Category Archives: Coast to Coast

Coast to Coast – Littlebeck to Robin Hood’s Bay

July 8 – Well, today is the day! The last day of our Coast to Coast Walk across England. We took our trusty taxi back to Littlebeck, and started walking right where we left off yesterday. It was cool walking through the shady woods in the early morning.

We passed a cave where they used to mine alum, used in the past for tanning hides and dying cloth and wool.

Then we passed a hermitage. Another hiker snapped our pic.

A waterfall at Littlebeck, and a fairy on a tree.

We had to hop across the pond at Maybeck.

A bit of road and path walking. The track is getting boggier – we must be nearing the sea.

Our first sign for Robin Hood’s Bay. Wouldn’t you like to visit Sneaton Thorpe? I just love the names of some of these little towns.

A bit of crashing through the brush and rocky stream bed.

Then…. the sea!

Although we could have gotten to town in three miles by road, our path was double, as we hugged the cliffs and crags of the coast.

And then, there was Robin Hood’s Bay! Cue the Merry Men!

A touristy town on a Sunday afternoon. Lots of inns, pubs and gardens.

Our place was right on the water. The view from our window.

We walked down to the water’s edge, so we could put our boots in the North Sea. It was dead low tide, so that’s about as wet as you could get!

So, our 192 mile trek is done. Unlike Santiago, most of the tourists were not here for the walk, and unaware that there even WAS a Coast to Coast Walk. We couldn’t even find a commemorative plate to celebrate our success. So we settled for a photo and a picture of a commemorative tea towel.

Off to the next adventure!

Coast to Coast – Blakey Ridge to Glaisdale to Littlebeck

July 6 – Our B&B host (who had a gorgeous garden filled with feeders and birds of all sorts for our breakfast watching pleasure) ferried us back to Blakey Ridge. The trail started with several miles of highway walking, so he did us the favor of dropping us off at the end of the highway where the soft track began. A shepherd’s hut dated 1801.

Pretty heather.

We continue to scratch our heads at some of the instructions on our guidebook maps. This morning it said we would be walking along a “metalled” road. We saw tarmac and dirt track, but no metal. A mystery. (A Google search afterward informed us that in Britain a paved road is sometimes called a metalled road.)

Yesterday we were told to look for “grouse butts.” Huh? Little bird heinies? Today we came across several camouflaged stone structures as we walked. Perhaps hunters hide behind them when they wish to be concealed from the grouse? Like a duck blind or a deer stand? Grouse butts.

Before we knew it, we had reached the little town of Glaisdale. There’s an old church here, with a wooden baptismal font cover that dates from the sixteenth century. I especially liked one of the stained glass windows. There is a portrait of Tom Ferries here.

The Beggar’s Bridge is here. The legend says that in the early 1600s, Tom Ferries, a pauper lad, fell in love with the daughter of a wealthy local squire, but the swollen River Esk kept him from visiting his true love. He went to sea, made his fortune, returned to town, became mayor, built a bridge across the river and married his true love.

Our travel brokers arranged for a taxi to take us to the next town, Egton Bridge, where we are booked in the same hotel for two nights. We thought this would be a treat, but it is the saddest accommodation we’ve had on this trip – a bit run down, poorly managed by two overworked young girls, and most importantly, no WiFi! Once again, we were assigned a time to eat supper in the hotel’s overpriced restaurant, (no other options nearby) and we dare not be late! This too shall pass.

July 7 – A good breakfast this morning, and as we made our plans for the day, we realized that the trail was just down the road. Why were we instructed to take a taxi? We ended up just canceling the taxi and walking on from where we were. The RC church of St. Hedda is here. I liked the windy steps up to the organ loft.

We walked along a toll road. We weren’t charged.

A short hike got us to the pretty little town of Grosmont, very touristy, and the home of the last coal fired steam engines in England. Although these beauties were retired from service 50 years ago, they run one train between Grosmont and Pickering for the tourists to ride. These are the very engines seen in the Harry Potter films as the students steam their way to Hogwarts each year.

From the engine yard, the road went up, and up, and up some more, reminiscent of the streets of San Francisco.

We huffed our way higher and higher until it seemed we were looking down from an airplane. At the summit of the hill, high above the tree line, it was perfectly quiet. Nothing grew more than a few inches tall. It felt like we were walking on the moon.

