Coast to Coast Day 8 – Reeth to Richmond.

Day 8 saw us leave the very lovely Reeth and head to Richmond. Reeth had been lovely, it is such a perfect setting and it definitely needs another visit when there is time to explore and do it justice. It just captivated me from the moment of arrival and had something very magical about it.

Certainly one thing we’ve noticed on this trip is that (particularly doing it in 12 days) there just isn’t time for anything other than getting from place A to place B, eating and sleeping! By the time you have also of course packed and re-packed and tended to topping up water, supplies, arranged packed lunches and the like too. As an example of how margins are tight, when we were in Grasmere on the way through to Patterdale there wasn’t time for me to stop at Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread Shop, and that is nothing short of sacrilege!

Setting out from Reeth – low cloud hanging in the hills and a cooler morning for us.

Reeth was part of the hugely successful Yorkshire stages of the 2014 Tour de France, the riders passing through the town itself.

This day was however a shorter day (and in fact the shortest distance wise of the whole trip at just 10 miles) and so we afforded ourselves a slightly later breakfast at 8am and a later start. You still however have to get up and pack all of your bags by then ready to be collected by the Sherpa Van service, and so there’s still a lot of early morning faffing going on!

Setting out from Reeth we continued to follow the River Swale as we had done for the last few days, and headed along the river on a lovely (if slightly cool still) morning. There were no real hills for us to climb today, just undulating ups and downs each side of the Swale valley.

Today’s vlog attempt – the one from yesterday failed to load 😦 I should edit these things really but I don’t know how!!

We passed a couple of lovely villages en route, one called Marrick, where there was a little old priory, and as total of 375 (no I didn’t count them!) steps to the village above through some lovely woods.

The steps up through the woods to Marrick – apparently put down by nuns a long time ago.

Then we also passed through Marske, where it looked like everyone had cut their lawns and hedges with nail scissors, this despite the remoteness and what must be bleakness of the place out of season. These villages have no amenities, like a shop for instance, but are just idyllic. And if I lived there I don’t think I’d ever want to leave.

Passing through Marske – a lovely place.

And finally the edge of Richmond coms into view.

Finally we reached the town of Richmond, a large and lovely place of around 8,000 people, with a big castle, and quite a few almost ‘high street’ shops. It felt weird, as we’d walked for a week without seeing anyone at all, quite literally on some days, and then getting into Richmond it felt like walking into New York City!

Also arriving early we thought we’d best stop for a drink before getting to the B&B, but discovered that Richmond isn’t blessed with great pubs, which was a shame. We also tried in vain to try to get a restaurant. Thinking the day before that it was a big place and that we wouldn’t struggle, but we did big time, although eventually found a very good Indian, called Amontola if I remember correctly.

I never drink lager normally but you just wouldn’t have touched the bitter in this pub believe me!

We stayed at a little place called Willance House – a 17th century building which was very quaint (in a good way!). We opted before retiring for the earliest breakfast slot we could get, as the following day was going to be the longest day of the trip, a 24 mile slog to Ingleby Cross, which would take us through the Vale of Mowbray to the edge of the North York Moors. I couldn’t wait :).

Coast to Coast Day 7 – Keld to Reeth

Day 7 of the C2C saw us begin the second half of the overall walk, quite literally, as we had just reached the half way point (mile 96) last night. After also some excellent beef stew and sponge pudding last night we were set up for another full on day, even if this one would be the shortest so far in terms of distance covered. In fact it would be just 12 miles that took us to Reeth, also in the Swaledale valley.

Leaving behind Keld Lodge and heading down into Keld itself…..
…..which is basically a hamlet, but a very lovely one at that.
The start of the Swale River, which we would follow for the next three days (and indeed had done yesterday too).
Looking down at the Swale from the start of our high route.

Swaledale is one of the smaller, and I think the most northerly of the main dales (valleys). It runs east to west and is punctuated by much limestone and of course many many sheep. It is the first time either of us have been here and it is an absolute delight. The end of the day in fact was to reveal for me what I think is the highlight of the trip so far in the shape of Reeth.

The journey to Reeth can be taken by either a high route or a low route. The low route passes many pretty Swaledale villages like Muker, but we were told at the Lodge that it would be very busy with tourists, so we avoided it and took the high route. This route takes in two climbs up to around 2,000 feet, but is generally it has to be said not very scenic in the main, although it has many redeeming features.

The walk across the top of the Dales at around 2,000 feet up is a bit featureless….

……but then dips into very attractive ruins of old lead mining plants.

The area round here was in bygone times the capital of the lead-mining world, and used to apparently produce over half of the world’s lead. We saw much evidence of old lead mines along the route, including smelting chimneys and some old machinery from the mines. The two climbs weren’t difficult, but took their toll on tired legs, and we had a fair old headwind at times too. The weather was also a bit cool at times – while the rest of the country is apparently basking in a heatwave at around 35 degrees, we had around 16 or 17 degrees, and my fleece stayed on for most of the day.

Starting on the descent now towards Reeth.

Another lead smelting relic.

Nearly in Reeth now, a lovely day and a really great walk for any day out.

We got into Reeth early at around 3pm. Reeth Apparently hails itself as the capital of Swaledale, and was formerly the mainstay of the lead mining industry. You wouldn’t know that today though – it is a very pretty natural amphitheatre with a large green in the middle and surrounded by the local hills. Apparently the old TV show All Creatures Great and Small was filed here. We both loved it. It has the feel of being very welcoming, and it very much is exactly that.

Wee stopped in for a beer at the Kings Arms Hotel, where we had also booked for dinner. A good place and very much recommended, even if the sticky toffee pudding was a bit weird and covered in wayyyyyyy too much custard, but there’s a first world problem if ever there was one!

The green at Reeth…..
…….and the very lovely Ivy Cottage at one end of it.

Our accommodation, Ivy Cottage, also serves as a tea room. The hosts were (as everyone has been on this trip) extremely welcoming, and the room had a view of the green and the surroundings and a lovely little window seat where you could have sat for hours. It was a fantastic spot, and I would love to revisit. The breakfast and indeed everything about it was perfect. In fact we both agreed afterwards when ranking (as you do) all 13 B&Bs that we stayed in on this trip, that this was number one. That’ll be a 5 star Tripadvisor rating from me then 🙂

So 108 or so miles done now, and tomorrow would see us again head along the Swale Valley to Richmond, the largest town on the C2C, for another fairly short day. The weather was again set fair, and we looked forward to all that Richmond would bring.