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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Coast to Coast Cafe’s Pubs and Route Comments and Diversions Pt 2

Lucky approaches one of the tops. Not sure which one! Roseberry Topping in the far distance, though

There’s a huge and miserable diversion around the A1 roadworks at Catterick Bridge and I avoided some frisky beef by sneaking around them in another place. Eventually we rolled up at Laylands Farm which, according to the guide, does camping, but they’ve stopped because they want to build a new kitchen where the toilet and showers are. Happily, they let me camp on their lawn, but they probably won’t do this for anybody else, so my advice is not to go there (although they’re quite friendly).
Lucky finds the way

And if you have a dog, it's a dairy farm with lots of inquisitive cows, which you might not enjoy anyway.
I took more cow-avoiding diversions the next day, principally by sticking to the road in a couple of places. I took advantage of the pop left out at Moor House farm and went into the shed for an ice cream – which was lucky because this is when the big hailstorm hit. So me and the dog stayed dry.
Lots of Cows to be avoided

Lucky suspects he's being watched

A1 Motorway upgrading

Eventually, I rolled up at Ingleby Cross, after hitting an unusual break or hiatus in the fast-moving stream of A19 traffic, but where the Bluebell Inn was closed for another two hours. They allow camping, apparently, but I was impatient, so pressed on to Osmotherly where I presented myself at the Cote Ghyll caravan and campsite and hostel and bar and other stuff. They chucked me out of reception because they served food (they had some tinned pop in the fridge). My impression was they they were quite a long way up their own bottoms but I accepted a spot Pitch 61 which turned out to be groundsheet-damagingly stony. I did manage to squeeze the akto up to the edge of the pitch. Shortly after pitching we were visited by the campsite’s wildlife in the form of Mrs Duck and her brood of little brown ducks. Lucky considered these as a pre-chewstick snack and bolted after them. Back under tent-arrest, he decided that the cute population of baby rabbits which also infested the place (you can guess than I’m a bit grumpy here, probably..) would also make a fine post-chewstick snack and….
I zipped up the tent and tucked into the fine malt provided by Dawn at Richmond. I had the radio on and ,,drifted…off… and …..  more of this later, too.
Pooch at Lordenshaws

View Indicator shows direction of Pietowers (Weardale)

Joining the ridgewalk/Cleveland Way
The next day was the hardest. The task was to follow the Cleveland Way till it turned off for better things and then walk along an old railway line to Blakey Ridge, some 20 miles and 3800 feet of upness later. The first half of this walk is beautiful and lumpy and I could almost see Crook from the hills. A view indicator indicated the direction of Weardale and the Cross Fell/Dun Fells hills could clearly be made out.
And Lord Stones Cafe has bacon rolls, tea and beer and water for the dog – although he can’t go inside. The staff were friendly and helpful, though and I stayed a while even though I got rained on a bit. A bit of a shelter like the have outside some popular Lake District pubs would be a cracking idea for this place.
Retrospect towards Crook

Wainstones for Weaselling

Another retrospect. Never look back or you'll be turned into a pillar of salt. A poor do unless you have a bag of chips

Lucky looking knackerd
At Wainstones, the walk gets a little bit rocky, but there's no time to be scrambling about unlike the school party who were, apparently doing some "weaselling" This involved squeezing through holes between the boulders. This is just the kind of thing the Pieman likes to do, and, would have liked to do whilst at New Road County Junior School. But it's too late now. Another group of sproglings out on a school walk enjoyed making a fuss of Lucky and having their faces cleaned of any sweet and sugary substances that may have been smeared there. Lucky is quite good at that.
Dull walking point and fire and turn off the brain

Route by-passes the nice places

The second half of the walk is dull. Dull, dull dull. Its like having the Lion Tamer job then being promoted to Circus accountant's part-time clerk. It drags on and on with hardly a contour to disturb the steady blister creating plod. The never-ending plod. It must be horrible, just horrible in the rain and fog. Who’s idea was this? Shirley there must be a better way. Enticingly, there are beautiful dales to be seen to the right and to the left of this brain -devastating tramp. But the route speeds through the countryside as if to try to get it over with. I suppose that diversions into valleys might add a day or two..  and some contours... but also, probably , some more cake and tea...


