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Coast to Coast - September 2007

Day 10 - Tuesday 18th September
Danby Wiske to Cringle Moor/Cold Moor
(about 21 miles)

I slept well during the night, although I was a little cold, and so when I woke at 3.40am and needed to go to the loo I got out my bivvy and pulled it over my sleeping bag, and slipped into my little PHD down booties. I soon warmed up after that, and slept on until 6.30am.

Unwilling to move on waking again, I lay around luxuriating in my bag until 7am, and then snoozed until the alarm went off at 7.20am. I had to get up at that stage for a second urgent loo break, but I found a very beautiful morning outside and so got washed, packed up and made my way over the grass to the pub for breakfast.

Packing up at the White Swan, Danby Wiske

It appears that the White Swan wasn't up to much when Wainwright first encountered it, but clearly it's undergone a rather dramatic transformation since then. The staff were just as welcoming at breakfast as they'd been the night before, and I settled into a small table in the corner of the room and enjoyed two hard boiled eggs with toast and a pot of tea. They also filled my flask for me, and all that for only £4.50.

After breakfast I finished my packing and by 9.30am I was ready to go. Andy emerged from the pub as I was taking a photograh, and so we set off to walk together for a while. Again I wasn't sure exactly where I was going to stop for the night, but I'd decided to try to get to Clay Bank Top. Andy was going to Osmotherley, which is just a short detour from the path, and I decided that if I was making good time I'd probably walk down to take a look, as I'd never been there before.

The White Swan, Danby Wiske

We set of at quite a pace, both keen to get to Ingleby Cross as soon as possible, and probably testing each other out a litte too, as walkers are sometimes secretly wont to do :) As we walked we chatted about all sorts of things. Although Andy was based in Germany he was actually from Northallerton in Yorkshire, and it turned out that he'd also walked the Pennine Way. He'd completed it in 14 days, which is quite a feat, and he went on to explain that he'd competed internationally in bobsleigh, and I think also in some kind of running too. He'd spent many years in the Royal Navy, and, steeped in the Patrick O'Brian books as I then was, I was keen to hear all about that.

It turned out that our walking paces suited each other quite well, and so we made easy but fairly rapid progress. At one stage we passed a wee creature on a gate...

...but because we were moving quickly I didn't stop to take many photographs. We passed two groups of C2C walkers who'd been walking the stages on the same days as Andy, and stopped at one stage to let a group of sheep go by.

And we also met a little border terrier, which I'd quite like to have taken home with me, and the weather was so warm that at one stage we stopped to get into our shorts.

Border terrier -- I want one

We also passed a strange crop of black pods in a field. I have no idea what it was, so if anybody knows then please drop me a line and tell me.

Strange crop of black pods

Not long after 12 noon we arrived at the truckers' cafe immediately before the A19, and stopped for a coffee. Andy suggested a cake, but I'd been making secret plans for some sort of cakey indulgence in Osmotherley, and so I managed to restrain myself and stick with just a drink.

The crossing of the A19 always feels momentous to me, in the same way as crossing the M6 had done earlier, and since it's a very busy road we waited for a bit of a gap and then ran across. On the other side we passed the Ingleby Arncliffe sign: hurrah! :)

Nous sommes arrivée :)

Soon afterwards we passed the famous Blue Bell hotel in Ingleby Cross itself, but by now we were a man and woman on a mission and so we didn't stop.

The path near Arncliffe Hall turned out to be patrolled by a gang of cattle, but oddly enough it transpired that not all walkers are scared of coos, and when Andy waved his arms at them they simply stepped politely aside. Amazing!

Polite cattle near Arncliffe Hall

It's only a couple of miles from Ingleby Cross to Osmotherley, and since we'd been making such good progress I'd decided earlier that I'd drop down and take a look. On emerging from South Wood we followed the Cleveland Way signs down to the village, passing beautiful views and a jungle of lovely flowers and fruiting trees and bushes along the way.

Soon we arrived in Osmotherley, which was just as charming as I'd hoped it might be.


I particularly enjoyed the sight of chickens wandering freely around the green and across the road :)

Free range chickens in Osmotherley

We passed a little cafe on the left as we walked down the hill towards the village, and when we went in I had a pot of tea and a piece of pecan and treacle tart. Yum! I was keen to eat more, really, but I still had quite a long way to go and so I felt it wasn't a good idea to eat a large meal. There was a walking shop too, and so on principle I went in to take a look, but it was a little boring, I thought, with no particularly interesting kit to drool over.

By now it was approaching 3pm and I realised I'd better set off. I said goodbye to Andy--who said he was going back to his B&B for a sleep!--and started back up the little hill.

