Day 11..A rollercoaster ride…

Day 11 of our holiday brought us ever closer to Robin Hood’s Bay..
Although it’s still only Tuesday our thoughts are turning towards the end..
We’ve realised that there’s people that we’ve met on this adventure that we’ll never see again.
Some folk have stayed an extra night in Richmond so they’re behind us now.
The 6+2 gang have stopped over in Danby Wiske so they’ve gone, and tomorrow, when we’re doing 19 miles Sandy and Gill are only doing 9.
Fellowships are ending, bonds are being broken…
But isn’t that always the way with holidays..?

So..back to today’s walk…

It was very different to yesterday..
To be honest, yesterday’s walk was a grind..it was wet, flat and dull..
We had to play mental games with it to make it seem even vaguely interesting.
We chopped it up into do-able chunks just like a marathon.
We gave ourselves targets..to be at certain points on the walk at certain times.
For those of you unfamiliar with this technique you divide the target run/walk into halves, quarters, miles, kilometers in fact any distances you like to give yourself a sense of achievement in getting towards the finish.

Today couldn’t have been more different..!
It was an 11 miler from Ingleby to Claybank – a serpent’s back of a walk that saw us rising and falling over numerous hills on the way to our destination- a car park!

image

Leaving Ingleby Cross in the sunshine..

Another major contrast with yesterday’s walk was the weather!
It was a beautiful day for walking, bright and clear, with dappled sunlight but not too warm.
The first section of our route took us across the busy A172 and upwards into Arncliffe Woods for our first climb of the day.

image

Arncliffe Hall…..
As we rose gradually through the woods the traffic noise below us gradually disappeared and we eventually reached the top of the ridge.

image

Yes, those are trees….

image

The view west from the ridge…

At this point we were looking back across the valley with the Pennines on the horizon in the far distance..
“We’ve walked across all of that” we thought..!
Indeed we had, and much more as well….
Turning north for a short while on the other side of the ridge, I noticed that we had the most wonderful mobile phone signal ever..!

image

Can’t imagine why….

Turning east now the view changed to give us our first, distant view of the sea, just beyond Middlesborough..

image

The sea in the distance..honest!

Now the landscape had changed as, for the first time we walked across the Moors..

image

Keep to the path Mrs Hill..you know what happens if you don’t!

After about a mile we came down to a lane. We crossed it and climbed into Clain Wood for our second climb of the day.

image

Mrs Hill…striding on purposefully..

Emerging from the wooded ridge, guess what? Down we went again to cross a lane and then up Round Hill the other side…
It was here, on the ridge that we saw these….

image

Looking forward to next week….

There they were, what looked to us to be a family of grouse.
Half walking, half flying just above and then underneath the heather and with a loud call that sounded for all the world like they were shouting “Kill”!
I kid you not ..!
Now personally, the idea of paying hundreds, if not thousands of pounds to stand on a moor with a shotgun and blast some very stupid bird out of the sky is just a little bit ridiculous.
Actually no, it’s a lot ridiculous.!
The whole principle of the moors and grouse shooting is a prime example of Mankind’s insanity and ingenuity…
The Moors aren’t a natural environment…
Hundreds of years ago these hillsides were covered in trees but Man developed an idea that’s since been exported to places as far away as the Amazon rainforest…
Chop em down…!
The basic idea was to chop the trees down to provide grazing for cattle and particularly, sheep.
The problem was that on the windswept hillsides, with no trees to stabilise the soil, it just got washed away..eroded they called it..so..the cows had no chance and the sheep did their best but the land was now very poor and only tough grass and heather grew.
Moving forward to recent times, we’ve now got moorland where nothing much grows so some clever soul invented grouse shooting.
We might not like it but it does mean that this beautiful, wild environment can be kept in its current state and that has to be good.
The only other option for the landowners is to either build on it or mine it.
  Grouse shooting has to be a better option..

Walking over the Moors we saw a good example of how fashion follows nature..

image

Thistles……

image

Socks….

After Lord knows how many more ups and downs we came to the end of our walk at..the car park at Clay Bank..!

image

The end of the trail..

