Flamborough Head

One of our outings while we were staying in Scarborough a few weeks ago was a drive a little way south along the coast to Flamborough Head. This is a small headland that juts out into the North Sea and is a beautiful spot for a walk along the chalk cliffs and through an area of natural beauty, it's also not far from the RSPB Bempton Cliffs reserve.

We had the most glorious day for our trip, blue sky, warm sunshine and a gentle breeze. It's obviously a popular place for families, walkers, and photographers, as the car park was nearly full by the time we got there at mid-morning, and at lunchtime the cafe's queue was out the door.

Heading first for the information board, we decided on a rough route and off we went following man-made paths across the grass, past the lighthouse and out towards the very tip of the headland. The views really were spectacular, looking north along the coastline you could see every cliff and cove for miles, as well as small boats and larger ships way out to sea.

Some of the pathways led a little too close to the cliff edges for my liking - living in the South East we regularly see reports on the local news of cliff-falls and deaths on the Kent and Sussex coasts - so my caution kept me well back in a few places where others seemed quite happy to peer right down the cliff face to the rocky outcrops below. Frankly, it still makes my stomach do flips just thinking about it.

Pausing regularly to admire the view, and to snap photos of big skies, wide seas, the grass meadow around us, and the tiny pinpricks of colourful flowers and the insects enjoying them, we meandered gradually across the peninsula, making the most of the warming sun on our backs.

A well-trodden path disappeared over the edge and down, zig-zagging across the cliff towards a small beach below, steps cut in and shored up, handrails added for the less fleet of foot, gently sloping in some places, much steeper in others, until a metal staircase provided the final descent.

Here the white chalk cliffs shone overhead in the September sun, the beach a jumble of gravel, pebbles and larger rocks of all shapes, colours and sizes, and the waves lapping rhythmically at the shore.

We spotted seals in the water, too far out to get a decent photo, but too shy or cautious to swim in closer while there were people on the beach. We stayed a while to watch them, and to be calmed by the sound and constant motion of the water, to gather our strength for the walk back up.

We tagged onto the back of another party who had apparently found a short-cut - it turned out this was because it was an almost straight ascent of a single set of steps up the cliff. Reaching the top we gasped for air, legs a little wobbly and aching in protest, but a convenient bench gave us a respite to sit and get our breath back.

After picnicking in the sunshine, content and relaxed, we said our fond goodbyes to this beautiful place, got back in the car, and headed back to Scarborough.

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