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Journeyman's Coast to Coast Journal 2006
Monday 26 June - Blakey Ridge to Littlebeck
Breakfast commenced at 8.30am and due to the fact that I had a longer, but not difficult, day ahead of me I was early to breakfast at 8.25am. Other guests were also starting their breakfast including a solo male walker who I had seen enter the Lion Inn during the evening before. I had actually had a goods nights sleep and did not wake up until 7.30am. I ordered my usual full English breakfast and was delighted to see, for the first time on my route, a slice of black pudding as part of the breakfast. Yes, I know what’s in black pudding but it was the first slice I had been presented with and I wasn’t going to leave it. The other C2C walkers came down to breakfast over the next 15 minutes but I was almost ready to check out and settle my bill. I brought my case downstairs for collection by Packhorse and then settled my bill before saying goodbye to the KK and Cider Drinkers. I would see the KK again on our last day but it was unlikely that I would see Steve and Russell again so it was a last goodbye – thanks for your company guys. I went outside and took a few photographs of the Lion Inn and surrounding area – it had not been fit to do so on my arrival the previous day. I spoke to the solo male walker I had seen at breakfast. He was also on the C2C and his schedule was to stay in Grosmont today and then finish in Robin Hoods bay on Tuesday, the same day as me. He also took a few photographs I formed the impression that he was happy to walk alone so I set off up the road towards my first objective for the day, the Fat Betty monument.
This was another section where walking was brisk and although it was on tarmac for quite a lengthy section, the roads were not busy and the views were a lot better than the previous day. I took photographs of various features along the route including Fat Betty monument and another significant stone a little further along the route. There were plastic flowers placed at Fat Betty and also a few coins in small denominations. The other significant stone (see below) engraved with a cross and the letters A D M M in each quarter segment of the cross.
I could see the solo male C2C walker following about half a mile behind and although I was frequently stopping to take photographs all the way to Glaisdale he never seemed to catch up with me, in fact I think he must have stopped for a snack at one point as I lost sight of him altogether as I ascended Glaisdale Rigg. It was easy walking along the entire route today and I made good progress into Glaisdale village. The only walkers I passed were 2 male C2C backpackers going east to west as they were ascending Glaisdale Rigg. We stopped to have a chat about the delights to come and when I asked where they were staying that day they told me ‘Wherever we get to – it doesn’t really matter’. It started me thinking perhaps this would be a great way for me to the do the C2C next time – freedom to stay when and where you wish – and I thought of Ian and Val, Chris, Tim and Ted. As I entered Glaisdale village I saw a solo male backpacker sitting on a bench to my left. I said hello and looked at his fairly heavy pack. He was wearing all green clothing and carrying a green canvas type rucksack and I know I hadn’t seen him on the route before. I assumed (wrongly as I later discovered) that he was walking east to west or some other circular walk. He looked shattered and I then reflected on my thoughts further up the hill about backpacking the C2C and dismissed them from my mind. As I walked through Glaisdale village to my lunchtime objective of the Arncliffe Arms I saw a umber of ‘scarecrows’ including effigy’s of Darth Vader and a C2C walker (at least I think it was an effigy). There had been a gala in Glaisdale over the weekend and the ‘scarecrows were still in place. Glaisdale is a pretty village but spread out far more than I had anticipated. I arrived at the Arncliffe Arms at 12.10pm having walked a little over 10 miles that morning.
I had not booked a packed lunch today, partly because of the cost at the Lion Inn but mainly because I had heard so much about the food at the Arncliffe Arms I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of sampling it. My initial thoughts were to have a sandwich but as I entered the bar area I saw a customer eating soup and bread and it looked and smelled great so I went for the soup. I also broke my own rule of not having alcohol at lunchtime and ordered a pint of John Smiths Smooth. It was warm outside but cool inside the bar area and I enjoyed chatting to the licensee who made sure that I was aware of the reputation his pub had of ‘the best food on the C2C’. There is no doubt it was good but I would suggest there are many other places along the route with equally good food and I had sampled some of the delicacies. As I was having my soup I saw the male solo walker I had spoken to outside the Lion Inn walk past in the direction of Egton Bridge. I knew I would probably catch him up when I set off about 15 minutes later.
I walked out of the village and through East Arncliffe Wood. The path was a little bit up and down but it was a delightful and picturesque walk ideal for after lunch. Again my camera was brought into action at various points along this section and I noted a bench with a plaque indicating it had been dedicated to two dogs, Freddie and Willy. I arrived in Egton Bridge in no time at all and waved to the Packhorse minibus driver who was probably delivering the Cider Drinkers bags to the Horseshoe in Egton Bridge. As I turned right along a wide permissive track leading from Egton Bridge to Grosmont I saw two males walking together slightly in front of me. There was the solo male walker I had spoken with at the Lion Inn and whom I had seen passing the Arncliffe Arms and also the younger male backpacker dressed in green clothing and carrying his quite hefty backpack. I had clearly not seen this second man pass the pub due to his heavy camouflage. I caught them up quickly and joined them as we walked to Grosmont. The older male was staying at Hazelwood Tea Rooms whilst ‘Rambo’ as I called him was camping at Priory Farm. His name was Nigel and he was doing the C2C but usually set off walking early in the morning, hence the reason I never saw him. I told him about the KK staying on the same camp site and wished him well as we passed his accommodation first. I walked a little further with the second male and said goodbye to him as he went to his accommodation more or less opposite Grosmont railway station. I never did get know his name but he was a pleasant chap who enjoyed his own company – nothing wrong with that at all. I took a photograph of a steam train at the station and mentally prepared myself for the notorious ascent up the road out of Grosmont. I set myself a target of reaching the car park at the top in half an hour.
