The Adventurer's Guide to Britain

Tuesday, 29 November 2011, 7:30PM – 8:00PM

In the second episode of the series, Gethin Jones and Charlotte Uhlenbroek head to North Yorkshire to discover the secret treasures along its famous coastline. 

The area is renowned for its picturesque villages and towns but on the stretches of rugged shoreline in between, there are adventures to be had. The coastline is made up of a crumbling rock that once formed an ancient seabed, which over the years has fallen away to reveal secrets from the time of the dinosaurs, 180 million years ago, making it the perfect place to go hunting for fossils. 

Joined by fossil expert, Mike Marshall, Gethin and Charlotte set off from Runswick Bay to Kettleness in search of prehistoric treasures. A series of landslides has made the remote cove virtually impossible to access by land so in the spirit of adventure they journey there by sea kayak, striking out into the choppy waters of the North Sea. 

“This is properly exciting, I have never sea kayaked before and I’m instantly aware of being in a very small vessel crossing a large expanse of moody sea – our destination suddenly looks quite a long way away,” exclaims Charlotte. 

They complete their mile-long journey to the cove and waste no time in exploring. Charlotte makes the most of the low tide and heads off to a cave she’s spotted from the kayak where she discovers Jet (fossilised Monkey Puzzle Tree) embedded within its walls. 

“I think this is pretty much the only place in Northern Europe, along this coastline where you can find it.” Charlotte enthuses. 

Gethin then sets Charlotte a challenge – they are both allowed to collect three fossils which Mike will then judge to find the best one. 

“This is one of the best places in the country to find fossils, but it’s hard for a novice like me to spot the likely rocks from the duds,” admits Gethin. 

However, with their bounty gathered and assessed, the verdict is unanimous – Gethin wins! 

On day two Gethin is at Boulby Cliff, the tallest cliff on the east coast, where he meets up with Peter Leeming, a mountaineer turned photographer who will go to almost any lengths to take stunning pictures of the wilderness. With Peter leading the way they head off in search of the ideal location to capture the coast’s amazing scenery in a way that most people will never see. 

“It’s easy to see why it’s deserted here, this inaccessible bit of shale is crumbling away making it treacherous underfoot, it’s 300 feet down and I don’t suppose anyone would find you if you fell,” says Gethin. 

On finding the perfect spot Gethin and Peter are faced with the tricky bit. Using only a ‘dodgy’ fisherman’s rope, they tackle the descent of the cliff. 

“Joking apart, you do feel like you could become part of a landslide at any moment, it’s extremely dangerous and too unstable to use proper abseiling equipment,” admits Gethin. 

They make it to their chosen spot safely and manage to capture some beautiful images of the dramatic and ever-changing coastline. 

Meanwhile Charlotte is once again at sea and this time she’s aboard fisherman Sean Baxter’s boat and in search of that most luxurious of seafood, the lobster. Charlotte is put to work and helps haul in the lobster pots. She’s not left disappointed and manages to secure a lobster for that night’s dinner. 

On the way back Charlotte is given charge of the boat and takes it further out for a spectacular view of the coastline. 

Back on dry land Charlotte is joined by foraging expert Chris Bax and the pair go in search of edible seaweed to compliment the lobster Charlotte caught earlier in the day. After collecting several varieties they meet up with Gethin on the beach to sit on the sand and enjoy a delicious meal prepared by Chris using the day’s spoils.

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