Our lodgings for the night were a few miles away at Dromonby.
Our host, Dave picked us up in an old W124 Mercedes, wearing a Neil Young tee shirt and a a hairband.
What’s not to like..?

Day 10..The Marathon (almost)…

Tell em Edwin…

http://touch.dailymotion.com/video/x9r3c6_edwin-starr-25-miles-1969_music

Yes folks, the day has arrived..
As Edwin says, “25 miles to go and my feet are hurting mighty bad “…
Yes, I know I know…it’s 23 actually but that’s as close as I could get !
So, today was the longest walk of our entire adventure…
23 miles from Richmond to Ingleby Cross.

image

Our lodging in Richmond, Willance House..
We started the day by breakfasting as if we were running a Marathon..
A 3 course brekkie consisting of fresh fruit with yoghurt, followed by porridge and honey and finally, two poached eggs on brown toast.

image

image

Our lounge at the Willance…

Moving on from Richmond we walked outside into the rain..

image

Mmm …..wet ….

We’d been told by all the books we’d read that today was simply about getting there..
There was really nothing very interesting on the way, it was just another 23 miles added onto the total..
The books were right..!
At first, we walked through woodland on the edge of Richmond and then along the River Swale for the final time to Catterick.

image

Mrs Hill in full summer mode…

image

The River Swale at Catterick..

We’d followed this river for most of the last 3 days, all the way from it’s source at Nine Standard’s, when we could step over it with one stride !
We’d set ourselves a target..
This wasn’t a ‘bimble’, this was a route march…
The approximate half way point was a tiny hamlet called Streetlam.
Our guide had given a estimated time for today’s walk of 8.5 hours, excluding breaks..
We set off at 8:30 so that meant a target time of 12:45 to get to Streetlam, the half way point.
Our guide told us that Streetlam’s most memorable attraction was a phonebox..
At 12:47 we saw the box and stopped for lunch..

image

The picturesque village of Streetlam..

We had to make those 2 minutes up somehow ..!
Leaving Streetlam after lunch meant that we had to get to the end of our walk by 5:30..

image

We marched past happy sheep..

image

We looked at pubs ( without going in )…note the 60 miles to Robin Hood’s Bay..

image

We braved main railway lines..
And eventually arrived here, bang on 5:30…what a result!

image

The Elstavale, with Josephine and her 3 cats…

image

Our local for the night, The Bluebell..

image

Tonight’s red sky..should be good tomorrow..!

Day 9..Reeth to Richmond…just a bimble..

Day 9 in some ways was a slightly strange day…
It was a gentle 11 miler that could, and maybe should’ve been longer.
Tomorrow is a very long 22 miles and it might have been better to add some extra miles on today and make our next walk slightly shorter.??
Anyway, back to today’s walk..
We left our lovely B&B, Hackney House around 9:30 to begin our adventure..

image

Hackney House in Reeth..

After a few minutes walk we were faced with our first choice of the day..fork right to follow the river or go left up the ridge..?
As the majority seemed to be going right and I’ve taken enough river photos, we went left!

image

image

image

I just love that big Yorkshire sky.!

We soon came to the small village of Marske, about half way along our route.
As we turned the corner into the village we saw a tempting sign by a church advertising ice cream..”yummy”, we thought..

image

image

Marske church…

The ice cream was for sale in a small tea room opposite the church – we sat outside.
It was like being in the back garden of someone’s house…
In fact, we were in the back garden of……
image

Mrs Hill enjoying an ice cream and not wanting to share …

Moving on now, we crossed fields and headed towards Applegarth Scar..

image

The rocky outcrop of Applegarth Scar..

We walked east, just below the summit of the ridge, eventually passing through Whitecliffe Wood on our way to Richmond.

image

Richmond below us..

