Monday, 9 August 2010

Looking back at the C2C - 10 years on

Well that was all 10 years ago. It's interesting to see the huge number of on-line accounts that have sprung up since, this really is a walk, an adventure that seems to resonate with people. At the time the C2C seemed to be described as a moderate walk, yet has since seemed to be viewed as more of a tough and exacting trek. Perhaps it's the fashion. Make no mistake, it is a tough walk, you will ache and bits will hurt that have never hurt before. The trick is simply not minding this.

It's funny how the bad bits fade or disappear from memory. I had assumed we'd seen just a day of rain Looking at my photos and brief notes reminded me that this wasn't the case and most days had been something of everything yet strong winds, the walker's real tormentor, were mercifully brief and every day was walkable.

We were quite fit before the start, Pete was a runner and I had trained for a Three Peaks Challenge attempt that we'd completed the weekend before the C2C but I did tire towards the end.

I'll definately have to do it again some time, there's more to see, although it looks as if I'll be doing it on my own as, to date (Aug 2010), I've yet to find a willing companion. Not that I'll be lonely, it's the people you meet who stand out in the mind just as much, if not more, than the scenery.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Coast to Coast Pt.13 29/9/2000

Glaisdale to Robin Hoods Bay, 22 miles.

The final day seemed something of an anticlimax. The route and scenery didn't match the grandeur of previous days, perhaps I was missing home. Jane had been good enough to let me run off for 2 weeks, leaving her with a young daughter. I sent Beth a postcard every day and she'd been charting our route.

There was some more rain at times but after what seemed like a bit of a trudge, we dropped down through the caravan site (where it seemed embarrassingly easy to get lost) and saw the sea.

Robin Hoods Bay, quaint and gently peeling soon beckoned and Andy caught us up as we reached the end. I should think there's hardly a day in the year now when a C2C walker doesn't descend down through the town to the sea.

A swift pint outside the Famous Bay Hotel at the end and a good sit down to soak up the satisfaction of completing the trail. Some day-trippers began questioning us on where we'd come from and I found myself feeling smug seeing their admiration at what we'd achieved.

Coast to Coast Pt.12 28/9/2000

Clay Bank Top to Glaisdale, 14 miles.

Gerry set us straight re-joining the trail the next morning using the path that climbed up to the ridge from the house. It was cold and misty, indeed visibility was down to 20ft and would remain so all morning. We were following the railway track which was just as well as we'd be groping in the dark (or the mist) until we reached The Lion Inn. The walking was fast and not unpleasant but we had to use our imagination for the views. We'd left the others having breakfast and wouldn't see the Aussie couple again but we bumped into Andy regularly all the way to the end.

After a cuppa and sandwich in the Lion, we moved on, the sun came out and we followed the trail easily enough along the ridge heading for Glaisdale. Andy caught us up but was walking so fast that we let him speed onwards.

We descended down to Glaisdale but found that our resting halt for the night, Hollins Farm, was a mile or so back along the main road (westwards) so, quite tierd by now, we walked back. We were greeted by the farmer who was doing some work at the gate. Now let me just say that I love the people from the North East and have many friends there to this day but I couldn't understand a word the farmer said such was his accent. We hoped our replies were appropriate and were greeted by his kindly wife who we could understand.

We were picked up by a car from a local pub for our evening meal where we chatted to other C2C'ers we hadn't met.

Coast to Coast Pt.11 27/9/2000

Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top, 12 miles.

We watched more of the Sydney Olympics over breakfast with Andy and an Australian couple. Their countrymen were winning everything which they modestly alluded to but they were a pleasant couple and fine company.

We got away smartly and enjoyed one of the best walking days of the entire trip. Good weather, fine views and relatively easy walking over the undulating tops of the North York Moors.

We took a wrong turn early on, our first unintended deviation of the entire trip and just where the patch enters Clain Wood, easily corrected though.

We dropped into the Lord Stones cafe but everything seemed very new inside (don't recall tables outside) and our dirty boots didn't seem welcome, we had some lunch there and carried on.

The Wainstones make for a good rest stop, again the views were great, the weather calm if a bit overcast.