Down the other side of the hill, across a field, and we approached the town of Littlebeck.

This is where our trail will end for the day. A taxi has been arranged to shuttle us back to Egton Bridge. We waited for it in front of a little Methodist chapel, which welcomed hikers and provided hot chocolate and tea. Nice People of England.

Coast to Coast – Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top to Blakey Ridge

July 4 – Happy Independence Day to you! Today we ventured forth into the last of our three geographic areas for this walk, the North York Moors National Park. Our days of flat terrain are over; we climbed the Cleveland Hills, and followed the signs for the Cleveland Way.

The morning was overcast and cool.

Walking through the woods in the early morning, we came upon what our guidebook described as an old wagon.

We had five hills to climb today, a series of up, down, and back up again. Even in cool weather, it was hard work.

Heather in bloom:

The Wainstones, from afar and up close, named perhaps for the wailing of the people after the death of some prehistoric chieftain who was killed there. Yes, we did scrabble up to the top:

By 2pm, the sun came out, giving us our first glimpse of the North Sea. Can you see it on the horizon?

We had to call our hosts to be picked up from the trail from the Wainstones, which we were told was the only place with cell reception! For the next few nights, our lodgings are not close enough to the trail for the hikers to walk in. Our B&B tonight is a horse farm. These two are mother and son. Don’t they look happy to see us?

July 5 – We resumed our walk this morning with one strenuous climb, after which we were promised flat path for the rest of the day.

Have you ever seen cows like these? They’re called Belted Galloways , but are more familiarly known as Oreo cows.

It was clear and sunny and feature free. A good day for sunbrellas.

We walked along an old railroad bed – perfectly flat and straight.

Colors:

Looking down. Where is the town?

We eventually got to Blakey Ridge, where we waited at the pub until our B&B host came to pick us up. I could get used to being driven around!

Coast to Coast – Danby Wiske to Ingleby Cross

July 3 – Only nine miles to go today, on nice flat ground. We walked through farmer’s fields, with both green and amber waves of wheat:

Some woods:

An imaginatively decorated stile at a tuck shop with snacks for hikers:

A herd of cows was unusually interested in our presence, lining up along the fence as we walked by. I sang for them, “the hills are alive, with the sound of mooo-sic.” They were very appreciative. I could tell. They gave me a standing bo-vation.

We even got to see a flock of sheep getting their summer shearing. Sorry for the unflattering image of the farmer.

We met a family doing the Coast to Coast with their two dogs, age 7 and 10. Bravo!

Before we knew it, we reached Ingleby Cross, and it was only 1:30pm. Way too early to try to check in at the B&B. What to do? We saw on the map that there was an old priory just two miles up the road, so we had lunch and decided to walk over. Unfortunately, it was two miles of walking along a busy highway where the cars were all coming from the wrong direction, but we got there alive!

The Mount Grace Priory was built in the 1300s for an order of Carthusian monks. Carthusians are solitary contemplatives, who do not eat meat. They lived here for a few hundred years, until King Henry VIII closed down all the Roman Catholic churches in 1540.

Unlike other orders that lived communally, each monk had his own two story apartment, with a bedroom, a study, a prayer room, a workroom upstairs, and a walled garden. Servants brought in food twice a day. Pretty sweet deal.

The property also had a manor house and some lovely gardens.

So, now we are at our B&B, Mount Bank Farm, which is a duck farm! Do you think we’ll have duck eggs for breakfast?

Coast to Coast – Richmond to Danby Wiske

July 2 – Back on the road this morning for a long slog (either 14 or 16 miles depending on which book you believe) that our guidebook says is the most uninteresting of the entire walk. Oh boy! At least it’s flat, the sun is shining, it’s not as hot as last week, and a breeze is promised. Who could ask for more?

We started confidently out of Richmond. So long Castle!

So long city!

Following the guidebook, within two miles we found ourselves off the trail and walking along a highway. Drat! Nothing worse than adding miles to an already long day. We walked to the next town, and saw some folks standing at a bus stop. Where’s your bus going? Back to Richmond. Drat! A little old lady asked why we were walking through town. She pointed us at a farmer’s field, and said we ought to be heading that way. Okay. As we opened the gate to walk through through the field, the farmer jumped out of the barn and yelled, “whoa!” He pointed to another track, and told us to follow the power lines through the wheat fields until we saw the sign for the Coast to Coast. It worked! Nice People of England!

