Coast to Coast Day 19: Robin Hood’s Bay to Heathrow

Team Sloth has made it to Heathrow, which is where the blog’s storytelling should end. Just like there was a “Day 0” before we started, I add one at the end. If there is any drama tomorrow with the flight home, I don’t want to write about it!

The day started with a 4:15am alarm to get me up to catch the sunrise. When I looked out of the window on awakening, the sky looked dull in the westerly direction that I faced. I managed to get up, though I was not optimistic. However, as soon as I saw the sky to the east, I couldn’t wait to start snapping photos and get my drone in the air. Bushes obscured the direct view from the hotel garden, so the drone was perfect to open up the horizon. The colors at sunrise and sunset are so unpredictable, but I flew until my battery was nearly done (~ 20 mins). I couldn’t resist doing a bit of processing on landing, but managed to stop and get back to bed for a couple of hours more sleep. It had already been a great day!

We had a fine breakfast before heading to the bus stop for Scarborough. The bus was easy and efficient, though the roads are a bit bendy if you suffer from motion sickness, and it was full before we got to Scarborough station. We’d allowed for over an hour in Scarborough, and I used the time with Bailey and Samuel to go looking for something sheepish. We’d seen sheep every day of the trip, and wanted sheep souvenirs! Our quest was unsuccessful, but we found other interesting things, including a McDonald’s… The train from Scarborough was also smooth and efficient, stopping at York after nearly an hour. We had a 9 minute connection which was just about enough. For our 2-hour trip to London Kings Cross, the train was full with some passengers in the aisles, but we had reserved seats. We had planned to grab lunch in the train, and their £6 meal deal was surprisingly good, though getting to and from the restaurant car was an adventure in itself with passengers and luggage in the aisles. The main challenge was carefully stepping around a couple of large dogs on the moving train! At Kings Cross, we sought out Harry Potter’s platform 9 3/4, and were disappointed to find a busy, very touristy shop. The station itself has just had a major refurbishment, so most of it has changed. The next quest was our final journey to Heathrow, which involved walking to the tube station, walking down stairs, taking the tube to Paddington, taking the stairs up to the Heathrow Express train, traveling on that for 15 mins, and then a lot of walking and escalators to get to the Hilton Garden Inn at Terminal 2. We had made it with about an hour to spare before dining. Our final English dinner at the hotel was great, with steak and ale pie, fish and chips, and chicken tikka masala. We rounded off the evening with a visit to the hotel’s 14th-floor Runway bar, with views over the terminals. We could see the incoming planes line up over central London and landing every 45 seconds. As well as seeing central London’s skyscrapers, we also spotted Wembley Stadium and Windsor Castle on the horizon. It was a fitting way to say farewell to England.

I will leave my main reflections until after our return, but I will share one set of observations here. After my first extended time away from England’s shores, the change I noticed when I returned was cellphone towers everywhere. Yes, I know that dates me. This time, the change is how public phone boxes have been changed to defibrillator stations. Also, while the route of the Coast to Coast takes one through towns and villages resisting change, one sees the increasingly cosmopolitan population on the trains and in London. The final observation was comparing service between US and UK. Good service in the US is strongly encouraged by the tips being the main part of the server’s salary. By comparison, we had many cases in England where the staff seemed exceptionally good at avoiding any eye contact! We had a few instances of great service, which was exceptionally personal and heartfelt. We also saw a tremendous work ethic, especially in the small B&Bs where the owners do everything and never seem to stop. We also saw individuals who were laser-focused on doing their task to the best of their ability, whether it was driving the bus or heating sandwiches on a train. The people in the two countries are different, and while the unfamiliar might be frustrating at times, there is plenty to celebrate and acknowledge about both. If these heatwaves continue, the hotels need to invest in more fans though!

My first drone photo of the sunrise.
Just as the sun breaks the horizon.
While our hotel proudly flew their Yorkshire flag, I must admit we preferred the Lakes. This might expose the influence of my mother’s Lancastrian roots and our living in Cumbria!
I have to recognize the other members of Team Sloth. Their support of each other, and perseverance through adversity, made this a tremendously rewarding experience. I look forward to future adventures together, though I fear it won’t include a lot of hiking!
Of course, I have to include a final full-team “starter’s photo” as we head to London.
Scarborough has an impressive train station.
Samuel and Bailey were excited to find a McDonald’s, which has a better selection of McFlurries than in the US.
While our quest for a sheep was not successful, Bailey fell in love with this avocado. However, I could not be persuaded that it was very English!
We found our perfect team mascot! If only we’d found him before we started, we could have carried him with us!
Yep, that’s our train!
We had to wait a while before they let us on the train, and Samuel did a great job at keeping his mother warm. That’s why he is our favourite son!
Then there was the tube and then Heathrow Express. Even Tracy and Dean were getting tired of smiling for my photos!
From the top of our hotel, there is a great view across the airport where we watched planes land.
Similar to this morning, I caught Heathrow’s beautiful sunset. Windsor Castle is just to the left of the control tower. However, I think the Coast to Coast is rather more beautiful!
Good bye England. And good night.

This page is linked to from my England’s Coast to Coast home page.

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Published by Peter Ireland

I am originally from England, and my wife Janet is from Louisiana. When we started Geocaching in 2002, we needed a name, and the Cajunlimeys were created, and that is the name I use for my blog. Even though Janet has no Cajun blood, her cooking is excellent! “Limeys” comes from the nickname for English sailors, who ate limes to prevent scurvy. We live in Houston, Texas, with Bailey and Samuel. We love adventures and want to share the experiences with others. When planning trips, I have found other people’s sites very useful, so I want to give back and add a different perspective.

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