Post office and general store

Unfortunately, and despite the map and the fairly clear instructions I'd received from Andy, I soon managed to get lost, and found myself wandering backwards and forwards along a side road looking for the track that would eventually lead me up to Arncliffe Woods. As I was doing that, though, I met an Australian walker, and after I'd asked him for directions we chatted for a while. He recommended the Tour de Mont Blanc very highly, and we both spoke about our wish to do the GR20 in Corsica. The Aussie wasn't sure where the path was, but once we'd said goodbye I walked back to the main road and eventually realised that I'd just not walked up quite far enough.

Once I'd located it the path turned out to be easy and attractive, and I worked my way steadily up a gentle incline...

...passing berry-covered holly...

Holly, with a profusion of berries

...and a sheep wearing some sort of halter--a show sheep, perhaps?--along the way.

Show sheep? BDSM sheep?

Over the wall I spotted what I thought might be the distinctively shaped Roseberry Topping in the distant North East, and stopped for a picture since that confirmed that I really was making some progress, now, towards the end of the walk.

Roseberry Topping from Osmotherley

I eventually arrived at the junction with Arncliffe Woods...

Arncliffe Woods

...and there turned East again, across the lovely Scarth Wood Moor.

I love moors, with their rough, low vegetation and sense of isolation, and the jumble of busy and brightly coloured fields and grassy meadows covering the hills to the North East provided an interesting contrast.

The Lyke Wake Walk starts just a little South of the point I'd now reached, and for some distance in this area the path is shared by the LWW, the C2C and the Cleveland Way. After dropping down steeply to the road and re-entering the woods on the other side of a cattle grid I soon came to the LWW marker which indicates the point at which it's necessary to leave the forest track and drop down to the left.

Follow the LWW sign and leave the track here

I knew that some 3 or 4 miles ahead of me lay the Lord Stones Cafe at the bottom of the descent from Carlton Moor, and I now began to wish it was a little earlier in the day, because I'd very much have liked to stop there for something to eat. Something involving chips, ideally, and (if I was extremely lucky) then possibly a couple of soft, fried eggs as well. And maybe some sort of pudding. And possibly even an alcoholic drink of some kind :) It was getting on for 4.30pm now, though, and so I didn't expect it to be open. I thought about stopping to eat one of the sandwiches I'd bought in Richmond the day before, but once again I was reluctant to lose momentum, and so I pressed on instead. When I arrived at a bench, though, I felt it would be a churlish waste of the effort that had gone into putting it there to just walk past, and so I stopped for a few minutes to admire the view.

Peewiglet takes Weebreaklet

After that I followed the path down another steep incline, this time toward the row of houses that constitute Huthwaite Green. As I walked it occurred to me that I didn't have enough water to cook dinner in my tent, and so when I got to the houses I stopped, knocked at the one on the end and asked if I could fill my Platy. The owners were very welcoming, and led me through the garden to a tap in the kitchen, where I filled my spare 2L Platy and managed to secure it under the lid of my pack. They also gave me some plums from their tree, and I enjoyed them as I set off again towards the woodland path that would lead me over Round Hill towards Live Moor.

Looking back to the cottages at Huthwaite Green

The path up through the wood was flagged and attractive...

...and as I pressed on up I heard the grating cry of some sort of bird, and wondered whether it might perhaps have been a Jay. I couldn't see what had made the noise, though, and so I continued and very soon emerged from the trees onto the moorland path that leads over Round Hill.

As I looked back I was able to trace the route that I'd been taking over the course of the previous few hours.

I loved the way the early evening light glanced off the flags as they snaked away ahead of me up the hill, and couldn't resist stopping to take a photograph or two.

I passed this stone at one point, but I can't find any mention of it in the books and so I think it must simply have been one of a number of boundary markers up there.

The path winds inexorably upwards across Carlton Moor through what Wainwright quite rightly described as an eerily lunar landscape, towards the glider club near the top.

...I passed the trig point and boundary marker on the top...

Trig point and boundary marker on Carlton Bank

...and then began the steep descent towards the Lord Stones cafe at the bottom.

View descending from Carlton Bank

It's impossible to see the cafe until the very last moment, and the first time I walked down the hill and my companion told me there was a cafe at the bottom I thought he was pulling my leg. Be assured that it really is there, though :) And if it's open, and you're hungry and/or thirsty, there's a lot of good stuff there to choose from.

By the time I got down it was 7pm, and I was amazed but delighted to find that the cafe was still open! Even apart from the alluring prospect of somebody else cooking a hot meal for me, I'd also read in the brick that it might be possible to camp in what was described as a secret garden, and now that the light was failing, and the prospect of a climb up onto Cringle Moor lay ahead of me, I began to think that might actually be quite a good idea.