Now, I don’t know if we’re getting quicker at this walking business but…we could have got to Richmond by 1:30 so, we walked slowly, stopped for an ice cream and let lots of people pass us by and we still arrived around 2:30!
That’s why it might’ve been better to make today’s walk longer and tomorrow shorter.
But, it is what it is and we used today’s little bimble to discuss the Coast to Coast folk that we’ve met en route..
There’s Gill and Sandy of course from Australia, via Dundee..
There’s also the people whose names we don’t know, so we made them up..!
There’s the ‘Shirtmen’.
They are two men who wear long sleeved, button up shirts whatever the weather.
Then there’s our continental chums, ‘Heidi and Peter’.
They wear identical clothes even down to matching hats!
Then we’ve got ‘The Family’..a man, his wife, 3 daughters and the dog.
The girls range in age from around 8 to 14 and they all carry their own rucksacks.
One man with 4 women!
Even the dog’s a bitch..
Lord help him…
Then there’s the “6+2 gang’..
They’re 6 friends that all booked together and 2 more tagged on.
They practice competitive walking at its finest.
At one point the group split into two, taking alternative routes around Lake Ennerdale.
We just happened to be taking the North route around the shore and watched in amusement as they practically ran past us, walking poles flying, as they tried to beat their friends round the lake. !
Finally, there’s the ‘Pole Girls’, a mother and daughter team who’ve got poling down to a fine art as they swivel their hips across the ground..
The problem with poling people is that the clicking noise the poles make on stoney ground when they come up behind you, is about as annoying as being sat in the theatre in front of someone doing their knitting with very large needles.!

Ahh, the joys of people watching..!
image

image

The Market Square at Richmond…

Day 8..Down by the river…

Today saw us say goodbye to the Keld Lodge.
This, we had decided, was a remarkable place…
It’s a fairly stark looking building in what looks like the middle of nowhere but..it has 11 bedrooms and most importantly for walkers and cyclists, a dedicated drying room. It also has a dining room serving top quality meals at a reasonable but not cheap price, a good wine list and well kept real ale.
The owners have realised that although Keld is in the middle of nowhere for the uninitiated, it’s actually on the most important crossroad for walkers in the whole of Northern England…
The Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast meet here..
The significance of that can probably best summed up by an overheard telephone conversion in the bar…
Phone rings… Manager answers.. “Hello..” says the manager ..” you’d like a booking for September? which year is that ?”..
That sums the place up..
Provide the right service, in the right place at the right time and you’ll succeed..

Todays walk was another 11 miler, Eastward from Keld to Reeth.
There are two possible routes, “high” and “low”.
The high route takes you on top of the ridge, past numerous old mine workings, whereas the lower route basically follows the River Swale all the way to Reeth.
We’d been told that the low route was by far the best, so that’s what we did!

image

Great Yorkshire names…!

image

The village of Keld..

image

Our first look at the River Swale..

image

The crossroads of The Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast walks.

This could be the most important crossing in the country for walkers.

image

The high route to the left, the low route to the right..
We went right and soon came  close to the ruin of the wonderfully named Crackpot Hall.!

image

Close to Crackpot Hall..

Now we turned South to follow the river down the valley..

image

I’m just going to post some more photos here because this place was just beautiful…!

image

image

image

image

image

image

A friendly cow….

Finally we got to Reeth, bustling village with a great outdoor shop and some good pubs…
We sat outside and enjoyed our beer and the view..

image

Big skys in Yorkshire…

Day 7..Half way there…

Day 7 was a cheeky little 11 miler from Cumbria’s Kirkby Stephen up onto the moors, across the border into Yorkshire and on to Keld.
This would be the halfway point of our adventure.
The weather forecast was good as we got ready to leave the Jolly Farmer, but there was a problem…my boots..
I’d mentioned previously that when I was wearing my boots I could literally feel everything under my feet and a close inspection of the revealed the reason why..

image

A good place to carry a stone….

The soles of my boots had been destroyed by the stoney paths in The Lakes.
Although they were less than 6 months old they’d had it!
There were holes in the soles of both boots and my right heel had actually got a small rock embedded in it .!
No wonder my feet hurt..!
So, before we could actually start our walk we decided to visit the outdoor shop in Kirkby..

image

Eden Outdoors…

That’s Sandy’s wife, Gill coming out of the shop…
The owner was incredibly helpful and not only sorted me out with a pair of Meindl boots but also showed us how to tie our laces to prevent out feet from moving forward when walking downhill..priceless.!
At last today’s walk could begin…

image

Quite a way to go….

