Day Thirteen

Chopgate to Glaisdale (17 miles)

Billed as probably the second most waring day on the feet and legs we were glad to have been offered an early breakfast option to give us every possible chance of arriving in Glaisdale in one piece. However, on arrival in the kitchen it came to light that the 3 lads sharing the room next to ours (one double and one single bed!) had left over an hour earlier and the farmers wife decided that rather than cooking twice it would be less challenging for her to cook it all at once for the early shift and leave our bacon and sausage stewing in fat until we came down. Therefore we were confronted with bacon that was so crispy it turned to dust if you tried to ‘fork’ it and sausages that were inedible. I gave mine to the dog when she wasn’t looking and watched it struggle to get it’s sharp canine molars through the sausage skin.

Our lift back to the previous pick up point was prompt and we started off along a sandy path through the heather to cross Urra Moor. After a couple of miles we joined up with the old disused railway track which we naïvely thought would be nice easy walking on the feet. But we were wrong. The constant pounding on concrete or stones soon started to take it’s toll and it was with great relief when we saw The Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge in the distance knowing that this is where we’d be able to leave the track. However, this was another one of those mirage moments where no matter how long we walked across High Blakey Moor the pub never seemed to get any closer. We had purposefully walked slowly knowing that the place wouldn’t open until at least midday but now as we seemed unable to make headway we speeded up driven on by the thought of a cold pint and maybe some grass to walk on.

Although the inside of the pub looked very inviting we ordered a couple of fresh sandwiches and beer and sat in the beer garden. This wasn’t done consciously but I think we were now just accustomed to being out in the fresh air. Some dark clouds were building and we still had a long way to go.

As we sat there waiting for our butties to be brought out a group of 4 young lads sat at the table next to us. They had just finished their A-levels and decided to walk the Coast to Coast to celebrate. I was really impressed that kids of this age not only wanted to but were able to do this challenge. Not because of the fitness – they could have knocked spots off Nige and I but more the logistics and organisation required. I also smiled and thought how secretly relieved their parents must have been when they said they’d chosen walking in northern Britain over an alcohol fuelled 2 weeks in Zante !

The next section was road walking and it went on for quite a way. Both or us had sore feet which was unusual as it wasn’t something we’d suffered from except for after the epic 24 miles to Ingleby. We plodded on along the aptly named ‘Great Fryup Lane’ and got our first view of the North Sea – just – if we squinted. This gave us something to bicker about for a while i.e. who saw it first and passed the time as we slogged along a stony path across Glaisdale High Moor. There were still about 6 miles (3 whole pages in Stedman) to go and my feet were killing me. I found that if I could find grass at the side of the path I would get instant relief on the soles of my feet. As soon as I moved back onto the stones it was agony. Anyone watching from behind would have wondered why on earth I was zigzagging and hopping in such an erratic fashion.

On approaching Glaisdale we were either too tired or just plain incompetent but we couldn’t make head nor tail of the guide book in respect of where Beggars Bridge B&B was situated. I had programmed all our digs onto the precious weeks before so I asked Nige to stop flapping and trust in the technology. To be fair, at this stage he may have been casting his mind back to the last time I’d asked him to trust the precious and we’d ended up leading poor Merv and Sue over a mile in the wrong direction. In my defence that was an unfortunate ‘one off’ and anyway, we had no option. The path led very very steeply down past some houses. So steep infact that Nige said if it was the wrong way and we had to go back up then I’d have to go without him as there was no way his legs were able to cope with that task. Just as I was explaining that I had no problem leaving him by the side of the road the Arncliffe Arms came into view and we knew we were only a couple of hundred yards from paradise.

We both said that if it had been even half a mile further on we wouldn’t have made it. That was probably just the relief speaking but as we were served teacakes and coffee in the conservatory 10 minutes later I wasn’t so sure. I was all in and my feet had never been so sore.

The B&B was probably my favourite on the whole walk mainly for that teacake experience but also because I had an ensuite room to myself with a double bed overlooking the beggars bridge !

Surely a snore-free night lay ahead with proper sleep and that’s all I could think of as we had the standard pub fayre in the Arncliffe and staggered back for an early night.

Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2010 16:23:41 +0000

Day 12 was another really tough day - over 19 miles and all on the flat ! We crossed over the top of the North Yorkshire Moors on a dissused railway track and very boring road. For the past 11 days walking, Nige and I have discussed virtually everything we can think of but today we were finding it difficult to think of anything intelligent to say - at one stage it deteriorated into singing and chanting and general stupidity - think we are starting to lose the plot.

We did get our first glimpse of the sea today shimmering in the distance and proceeded to argue about who saw it first. The west coast is now only about 20 miles away.I have mixed feelings really about getting to this stage. Can't wait to see the family again (if they'll have me back) but it's also the end of something that has been well over 12 months in the planning and execution. We are now trying to decide which walk to do next, and when.

Arrived at the B & B very foot sore and genuinely believed that if it had been even half a mile further down the road I wouldn't have made it. Knocked on the door and a vision appeared. She looked liked everyones favourite aunty and without quite knowing how, she had led us into a conservatory where we were served pots of tea and toasted teacakes. I had cartoon feet where you can see them throbbing and nige had fallen into a trance clutching his mug and plate of biscuits - heaven. Night in pub was ok - getting a bit sick of pub food now but still managed to tuck away the biggest thing on the menu. Had obligatory 4 pints (all different real ales and non of them that nice) and a whiskey then limped back to the digs for the best nights sleep of the trip. For the first time we had separate rooms so I didn't need the earplugs and only the aroma from my own suitcase to cope with. Also, and best of all, a double bed !! Woke up feeling knackered.

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