Coast To Coast Diary

> Day Ten

SUNDAY 9th AUGUST 2009

WHISPERING GRASS, (THE TREES DON’T NEED TO KNOW)


We were all round at Gran's on the Saturday night for a family do. Kenneth who was Tony and Theresa’s nephew was going to a different country to teach for two years. I didn’t know what country he was going to, but as the night went on the songs that were coming out of the I-pod speakers kind of gave it away. The ones I can remember were, China Girl by David Bowie. Chinatown by Thin Lizzy, followed by The Chinese Way by Level 42, China in your hand by T’ Pua and a song by China Crisis that I didn’t recognise. Yes, you’re ahead of me dear reader, it was China! A good night was had by all and everybody said goodbye to Kenny and wished him luck and I gave him a paw and some big licks. Kenny was up early in the morning to catch his flight and we were up early to catch the Sherpa for the coast to coast. It would be the first time we would be walking on a Sunday but Smithy wasn’t free on the Saturday and PL had something on too, so it had to be Sunday or nothing. PL much preferred walking on a Saturday as he says Sunday’s are to busy on the roads, and the paths! Walking back to our house a slightly wobbly PL was saying ‘only 10 miles tomorrow Maize, a nice easy one for you, Reeth to Richmond’. This was one of the stretches he had walked with Nicky when my paw was bad so we shouldn’t get lost, ha ha, we’ll see, I’ll believe that when we walk into Richmond. After a good nights rest we were walking up the street towards Smithy’s to board the Sherpa.

On turning the corner Smithy was there puffing away on a cig and his two twin grandkids were looking at him through the house window. They must have been thinking, Puff Granddaddy! But it was only Granddaddy that was puffing; there was no sign of Nickalarse. We waited to ten past seven (we were starting an hour later today because the journeys are getting shorter) then we drove down to Nicky,s house. There were no signs of life even after PL had knocked on the door, so it was decided that we would go without him. Nicky had been out most of the Saturday on the sauce and PL says that as Nicky had already walked this section, he wasn’t losing anything.

So we left him to his fleapit and we were soon on the road. Going into Richmond a different way this time through Skeegby instead of the usual way through Catterick, the weather was beautiful unlike the last morning we travelled through this fine place. Making our way to Reeth the road was much busier on account we were an hour behind our usual schedule and with this being a Sunday as well.

Pulling into a car parking space across from the green in front of the Kings Arms Hotel it was as I had proclaimed sunshine on Reeth! One of those beautiful red hot mornings that make you feel glad that you are alive, in fact so hot that PL slapped the sun cream on for the first time in the whole walk and here was I stuck with a fur coat! Never mind, upwards and onwards, when PL can eventually get sorted out with all the stuff he was moving around his rucksack. I mean, it is only a 10 mile walk; it’s not as if we are going to the North Pole or the Sahara desert or something. As we were leaving Smithy said something to Tony I didn’t quite catch and then we were away, walking together just the two of us for the first time ever on this walk, Maisie and her pack leader. We went down the road leaving Reeth and when going across the bridge a woman and a little girl past us and the little girl was saying to the woman ‘It ain’t half hot Mum’. We round the bend and as we are approaching a gate on the right that we would be taking there were two women standing there looking at a book and a map respectively. One of them said to PL ‘Excuse me, can we pick your brains?’ and I was thinking, pick away Mrs, you’ll not find much in there! They said they were doing the coast to coast and that the book said one way and the map they had said the other way, so which way was right? Both ways are right said PL, its just that one way was the road and the other was the path, but they both lead to Grinton Bridge. Which way would you take one enquired? Why, I would take the path replied PL. And why not the road the other lady chipped in? Preference replied PL. You seem very knowledgeable about this, the first lady came back with. PL explained everything to the ladies, about my paw, and me missing the walk, and him doing this section already with Nicky. That’s handy said one, so if we bump into you again, you can point us in the right direction? PL said to the two women that he and Maisie would walk with them if they would like and we could all do the section together. The women were pleased at his suggestion, and PL was pleased that the women were pleased and I was pleased that PL was pleased but was anybody pleased that I was pleased (Who knows)? So with three pleased people and one pleased dog we all set off to do the section together, which was very pleasing!

