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!…….

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 :).