).

Very well done Julian. Oh and well done to the others. So very brave.