Snowdon in November…

What a walking year in Wales we’ve had..!
Cadair Idris in February and Pen y Fan in August meant that we’d done 2 out of the 3 great Welsh mountains.
The only one of the 3 left to do was the number one, the big one, Snowdon itself.
At over 3500 feet it’s the highest mountain in Wales and as with all walks at this altitude, the weather is the critical factor.
The half term week arrived with the promise of a mighty storm…”don’t make any unnecessary journeys” warned the experts, gravely.
The end of the week forecast was for 100kph winds and snow but…there was a tiny window of opportunity…
The forecast for Friday was for moderate wind’s and just a chance of some sunshine..so, the internet was investigated and Thursday and Friday were booked in a 3 star hotel in Betws y Coed.
The plan was to drive to North Wales on Thursday afternoon, do Snowdon on Friday and possibly ( depending on the weather ) tackle another mountain on Saturday before returning home.
We arrived in Betws y Coed around 6 p.m. on Thursday.

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The Hotel Gwydwr…..

We parked Sheila in the car park and walked into the hotel carrying all our luggage and rucksacks.
As we stood in the bar waiting to catch the attention of the barmaid, we were greeted by typical Welsh hospitality…..we were completely ignored..!
The barmaid continued her private, but very loud conversation with a handful of locals perched on bar stools as we continued to stand there holding our luggage for what seemed like an eternity.
Eventually she stopped her chatter for long enough to give us our room key and lead us upstairs to Room 26….
Well, can I first of all congratulate the photographer who took the photo’s for the website.!
He’d managed to miss the wonky bedhead and the switch hanging off the wall and to be fair, he couldn’t have known that the bedside lights didn’t work…
An information sheet told us that new owners, Rob and Dawn had taken over the Hotel in September and were planning a refurb to bring it back to it’s former glory.
Good luck with that, we thought…
But, we’d had a long drive and right now we needed beer and food so, we just dumped our luggage and headed downstairs.
The bar and Restaurant were both empty save for a couple who seemed to be watching tumbleweed go by so…let’s go to the pub..!
We walked up and down the main street twice but…no pub..!
The closest that we could get was a “Harvester” type bar attached to The Royal Oak Hotel so, given no choice, in we went…
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The Royal Oak…

Well, our meals were really very good.!
Mrs Hill had salmon and I had duck. Both were served very simply, with fresh vegetables and everything was nicely cooked, not cremated and accompanied with a couple of glasses of very palatable wine.
Feeling refreshed, we took our time to walk back to our hotel for a nightcap.
Walking into the bar we noticed that the barmaid from earlier was still on duty.
I ordered a lime and soda for Mrs Hill, with ice neither offered nor served and a pint of ale for myself. There was obviously a problem with dispensing the ale as instead of needing 3 or 4 pulls to serve a pint, the barmaid looked like she was doing 30 reps on her biceps at the local gym.!
At this point a man appeared who by his manner gave an impression of being the owner.
“Hello” I said , “are you one of the new owners?”
” Yes, for my sins”, he replied with the world-weary sound of a man who’d been worn down over many years in charge, not just 6 weeks….
The pint of ale was eventually served and we sat down alone in the bar to listen to a loud conversation between the owner and the barmaid.
They were having an argument about her hours and wages.
She needed the hours and the money to buy something..
He’d not given her enough hours but offered to lend her the cash to cover the shortfall..
We really didn’t want to listen to this. What is it with Wales and knowing how to treat visitors with hospitality..?
So, following our relaxing nightcap we went to bed…zzz

So, after a good nights sleep in a comfortable bed we came downstairs to enjoy an uninspiring but uneventfull breakfast.
Sheila was loaded and we drove around 20 minutes to the Pen y Pass car park to start our walk.
This was, as expected full so we headed off to the overflow car park near Llanberis to park and catch the shuttle bus back to Pen y Pass.
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It’s a little damp….

Just a little note to anyone doing this walk….take some coins with you.! It’s £4 to park the car and £1 each way for the shuttle bus. If you can park at Pen y Pass it’s £10 and it’s all cash only…
So the bus was caught and we found ourselves at the start of our walk, ready to head up to the top of Snowdon via the Miners Path..
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The gate from the car park on to Miners Path…

The weather was terrible.
It was cold, wet and blowy and we couldn’t see very much either..!
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The good thing about this part of the walk was the path..!

