North York Moors – Coastal Walk and Cliff Top Wild Camp

Back In May 2015 my daughter and I stayed at Robin Hood’s Bay for the weekend, while there we walked a section of the Cleveland Way north to Whitby. The Cleveland Way is a 109 mile route that passes some stunning locations in the North York Moors National Park. The coastal section really interests me, the route heads south from Saltburn-on-Sea all the way down to Filey and I’d been wanting to return to walk south from Robin Hood’s Bay for some time. Thankfully a weather window timed nicely with our days off work so my friend Ray and I went for a quick midweek wild camp.

Robin Hood's Bay taken with the DJI Phantom 4
Robin Hood’s Bay taken with the DJI Phantom 4

Route Map –

We drove north from Derbyshire and parked the car in the village of Cloughton, we then got the bus north to Robin Hood’s Bay where we had a pre walk pint at the Smugglers Inn. After taking a few pictures and some video footage we joined the Cleveland Way and climbed up on to the cliffs.

The weather was very nice indeed but there was a strong breeze, I’m always conscious about wind speed and direction when flying but it was nothing the DJI Phantom 4 couldn’t handle.

After the short drone flight we walked via Boggle Hole and climbed up towards Ravenscar. The path rises and falls before you begin the climb to the National Trust property at the top. We didn’t have time to stop today so we continued along the cliff tops past the old Coastguard lookout and the WW2 radar station.

The path along the cliffs to Hayburn Wyke is stunning, the light was perfect as the sun began to set and it was an absolute joy even if it does rise and fall a little… The climb out of Hayburn Wyke is nice and sharp 🙂

We had no concrete plan in regards to a camp location, I’d had a quick look to see if there were any secluded spots and earmarked a few. I use a combination of Ordnance Survey and Google Earth but you can never tell what it’s going to be like until you arrive. The only real plan was that we would walk until after sunset so we could pitch late and be as stealthy as possible. As our car was parked at Cloughton we decided to get as close as we could to enable us to be up and away early in the morning.

The lane we needed to walk along the following day is called Salt Pans Road, it looks to be a popular Wild Van Camping location at the end too (I’m assuming it is rather popular as there were a few vans parked there). We passed the end of the road and then walked a further kilometre or so before finding a nice little spot to lay down our bivvys.

The spot we chose was pretty close to the path but was hidden nicely by some yellow flowering Gorse Bushes, it had a nice area to sit overlooking the sea and it was sheltered nicely from the breeze. The overnight forecast was for light rain so I decided to pitch the Terra Nova Adventure 2 tarp in the flying diamond formation, I wasn’t going to but I had the drone with me and I didn’t want to risk it getting wet :-).

We spent the evening watching the boats out at sea, seals playing in the waves and the stars appear as the darkness arrived. There was a scattering of thin cloud but we were able to catch numerous satellites passing overhead and we utilised the excellent Sky Guide app on my iPhone to identify them. In the distance towards the south we could see the lighthouse at Flamborough Head, and around the coast the lights of Scarborough were illuminating the sky. We watched the world go by for around 2 hours before eventually calling it a night so we could be up bright and early.

I awoke to the sound of the sea gently crashing on the rocks below and the birds singing their dawn chorus. It was 30 minutes before sunrise so I got up to admire the views, by the looks of the colours in the cloud it was going to be a good one so I set up the Canon 550D on the tripod for a time lapse. There was a nice amount of cloud on the horizon which turned a stunning shade or red and purple before the sun pierced through.

We could have quite happily stayed on that cliff edge all day, the sound of the waves and the birds was so therapeutic but sadly it wasn’t to be. We had to pack away and head back to the car as we had places to go and work to attend. The majority of cloud had vanished and it was turning out to be an absolutely fantastic spring morning.

We had travelled pretty light so it didn’t take very long at all to pack away, I had only taken my large Berghaus pack as I was carrying the drone. As always we left no trace whatsoever of our presence there apart from a small section of flattened grass. Off we went past yellow fields of oilseed rape on our way back along the cliffs towards Cloughton.

It only took around 30 minutes to get back to the car in the village, all that was left then was to drive the 2 hours back to Derbyshire whilst plotting more adventures. Thank you for reading and watching.

Route Map –

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All music by Dean Read. Footage shot with a Canon EOS 7D DSLR with a Canon EF 50mm – f/1.4 USM Lens, Canon EF 17-40 mm f/4.0 L USM Lens, RODE VideoMic Go Microphone with a RODE Dead Cat Wind Protector. I also use a DJI Phantom 4, a GoPro Hero 3 Silver, an iPhone 6 Plus and it was edited in iMovie.

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