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Journeyman's Coast to Coast Journal 2006
Thursday 22 June - Richmond to Danby Wiske
Another early morning wake up but again I feel great. No aches, pains, blisters or doubts about completing this marvellous walk. By now I was pleased at how organised I was – not just at the end of a days walking but throughout the entire day. I had a cup of tea before breakfast and decided on a route out of Richmond that would enable me to take in a few historical sites as well as bagging a few geocaches before joining the C2C path near the sewage works by the River Swale. I wanted to visit The Drummer Boys Stone on the way down to Easby Abbey. I went down for breakfast at 7.45am and what a wonderful and varied choice. I had everything from fresh croissants, fresh fruit salad, cereals, yoghurt and fruit juice. I had a portion of fresh fruit salad and my usual full English breakfast as I chatted with two other guests who were from Sussex and on a sight seeing holiday in the North of England. I had settled my bill the night before so I collected my packed lunch and made an early start at 8.30am. What a wonderful start Sandra and Colin had made at Willance House. I suggested to them that they ought to introduce themselves to walkers via the Sherpa Message Forum which they agreed to do as and when they could connect to a broadband internet line.
I took a photograph looking towards Richmond Castle from outside the front of Willance House (see above). I walked up Frenchgate and then turned right towards a minor road leading towards Easby Abbey. My first port of call was the Drummer Boys Stone (see below) on the way down to Easby Abbey. There is a plaque on the stone headed ‘THE DRUMMER BOYS STONE’ and saying ‘According to legend this stone marks the spot where the Richmond drummer boy reached in the tunnel supposed to lead from Richmond market place to Easby Abbey. Here the sound of his drumming ceased and he was never seen again’.
I continued down to Easby Abbey and across a metal bridge leading to the rear of the sewage works and then onto the main C2C route over the fields and through a wood heading towards Colburn. I had managed to bag 3 geocaches along this section but missed one. As I walked through the wood I was a little disturbed to read a sign saying ‘Military training area please keep to the official route’. I had visions of two dozen Rambo style characters watching me pass and then jumping out from the bushes. The next minor obstacle was a path along a corn field just before Colburn – I was pleased to be wearing Ron Hill tracksters as this section was overgrown with stinging nettles and thistles.
As I approached St Giles farm I was looking for ancient site of St Giles Hospital and after a little searching in a field I found a stone built plinth and on the floor by the side was a broken – vandalised – information board about St Giles Hospital. It was further along this section that I previously read about painted slogans ‘Coast Scum’. I was in the mood to tackle any would be vandals after seeing the broken information board and although retired from policing arrests would have been made. As I arrived at Catterick Bridge I saw Gordon and Charlotte reading an information board and I joined them. What a lovely couple and a pleasure to meet and walk with. We walked together until we reached Bolton on Swale stopping briefly whilst Gordon and Charlotte had a snack. We also passed Bill and Marie who were walking from the direction of Bolton on Swale – they were supposed to be having a rest day in Richmond but had decided to catch a bus to Bolton on Swale and walk back to Richmond to shorten the following day. Their intention being to catch a bus to Bolton on Swale from Richmond the next morning to rejoin the route as they were heading to Ingleby Cross, which is where I was staying.
As we were walking I was chatting to Gordon and Charlotte about geocaching and the fact that I had one other cache to find on this section in Bolton on Swale. They were genuinely interested and so they accompanied me to the cache which Gordon found – I could sense he enjoyed it. When we entered Bolton on Swale I photographed a water pump and when I went to closer examine it I forgot to duck my head and ended up with my first C2C battle wound – a nasty graze/bruise and cut to the top of my head. I wanted to visit Bolton on Swale churchyard to photograph the Henry Jenkins memorial which commemorates the life of this man who allegedly lived to the ripe old age of 167. I said goodbye to Gordon and Charlotte who had a longer walk than me – they had to reach Osmotherly (23 miles) whilst I had to reach Danby Wiske (15 miles on my chosen route). I informed them of a delightful little café at Danby Wiske where I was staying that night and suggested to them a cup of tea and scones may go down well on their trek to Osmotherly. They didn’t seem to fancy this suggestion but I was wrong as you will see later. I cleaned my head wound with an antiseptic wipe and decided to sit down on the bench opposite the water pump to have my packed lunch.
