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Journeyman's Coast to Coast Journal 2006
Sunday 25 June - Great Broughton to Blakey Ridge
I was awake at 6.30am and following my usual morning routine of cup of tea, shave etc and checking my gear including the water bottle refills. Barbara had kindly left my Ron Hill tracksters on the banister rail outside my room the night before. Breakfast had been arranged for 8am and the three of us were served with an excellent morning meal. Yes, I had my full English breakfast to get me up the hill through Broughton plantation. The KK had arranged a lift back up to Clay Bank Top and I had a little dig about getting a lift, hoping to shame them into walking back up the hill, but they were having none of it. In fairness to them they had walked to Clay Bank Top and were rejoining the route at the same place so they had not missed any of the walk. I chatted with Keith and Barbara until 9am when I set off back up towards the Wain Stones. I told the KK that I would beat them to the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge and that I would be zooming in on them like an Exocet missile. I had three and half miles to walk to Clay Bank Top so they had a good start (albeit they did not get dropped off until 9.30am). Unfortunately the weather today was poor with low cloud and poor visibility – I wished I had taken photographs of the Wain Stones in bright sunshine the day before.
The climb back up to the Wain Stones was tough but I enjoyed it. As I reached the Wain Stones I realised just how far I had descended into Great Broughton the day before. I bagged a geocache nearby and scrambled up the stones taking a few photographs on the way. The photograph shown here (see above) illustrates how different the Wain Stones can look shrouded in mist. I had been lucky with the weather along the route and I was not going to complain – I have walked in far worse than any of the days on this C2C. It was quite cold and windy on Hasty Bank so I didn’t hang around long and I arrived at Clay Bank Top just before 10.30am. Onward and upward over Carr Ridge and passed Round Hill on Urra Moor – the highest point on the North Yorkshire Moors. Visibility was poor all day with the occasional spell of drizzle. A few mountain bikers came towards me from the opposite direction and we respected each others activities as we passed. As I approached the Bloworth Crossing I saw the figures of Steve and Russell in the near distance. I was aware they had been staying at Maltkiln House, Urra and assumed that they had walked up the distinct path to the main C2C route near Round Hill and turned right. I was right. I joined them and walked along with them for about a mile but their pace was too slow for me so I pushed ahead promising them another pint of cider at the Lion Inn where they were also staying. It was easy and swift walking along the old Rosedale railway section and I firstly met a group of young, predominantly female Duke of Edinburgh scheme participants. They had spent the night sleeping in tents at the Lion Inn on ‘cow pooh’ as one girl told me. I gave them some words of encouragement about the route ahead and said goodbye. I told them to tell Steve and Russell to hurry up as there would be a pint of cider waiting for them at the Lion Inn. I next caught up with two female walkers and as I approached I saw one of them was holding Terry Marsh’s Coast to Coast Walk book – a good clue for this seasoned detective. I had not seen them before and as I walked with them a short while they explained that they were walking the Coast to Coast in small sections on the occasional weekend having started last year. The main thing is that despite the poor weather today they were enjoying ‘their C2C walk’. Good luck to you ladies.
The weather was worsening as I strode out towards The Lion Inn at 4mph – where are the KK? As I approached the left turn from the track up to the Lion Inn I saw two of them Tressa and Kitty through the mist and then about 200 yards ahead I could see the outlines of Di and Patty. They were well within reach now and I would certainly beat them to the Lion Inn – even if I had to run up the hill. As it turned out I didn’t have to run as I caught up with Tressa and Kitty at the left turn marked LWW. The other two KK were out of sight and had continued along the track. They were either complacent or not map reading correctly. I invited Tressa and Kitty to follow me up the hill reminding them of the challenge to beat them to the Lion Inn. At this point a series of loud shrill whistles echoed around the moors and Kitty blew her whistle in an attempt to draw the attention of her two colleagues ahead. I felt sorry for all the breeding upland birds and any walkers within a mile – Kitty really did give that whistle some cosh. I pointed out that the path they were on would get the others to the Lion Inn ‘eventually’ and being true team members they followed me up to the Lion Inn arriving at 1pm. On arrival the wind was blowing the rain across the moors and other day walkers were huddled under the limited shelter available. I found a suitable spot and had my packed lunch whilst keeping an eye out for the other two KK. Tressa and Kitty went into the pub for a drink. I joined them about 20 minutes later and we sat around a table in one of the side rooms. It was Sunday afternoon and the Lion was extremely busy with customers eating Sunday lunch. We were a little wet but the management had no problems with us placing our bags and poles in a corner and enjoying the atmosphere. At 1.50pm The Cider Drinkers turned up and I bought them a drink ‘yes of cider’. These guys were certainly enjoying their walk and nothing, including a rather speedy Journeyman, would prevent then for enjoying it at their pace. A few minutes later Di and Patty entered the Lion Inn looking quite wet and dishevelled. They had realised they had missed the turn off but then walked back looking for Tressa and Kitty before finally calling it a day and attending the pub. Perhaps this is another lesson learned ladies i.e. ‘if you are walking as a team in poor visibility you are fast as your slowest team member’. Despite this minor misunderstanding the KK were in good spirits and after another drink we all booked in at about 3.15pm and were shown to our respective rooms. I arranged with the management for a table for 7 to accommodate the KK, The Cider Drinkers and myself for our evening meal. Additionally it was the England v Ecuador World Cup game kicking off at 6pm and some of the group wanted to watch it.
I had a bath and carried out my daily routine of
changing maps, recharging batteries and arranging gear. I watched some of
the football game in my room and then at 6.30pm went to the bar area where
the game was also being shown on a small TV. Our group of C2C walkers
gathered around a table chatting whilst the game was on in the background –
we were not too bothered about the game to be honest. We had a good social
discussion about everything and anything including Steve’s karaoke talent
performing as Adge Cutler of the Wurzels. Fortunately there was no karaoke
at the Lion Inn but I have no reason to doubt that Steve was not a good
cabaret act – he sounded like the Wurzels being from Somerset, he looked
like the Wurzels i.e. rugged farming types and he loved his cider. Steve and
Russell were great company and true gentlemen when it came to buying beers.
They repaid my earlier courtesies and more. The 7 of us sat down in the
restaurant for our meal and placed orders with an extremely helpful and
friendly waitress. All our meals looked good and tasted good – I went for
the beef curry with chips and rice and it was plentiful and excellent value
for money. After the meal Russell bought everyone a drink to cap off the
evening – this was the last time we would all be together and we did have a
good time. The next morning I was walking the 17-18 miles to Littlebeck, the
KK were walking to Priory Farm Camp site at Grosmont and the Cider Drinkers
were going the shortest distance to Egton Bridge. The KK retired to bed at
9.30pm and I watched a little bit of the Portugal v Holland game in the bar
whilst chatting to Steve and Russell. I retired to bed at 9.45pm and
telephoned Linda before falling to sleep.
© Copyright Walking Places 2006