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To Runswick Bay

On a sunny day in late September
we were on our way to Runswick Bay,
on a walk that we gladly remember,
meeting people on the Cleveland Way.

Assorted folk with the same idea
taking in distant views over the sea,
a gentle breeze, the far horizon clear,
nearby hips and haws bright on bush and tree.

Whoever you meet, just what do you say?
Should it be ”Hi!” or rather “Hello!”?
Is it “Good morning” or maybe “Good day?”
If they greet me first I go with the flow.

Whatever is said may offer a clue,
tell you something about the other,
whether there is further chat to pursue
or just some remarks about the weather.

Having arrived we sat by the beach
eating our sandwiches watched by some dogs
and seagulls, waiting to swoop or to reach
for tasty morsels, whatever drops.

After a paddle to refresh my feet,
there were four and a half miles to return
to Sandsend for our walk to complete.
First there were steps to climb by the burn,

passing more people too breathless to greet;
grateful to pause we let them pass by
with a nod or wave – but wished for a seat!
There at the top a gate was held wide

by a couple with smiles to wave us through.
We paused as I stretched my cramp to ease 
also to remove a stone from my shoe;
then onward we trod refreshed by the breeze.

Off the cliff face using the updraught
fulmars glided scanning the sea below.
Retracing our steps, features we'd passed
informed us how far we still had to go.

High on his combine, late harvest to reap
the farmer raised his hand as we stopped,
paused to pick blackberries more sharp than sweet.
Speckled wood butterflies near to us dropped.

At last we came to more steps to descend,
holding the rail as these tested our knees.
Pausing again with views of Sandsend
and spray from breakers whipped up by the breeze.

Back at the car there was salt on the screen.
Time to examine my blistered feet
and to doze awhile, pondering the cuisine
of Whitby and just what we might eat:

Scampi and whitebait with too many chips,
cans of ginger beer to ease it all down,
observed by gulls we looked at the ships
that brought our supper to this port of renown.

* * *
We count our blessings that we were able to escape to the coast for refreshment before Covid restrictions on travel could prevent a day of enjoyment.

Copyright © Lisle Ryder