We quickly found ourselves at Clay Bank Top and walked along and down to Maltkiln House, our overnight stop. Wendy and Gerry made us very welcome, we were sleeping in the loft area of the lovely house. They told us their son had recently walked the C2C which explained the long strip map - he'd photocopied and stuck 1/25000 maps of the route together into one (long) length which stretched up the stairs and beyond. Seeing the walk like this was quite an eye opener and made us quite proud of ourselves.

We were joined by Andy the Journo and the fine Aussie pair for a great evening meal, swapping stories and sampling the local ales, what better day could you ask for.

Coast to Coast Pt.10 26/9/2000

Richmond to Ingleby Cross, 23 miles.

The last few days had felt pretty much like strolls, short country outings that ended at 2-3pm. We'd missed the wild places. The big hike across The Vale of Mowbray wouldn't be wild but I was looking forward to the challenge of the distance.

We left the unmemorable Buck Inn by 8am to get a good start and some road miles under our belt by lunchtime. It was raining hard.

Raining hard to the extent that we were soon beyond caring about the damp. Water proof coats etc. can only do so much yet by midday there were signs of the clouds clearing. It had stopped by 11.30 as we walked into Danby Wiske, the pub was open and serving teas so we popped inside.

An instant warm welcome from some of the friendliest pub proprietors I think I've ever met followed. We sat and had a sandwich, signed the guest book and got going again.

We'd still not really met any regular C2C'ers heading East. We passed a few heading West, there seemed more of them, but no one it seemed was walking parallel with us. That was to change over the last few days.

We worked our way along the fields and lanes over the early afternoon and made Ingleby Cross by about 4pm. We were staying in the Blue Bell Inn only some 'bolt-on' appartments that were round the side of the building. A little spartan but somewhere to crash out and rest.

In the bar later we met Andy, a journalist, one of the fastest walkers I've ever met. He'd been following us through the day so he said, we were always just ahead in the distancee and he'd had trouble catching up. That was some compliment from a man who, as we were going to see, didn't hang about.

Coast to Coast Pt.9 25/9/2000

Reeth to Richmond, 11 miles

We were staying in a B&B called Hackney House. I remember little about the place except the owners were away and the chap looking after it was re-decorating or something. We felt as if we were getting in the way a little but it was comfortable if unremarkable.

The day brought a short hop across to Richmond, an easy country walk on good paths and which we'd completed by 2pm. We used the time to wander round the town, book train tickets home and check in to our accomodation, the Buck Inn.

I forgot to mention. The day before we'd met a mother and son C2C couple who had started in the middle, had travelled out to the East coast and walked inland, then travelled to the West coast to walk inland again (if memory serves), they were assured of the logic yet try as I might, I really can't remember why they were doing this and have never met or heard of anyone who has done the same.

Coast to Coast Pt.8 24/9/2000

Keld to Reeth, 11 miles.

We woke to mist and rain the next morning (pic shows the bedroom view the evening before). With the weather providing little inclination to go outside, we chatted to our good hosts. Two things stand out in my mind.

They were having a bad spell of rat trouble in the outhouses. Although no longer a working farm, some old buildings still stood and in these the vermin were freely wandering. They opened a door to one and we watched the creatures walking about clearly untroubled by our presence. I've never before or since seen so many of the things.

One of my hobbies is flying R/C model aeroplanes and, incredibly, our host (Who's name I'm ashamed to admit I never recorded) did so too so we spent time chatting in his loft hangar.

Time to leave and sad too as Frith Lodge had really felt like a snug home from home. Mary declined the 4x4 expedition down to the bottom but we fancied another rollercoaster ride - more head banging.

The day was wet and misty. We passed the group from the USA who were walking back to Kirkby Stephen and wondered which route to take ourselves. We were heading for Reeth of course and had three options.

We could ascend into the murk and try and pick our way across the high ground. Alternatively we could take the river path route or simply walk along the road.
Given the horrible conditions we opted for the road. It was a day when walkers get lost in the hills and the river path would be no more enjoyable, I could see no shame in being sensible. We got to Reeth by 2pm via a couple of dry yet expensive tea rooms.