So what did we see today? A beck and an old bridge:

A rock quarry with an unnaturally blue pond:

A church where the world’s oldest man lived (and that offered cold drinks for hikers)

And a long road walk into town. Total miles: 16.

Our supper tonight was at the White Swan, where you had to sign up for a time slot at which you would be fed. We were assigned 6:30. We were careful not to be late! Looks like we have 60 miles to go to complete our Coast to Coast Walk .

After supper we walked down the street to see the Danby Wiske Church, parts of which date back to Saxon times.

Over the door is a Norman tympanum made around 1090. It depicts three figures, almost worn away, that are said to depict the Angel of Judgement (in the middle) weighing the soul of the figure on the left. On the right, the Angel of Mercy puts a hand under the scale to reduce the weight of the soul’s sins.

It’s easier to see in the sketch below.

There is also part of a cross thought to date from the 8th century, and an effigy of Matilda, widow of the Lord of Bedale that dates from 1340. We just don’t have things that old back home.

A Day in Richmond, North Yorkshire

July 1 – We’ve been looking forward to a full day of relaxation, and spending two nights in the same bed. We are staying at the Willance Guest House, the former home of Roger Willance, first alderman (mayor) of Richmond. The House was built in the 1500s, but is totally modern inside.

Yesterday, we walked past Willance’s Leap and didn’t even know it. When he and his horse went over the cliff, the horse died, and Willance broke his leg. He cut the horse’s stomach open and thrust his leg inside for warmth, waiting for the townspeople to find him the next morning. He had to have the leg amputated. Hope you’re not eating while you read this. Here is his gravestone, in the cemetery of St. Mary’s Church, right behind the house.

What do walkers do on their day off? They walk around, of course! First we visited another B&B just down the street, Millgate House, that boasts an award winning garden. The photos can’t convey the scent of roses and honeysuckle, or the hum of the bees.

Then we walked to the Richmond Covered Market, a combination book store/antiques/flea market. Would you like a doggie greeting card, magnet, mug or calendar?

Next up was Richmond Castle (this one’s for you Mom!) The castle was built starting in 1070, and was used by the military through the Great War.

Views from the Tower:

The castle had a garden too.

In 1916, Richmond Castle was where the Richmond 16 were imprisoned. This group of Quaker conscientious objectors was sentenced to be executed for refusing to take up arms during an era of mandatory conscription. Their sentence was commuted to hard labor, but many died before they were released. The castle preserved some of the graffiti on the walls of their cells.

We explored the town center, called Market Square. Do you know what neeps and tattles are? (Rutabagas and potatoes).

Here are some signs we haven’t seen before:

Walking home, we found the Friary Garden, which contained a bird and bunny sculpture carved out of an old tree.

We ended the day with an absolutely delicious supper at the Bangladeshi Indian restaurant on the corner. What a lovely day off!

Coast to Coast – Reeth to Richmond

June 30 – Hard to believe that it’s the last day of June. Our time in England is flying by! Ten miles today and we’ll be out of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and on to Richmond.

Lovely walk out of Reeth.

Always nice to start the day on a marked path. We’re on the right track!

Mostly flat terrain – my favorite!

Still near the Swale River.

Morning cows.

An old priory, viewed as we passed, then again from the hill above.

A little town along the way.

In Marske, St Edmunds Church was open, and offered drinks and snacks for hikers. It had boxes for congregant families, instead of pews.

Above the baptismal font, a palindrome that reads, “wash my sins and not my face only.”

Walking through freshly mown fields. You can tell where the trail is by the green stripe.

More teens setting out on their Duke of Edinburgh challenge.

A walk through a shady wood…

…and there’s Richmond!

Looking forward to a quiet day off in town. Details tomorrow.

Coast to Coast – Keld to Reeth

June 29 – We bade farewell to Neill, Karen and Jess, and started the long walk down from Frith Lodge in the cool of the morning. Yes, I am wearing my long pants! The Dales look especially pretty today, with walls and farms and stuff to look at.

We met the folks from California again, as well as four Australians we had spoken to several days ago. The River Swale burbled nearby on our right as we walked along.

This holiday cottage just needs a little TLC.