This section of the walk, to Llyn Teryn was on a wide, easy path.
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The first view of Snowdon ( I think )..

The path continues now towards the larger lake of Llyn Llydaw eventually rising steeply to meet our third lake, Glaswyn.
Now it was time for a scramble as we went straight up the mountain to join Pyg Track.
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No path, basically….

There was quite a lot of this leading up to Pyg Track..it was good fun ..!
Then we turned left and headed for the top of the ridge.
We were now on Pygs as it turned west and up towards the ridge leading to the summit..
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As we climbed, the cloud started to lift.. tbh we were walking through it..
This photo is looking back to where we’ve just come from..!

Soon we reached the top of the ridge and saw the railway track.
All we had to do was follow this for a few hundred metres to the summit..!
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Nearly there..!
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Sir Stephen Hillary….at the top..

The views were amazing..we could see the sea..!
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The sea..!

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The ridge leading to Crib Goch..

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Llyn Llydaw…we’ve climbed all that .!

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Mrs Hill, taking in the views…

After a few more minutes we decided to come down from the summit and have our lunch behind the cafe, sheltered from the wind.
With our delicious cheese and onion sandwiches eaten we both noticed that the temperature had dropped….it was now freezing and even with gloves on fingers were tingling!
Time to go….
As we turned to go down alongside the railway track we heard a noise coming up ….
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The train….!

The first part of our downhill route was simply retracing our steps from earlier…
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We could see a little better..!
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We’ve been up there….!

Soon we passed the point where earlier we’d come up Miners to join Pyg Track. Now we were on a section of the track that was new to us and it was very different to Miners Path.
Instead of a gently rising path interspersed with steep scrambly sections, the path that we were now on went constantly down over rough, boulder strewn ground.
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It was hard going….

For only the second time on a walk we both felt our knees “shake”..
It’s a strange feeling when it feels like your knees are almost vibrating or pulsing..it had happened before after a similar long descent from Cadair Idris…weird, but wonderful.!!
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The Pen y Pass visitor centre in the distance…

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One last look West..I think we timed it just right..!

So here we were back at the car park just as the shuttle bus arrived.
Perfect timing!
Our walk had taken us just over 5 hours including our stop for lunch and I have to say that we were so lucky with the weather.
It started off with light rain and got better.
The forecast listed at the Pen y Pass centre was that the rain was going to get worse in the afternoon!
Perhaps that kept the crowds away because it wasn’t that busy.

So, Snowdon done..a great walk and a box ticked..a wonderful end to a fabulous walking year in Wales….!

A little bit blowy…

Last night’s weather forecast warned of a severe storm coming from the South West… “experts” warned of danger and destruction..
“stay at home”, they warned, with grave voices.
Well, what could we do?
There was only one possible choice..head for the hills!
Not only was a big storm on the way, the clocks had gone back an hour, meaning that it got darker one hour earlier.
So, an early decision was made and we were soon packed, ready and off to Much Wenlock.
This is a walk that we’d previously done with Julia last year but, one of the wonderful things about walking is that the same route taken at different times of year can offer a completely different experience.
So, Much Wenlock it was ..!
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A lovely little town..

We’d only walked a few yards up the High Street when the sky went black and the heavens opened..!
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On went the waterproofs…

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The fields were very wet …
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But then the sun came out..!
What do the “experts” know..?

Several miles later we turned and headed along the ridge back towards Much Wenlock.
Looking to the West we saw several Hill’s in the distance.

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Using an app on my phone (Show me Hill’s) I was able to identify all the Hill’s that we could see…
Caer Caradoc, The Lawleys, Hope Bowdler, Middletown Hill, Breidden Hill with Rodney’s Pillar atop and many more..
As I gave all the names to Mrs Hill, we suddenly both realised that we’d been up all of them..!

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Finally, we came to a view of The Wrekin..and we’ve been up that as well..!
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Back to Much Wenlock..

Well, if we’d followed the advice of the “experts”, we would have missed out on a lovely day..!