Along this path through the campsite by the river we all introduced ourselves. The two girls were Carolyn and Joanne and PL was Tony and I was Maisie. Even after it was established I was Maisie, when I went through a small gate Joanne said ‘oh he’s really good at that’. Why is it that when human beings come across a dog for the first time they always assume it’s a he? Well, really, I’ve never been so insulted in my life! Ha ha, only joking, I get it all the time. When we get to Richmond they will know I’m a girly girl. PL wasn’t having the success with the small gate as I had and he appeared to be stuck. What an embarrassment for him, meeting two women for the first time, telling them he would walk with them and show them the way and then getting stuck in the first gate, huh! They covered his embarrassment by saying things like, oh yes, they make these gates far to small and, it must be all thin people who do the coast to coast. When he eventually escaped the clutches of the evil gate we were on our way.

We got up onto Grinton Bridge and Carolyn said ‘is it this way?’ as she pointed back the road way in the direction of Reeth. PL said ‘no it is over the bridge and rejoin a path that runs alongside the Swale’. Carolyn said that her instincts told her to go that way and PL said to forget about her instincts on this walk as he knew the way. (Oh very masterful of him, I can’t wait until he cocks up). Anyway he was right as you soon could tell by the amount of coasters on the path. As we approached a girl and a man by the side of a caravan, Joanne said that you never see that girl walking with the same man. They thought that this time the man was her father. We said our hello’s as we walked passed and there were four people sitting at a table in the garden of the caravan having tea or something and they all said hello too with big smiles coming from all the humans, oh yes, this was going to be a good day, I could tell. At Marrick Abbey Joanne stopped to readjust her boot, she was having trouble with blisters and was in some pain. As we were stopped loads of coast to coasters approached, some walked on and some stayed to chat and they all seem to know each other. PL said that by walking it in sections we miss all this, the camaraderie between the walkers and the blisters, although he didn’t mind missing out on the blisters he said! Through the gate and into Steps Wood climbing up the 370 odd paved steps that take you up to Marrick hamlet.

After passing a farm on the way to Marrick, PL was informing the girls that this is the spot where he lost his hat the last time after stopping to take a picture. He must have taken it off to take the snap, put it down and forgot to pick it back up. What colour was the hat Carolyn said? Blue replied PL, thinking she maybe had spotted it. That farmer back there was wearing a blue hat she said. PL turned round quickly and looked in the direction of the farm just as the girls were breaking into a laugh and I enjoyed the joke too at PL’s expense. Well, we girls have got to stick together; the three musketeers ride again, one for all and sod the rest! Right at the phone box then right again then a left leaving the road to cut through some fields, some fields with cows’ in. We went through the first walled stile with a big cow to our left. PL and me were off telling the others to catch us up as it would be much safer now if we paired off and they would be ok because its dogs they don’t like when there are calves about. Getting passed that cow and going through the gate walled stile into a field where there were quite a few big ones and some calves. We went through that one Linford Christie style (minus the lunch box of course) and into a field with nothing in it bar two farmers and a dog.

We waited for the others then we all set off across that field but as we approached the wall the farmer’s dog came after me. I got on the defensive but PL said it was only coming over for a look but I was having none of it so in the end he picked me up and put me through the gate in the wall. He was giving me a ticking off and turned to our companions and said ‘see what I have to put up with?’ Aw, poor you I thought, I was only trying to protect him, and that’s the thanks I get. Through the field, down to the gate and not stopping at Elaine’s Farmhouse Kitchen, we cross over a beck and through a field of sheep up to Hollin Farm. In the next field there were a load of cows and all over the path so PL and myself walked up the side of the field by the fence so if any charged we would be over that fence Linford Christie style but this time thankful for not having the lunch box for fear of loosing it on the barb wire at the top of the fence.

