A wide grass verge and steep concrete bank separated the road from the beach, and a few hundred yards down the road a small cafe with outside tables was set back off the pavement. Not far from the cafe the beach was split by the water from a very shallow river which came from somewhere inland and flowed across the sand on its way to the sea. Beyond that a gently curving promenade was backed by a row of private houses, and in the distance I could see what looked to be a car park right at the end. The beach itself seemed to be very popular and there was a plethora of stripey windbreaks and beach tents scattered around, with various families enjoying the sunshine.
By the time I had walked down as far as the cafe I was ready for another coffee so I selected a vacant outside table, hitched the dogs to the nearby rail and went inside to order - and for once I did only have coffee. Having had the apple pie in Whitby it would have been just too much to have cake this time round so I managed to resist the temptation. Anyway, I had my waistline to think of, so coffee on its own was quite sufficient just then.
With my thirst quenched and the dogs eager to go I left the cafe behind and continued my exploration. Just beyond the cafe the coast road turned inland for a couple of hundred yards, following the river estuary and passing a couple of rows of quaint cottages and a pub before crossing over a narrow stone bridge and coming back down the far side of the river to join the promenade, where a wooden shack on the corner was set up as a beach shop with a colourful display of windbreaks, inflatables, buckets and spades and beach balls outside. The end of the river was a hive of activity with some kids paddling or floating in the shallow water in inflatable dinghies while others made sandcastles or flew kites while their families relaxed on the sand. It all made for a very colourful scene and I took several photos before continuing along the promenade on the far side.
My walk took me past several houses set back off the road with steps leading up their steep front gardens, a row of cottages at promenade level, a small general store/gift shop, and a hotel and a couple of bed-and-breakfast places, before the road turned inland again and crossed another narrow river before disappearing up a sharp incline to the right. On the corner was a small cafe and a car park, and this was as far as I went before turning round and retracing my route back to the van - anything beyond that corner would be seen soon enough as my next port of call was Staithes, a little fishing village a few miles further up the coast, and that's the way I would be going.
Another drink of water for the dogs and I was on the move again, following the winding road through two or three small villages before arriving at Staithes, about seven miles north of Sandsend. Turning down a lane off the main road I came to a car park set back about halfway down the steep hill, so leaving the van there I collected the dogs yet again and set out to explore for the third time that day. The main 'road' down through the village was steep and narrow with even narrower streets and alleys leading off it - red roofed and white walled cottages were built at different levels, and in several alleys there was evidence of the fishing trade which went on in the village.
Down at the bottom of the hill a cobbled street with a handful of shops and a pub led to the harbourside, another pub and a small beach. The tide was out so most of the small fishing boats were beached on the wet sand but there was a handful still surrounded by water. Taking a detour down a narrow alley brought me to a bridge across the river which flowed into the harbour, and over on the far side were more quaint cottages. By the time I had wandered round a bit more and taken a few more photos it was getting on for 6pm, and as I had quite a distance to drive back to Filey I decided to call it a day and head back to the van. I hadn't explored every nook and cranny of the village, but Staithes wasn't suddenly going to disappear into thin air anytime so I could always make a return visit sometime in the future.
It took me about an hour to drive back to Centenary Way and I got quite a surprise when I arrived back at my awning - although there had been a bit of a breeze all the time I had been out it had been nothing compared to the howling gale which was now blowing across the site, even though it was still sunny. Speaking to the family on the next pitch it seemed that the wind had started not long after I had gone out in the morning and they had actually been keeping an eye on my awning for me, but it had stood strong against the battering it got. After reversing the van into place and connecting the awning to it I went round and checked all the guy ropes and the pegging points, then satisfied that nothing could work loose I made a brew and a sandwich and prepared to settle in for the evening with my book. When ten o'clock came and I could hardly keep my eyes open I took the dogs for a final brief walk round the site then took myself off to bed - and in spite of the noise of the awning sides flapping and the motion of the van as it rocked in the wind it didn't take long before I was dead to the world.