I was determined to achieve my target so set off at a sensible pace knowing that there were steeper and then easier sections ascending any hill and this proved to be no exception. I couldn’t resist taking a few photographs as I ascended and I wish I could have seen the expression on my face when, as I looked to my left about half way up the hill, I saw Whitby and the North Sea beyond. The sight of a town I know well brought a massive grin to my face coupled with the knowledge that I had almost completed the C2C walk and nothing would stop me now. My mind, body and feet received an extra boost of adrenalin from the sight of Whitby and I finished climbing the hill like an express train. I called off at the High Bride Stones on the way up to the path leading across the moor from opposite the car park. I understood from Stedman’s book that there were 5 standing stones but alas there were only three and there was evidence yet again of vandalism in the area. What a sad bunch of individuals they are damaging historic sites. As I walked the final few hundred metres up the road I looked at my watch and I was well inside my half hour target and I felt quite pleased with myself. As I walked I looked at the car park and couldn’t quite understand why there were so many vehicles, caravans, mobile toilets and mobile canteen in the car park. What was happening? Apparently, and I didn’t establish this fact until I arrived at my overnight accommodation, the vehicles belong to the film crew and cast of ‘Heartbeat’, which was being filmed in and around its North Yorkshire location of Goathland aka Adensfield in the TV series. I turned left and crossed the heather moors and then walking for a short distance down the A169 towards Whitby. I was heading for Intake farm, Littlebeck and the owner, Judith, had forwarded me an apparent shortcut to the farm down a private road passing High and Low Quebec farms and joining the public footpaths beyond. I found this shortcut with ease but as I twisted and turned along the tracks through the farms I wondered how much it really saved. (When I arrived home after the walk I checked each route using memory map and noted that the difference is negligible but the route offered by Judith does avoid walking up the hill to Intake Farm from Littlebeck village – a hill that would be descended the following morning).
As I approached Intake Farm I was looking forward to what many other walkers had described as an absolute delight with first class home cooking by Judith. This was a busy working farm as I witnessed on my approach. I had another stand off with a cow and her calf at the entrance to the last field before the farm. She was not going to move and there was very little passing space around her so I decided against a fight or jumping over a wall and patiently waited and bored her death with my frequent waving of my walking pole. This action probably did nothing at all but it made me feel good. I managed to pass around the cow a short time later without much difficulty – I wonder what the cow thought of yet another cowardly C2C walker. I arrived at 3.20pm and I was greeted by Judith in a manner I had expected ‘Welcome to our home, come in and have a sit down whilst I make you some tea and cake’. It was a privilege to be here and I enjoyed chatting with Judith and then her husband Robert who was having difficulty with his silage machine, there was a broken part (there must be a technical term for this machinery but that is how it was referred to by Judith so it’s good enough for me). We chatted until 4pm and then I was shown to my room, a double en-suite bedroom with a shower. Judith had informed me that two other guests on the C2C were due to arrive. They had only had a short scheduled walk from Glaisdale today but had decided to walk part of tomorrow’s route up through Littlebeck Nature Reserve and across the fields to Intake Farm. I had walked 17.6 miles today but felt absolutely fresh. I had a shower and then arranged all my gear for what would be my last days walk. Maps changed, batteries recharged, base layer gear washed, water bottles cleaned etc. etc. I contacted Linda by telephone as usual and I must admit I was missing her and looking forward to seeing her in Robin Hoods Bay in 2 days time when, with one of my sons Kevin, she would be picking me up.
I went down for the prearranged evening meal shortly
before 7pm and I met the other two guests staying at Intake Farm. They were
husband and wife Malcolm and Sandra from a place near Blackpool in
Lancashire – the accents were extremely distinctive to me. I was greeted
with ‘Are you Ernie?’ and obviously I asked how they knew my name. They had
met Bill and Marie the previous day in Glaisdale and as the conversation
unfolded the connection was made between us i.e. Intake Farm. I was
disappointed to hear that Bill had badly strained his thigh and I wondered
if they had made it into Robin Hoods Bay today as they had intended. I
thought to myself’ I’ll check the visitors book when I get to the Bay
Hotel’. They were a loving couple but Sandra had the edge of Malcolm in
conversation. They were completing the second half of the C2C having
completed the first part to Kirkby Stephen in April/May and then they had a
month off before resuming their journey from Kirkby Stephen. They normally
stayed in Youth Hostels and had in fact booked in for the following night at
Boggle Hole YH near Robin Hoods Bay, a place they had stayed at in
university days. They had enjoyed their C2C walk and in particular the last
part of today’s extended walk via Littlebeck Nature Reserve which was full
of varied wildlife and interesting sights. We chatted about all sorts of
issues and I learned that they were voluntary rangers in the Trough of
Bowland area of Lancashire and spent quite a lot of their spare time ‘on
patrol’. They relayed stories of vandalism and abandoned rubbish, sometimes
the quantities found required collection by lorry or vans. Judith served our
evening meals which were absolutely delicious and plentiful – too much for
us really but we tried not to waste much at all. We had melon following by
two casseroles, one beef based and one chicken based, with potatoes, cabbage
and cauliflower cheese. The 3 inches thick home made lemon meringue pie and
cream was exquisite. We chatted for a while before I retired to my room to
relax. It was great to receive a telephone call from Malc who asked how
things were going and of course I gave him a potted history of how things
had been. He was envious of what I had achieved and I was even more
convinced that it would not be many months before Malc joined me in the ‘gap
years’ following police service. I don’t remember falling to sleep. Intake
farm is yet another place that C2C walkers must include in their schedule –
if they can get in of course.
© Copyright Walking Places 2006