The cows did not charge and the girls did walk along the path but when we met up at the top they said a few of them kept their eyes trained on us. Through one more field then onto the road that leads down into Marske. We go over the bridge then follow the road looking for a stile on the right. Over that stile and into a great big field that looks good enough to play throw catch in, in fact that’s exactly what we did. As the girls walked on in front PL whipped the ball out from the rucksack and we had a quick game.

When we caught up with the others they very kindly joined in the game as well. Down through the trees and over Clapgate Beck then climbing up a steep hill with a few moans and groans from the girls far out in front to a big white cairn thingy. The reason for the moans and groans were the blisters they had. They said it was more painful going uphill especially if the path was at an angle. The reason why they were far out in front was because PL sneakily stopped in the trees for a quick wee and was not letting on about it. At the top there were a couple having lunch and our women walkers knew them as coast to coasters. Then we stopped for our lunch just along the path a bit (can I see the wine list PL?). Out with the usual sandwiches and sachets and as the norm now I didn’t eat mine. PL asked the girls if they would pose for a picture with me and they duly obliged. This was a lovely spot to stop for lunch Joanne said but it was not as nice as Old Slappers Crag where they had stopped to have their lunch in the Lake District. ‘Have you heard of Old Slappers Crag Tony?’ they were asking PL? PL said he had heard of a few Crags in the Lake District in his time but he had never heard of the one they called Old Slappers Crag. ‘Oh yes, it’s lovely!’ said Carolyn ‘you should check it out’.

I suspected that PL had checked out Old Slappers before and was not letting on about that either! Anyway real Crag or not, we were up on our feet and packing the Champagne and smoked salmon carefully away for the next stop then we were on our way. As we walked PL was asking when they would be finishing the walk at Robin Hoods Bay. They said they were due to finish on Friday afternoon.

PL said he might take Friday off and we could go to Robin Hoods Bay to see them come in ‘That would be great!’ they said ‘it would be nice to see you and the Maize again’. We walked on a track and passed a farm then another and I kept hearing the name Applegarth being banded about. We came to a spot where it split. The track took the high road and the path took the low road (and I’ll be in Richmond before ye!). There was a couple in front of us going through a gate in the wall stile which looked 100% right. But PL said that Nicky and he had taken the track and it leads them into the woods and down the tarmac road into Richmond so that must be the right way. But the path is clearly this way the girls said as more coasters clambered through the small gate that slammed shut in a threatening manner. PL had to agree with them but he just stood still in a daze trying to work it out. (We could be here all day!). Joanne said ‘come on Tony, this is the first crack in your armour, but we’ll allow one crack!’ PL had to snap out of his daze and go with the rest of the coasters but he still looked puzzled.

Through one hazardous gate after another and climbing through the little tiny holes in the wall someone or some animal might come a cropper. There were also definite wooden pointing signposts here that said coast to coast so this must be the correct way after all. After awhile they lead us on to a track and the puzzled look left PL’s face. It was the same track we had left back there he was explaining, if we would have stayed on the track it would have brought us out here and no need for walking through the fields at the bottom and squeezing through the little walled stiles and risking injury with the little gates, but still if this is the way then this is the way. The track leads to one of the Applegarth Farms, but just before you go down into the farm there is a stile on the fence on the left that you go over and the track takes the high road away from the farm, la la la. The track went through Whitcliffe Wood and was muddy on my paws. Bathing tonight! The track came out at High Leases Farm with loads of hens roaming around. I think it’s about now we see our first view of Richmond Castle through the trees.

Onto a tarmac lane that would eventually lead us into what would be the biggest and busiest place on the coast to coast. Some way down the lane on the right hand side was the Richmond sign and a nice little seat with a view straight into the nettles. One of the girls kindly took a picture of myself and PL here. After that we just sauntered down the lane towards Richmond. After about half a mile PL stopped dead in his tracks and of course I had to stop too as I was on the lead. The girls also stopped and one enquired why PL had suddenly stopped.