I was part way through my packed lunch when I saw the KK approaching from the direction of Catterick Bridge. They quickly joined me and I then walked with them through the village and onward towards Danby Wiske. They didn’t seem interested in the Henry Jenkins memorial as we passed the churchyard. They were in positive spirits and although 3 of the team had administered first aid to their blisters that morning they were setting a brisk pace. In fact Di, wearing trainers would often jog ahead of the others as it apparently caused less pain to her blisters. It was quite a warm day and the road temperatures were hot. There was plenty of rural scenery along this stretch and occasional glimpses of wildlife. We stopped to have lunch on the roadside near to Whitwell Farm but we were not long before the KK wanted to press on ahead to Danby Wiske. They were camping that night at the rear of the White Swan in Danby Wiske and I sensed that they wanted to get there quickly. It suited me so we pressed on quickly and I opened the accelerator a little at Streetlam and arrived in Danby Wiske about 10 minutes before the KK. I had arranged to see them in the White Swan later that evening and waved to them as I walked the very short distance to Ashfield House to meet my host Jean Norris who not only ran a successful B & B with evening meals but a walkers café that I mentioned to Gordon and Charlotte.
I had a homely welcome from Jean and her daughter. Who did I see as I walked to the seating area outside the cafe? – Gordon but where is Charlotte – she was in the kitchen finishing her tea and scones. It was a typical South Yorkshire welcome with a huge pot of tea and a bun. Jean was from Sheffield but had moved to Danby Wiske over 20 years ago with her husband Brian. Once again I said goodbye to Gordon and Charlotte and this time it was the last I would see of them. We had exchanged e mail addresses earlier and I certainly felt I would be in contact with them again. I hope they made it to Robin Hoods Bay. I sat chatting with Jean and her friend Hazel for about an hour and Jean had also introduced me to her daughter, grand daughter and son in law. It was great to relax and chat. I ordered my evening meal and then went to my comfortable and spacious room to change and have a shower. I was able to examine my head injury closer and it was a little worse than I thought but nothing too serious - it certainly would not stop me from proceeding and did not require medical treatment. I also noted a little rubbing on the corresponding place on the inside of each big toe – no blisters but I will apply Compeed tomorrow to ensure I don’t get them. I blamed a combination of the heat underfoot and my pace along the lanes and roads approaching Danby Wiske. I washed some of my lightweight gear i.e. Ron Hills, North Face base layer and socks and relaxed a while as I wrote up my journal.
down to my evening meal at 6.30pm and it came as no surprise to me that all
three courses were delicious homely food – vegetable soup, chicken with
vegetables and potatoes and finally cheese and biscuits. Ashfield House was
another wonderful place to stay and I couldn’t fault any aspect of it. After
my meal I chatted with Jean and her husband Brian for about an hour before I
went to the White Swan to have a drink with the KK and any other C2C walkers
present. On arrival a total of 8 C2C walkers were finishing their evening
meals – the KK, Steve and Russell from Somerset (more about these wonderful
characters later) and finally Ian and Val who were also camping behind the
White Swan. I had not seen Steve and Russell before but they had apparently
set off at the same time as the KK so they knew them fairly well. I had a
chat with Russell whilst Steve was engrossed in tales of Adge Cutler and the
Wurzels with the KK. I was joined by Ian and Val who I immediately
recognised as the couple that Malc and I had spoken to and walked a short
section with at Ennerdale Water. They were what I call down to earth North
Eastern people who clearly lived a relaxed life and enjoyed their
camping/backpacking and walking. They were experienced walkers and Ian told
me he had previously been self employed as a milkman walking 7 miles a day.
Ian loved walking with his dog and he told me that one day he had
impulsively told Val he was off to walk the Pennine Way with his dog. He
related with ease his hilarious journey including just after the start when
he ascended Jacobs ladder near Edale with his heavy pack waving goodbye to
Val and as he got out of sight collapsing onto the floor thinking ‘What the
hell have I done’. He completed the walk and hasn’t looked back since. I
left Ian and Val saying I would probably see them on the route the next day
and retired at 10pm to Ashfield House. The KK, Steve and Russell and Ian and
Val were all going to Osmotherly the next day whereas I was only walking to
Ingleby Cross. I considered taking in Mount Grace Priory but would make a
decision at Ingleby Cross.
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