An Unexpected Day…

It was Friday evening and as our thoughts turned to the weekend ahead we pondered a walk…
“What’s the weather forecast?”, came the question from Mrs Hill..
“I’ll check on my phone” came the answer…
A few buttons were pressed and a few seconds passed and, and, I couldn’t believe my eyes..
24 degrees on Sunday..!
Was this the forecast for Barcelona..?
I checked again..no, it was Stourbridge.
This was completely unexpected.
The Autumn leaves were falling and conkers were on the ground.
Summer was over….
But, here we were with one last chance of the year to do a warm, tee shirt clad walk.
The only question was where to go?
It wasn’t long before we decided that the mountain to climb was Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons.
This can be, and very often is, a wild and dangerous area. It’s used by the SAS for training. The terrain is “difficult” and the weather is “changeable”.
We’d made a couple of attempts to tackle this walk before but we’d always been defeated by the weather, particularly the high wind’s. The prevailing wind in the UK is from the South West and it comes in from the Atlantic, gets funneled up the Bristol Channel gathering speed until it slams into the Brecons.
The last time we were in this area was in August a couple of years ago and it was blowing a force 10. I literally had to hang on to Mrs Hill to stop her from being blown away (she is only small…)!
I checked the weather for the area again and the forecast was for warm temperatures and almost no wind. Perfect!
Pen y Fan is the highest mountain in Southern Britain at 886m and is one of the 3 icons of Wales, the other 2 being Cadair Idris and Snowdon. We’d done Cadair in February so, plans were made….
Like most mountains, there’s more than one path to the top.
Pen y Fan has an easy route, coming from the West, with what we’d seen described as a “motorway” of a path that can be walked by children as young as 7.
Clearly, that was out.
The other, much more difficult route came down from the North and involved a climb of around 2200 feet, culminating in a scramble up the spectacular North face of the mountain.
This had to be the way to the top!
The views from the top on a clear day were reported as being legendary. On line reports spoke of being able to see as far as Cadair Idris to the North and the Devonshire coast to the South.
Given the fact that darkness falls around 7 and that it’s over 2 hours drive, an early start was essential.
We made plans to be up for 8 and out by 9 on Sunday morning….
Our rucksacks were packed and Sheila was loaded.
We’d decided to take all our waterproofs and survival gear because although the forecast was good we were still very much aware of the “changeable” nature of the weather in the area.
We were on our way at around 9:30 and after an uneventfull journey we arrived at the Cwmgwdi car park.
We said goodbye to Sheila and headed for the ridge that ran South to Pen y Fan.

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Sheila, abandoned again….

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Five hours…to do 8 miles…hmm..

As we started our climb the first thing that we saw were two members of the Mountain Rescue who were training a Spanial in the art of search and rescue.
One was holding the dog, blindfold, while the other ran and hid under the bushes. The dog was then released to go and find him.
When the dog was successful there was much praise and lots of treats!
We hoped we wouldn’t be needing their help later…

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On our way up…

As we climbed up the ridge, although it was warm it became very misty.

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Looking back towards the start..

A little further on, still climbing, we were now totally enveloped by the mist.
We could still just about make the path out, but as for the spectacular views, there weren’t any…!
Our map guide told us to look out for a lake far below us to the right, but we may as well have been looking for Lake Achensee for all we could see ..
It was still warm and the wind was very light – so light in fact that I think it was causing the problem.
There wasn’t enough wind to blow the clouds away.
Undaunted, we carried on along the ridge, using my compass to keep us on the path, until we were just able to make out a steep summit in front of us.
What we couldn’t see was how high we had to climb, which was probably just as well….
This was tough..there was no path, this was mountain climbing with virtually zero visibility. All we knew was that we had to keep going up.
After what seemed like an eternity climbing what had to be the North face of Pen y Fan I thought I could hear voices….
Bearing in mind that when we did have some visibility there was no one either in front or behind us, I considered the possibility that I was hallucinating. But no, Mrs Hill heard it too..and then..we were at the top..!

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They’re having a party..!

There were dozens of them..!
It was like we’d climbed up a ladder on to the roof of the mountain to see this crowd who’d obviously come up the motorway route from the West!
We waited our turn to get the compulsory photo at the top..

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Mrs Hill, looking a little damp…

It was at this point that the sun tried to come out..
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What a view..is that North Devon?