We left the town, turning over Ladthwaite Beck to be greeted by a sign telling us exactly how far we’d travelled, and more importantly how far we had to go.
We were heading up on to the Moors and everyone that we’d met said that it was really boggy.
So, gaiters were worn as we headed up to Nine Standards Rig.

image

Our photo, taken by a fellow walker..

As we reached the summit we saw an amazing sight..!

image

image

The Nine Standards……

There were scientists working here that I had a chat with…
They were investigating the site using non invasive methods such as ultrasound. Apparently there were written records of the Standards going back 800 year’s but they could be older…nobody knows. The archeologist explained that the area had been Welsh and Celtic up to 1000 year’s ago and that the location of the hill, with it’s views as far as Scotland and Newcastle could have given it huge significance for the Solstice…
I’d said to Mrs Hill on the climb to the top that I felt that the structures had Masonic significance…
There was an old bench at the bottom of the hill that was a memorial to a mason and Uter Pendragon and also further on, a beautifully crafted cairn that wasn’t just the usual random pile of rocks.
The Nine Standards themselves were beautifully and carefully constructed, obviously by craftsmen and some of the structures were shaped like beehives, a Masonic symbol.

Moving on now towards Keld, we walked across the Moors.
There were different paths used depending on the time of year, the idea being to reduce erosion to the delicate environment.
We were now on the “August to November” path heading towards Whitsundale Beck and the path down the valley to Keld.

image

Striding through the sogginess…

We soon reached the beck and headed down the valley, stopping off for our picnic on the way..

image

image

Whitsundale Beck…

Just before the bottom we reached the border with Yorkshire..the scientists at Nine Standards had told us that we’d need passports, but the border guards must have been on their break..!

image

Yorkshire, ba gum..

Now we came to the road, and a short walk along the B6270 to our lodgings for the night, Keld Lodge.
On the way we passed Cotterby Scar and Wain Wath Falls ( sounds like someone with a serious lisp ) where people were wild swimming in water the colour of tea..!

image

Cotterby Scar

image

Wain Wath Falls…( the source of Yorkshire Tea )…

After a few more minutes we arrived at Keld Lodge…

image

Tonight’s home from home…
( the menu looks good ..! )

image

The view through our dining room window…

The food was good!
We enjoyed a shared starter which was a “sampler” of everything on the first course menu..
There were small pots of prawns with a delicate sauce, smoked mackerel with black pudding, and several others… Delicious.!
For our main courses we both selected lamb’s liver ,our choice possibly influenced by our view from the window!
It was all washed down with a bottle of Merlot and was superb..

Day 6…Recovery, by G.Osborne..

After 5 days of jollifications we were now leaving the Lakes behind.
We left our overnight accommodation at Shap and headed for Kirkby Stephen.
This was described as a “recovery walk” after the last few days exertions…
That sounded inviting until I looked at the map in more detail.
It was over 20 miles long, covered 3 pages of our guide and could best be described as “undulating”..
Cyclists and runners will recognize that word….

image

Today’s walk..the early days….

Mrs Hill is seen here wearing this summer’s “must have” fashion accessory … gaiters…
We quickly reached the M6 and left Shap behind..

image

image

The sights of Shap..or is there a new Pope..?

Moving on now we soon reached Ravenworth Fell and the world famous Limestone Pavement..

image

image

Soon we met cows with very large horns…

image

image

Mrs Hill was very brave..I was right behind her…

image

The Eden Valley…

This was a beautiful place ..
We walked down to the bridge and crossed it..

image

Look out for the guards…

The weather had changed now as we climbed the Eastern side of the valley..
The Southern breeze had blown the clouds north and the sun was now beating down as we climbed to the top of the ridge.

image

As the shadows lengthened we walked down the other side of the ridge into Kirkby Stephen…
Just 22 miles and 10 hours after we’d set out…

Arriving at the Jolly Farmer B&B.

image

Mrs Hill arriving with our new friend, Sandy..

He’s originally from Dundee but moved to Oz in 1979..we’ve got an “anytime” invite to stay with him and his wife next time we’re in Australia..!

