Coast to Coast Day 10 – Ingleby Arncliffe to Clay Bank Top/Great Broughton

Day 10 was a simply brilliant day in every single aspect. It started from the very charming hamlet of Ingleby Arncliffe and ended in the North York Moors at a village called Great Broughton (or so we thought, see later on!). Only a short stage of 12 or so miles, it was nonetheless full of ups and downs.

Despite the shortness of the stage, we had seen the profile and knew this would be a testing day, described as ‘Difficult’ in the Mac’s Adventures, and with over 3,000 feet of ascent. We’d also get onto the North York Moors for the first time today – we’d seen them looming towards us all of yesterday’s flat stage from Reeth to Richmond. I was really looking forward to getting up there.

Covering an area of about 550 square miles, the North York Moors is one of the largest expanses of heather moorland anywhere, certainly in the UK. I’d been over here just once before, when cycling the Coast to Coast about 4 years ago, and remembered more than anything just how lumpy it was. There are a large number of hills and dales, and we’d cross quite a few of them in the now final three days of our trek.

On our way up to the Moors we passed a house selling these – it would have been rude not to, pandemic or not – they were bloody delicious!

Setting out past the Blue Bell, the pub we’d eaten in the night before, the path turned up through Arncliffe Woods and then quite steeply up before hitting the moorland. We were lucky in that the weather was quite glorious, and en route we passed a “48 miles to Robin Hood’s Bay” sign. Reaching the first moor, Scarth Wood I think, the expanses of heather seemed to stretch on for ever, and almost on cue some wisps of mist rolled in. It was like being on the set of An American Werewolf or the like.

The other notable thing about this day was the fact that at around about Scarth Wood, three paths coincided – The Coast to Coast, The Cleveland Way, and the Lake Wake Walk. We would follow the signs for the Cleveland Way in fact for most of the next two days.

Heading through the woods out of Ingleby Arncliffe, a sign reminded us what we had done so far, and what lay ahead.

The Moors stretch out before us at last, the mist didn’t disappoint one bit!

There followed around four hills, none particularly steep or long, but all ones which got your heart racing a bit. Mid way through the day we also passed a hangliding club at the top of one of the hills, and there were about half a dozen seemingly very happy souls up riding the thermals and enjoying the fine day.

More notably though, we passed and were passed by on this day ‘Biscuit’ and his owner. Now Biscuit was a lovely dog who we had seen as early as day three on our way down to Grasmere, and her owner helped us across a raging stream. We’d seen them a fair few times along the way too, as you do with fellow C2Cers. They were on their way this day to Blakey Ridge, ahead of us. The guy was lovely, and was trying to get back home on the Friday – we hope they made it safely – Biscuit was one of our highlights of the trip and I wish I had a photo to share here for posterity.

Heather, heather, and more glorious heather 🙂
The last hill ahead of us, with The Wainstones at the top.

Climbing through the Wainstones.

And made it!

Not long before we got to the Wainstones themselves at about mile 11, I’d looked at my Macs Adventures map and details, and there was a note on there to say ‘when approaching the Wainstones, phone your hotel who will come and collect you from Clay Bank Top car park’. I thought this a bit odd, but then realised that where the walk finished was about three miles from Great Broughton in the wrong direction, and that furthermore, Great Broughton was not on the Coast to Coast path! It also said that they’d come and bring us back the following day, so therefore it didn’t feel like cheating at all.

Our hotel, The Wainstones, looked from the website like it was a bit grand for us, but it proved I have to say quite the opposite. In fact it was the most tired place we stayed in the whole trip and not a place we’d recommend. Also the temperature in the bedroom was close to that of the surface of the sun, and sleeping was not at all easy. I was determined not to eat there in fact, and damaged to find a brilliant little pub in the village called the Jet Miners – the food (and everything about it) was outrageously good, and the best of the whole trip, so I was prompted (by myself this time!) to write a Tripadvisor review right away:

So we were now down to just two days left – time had flown, and we had walked already about 160 miles. The next day was also right through and over the moors to Glaisdale, and what a totally different (in practically every respect) it would prove to be. But every day is a massive adventure on this walk, and you just have to live every moment and totally embrace them all.

Coast to Coast Day 9 – Richmond to Ingleby Arncliffe.

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.

Leaving behind Richmond Castle, the view here from the river Swale.
Oooohh I love a good signpost me!

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.

The pretty church at Bolton on Swale – the official walk goes right through the churchyard.

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.

Who the hell is Frank??
sometimes you just have to find shade where you can!

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!

One of the highlights of the afternoon was a well stocked fridge in a field with an honesty box!

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.

Chicken Parmo – ‘don’t’ would be my advice!

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!…….