All was revealed when he opened his mouth. ‘I’m not carrying my walking pole’ he said. One of the girls said that he seen him put it down at the Richmond sign to take pictures. He’s done it again, first he lost his hat and now his pole has gone. He stood there for a few seconds I guess deciding to go back for it or not. In the end he said he was going back for it, after all it was only about a mile in total there and back. He said he didn’t mind losing a hat (even if it was a new one) but he was not losing his pole.

The girls said they would walk on slowly and we could catch them up. So off we toddled back up the lane towards the Richmond sign about half a mile away to retrieve his pole. I wonder what he will forget in the future when he puts stuff on the ground to take a snap (watch this space!).

The others were sitting on a wall waiting for us as we walked down the lane. They said that as we had walked all this section together we would walk into Richmond together, which was nice of them. Just after we set off we seen Smithy sitting on a bench waiting for us and we all walked into town with the girls proclaiming to Smithy that Tony was their hero for getting them across without looking at a map or getting lost. Well I say enjoy it PL because that was a first and probably a last! Wait to see, on the next section we will probably get hopelessly lost.

We said our goodbyes to the girls then they went into a shop to get some kind of shoes that would ease the pain on their feet. We then walked to the end of the street were I would be starting the next stage PL informed me, then we walked to the car park to the Sherpa and after a drink and a snack we were on our way back home.

PROLOGUE THINGY

PL did get the day off on Friday and he took Theresa and me to Robin Hoods Bay. As we were turning off the main A171 into High Hawsker to meet the road that would lead us down to RHB, PL spotted two walkers actually walking up the main A171. He said to Theresa that they must have missed the path that they should be on and so they were being forced to walk up the main road which was extremely dangerous. As we turned into High Hawsker he was looking curiously at the walkers heading in our direction and he said ‘I don’t believe it, it’s them, what a coincidence’. We stopped the car and they came walking round the corner and they couldn’t believe it either.

Well, I believe it, cos I was there and so were all of them, so they better start believing it. After the introductions to Theresa were made they all had a good chat and the girls were telling of their adventures in the last five days since we had seen them and PL was asking about COWS.

Quite a lot of other coast to coasters was coming by so we let the girls get on with their walk around the cliff top and we drove down to the car park then walked down the steep hill into RHB. After we got our fish and chips we had a walk along the beach then had a little game of throw catch then I was jumping through the water (much to PL’s disgust, as he said I really shouldn’t be in the north sea yet as I was technically only at Richmond, get a life PL, I’m having fun!) But where were the girls? They should have been here by now. A lovey dovey couple who had obviously just completed their coast to coast were dipping their boots in the water then threw their respective pebbles in the water and were now taking photographs of each other. Theresa went over to them and asked them if they would like her to take a picture of both of them. The couple said that would be great thanks, and then PL got involved by telling them about himself and his dog Maisie doing the coast to coast in sections.

He was asking them what was their favourite bit of the walk, and as they were saying they enjoyed all of it, I done a great big pooh at their feet! I could tell PL was embarrassed as he bent down to pick it up (easily a double bagger). There were no bins on the beach so he set off towards the village in search of one. He was gone a long while but when coming back he informed us that the girls were in Wainwright’s bar, or to be more precise, sitting outside Wainwright’s bar drinking ice cold beer! We went up to see them and PL was giving them a lecture about dipping their feet in the water but they were saying they would do it later. It was nice seeing them again as that was a lovely day we spent with them on that section, myself and PL both really enjoyed walking with them. When we were ready to go PL took a photo of them sitting at a table with another walking couple with their ice cold beers, wish dogs could drink beer! We all said our goodbyes and promised to stay in touch through facebook.


About a week later PL was looking at their pictures on face book and there was one of the girls standing in the water at Robin Hoods Bay. The time on the picture said 19.05. It had taking them 6 hours to walk from Wainwrights bar to the water, a distance of around a 20th of a mile! So how did they manage to walk the coast to coast in 2 weeks? (The trees don’t need to know! But what the trees would like to know is, have you asked that question yet Gavin?) Sing Lofty!