Now we turned West, coming off the summit of Pen y Fan and heading for it’s little sister, Corn Du.
We were on the “motorway” path, the easy route up to the top.
Here, everyone seemed to be having loud conversations, either on their phones or with their friends nearby.
We came off Corn Du with a group of 4 people who felt that shouting at each other about the Swansea v Spurs match was a conversation that all the mountain wanted to hear..!
Fortunately, it wasn’t long before we left this path and headed North again towards the invisible lake.
Silence descended, and so did we, as we came down through the mist to see….Lake Achensee..!
Actually it was Llyn Cwm Llwch….
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The lake.. Llyn in Welsh…

High above the lake, there’s a memorial to Tommy Jones.
He was a 5 year old boy who got lost on the mountain over 100 years ago on the same day that the Queen Mother was born.
It took the rescuers 29 days to find his body…very sad…
The path gradually wound its way down the mountain, skirting the western edge of the lake and then heading north down the valley.
Descending into Cwm Llwch, we were now below the clouds…
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Heading down the valley…

As we came onto the lower slopes the landscape changed. The stark beauty of the mountain became a little softer. Trees were a more obvious part of the scenery as we came to a stream..
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We followed this winding stream for some distance along the valley until we came to the point where we had to cross…

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We don’t need bridges……

Mrs Hill took to opportunity to demonstrate the skills that she’d learnt last month in the Lake District..!
Soon, the track turned into a quiet lane that took us back to the car park and our ever faithful Sheila.

To sum up today’s walk, I’d have to say that Pen y Fan is all about the fantastic views and we didn’t get to see them!
I suppose that we’ll just have to do it again. We thought that the weather was going to be perfect and in many ways it was – warm temperature and just a light breeze.
Maybe next time we’ll go there on a freezing cold day with a deep blue sky and snow on the ground.
Now, that would be perfect !!

The ( Industrial ) History of the World…Part 1…

Our Coast to Coast adventure taught us many things, not all of them about walking….
One of the rambling lessons that we did learn though, was that walking is definitely better when it’s a journey.
It’s much more interesting and purposeful to travel from A to B rather than wander, slightly aimlessly round in a circle!
So, what next after the C2C..?
I’d often said that it should be possible to leave our house, cross the road onto the bridle paths and walk all the way to the Welsh Coast.
This had never been much more than idle talk but a conversation happened on holiday that changed the situation…
A couple that we met from Solihull talked about a Birmingham to Aberystwyth long distance trail.
They told us that there was a very rare first, and only edition book that was now fetching £170 per copy on eBay.
Mrs Hill decided to investigate and soon found the book on Amazon. English pounds changed hands and she bought it..!
The book arrived, and the first stage was from Gas Street Basin in Birmingham to the Bonded Warehouse in Stourbridge so an idea began to form…..
The only problem with walking from A to B is that if you live at A, you’ve got to get back there…
So, our plan was made…get the train from Stourbridge Junction to Birmingham, Snow Hill and then walk back..Simples!
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A whole new experience….

I’m not a big fan of public transport…it’s full of..other people..but I have to say that our trip to Snow Hill was very enjoyable.!
The entertainment provided ranged from the teenage girls squealing like piglets as they tried to throw each other off the train, to the nuclear scientist sat opposite having an absolutely inane conversation with his partner about nothing.
I suppose when your whole life’s subatomic your small talk goes the same way..
In no time at all we were in Birmingham..
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The Town Hall….

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The new library….

I have to say…Birmingham is wonderful..!

I’ve been to the Broad Street area a couple of times recently and the atmosphere is just fantastic..
If you haven’t been lately, go..!
We could’ve got on the canal at Broad Street but we wanted to start at the beginning, so Gas Street it was..
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The beginning…

This was the start of a walk that illustrated over 200 years of the industrial history of the West Midlands. This was the area that changed the world..!
The original canals here were built by James Brindley in the 18th century.

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I think he’d be impressed with Brindley Place….

We walked for miles along the canal through Smethwick towards the M5 near Oldbury..
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Thomas Telford built this…
It’s just a simple aquaduct linking 2 canals but just look at the details…
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Lovely Smethwick….
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Where the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries meet…
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Next time you drive on the elevated section of the M5 near Oldbury, you’ll know what’s holding it up ..!

A little further on, if we’d been 100 years earlier, we would have taken the 3 mile long tunnel and emerged on the western slope of the ridge linking Rowley Regis to Dudley.
As we were 100 years late we came off the canal and climbed the ridge.
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The Post Office Tower in Birmingham to the right, The Hawthorns in the middle..

Soon the masts came into view and we headed straight towards them..
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One of the local residents…

Soon we came to Dudley Golf Course..

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It’s a little hilly…not many elderly members…

From here it was on to Warren’s Hall Nature Reserve and then on towards Netherton..
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Now, at this point I have to report that my phone ( aka my camera ) gave up the ghost and so…no more photos.
There is clearly only one solution…
The History of the World ( part 2 )..
I’m beginning to understand how Tolkien felt when he wrote LOTW…

Day 14…Homeward Bound….

Day 14 was spent idling the time away in Robin Hood’s Bay.
We’d spent the night at our B&B, The Villa and we had to wait until 3:30 for our Sherpa transport back to Kirkby Stephen and our faithful Sheila.

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Our B&B….. The Villa…

On our arrival into RHB the day before we’d actually walked past The Villa but we decided not to check in right away, as our son and his family were waiting at The Bay Hotel at the bottom of the hill.
After a couple of beers and some fun with our grandchildren we decided to stay at The Bay and enjoy our evening meal overlooking the sea.
I phoned the landlady at The Villa to let her know where we are.
“That’s fine”, she said “thanks for letting me know”. By now it was around 6 p.m.
We enjoyed our meal and walked back up the hill, arriving at The Villa around 8.
As we walked into the hall we were greeted by the landlady, on the phone.
She put the phone down and proceeded, almost in tears, to reprimand us for being late and ruining her planned night out with friends…!
Sheepishly, we apologised, although heaven knows why, and went upstairs…..
Someone needs to consider their career, we thought..
The following morning we came down for breakfast and she was cheerfulness personified.
Breakfast over we went back upstairs to fetch our travel bags and left them in the hall ready for collection by the Sherpa van.
This had been the same routine every day with the only difference today being that we were on the van as well.!
As we left our landlady came to say goodbye and apologised for her outburst the previous evening.
Mrs Hill apologised too.
I’m not entirely certain what she apologised for but it’s a moment that I’ll treasure..!
As we turned to leave, our landlady noticed our luggage and asked why we’d left it…
This is a routine that happens every day of the week so why was she confused?!?
Perhaps she’s just having a bad time..
By now it was around 10a.m. and we’d got 5 hours to kill.
Even though we’d walked nearly 200 miles in the last 2 weeks our legs wanted more..
So, we went down to the sea front.
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The pretty streets of Robin Hood’s Bay…

Then we walked back to the top of the hill, sat on a bench and people watched…
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A man, his wife and a scooter…

The old part of RHB is a typical fishing village. The old houses are clustered round the seafront and the newer properties sit on the cliff top at the summit of a very steep winding road around 1k in length.
Our observation point was at the top of the hill and we sat and watched the comings and goings for well over an hour.
There were walkers, some at the beginning of their adventure, some like us, at the end.
There were families with children…some arguing and play fighting..some of the younger ones crying as they came up the hill.. but the best one of the day was the man pushing the electric mobility scooter up the hill.!
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He’s hanging on to the railings…she’s in blue, walking up the steps..

We’d seen them earlier, at the bottom.. her on the scooter, him walking along beside.
We’d watched as the scooter’s power wouldn’t get it up the hill and she got off to walk.
That left him to push it (helped by others)…he looked like he was going to pass out..!
Now, you have to ask the question..if she’s capable of walking up that hill, wtf is she doing with a scooter..??
Amused, but also getting twitchy legs, we went down the hill again.
There was nowhere else to go..how do people cope with a 2 week holiday in a small place.?
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More streets of RHB..very pretty..

It was now sort of heading towards lunch time so….we came up the hill again..
There was a good bench available at the top so I took some more photos..
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Big Yorkshire skys….

For lunch we had tea and scones, with jam and cream…yum yum..

Just in time our bus arrived and 2 hours later, after passing near many of the places we’d walked through, we were back with Sheila at Kirkby Stephen.
She started first time and we headed for the M6….on a Friday evening..
Incredibly, all was well until we were just north of Stafford. The overhead signs had warned us of a 15 minute delay, but they were wrong!
The motorway was at a standstill and we didn’t move for well over an hour.
Eventually the traffic was slowly diverted off the M6 onto the A34, where we drove through Stafford and eventually arrived home at around 10:30.
I pushed hard on our front door to open it, the post accumulated over the last 2 weeks piled on the floor inside our porch.
That could wait till tomorrow….

Day 13..The End of the Road..

Today’s walk was from Glaisdale to Robin Hood’s Bay…
It was fairly long, at 19 miles but, it was different to every other walk done in the last 2 weeks because it was the final one….our journey was ending..

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We left our B&B, the Beggar’s Bridge, crossed the road and went into the woods.
Once again, it was a beautiful morning….

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Mrs Hill…in the woods…

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Down by the river… ( Esk )…

We had the River Esk on one side and open fields on the other…

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An open field….

Soon we came to Egton Bridge and it’s wonderful pub, The Horseshoe.

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This is a lovely village..
We now turned right to take a track through the Egton Estate..

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The big house…

There was a private road through the estate, linking Egton Bridge to Grosmont.
A bit like the M6 toll, it’s there to cut time and distance from a given route..it’s your choice whether you use it or not..you pays your money and takes your choice…

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They even charged for a hearse..  Sixpence in 1948..!

We soon arrived at Grosmont..

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The North Yorkshire Moors Railway runs through here..

We then had a bit of a surprise…

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Leaving Grosmont..at 33%..

Almost immediately after crossing the railway line the road began to climb. Gently at first, but then we saw the 33% sign.! This incline went straight up on to the Moors to almost 300m and went on for over 2k..!
It certainly wasn’t the highest climb of the week but it was one of the hardest and it certainly explains why our guide book calls today’s walk ‘strenuous’ !

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‘Grit’ on the left, ‘Determination’ on the right….

As we reached the top of the moor a familiar sight came into view..

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The sea and Whitby in the distance…

Now, the idea of a ramble is not necessarily to get to your destination via the quickest route so…
We left the road and headed across the moor again to Littlebeck..

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Mrs Hill taking a lingering look at Whitby’s landmark building..
The Chinese..

Walking through the village we turned South to head into Littlebeck Wood. This was a magical place, full of dappled light and hobbit holes.

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Further on, still walking south the woods changed.
Instead of clear paths the trail was overgrown and the air was damp and dark..we’d entered Scary Wood!
Now we were walking slowly, carefully making our way through the undergrowth when we thought we heard children’s voices.
Then they were gone..
Could they have been echoes of long ago children who came to play in Scary Wood…but never came home..?!

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Scary Wood…..spooky…….!

Our senses were now heightened as we followed the faint trail through the wood.
Every moving branch, every slight rustling sound made us turn and stare for a moment and imagine what might’ve caused it..
Soon, we heard a faint buzzing sound in the distance.
As we walked the sound became louder and somehow more threatening..
We being drawn towards the sound just like Odysseus and the Sirens.
We covered our ears but still we got closer to the sound and then…

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Falling Foss in Scarry Wood…

What a fun place this was..!
A tea room with it’s own waterfall, with children playing and a man with a chainsaw..
Oh how we laughed..!
Soon, after a little ‘off pisting’, we came out of the woods and headed north towards Hawsker and the coastal path.

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Heading for Hawsker…

This part of our walk was around 4 miles, partly moors, partly roads.
I was pleased to see that Chris Harris has his fans up here…

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One for the cognoscenti….( that’s Italian )…..

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Soo close…

When we reached the sign for Robin Hood’s Bay our excitement was mixed with sadness…just 2.5 miles to go out of nearly 200…
So we went the other way….

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The other way….

We came on to the Cleveland Way, the coastal path to our destination.
Each step we took here was special, the view was something to be savoured…

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Then, we saw it..our first glimpse of Robin Hood’s Bay..

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Descending the narrow streets of the village to our final destination..

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The Bay Hotel….

….where there’s a surprise waiting for us..our son and daughter in law with our grandchildren..!

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Our pebbles from St Bees were thrown into the sea..

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The end of the journey…!

Day 12..The Penultimate day..

Dave’s place was large and just a little bit crumbly.
It was also about 4 miles from the end of yesterday’s walk and a mile from the pub, all along a road that you really wouldn’t want to walk on.
So he ferried everyone around.
Last night he took us to the pub and escorted us to the restaurant.
He introduced us to the barmaid and then went back to the bar, promising to take us back to our lodgings when we were ready ..
“Don’t worry about what time you want to leave”, he said, “I’ll be in the bar”…
Very reassuring…..

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Dave’s Grand Hall..

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Dave’s crumbly lounge..

Breakfast was served at 7:30.
There was just ourselves and a couple from Solihull. We were the only ones doing 19 miles today, our walk taking us across the Moors to Glaisdale.
The others at The Dromonby, including Sandy and Gill were doing much shorter walks, spreading the final 38 miles to Robin Hood’s Bay over 3 days rather than 2.
That meant that their breakfast was much later than ours.
We had our usual muesli with fruit and yoghurt, followed by poached egg on brown toast.
We were amused at the arrangements for the packed lunch.
Every other place that we’d stayed at had made us either just a sandwich or they’d added other goodies such as juice, fruit and a cereal bar. Prices were pretty similar everywhere- £3 for a sandwich and £5 for the full package.
That wasn’t Dave’s way….
In his very laid back way he said “kitchen’s over there, make your own”.
There was no charge…
Breakfast and sandwiches sorted, we packed our bags and came downstairs ready for the off.
We said goodbye to the other guests, who by now had come down for breakfast.
  That would be the last time that we’d see them…
Loading our luggage into the car, we now drove the 4 miles back to Claybank. I sat in the front alongside Dave and we had a conversation about the wonders of old W124 Mercs…Dave’s got 3 of them!
And so, our penultimate walk began, 19 miles up and across the North Yorkshire Moors, past the famous Lion at Blakey Moor and on to Glaisdale.
The first part of the journey was a steady 3k climb up to Round Hill at 454m. It was a great way to walk our breakfast off ..!
As we climbed towards the top Mrs Hill shouted excitedly “look over there!”
We looked North to catch a glimpse of the only active volcano in North Yorkshire…..

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Mount Eyuplad…..

We were now on top of the moors, on a good path that streched towards The Lion around 7 miles away. The weather was warm and the sky was big…

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If only I could get rid of my shadow…

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A view of the Moors…..

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More Moors…..

Soon, we saw The Lion on the horizon and left the main track to climb up towards the pub.
Unfortunately, we left the track a few yards too soon and found ourselves on the wrong side of a high stone wall…
We were on one side of the wall and the pub was on the other but Mrs Hill was undeterred.
Demonstrating the incredible strength that Man can summon up in emergencies, she walked straight through the wall…

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The Incredible Mrs Hill..

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The Lion at Blakey…

We’d covered the 9 miles to the pub in under 3 hours. We weren’t particularly pushing today but it was such a good path that we kept up a good, natural pace.
As it was only 11:45 we decided to sit outside and have a cuppa. Just for fun, I put a drink behind the bar for Sandy and Gill who were spending the night here…hope they enjoyed them..!
As we were sitting looking at the view across the valley, I checked our map.
The next section of our walk, almost 3 miles was on the road…all the way round the valley to the other side, almost directly opposite the pub, way in the distance.
There had to be a better to all that road work……
Looking closely at the map, a cunning plan began to form…there was a very faint path down into the valley and then up the other side.
That looked much more interesting than 3 miles on the road !
All the other walkers in the garden watched open mouthed as we left the pub and instead of walking north up the road, went south down into the valley…
We were now truly ‘off piste’..
Mrs Hill was very excited.!

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Looking across the valley..

Descending into the valley we came on to a disused railway track, clearly marked on the map. There should have been a continuing path crossing over the track but, it wasn’t there.!
Undaunted, we adopted Plan B.
The disused track ran round the valley at a level anything up to 200m below the road.
We followed the track all the way around the valley marvelling at thr engineer’s who’d built it as we walked…where the hillside got in the way, they cut through it..where the hillside fell away, they built it up..and all with picks and shovels.!
No lengthy planning applications were required and as for ‘Public Enquiries’ ..let’s just say they hadn’t been invented just yet.!
We pondered as we walked that if the railways were invented today, in 2013, they wouldn’t actually ever get built..

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Now, we climbed up from the valley..

This was still our ‘short cut’, remember..

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We were still ‘off piste’, as we tramped across the boggy moor.

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Back on track again with the most fantastic skys (again)..

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Now, I’m sorry if this is getting repetitive but, …..

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Just look at it ..!

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Eventually, we came to Glaisdale where we found a pub for giant’s..!

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Mrs Hill, looking tiny.. 🙂