A couple of minutes later, though, I'd changed my mind. As I got a bit closer it began to look as though some sort of bikers' convention had taken the cafe over. There was loud music and raised voices, and it occurred to me that to walk into the middle of that sort of gathering on my own, with a large pack, obviously camping and just as darkness was falling might not be a very good idea. I was tempted, but in the end I decided I'd better continue, and so I turned back towards Kirby Bank and went on. Sigh...

Climb to Cringle Moor from Lord Stones

I set off up the hill, and it turned out to be quite a pleasant climb: a little steep at that time of the day, but easy enough underfoot. As I went up I met a young couple coming down, and rapidly unhooked my earphones from under my hat when I saw the bloke smile at me, with his lips moving. They'd stopped to ask whether I was doing the C2C, because they were hoping to do it themselves the following year. They were very friendly and enthusiastic, and it must have been 15 minutes or so before we all moved on.

What had remained of the light had drained away as I'd stood talking to the young couple, and when I stopped a little while later to take another picture of the ground I'd covered there really wasn't a great deal to be seen. Still, I took a photograph anyway, and with a bit of fiddling in Paint Shop Pro it's possible to see quite a lot.

Looking back towards Lord Stones

By the time I got to the Alec Falconer Memorial Seat it was virtually pitch black, and very windy. I stopped to read the legend on the memorial stone...

...and sat down in the capacious seat to savour what I could make out of the view, which by that time consisted largely of patches of glowing orange lights marking the towns and villages to the North.

Alec Falconer Memorial, Kirby Bank

It was 7.30pm when I turned towards the moor and started up. I wasn't keen on walking for longer in the dark than necessary, and I was ready to camp at the first appropriate spot that presented itself. Appropriate spots turned out to be in fairly short supply, though, and I found nothing on my way towards the top. I'd hoped that I might find a sheltered spot on the other side of the summit, and in fact I left the path as it descended and made my way into the heather in search of a flattish bit. I thought I'd found a suitable place and therefore I got out the tent and began to put it up. In the end I had to take it down again, though, because the heather was so thick and springy that I couldn't get the pegs to stay in properly. That was a bit of a bummer, and having wasted 20 minutes or so I had to pack the tent away again, trail back to the path and continue the descent. It was so windy by this point that it occurred to me as I attempted to quell the billowing outer that it might just be easier to parachute down to Clay Bank Top, but in the end I decided to defer that experiment for another day.

As I pressed on down the path, a little fed up now, and keen to make camp, I met some fell runners coming up. Way ahead of the others was a lean bloke who appeared to be well into his 60s. He was bounding up the steep path looking less concerned than many people I've seen taking a leisurely stroll around Sainsbury's, and 5 or so minutes later a young man and woman less than half his age came panting up behind him. I've found that's often the way with runners, though: the older people come from a time when massive weekly mileages were considered the norm, and it's not at all unusual to find them leaving most of the younger runners trailing in their wake.

The descent steepened again, and then levelled out a bit. Over to my right I could see what looked like a flat area, and so I walked over to take a look. It seemed to be some sort of shale, though, and I wasn't keen to put the tent up on that, and so once again I heaved a sigh and continued down the hill.

Eventually I reached the bottom of that particular undulation, and followed the path to the point where it passed through a gate into a field. A FIELD! Whoo-hooo! :) Grinning happily, I took off my pack and entered the field to investigate. I wanted to know what the ground was like, but more particularly I wanted to know whether the field was festering with bullocks. It was difficult to be sure, but I was almost certain that I could hear some low, bullocky breathing on a bit of a rise in the near distance, and I thought I saw some bullocky shadows moving cautiously about. I therefore returned to my pack on the other side of the gate, and took a closer look at the ground there. There was what appeared in the torch light to be a fairly flat bit right next to the path, and I decided I'd better stop there and get the tent up. I don't like to camp right next to the path, but, when in extremis, beggars can't be choosers etc etc.

10 minutes later I was unpacking my things into the tent, and then I followed them in. I forgot to make a note of the time of my arrival, but I think it must have been somewhere in the region of 9pm. I'd not eaten since my slice of treacle tart in Osmotherley, and so I dug out the stove, and some Beanfeast and Smash, and made dinner. I know it must be full of a thousand additives, but I really do love Beanfeast and Smash :) It's so easy and delicious, and there are few moments in any backpacking day that I enjoy more than those spent taking the first few delectable spoons of lovely brown-coloured sludge in the evening :) After the Beanfeast and Smash I made a coffee, and then I settled back in my sleeping bag to read the mandatory 17.5 words of my book before falling fast asleep.

Coffee on the way

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