The trail is mainly grassy and flat. My kind of trail!

This farmer is, quite literally, making hay while the sun shines.

This type of stile is called a squeeze. I’d like to be nearby to watch how some of Aussies with their beer bellies get through it!

After lunch, the trail joined the road, and in a matter of minutes, a couple on holiday from Kent pulled over and offered us a ride into town. Nice People of England! It’s always a pleasure to save those last few miles into town.

So here we are at the Kings Arms, in a tiny room over the pub. Fish and chips and a pint of Coast to Coast ale for supper!

Coast to Coast – Orton to Kirkby Stephen to Keld

June 27 – Twelve miles planned for today. It is supposed to be just as hot as yesterday – getting up to 79 degrees! No joke though, when there is not a spot of shade all day, it feels hot enough.

The Yorkshire Dales have been low rolling hills, fairly tame and feature free for the past few days. Not that I want those Lake District mountains back! We met three men from York today who declared it the most gorgeous scenery on God’s green earth, so I guess it’s a matter of opinion. Here are the remains of a stone circle. I told Jim if he could get the sheep to sit properly, the circle would be easier to see! Also the remains of an old school.

Our sunbrellas were up by 10am.

We ran into Becky and Jerry from California again, and also three New Zealanders we met in the pub a few days ago. Not everyone has passed us by! Here is an empty lake (tarn) bed.

A reservoir.

Sheep looking for some shade.

By 2pm, I could feel that my legs were sunburned, despite repeated application of sunscreen. I guess my stride was too long for the shade of the umbrella. Why didn’t I wear my long pants today?

Kirkby Stephen (pronounced by the locals as Kirby Steven) is one of the bigger towns we’ve visited, so Jim went to the chemist’s and got me some aloe vera gel and some stronger sunblock for my poor red legs. There is a very nice old church here, (kirkby means by the church) built by the Normans in the 1100s, but it’s called St. Lukes, not St. Stephens!

Rules for the marketplace 1302!

June 28 – We’ve been contemplating taking a day off, and today seemed like a good day to do it. Following a lovely breakfast at our B & B, we waited downstairs with the baggage, and when the van came to transport our bags, it transported us too!

Up fell and down dale we went – some very pretty and hilly country. Bill, the van driver, told us about grouse and curlew and the red squirrel, which is trying to make a comeback if only the grey squirrel population can be kept down. Here’s a grouse hopping along the ground:

In a half hour, we reached Frith Lodge, where we will spend the day and the night. It is so high up that the van dropped us at the edge of the property, and our host met us and drove us (and our packs) a mile further up the hill. Totally isolated, with nothing else about.

Our hosts Neill and Karen made us feel very welcome, and their dog Jess checked us out to see if we’d be dropping any food her way.

They maintain a lovely garden.

A quiet afternoon and a nap made me feel so much better, although my legs are still awfully red. When it was time for supper, Neill let us know that there would be a delay, as the other couple came in late suffering heat exhaustion and the husband had to be put to bed. Unprecedented heat for this part of the country!

Coast to Coast – Shap to Orton

June 26 – If you want to know how the empty hotel saga ended, we went downstairs for breakfast at 7:30 in the morning (the time we were told), and found no one in the kitchen or the bar. There was, however, a trucker delivering sinks, who needed a signature on his manifest. He was wandering about, shouting hello, just like we had done yesterday. I offered to sign. We found the coffee machine, and sat down for a nice chat. There was a chicken wandering outside. He suggested we go see if she had laid any eggs, so we could make ourselves some breakfast! He was from Worcestershire, where the sauce is made. Nice People of England!At 8:00, a lady came to cook our full English. Off we went!

Only 8 miles today, still clear and sunny. We have officially left the Lake District, and are now walking through the northern part of the Yorkshire Dales. Signs of civilization.

Scary signs too. Beyond, there be dragons!

We passed a double stone circle, that our guidebook says has been there for 8000 years. Behind it is a copse – another word we don’t use every day.

Then there was a boulder, as in “go straight on past the boulder.”

Before very long, we arrived at Orton, a sweet little village.

All Saints Church was open for us to see.

They have some big old bells.

And a bell ringers band!

Colorful pipes.

We’re staying at the historic George Hotel.

The shop had some products we don’t see everyday. Love chutney!

Coast to Coast humo(u)r: