Lynmouth to Combe Martin. Day 3

After a healthy breakfast we had hoped to use the Lynmouth Cliff Railway to get up to Lynton, sadly it didn’t open until 10 and as we had what was described as a strenuous 13 miles, we had to set off before 9.00

20130922-194023.jpg
We climbed up to Lynton and then took the coastal path towards the Valley of The Rocks where we saw some mountain goats and spectacular views of where we were headed and the Welsh coast. A good path along this part of the route meant we made good progress to our first target of Lea Abbey. The Abbey has significant grounds and is now used as a Christian Retreat and youth activity centre.

20130922-194205.jpg

20130922-194830.jpg
The path continued to hug the coast and gave us a few hills to climb as we headed for Heddon’s Mouth. We passed a waterfall along the way and then turned inland along the inlet toward the bridge crossing. A busy path here as people were out for the day and lunch at the Hunters Inn which we saw from the signs was just a half mile detour (each way) but it seemed a shame to not take the chance to review our plans over excellent baguettes and refreshment!

20130922-194439.jpg

20130922-222813.jpg

After lunch we walked back to join the path and the strenuous part of the journey starting with a steep climb up the valley to Peter Rock and then down and up to East Cleave and on to round Holdstone Hill and then taking the Tarka Trail to Great Hangman Cairn for more views including a glimpse of our destination of Combe Martin.

20130922-210427.jpg<br /
We followed the path to Little Hangman and the final descent to Combe Martin where we were lucky enough to find an open establishment serving refreshments and showing the United City derby. We left Tommy to drown his sorrows and Dave to celebrate along with Brian. The landlord of the B&B John is a United fan so I think Dave is sleeping in the shed tonight. We are eating in at John & Pennys tonight and then onto Woolacombe tomorrow.

20130922-223141.jpg

Final Thoughts

20120921-134047.jpg

We wanted to put some final thoughts together that might be useful if anyone who reads this is planning on “doing” the Coast to Coast.

Preparation

We are all men of a certain age with varying levels of fitness, but we did all do some preparation for the event. No particular workouts, mostly just regular walking to include some hills and some distance work. If you are in general good health you will be able to complete the walk.

We used Sherpa to book the accommodation and to take care of the luggage between stops, they provided us with excellent service throughout.

The Walk

Timing – we did it in two weeks and a common thought was that we should have tried to average out the mileage a bit more, we had at least two 20 mile+ days which were hard on the feet. A rest day In Richmond might be worth thinking about although some of our group were more than happy to go straight through – again better if the days were at 15 miles in length.

Packing – most of us took too much, concentrate on the walking gear and have the type you can wash as you go along. Change of footware for the nighttime – but comfortable trainers would be right – just to wear around the B&B and out to the pubs etc.

There wasn’t much in the way of drying rooms – we were lucky to have had good weather but lots of rain could present a problem in getting stuff dry for the next day.

Accommodation – try to use a variety of farms, B&B’s Pubs and Hostels it makes the whole thing more interesting. The YHA’s and Independent Hostels were good quality and we would have used them more to get the average mileage days if we’d known. You can’t guarantee wifi or baths so if you need them ring ahead when you are booking. The food is good and in big portions in most places – breakfasts don’t have to be the full english – we had a variety of fruits, cereals poached eggs, haddock, porridge etc. Same goes for a packed lunch – we found you didn’t need them everyday, yes you are exercising a lot but three big meals a day can be too much!

Navigation – we used the Harvey strip maps and the Henry Stedman guide which provides an excellent amount of information and sketch maps – there is a review here on the main Walking Places site. You do need a compass and we did take a GPS (but it was only used once in thick mist to check our position.)

Company – we met lots of people from around the world in particular a mixed group from America and Australia with their guide as well as Ross an Aussie who joined us for several days, and Aurora from Romania who walked with us for most of the route and became part of the team. Just say hello to people you meet and you’re soon making new friends along the way.

Thank You’s

This could be a huge list, especially if you included all the local people who were so helpful and friendly.

I must mention Di Swales at Sherpa who was instrumental in the planning and bookings, Tommy, Mary and Dave M for the organising, Mary (again) for her baps! (bacon ones she provided to get us off to a good start).

John and Julie Marsden who took us all up to St Bees and then brought us all back from Robin Hood’s Bay, plus Gill, Chris, baby Adam and Gaynor for the mid walk visit at Tan Hill. All the family and friends who turned up on the Friday night at High Hawsker and came with us to RHB as well as supporting us along the way with phone calls, texts, emails and comments.

Finally, for the blog, Gareth for the photography, and Stuart at Walking Places who set up the blog for us and sent us all the information we needed to get up and running, all in one email!. It made it easy for us non bloggers to blog – you should do it if you possibly can – the feedback from our friends and family was that they felt it kept them in touch and up to date – we had many more comments than we expected. As you can see I really enjoyed blogging!

20120921-132718.jpg20120921-140629.jpg20120921-141117.jpg

Thanks for reading

 

 

 

Day 14 -There at Last!

Distance toady 5 miles
Total distance 192 miles

We can’t believe it’s been two weeks since this little adventure started and now we all gathered outside the hotel with friends and family to organise bags, travel and the final 5 mile walk into Robin Hood’s Bay. The weather today was glorious and we realised just how fortunate we have been to have had only one heavy storm in the whole period.

20120915-221750.jpg

We made our way in two groups and met up at the top of RHB wearing our charity outfits and then walked down the hill to complete the formalities of wetting the boots, throwing the stones we had carried from St Bees and signing the book at the Wainwright Bar in the Bay Hotel, and taking photos!

20120915-224132.jpg

20120915-223537.jpg

20120915-221445.jpg

20120915-221124.jpg

We really just hung around with a drink in the sun chatting about the trip and saying our goodbyes, especially to Aurora who was leaving first to get to London and a new job she starts this weekend. She has been with us most of the way and had become part of the team, we were all sorry to see her leave.

Eventually, after another drink and getting some souvenirs, we made our way up the hill to the car park and sorted out the gear and said even more goodbyes before heading home!

There are a few more photos in the Rogues Gallery and there will be a final entry early next week with some “thank you’s” and reflections on the whole event.

20120915-222617.jpg

Day 13 – 5 more miles!!

Distance today 14 miles
Total distance 187

Glaisdale to High Hawsker

We left our base for the night after the usual breakfast, the last one all together because Dave H and Mollie are staying at Robin Hood’s Bay tonight, and started our last full day. The walk took us through woodland past the village of Egton Bridge and on through Grosmont, the home of the North York Moors Railway.
The climb out of Grosmont was a long slow one on the road lasting a couple of miles but once onto Sleights Moor we began to get glimpses of Whitby and it’s famous Abbey ruins as we crossed to Littlebck.

20120914-231228.jpg

We entered a deep wooded valley and climbed it’s edge until we stopped at a small hermitage and then on to Falling Foss waterfall with it’s unusual tea garden at Midge Hall where we paused for tea and for some, a cream tea.

20120914-231033.jpg

After the break we made our way across more moorland to finally reach High Hawsker where we were meeting a welcoming group of families from Manchester and Devon.

A quick pot of tea, a clean up and then we all sat down for a meal and a few drinks.

Tomorrow some of the group will join in on the final 5 miles as we go to Robin Hood’s Bay and the big finish!

Day 12 – We can see the coast!

Distance Today 17 miles
Total distance 173 miles
Weather cool start with sunny intervals/light showers
Ascent 414

Clay Bank Top to Glaisdale

We had a lift from the landlady at 8.15 back to the route (about 4 miles) to start our walk at Clay Bank Top and up Carr Ridge to join the disused railway path at Bloworth Crossing which meant for the next few miles we could make a reasonable pace. We made it on to High Blakey Moor and left the rail track to head to the Lion Inn for refreshments before continuing along the road until we made a stop at Fat Betty.
20120913-193813.jpg Fat Betty is a cross on the roadway where travellers can leave an offering of food and take away food that has been left by others, we all left either sweets or money and after a few photos moved on.

20120913-194655.jpg

We approached Great Fryup Dale and as we joined the path we had our first glimpse of the North Sea, we could see the ships through Brian’s binoculars, it was hard to believe we were approaching the end of our trek. We crossed Glaisdale Moor and made our way to the start of Glaisdale and then took a shortcut to the B&B where we were greeted with pots of tea and home made cake and biscuits. We were all glad to arrive after a long 17 miles.

20120913-195523.jpg

It was great to see John & Julie arrive at the B&B in their motorhome and they are staying overnight and joining us for a meal. Tomorrow John will join us for the last full day, the 14 miles to High Hawsker where some of the families are meeting us to get ready for the big finish on Saturday morning.

20120913-195744.jpg

Days 10 & 11 – two for the price of one!

Distance Richmond to Ingleby Arncliffe 24 miles
Distance Ingleby Arncliffe to Clay Bank Top 14 miles
Total distance 155 miles
Weather sunny intervals/ showers. Heavy Rain on walk to Clay Bank Top
Ascent to Ingleby 124 metres
Ascent to Clay Bank Top 889 metres

slow wifi so small photos today if I get a chance I’ll enlarge them tomorrow

We knew that the long walk to Ingleby Arncliffe would be a major challenge because of the distance but unfortunately the end of the 24 mile day saw just 4 of the original team finish this section. A combination of a sickness virus that has been working through the team, gifted to us by one of the walkers who joined us a few days earlier, plus ankle problems meant that despite valiant efforts 3 were forced to succumb to their ailments. None of us could have anticipated this and it has been a bitter blow for the whole team.
20120912-205830.jpg
The walk itself was across the Vale of York which meant a lot of time going through fields and along roads which was possibly the most boring part of the route. The team made it into the village at the end of the day at about 7.00pm to a welcoming B&B and a pub in the middle of the village. Most of us just wanted to get showered and get some sleep so we could reform for the walk to Clay Bank the next day.

A fairly quiet breakfast as we assessed injuries and stomachs with Fluff expressing confidence to get rid of any wind without dire consequences, we started the walk out of the Vale and up towards the start of the North York Moors. Plenty of “ups and downs” as we climbed up to around 850 metres over the 14miles. The weather, which has been kind for the whole trip decided to give us a taste of the real Coast to Coast as the rain poured down for long enough to soak through shorts, socks and boots. We made it to the meeting point where we were picked up by our landlady who took the load of us to the hotel where we dried off and finally had the time for the first “planning meeting” for a couple of days with all spirits lifted.

20120912-210307.jpg

20120912-210354.jpg

Day 9 – before the Big One!

Distance today 11 miles
Total distance 117 miles
Weather cloudy with rain showers

We left Reeth, which is very nice village, and our excellent accommodation at the Buck Inn, at 9.30 for a short 11 miles into Richmond. We had discussed the long day coming up on Tuesday and decided we needed to get to Richmond by about 2.00pm so that we had plenty of rest time.

We basically followed the valley of the Swale again, but this time there was much more woodland as we made our way past Merrick Priory and up the 375 steps constructed by the nuns to reach the Abbey. We paused on the Green at Marske for a quick bite and drink before completing the walk into Richmond just before 2.00 and ahead of our luggage for a change.

20120910-220009.jpg

This has been the first day where we have had waterproofs on and off along the way but it was still a beautiful route through the open fields and woodland.

We sat and had tea at the Old Brewery guesthouse while our luggage arrived then some of us went into town and looked around Richmond Castle and the other sights, again a very nice place to visit.

20120910-220903.jpg

20120910-220322.jpg

The guesthouse is B&B only so we HAD to go to the Turf pub for our evening meal, but conscious of our long day we were all back in our rooms for 9.15 after picking up our washing which the landlady had done for us whilst we were out – luxury os clean socks for tomorrow’s march which is 23 miles of supposedly easy going. Still likely to take us around 12 to 14 hours because we are slowing down a bit now!