Footnotes…
After 6 days and around 90 miles we’re starting to feel the effects.
Mrs Hill’s got a sore knee and hip
( book the replacements now ) and I’ve got a variety of foot problems, most of which are to do with my boots.
These were purchased in February this year from a clearance shop in Barmouth for £20. They’ve been fine until this week but the constant walking on stoney ground has really found them out.
Have you ever had a pair of normal shoes where the soles have worn so thin that you can feel a matchstick on the pavement when you tread on it?
That’s what my boots feel like.
After only a few yards yesterday I decided to go back to the Kings Arms at Shap and get my trainers.
Although they hadn’t got the ankle support of my boots I felt that the soles would provide better cushioning.
So I did the monster 20+ miler in my trainers, developing an interesting “bog jumping” technique en-route!
Unfortunately, I also developed the first blisters of the week as well….
These combined with my battered toes from all the descending in The Lakes and the normal issues with arthritis makes for a very pretty sight..!
Let’s see what today’s 14 miles in The Pennines will bring….

Day 5 …Leaving The Lakes..

Today was the longest walk of our holiday (???)so far.. 16.5 miles from Patterdale to the most western lake, Haweswater, and then out of the Lake District to Shap.
We left our digs at Patterdale and turned left up the road..
Ian, our host at the Old Water View was in his garden and called out “where you going guys..it’s the other way”
I explained that I was taking photos of unusual road signs…
It’s at this point that I was going to post a photo of a warning triangle with a silhouette of a red squirrel and the legend “squirrel crossing”.. But…..I discovered that my phone had crashed, losing all my photos other than the final ones of Shap Abbey .!!!! 😥
So, this post is more of a diary for me, covering our last day in the beautiful Lake District.
Today’s walk saw us leave Patterdale and climb steadily South East up to Angle Tarn at around 500m.
Turning to look back there were wonderful views of Ullswater behind us.
The weather was perfect this morning for walking with the sun occasionally breaking through the clouds making moving patterns on the hillsides around us.
We continued to climb steadily eventually reaching The Knott at 739m with Hayswater far below us to the south.
After a further 1k we reached the highest point of our entire walk, Kidsty Pike at 780m.
Kidsty gave us the most fantastic views to the East. There was the final lake of our walk, Haweswater, and beyond we could see the flatter land of the Eden Valley with the ridge of The Pennines running North to South beyond.
We descended now to the lake, stopping just before the shore for our picnic lunch in the sunshine.
Continuing down to the lake we turned north along the shoreline.
This part of of the walk went on for around 5k but it seemed like much more..! Sometimes the path went right down to the shoreline and then it would rise steeply up the hillside. The path was very broken in places and towards the end of this section, as forecast, it began to rain.
The rain was light at first as we began our final section of our walk towards Shap. The path was now fairly flat, across grassland.
It was a pleasure to feel the soft grass under our feet after miles of walking on sharp, broken stones..!
The rain was heavier now and we put our waterproofs on for the final push to Shap Abbey..
image

A view of the old ruin…

The final section of our walk took us on to the A6 where we turned South and walked all the way through Shap to the Kings Arms, our hostelry for the night..

Our evening meal was a hearty Glastonbury Lamb for Mrs Hill and a locally made Cumberland Sausage, egg and chips for me.
The food was good value but the entertainment was priceless….
We were sat next to a local family consisting of grandma, daughter and her teenage children.
The daughter got louder and louder as the evening wore on with a voice that sounded like a cross between Janice Battesby and a sheep…
The young girl was stylishly dressed in a black tracksuit highlighted with pink stripes complemented with wellies with a cow motif.
The mother regularly shouted unintelligible commands to her daughter to put certain records on the jukebox.
The time came for the last record of the night …
“Ugh,ugh ugh” bleated the mother.
“Agh,Agh??” replied the daughter…
“UGH,UGH UGH” screamed the mother, now attracting the attention of the whole pub…
“AHH,AHH,!!!” said the daughter..her little cow clad feet tapping excitedly in anticipation of the entertainment to come…
The whole pub was now silently listening and waiting for the mystery record that was to follow..
What could it be ..?
We all heard the sound of the 50 pence falling into the jukebox and then …..
Abba….!
Oh how we all sang into the night..!