The beach is only a five minute walk from the cottage and depending on the tide you can either stroll to Robin Hood's Bay or turn south towards Ravenscar and beyond. The Cleveland Way is accessible via the cliffs, a well trodden path for keen walkers and lovers of the countryside with awe inspiring views well worth the physical challenge of the calf, thigh and respiratory workout required to ascend this magical realm.
Inevitably, any journey involving the beach will include a search for jewels - by far my most favourite past-time and I never cease to be amazed by the gifts the tide leaves behind. Armed with a carrier bag I will happily spend hours trawling through the shallows picking out odd shaped stones and pearly shells long since abandoned by their inhabitants, marvelling at the geometric design and the miniature world within.
'To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.'
(Fragments from "Auguries of Innocence")
A pair of battered walking sandals serve me well in the ankle deep water as I cover maybe twelve square inches in half an hour. Around me, tourists hop-scotch over precarious stones and rocks in an attempt to preserve the whiteness of new holiday trainers. They call to their dogs who ignore them, mad with delight at being let off the lead; and to each other with shouts of: 'Where shall we go! - What shall we do!' Their dogs tear over the rock pools to sniff my bag in the hope of food and are disappointed to find only driftwood and shells. Their owners rush ahead eyes darting, dragging picnics and paraphernalia as they search for the perfect spot, not wanting to miss a moment whilst unconsciously missing it all.
They gaze with expectation at the distant horizon and ignore the world at their feet.