Day 9 was the longest day on our trip, at a shade under 24 miles, and saw us head through the Vale of Mowbray from Richmond to Ingleby Arncliffe. It is also characterised as being the only flat day on the whole trip. And flat it pretty much was.
The day was also very notable for two other things – one the heat, and the second midges and thunderflies. The day was really hot at about 26 degrees, which when you are walking 24 miles really takes its toll. And the midges and other little biting insects in the middle of the day around the Danby Wiske area absolutely drove you (well me anyway!) completely nuts. Mel afterwards told me that it was about as freaked out as she’d ever seen me. And I think she was right, I was completely driven to distraction by them, and couldn’t even sit down to eat my lunch because of them.
We had set out from the very quirky and very old Williance House in Richmond at about 8am after a lovely cooked breakfast. I’ve been fairly good this trip (Mel has been better) at not having a fry up, but sometimes you just need one.
We passed some lovely villages en route, still following the Swale river as we had been doing for a few days now. Bolton on Swale in particular was very pretty, with a very lovely church. And overall, despite the distance, it never felt like a massive walk, the terrain helping hugely with that.
Around half way to Ingleby Arncliffe is a small hamlet called Danby Wiske, which has a pub and is a usual stop off point for coast to coasters. This year however, due to Covid, it is closed, and so that has meant on a 24 mile day you have no means of getting water or other provisions en route. We were asked however by someone stepping out of their house if we’d like a water refill, which was rather nice of them. We politely passed up on the offer and stopped just outside to eat our packed lunch, Mel sat down relaxed, and me dancing like a demented muppet up and down the road waving my arms in the air to try in vain to waft away biting insects.
Much of the afternoon’s hike was just a hot slog, but in really beautiful surroundings. It just goes to show that things don’t need to be hilly to be beautiful!
At nearly the end of the walk however, an almost crazy thing happened. I knew that Ingleby Arncliffe was just the other side of the A19 from where we were. And for those who don’t know it, the A19 is a big, almost motorway sized behemoth of a road linking Yorkshire to Middlesbrough and the North East. It’s a road where traffic is going at 80mph all day long. We approached it at about 5pm to find, guess what? No bridge! (Or underpass or anything). We basically had to play chicken with 80mph traffic to get across to the village – great!
Having survived to write this blog, we duly arrived at the very lovely Ingleby House Farm, after a quick snifter in the local pub, The Blue Bell. It had taken us forever to actually book The Blue Bell for dinner the night before, but I won’t go into that here, it would take all night. Suffice to say its a great pub if you are ever passing this way. They also serve the local delicacy, chicken parmo, which if you aren’t from the Middlesbrough area you will neither know about or even understand. I’ll only say that there is a very good reason why it hasn’t transcended from the Middlesbrough area, and that also explains why half of mine didn’t get finished.
Tomorrow would see a moderate stage in terms of length, but lots of ups and downs as we entered for the first time the North York Moors. I’d cycled through these a few years ago and knew they’d be pretty lumpy and very interesting. It would also turn out to be the best day in terms of walking alone of the whole walk – bring on The Wainstones!…….