So we were nearly there! We’d done 10 days and 160 odd miles, and all that lay in front of us were two days on the moors. We were even promised (well maybe not promised exactly) our first view of the sea today, and so we could almost smell the finish line! Well not quite as it turned out, as the North York Moors had other ideas and things in store for us. In fact this day turned out to be just hard in every way, and a good example of how weather conditions even in mid August of a British summer can absolutely beat you up.
We had a day ahead of us of around 19 miles, and started it strangely in the back of someone’s car from the hotel in Great Broughton. They brought us back to the finishing point of yesterday’s walk at Clay Bank Top, and a very different day it was. It started out misty and drizzly, one of those days when you think you’ll probably end up getting a bit wet but don’t really want to don the waterproofs yet just in case. So we soldiered on for a bit and thought we’d see what it did.
After not very long it became clear that the weather and the visibility was just going to get worse and worse, and it stayed like that all day. We ended up with probably 40 or 50 mph winds, and lashing rain for probably 80% of the day. Such a shame, as other people’s pictures of this area have been spectacular and we would have loved to see it that way. But sometimes you just have to take the crap days with the good ones and put your head down and take them as all part of the wonderful adventure you’re on.
Much of the walk until the middle of the day was on a former railway line through the moors, which at least made navigation simple.
Whilst we carried on getting wetter and wetter, we figured that even attempting to eat our packs lunches in this was going to be a bit tricky. There was certainly nowhere to sit down and the rain was getting ever worse. We knew that the only place we would pass all day was a famed pub up on the top of the moors called The Lion Inn. It was famed for being having not been decorated in about the last 500 years, but also for being very hospitable. Oh and it is apparently the second highest pub in the UK I think too. Unfortunately the hospitality didn’t extend to us, as when we arrived (just before noon) it was shut. Not wanting to hang around in the doorway like desperados in the rain we thus decided to trudge on and give it a miss. Shame, and maybe one for another day.
The second half of the walk was half along a road, and then back across Danby Moor, which from what I saw it is the most desolate place on the planet. Mel quipped (true black humour if ever you heard it) that she half expected Myra Hindley to jump out on us from behind the mist swept heather. If she had, then she would have been the only person who was mad enough to be out on the moors that day apart from us!
The afternoon was punctuated briefly by a visit to ‘Fat Betty’, another C2C tradition. Fat Betty is a once white stone marker, where the tradition dictates that you must both give and leave a sweet offering for other Coast to Coasters to do the same. This being the middle of a pandemic the pickings were lets say both slim (certainly not fat at all!) and also unappealing. We did however leave a treat or two ourselves, which I assume will be there for some time to come.
The walk through Danby Moor and Glaisdale High Moor were then just ‘head down, let’s get there as soon as we can and dry off’. The waterproofs kept us largely dry, but boots were completely wet through. Eventually we got to Glaisdale (much to Mel’s relief, and mine too I have to say) but found it was at least another mile until our B&B, which turned out to be a pub (The Arncliffe Arms), actually the only one we stayed in on the whole trip. Whilst the room was fine and the beer was pretty good, it I’m afraid left a lot to be desired when it came to Covid precautions, and we both ultimately ranked it in 13th place out of the 13 establishments we stayed in on the walk. It was a high bar though, as apart from this and The Wainstones we had stayed in the previous night, all of the rest went from great to fantastic. The staff were very friendly though it has to be said.
The Arncliffe Arms was also memorable for two other things. One it would be the last place we stayed in before we got to reach the sea at Robin Hoods Bay on the final leg, our twelfth. And secondly it had the most ferocious drying room fuelled very literally by a massive 12 foot square biomass boiler which the owner was very proud of. I was going to place my wet boots on top of it, but thought it might melt them altogether. It was also down a rickety set of dark steps with no light, and was thus almost dungeon like inside. We were glad in any case to be able to leave the next day (which unfortunately was also to be in waterproofs and woolly hats the whole day) in warm and dry clothes. Just 19 miles to go then…….