Scarborough November 09
The LMG November 2009 weekend was based in Scarborough. Like many seaside resorts in winter, the town presents itself as an end of the railway, end of the world sort of place. On Friday afternoon, the first to arrive, I walk down the quay to the lighthouse, destroyed by Imperial German Navy bombardment in December 1914, and rebuilt by public subscription by 1931. No unseemly haste then; perhaps a monument to Yorkshire parsimony? After climbing on deserted streets to the castle walls I look down on the town where only a few streetlights glow like sentinels, guarding the town against the German fleet and other dark forces of Mordor.
Socially the weekend followed the usual LMG pattern. The party is on Friday night: old friends are reunited and amazing quantities of beer are ingested before and after a pub supper, by those who should know better. On this trip both the evening meals were a disappointment, particularly the Saturday dinner taken at a town centre Italian restaurant. Bruschetta is a simple yet sublime snack or starter; sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, on toast. No onion, no feta cheese and the toast should be crisp and crunchy. If the tomatoes are chopped rather than sliced the toast becomes soggy and the correct effect is totally lost. Hard to screw up you might think, but in Scarborough they managed it spectacularly.
If the evening meals lacked the X-Factor, the accommodation at Toulson Court was very comfortable and we were warmly welcomed by our hosts, Jackie and Dean. They also understand one of the secrets of the full English breakfast: it is a grilled meal and only the eggs should be fried. This was one of the better breakfasts of my LMG years.
The objective of the weekend was to walk the central section of the Cleveland Way, along the coast between Scarborough and Whitby. For much of the route the path follows the edge of the cliffs, descending steeply from time to time into the coastal inlets or wykes. On Saturday morning we set out from Scarborough and after stopping for a picnic lunch just south of Ravenscar, we reached Robin Hoodís Bay by mid-afternoon and took a bus back to the start. Hans, one of the club stalwarts, cried off all the walking with a chest infection. We worried about him, until we noticed on Saturday evening that his appetite was quite unaffected. He may have been pioneering a new social membership category within the Club, which could be big for others among us in future. Wish I had thought of it first!
The Saturday walk was about 13 Ĺ miles. On Sunday morning we drove to Whitby and walked up past the Abbey southwards to Robin Hoodís Bay, a distance of 6 Ĺ miles, arriving in time for a fish and chip lunch at the Victoria Hotel. Then back to Whitby by bus before starting our homeward journeys.
To travel to Scarborough by rail, I had bought a non-flexible ticket which committed me to travel back to London by mid-evening trains. As this would have involved hanging round York for more than three hours I am grateful for a lift in Jimís Land Rover to his local station in Hertfordshire. But after he has dropped me there and disappeared into the night I discover that there are no trains because of industrial action. However, a local taxi driver who has had a quiet day agrees to take me to Edgware for an attractive fare. To Londoners Edgware presents itself as an end of the railway, end of the world sort of place. But from there the tube trains leave every four minutes. Southbound; Kennington via Charing Cross. The ticket barrier gives my free bus pass a welcome beep. Iím home.