20120910-220739.jpg

Hopefully more tomorrow if we arrive early enough, can get wifi, and don’t fall asleep. A couple of photos added to Rouges Gallery

Day 8 Keld to Reeth

Distance today 11 miles
Total distance 106 mile
Weather sunny

We had a late start today, not because of the wild Saturday night at Tan Hill but because breakfast was at 8.30 and then we had to wait for a lift back to the route. Taking our group meant two trips and by the time we had met up with Aurora and set off for Reeth it was 10.15. Mike also joined us for this part, we had met up with him on the walk to Shap but his route has differed to ours so we keep overlapping.

20120909-231536.jpg

The original route takes a higher level from Keld and is mostly described as “industrial” passing through the old lead mining works. We decided on the lower route which follows the river Swale and is a really pleasant path right along the riverbank although this meant loads of stiles to go over, and through. You go through some fine examples of North Yorkshire villages such as Musket, Ivelet with it’s arched bridge and Gunnerside which is really pretty and had a good facility for a mid route planning meeting, called the King’s Head.

20120909-231829.jpg

We were diverted from our planning by the gorgeous sounds of some vintage sports cars which were part of the Ecosse Rally and passing through the village. We had an ideal viewpoint to see them go through before we started out again to follow the Swale into Reeth.

20120909-232150.jpg

We checked in to the Buck Inn at about 5.00pm which is very nice and we were all glad to get to our rooms for baths and showers because even though it was a short day, it seemed to take a while to get here!!

Tomorrow it’s on to Richmond, the biggest town on the route, and only 11 miles again, but we pay for this rest day on Tuesday with our longest walk of the route at around 24 miles on to Ingleby Arncliffe – can’t wait (to get it over).

We love all the comments and sorry that we can’t reply but all of them get read out each evening so we all get to hear what you are saying, keep them coming, only a few days to go!

Day 7 Halfway There!

Distance today 11 miles
Total distance 95 miles
Ascent 599m
Weather low cloud on The Nine Standards but sunny at low levels

CAN’T UPLOAD PHOTOS AT THE MOMENT WILL ADD THEM ASAP
Now uploaded

Left Kirkby Stephen (The Black Bull) at 9.15 and started a gradual climb out of the town to Hartley Fell and on to the Nine Standards Rigg where low cloud came down and Seven Men And a Dog came up with at least seven ways to get off the hill and head to Keld. So….

We had a debate and finally decided on a route off. The Nine Standards Rigg marks the watershed of England and from now on all rivers and streams feed to the East and the North Sea. Usually we walk to the rythmic “click” of our walking poles but for a lot of today it was the sound of the peat bogs slurping, sucking and trying to pull our boots off!

20120909-081140.jpg

The descent from Nine Standards was in glorious sun as we made our way to Ravenseat Farm via the blue route, where we stopped for a cream tea.

20120909-081542.jpg

The final stretch of 3 miles into Keld was broken with a stop at Wainwath Force where we had a short rest and Fluff and Aurora had a swim to cool off.

We made a call to the Tan Hill Inn where we were staying for a lift (well it is 4 miles off the walk!!) but the bad news was that they wouldn’t give us a lift and we were left with a further walk of miles to our B&B!!!!! However some negotiation with a local taxi driver, Malcolm of MM & FM Terry (01748 884533 – we don’t mind advertising) meant we got a lift and had time for a short “planning” meeting before we got to Tan Hill

The day wasn’t too bad and we all agreed that this was more of a recovery day than yesterday.

When we finally got to Tan Hill, incidentally the highest pub in Great Britain, we had the best of all surprises as Dave M’s family, Gill, Chris, baby Adam and Gaynor paid a visit and joined us for a few beers, a meal and some photos. We had a good night all round and went to bed really motivated for the second half of the walk. Thanks to them all for making the trip.

Tomorrow is a late start, 10.00 and hopefully a short 11 miles up to Reeth, in good weather.

NB a couple more in the Rogues Gallery.

20120909-081843.jpg

20120909-082002.jpg