Camping at Lion Inn
Finally; eventually, and only just in time to save the last few braincells from wasting away due to the Lack Of Stimularion  we arrived at the Lion Inn which was heaving with car-borne customers all tucking in to huge meals. They allow dogs inside and they allow camping for £2.50, so I dined there after puttiing up the akto next to Dave's tent and a Dutch bloke's tent. This is where a customer donated half of his T-bone steak to the dog. They’re very efficient at the Lion at dealing with massed customers and the meals have BIIIIG portions and are good value. Its a bit windy, but hey…
In the morning, the tedious road walking in a tedious brown landscape that God seems to have forgotten, or at least given over to chinless ha-ha's for the grouse shooting, continues ever onwards. There are short sections of bridleway but final relief only comes when a path down to Eskdale is taken. In Eskdale, things get much better. The locals are friendly , the sun warms the meadows, the flowers bloom, insects buzz busily and there are shops and tearooms and pubs and tea and cakes and beer and, yes, chips too. I met Dawn in Grosmont and we had tea and cakes at Hazelwood house tearooms which have an outdoor bit where the dog can go. The cake was nice.
Tea and cake welcomes campers at Intake Farm
Playtime 1

Playtime 2

Playtime 3

We left for Littlebeck over yet more roadwalking. Eventually, tiring of the tarmac we spotted a bridleway which cut over a heather moor and was a bit shorter than the official route. It was a bit hard to follow at first, but eventually dumped us back on the A169 where another diversion on farm tracks took us to Intake Farm – an oasis of sanity and civility where we camped on the lawn and were greeted with a tray of tea and cake. I meantersay, other places could take a leaf out of Intake Farm’s book on this. I meantersay, tea and cake…. They do B&B too.
Falling Foss

The last day started well with a ramble through the woods to Falling Foss waterfall and tearooms where yet more scones and tea were had. They’re very friendly and helpful too, and , being outdoors, it's doggy friendly.
Miles of flat brown
After the woods, though, more roads lead to some fairly flat and dull moorland traipsing and starts to cone very close to Robin Hoods Bay before rushing off past it for some cliff-walking. We decided just to go for RHB, and turned up there shorlty afterwards, even after some navigationally incorrect shenanigans on my part which saw us approaching the same point from two different directions. It was soon over. We camped at Middlewood then took a stroll down to the beach and the Bay Hotel, where almost all the customers were sitting outside in the sun. Hard Northern children were immersing themselves in rock pools (brrr) and one tough lass came down the hill on her bike using her bare feet as brakes on the tarmac. Never pick a fight in a Robin Hood's Bay playground is my advice. Just a tip, there, for you.
And that was that, More about Middlewood later, though….
...and rest
There’s a few places on the “official” route where improvements could be made, I think. The last thirty miles are sub-standard in my opinion. They’re pretty dull. And hard on the feet. And the choice of Robin Hood’s Bay as a finish seems odd.  Saint Bega – an Irish princess, apparently has no link with St Hilda, who was a member of an Anglian royal family – but an early Christian church link between St Bega of St Bees and St Hilda of Whitby Abbey seems logical and a finish at Whitby abbey with a nice ramble down Eskdale instead of that damned railway line and the driech and flat moors would seem to be a much more attractive proposition. And, as Alf Wainwright suggested – you should really be inventing your own routes.
Dawn takes our picture - RHB, the end
But all in all, I enjoyed the walk even though I may never return to it. It has, usefully, confirmed my view that the North Yorkshire Moors aren't really worth the effort of navigating the knipemobile through Middlesbrough to get there and one walk every three years on NYM is quite enough for me, ta.
Maybe, next year, I might try to return to May's TGO Challenge - anhd, for CtoC-ers who have carried their own camping stuff across England, I would say that the CtoC compares well with a TGO chally, apart from the availability of tea and buns on the CtoC.


Dawn Linney said...

Amazing stuff Mike. Mind, I must admit, I do not think the CtoC is for me.

Meanqueen said...

A really enjoyable read, thanks. I love stories about Lucky.

FellBound said...

Great stuff Mike. Enjoyed all your reports on this trip.