About shaun

I am a Roman Catholic priest, with a great love for walking, especially among the fells of the Lake District. I have decided to undertake the Coast to Coast Walk and this site will feature my blog all about my adventures along the way.

DAY NINE

DAY NINE- REETH TO RICHMOND – 10 MILES
Saturday 16th June

I woke to another very cloudy, rainy day. Although, today’s walk was only 10 miles, I wanted to get an early start so that I could take my time and yet still be in Richmond early enough to stock up on supplies and do a bit of washing of clothes.

I was first down to breakfast. The landlady, Sandra, had welcomed me last night, but it was Les, her husband, who was in charge this morning. Mick and Sandra, who had stayed here before had forewarned me that Les was a down-to- earth Yorkshireman, who said things as they were.

When the two Canadians came down for breakfast I’m not sure that they quite knew what to make of him. He asked them what kind of cooked breakfast they wanted, and they were dithering a little, so he said to them, “Tell ya what, I’ll go and do a couple of little chores in the kitchen, while you decide”‘. The Canadian husband replied “OK, no hurry, there’s plenty of time”, to which Les replied, half under his breath “Not for the cook, there ain’t”. Les was full of quick repartee like that. A really nice and funny guy, once you got used to him.

I set off just after 8.30am, and for the first five minutes or so the pain was really bad, but as my muscles warmed up, the pain wore off and I found walking normally and at a reasonable speed not too difficult.

I am sorry I don’t have so many photos for you today, but the rain was heavier and so I stopped to take photos less than usual.

I left Reeth, following the Swale and crossing fields and soon came to Grinton Bridge.

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Once on the other side of the bridge I could see that the river was running high, because of all the rain, some of which managed to get on my camera lense.

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I left the river and headed along a road that brought me to Marrick Priory, founded for Benedictine nuns in 1154 and dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540. It is now an outdoor activities centre.

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This calf in a nearby field didn’t look very old. It’s mother was certainly being protective. Fortunately, I didn’t have to pass through its field.

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Shortly after leaving the priory behind I climbed the Nuns’s Causey (or causeway), 375 paved steps that lead up through Step Wood towards Marrick hamlet. The steps were quite slippery after all the rain, and about halfway up turned into a stream rather than a path.

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The view out over the fields from the top of the Nuns’ Causey.

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Shorlty after this, as I walked along the edge of a field next to a dry stone wall, a hare jumped right up onto the wall just in front of me. When it saw me it jumped back down. I stood perfectly still, and a few moments later, probably thinking I had gone, it jumped up again. On seeing me still standing there it decided to go another way, but I just managed to get a quick photo as it hopped across the field.

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After passing through Marrick, there were some open fields to cross on the way to Marske. The views were quite good despite the rain.

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There followed some tedious road walking into Marske and then on the other side across some more fields I could see the small hill in the centre of the photo which I had to climb halfway up.

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The view from the top of the hill, back to where I had just come. It was a very muddy and slippery little path up.

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Now, those of you who are my parishioners at Kensal New Town, will know that there is more than one Kensal. There is our own Kensal New Town, but also Kensal Rise (with which we are often confused) and, of course, Kensal Green, where the famous cemetery is. Well today, I passed through a place even more open to confusion. It was a series of farms along the bottom of the limestone escarpment I had just partly climbed, all called Applegarth. There was West Applegarth, Low Applegarth, High Applegarth and East Applegarth. While passing all these farms, I saw one of the farmer working his dogs to move the sheep in, presumably for shearing.

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One of the Applegarths. Which one, you ask? Take you pick, ‘cos I don’t have a clue.

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Seven miles done, only three more to go!

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As the previous sign said, the next stage of the walk was through Whitecliffe Woods. This would have been lovely in better weather, but the rain had turned the path into a muddy quagmire. I wished for wellington boots here rather than walking boots.

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This sign was deceptive, there was still a fair trudge down to the town. I made the mistake of taking the footpath, guess what…more mud! I should have stayed on the road.

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Soon the lovely Yorkshire town of Richmond (not to be confused with Richmond, Surrey – I would be a long way off course, if I was there) came into view, which its impressive castle dominating the skyline.

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I hope to get some better pictures of the castle as I leave Richmond tomorrow.

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It was just passed 1pm. I had made good time. But as I couldn’t check in to my B&B until after 2pm, I decided to go and get something to eat and drink in the little cafe in the covered market in the centre of Richmond. And who was sitting there but Pam and Dave, whom I hadn’t seen since I walked into Kirkby Stephen with them several days before. We spent a pleasant half an hour catching up on our respective adventures.

It was then off to find my B&B. I wanted to get checked in asap, as there were a few things I needed to do while in Richmond. It was a beautiful and historic house near the centre of the town. The landlady was especially welcoming and helpful. I asked her where the nearest laundrette was, as I was running out of clean walking clothes. She told me that Richmond didn’t have a laundrette and the nearest one was in Catterick, 3 miles away. I was very relieved when she said that she did a laundry service and would be happy to do a wash for me. I next asked where the nearest Catholic Church was, as I needed to attendthe vigil Mass tonight. There won’t be time tomorrow, for reasons you will see in a moment. After a refreshing hot shower, I went out to buy some more Compeed blister plasters (I am certainly getting through them) and supplies for tomorrow. Why all these preparations, you ask? Well, because tomorrow is the longest day of walking, at 23 miles. 23 miles of mostly flat farmland through the Vale of Mowbray, much of it on roads. This is bound to be a testing day in many ways. An early night tonight, I think!

DAY TEN

DAY TEN – RICHMOND TO INGLEBY CROSS – 23 MILES
17 JUNE 2012

I had been dreading today’s walk, not because of the distance but because it was across flat farmland and involved a lot of road walking. It turned out to be a very long day, it took me ten hours to do the 23 miles, with a total of about 45 minutes rest. What made it worse was that the rain had made the farmland paths muddy and slippery and therefore very slow going.

As you may guess, I am really tired, so please forgive my blog being rather brief tonight. There isn’t really much to report anyway, unless you like looking at fields!

I’ll just give you a very brief summary of the highlights, such as they were. Now, don’t get too excited, remember its really just fields and fields…well, you’ll see.

Leaving Richmond

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Rabbits outside Richmond.

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A baby rabbit, aaah!

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The path passes underneath the A1.

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Catterick Bridge

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Flowers along the bank of the River Swale.

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The church at Bolton-on-Swale

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The memorial of Henry Jenkins, who is reputed to have lived to be a 169! Buried in the graveyard.

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Assorted fields

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The hills in the background are the the North York Moors where I will be tomorrow.

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Are we there yet? No!

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Lots of road walking.

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Crossing the A19 – The most dangerous moment in the whole C2C.

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Finally, Ingelby Cross.

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So, there you are, a whole day’s walking in a nutshell. It was a real slog, not very enjoyable, but it’s done now and I can look forward to three days walking up on the North York Moors all the way down to Robin Hood’s Bay.

DAY ELEVEN

INGLEBY CROSS TO CLAY BANK – 11 MILES
18 JUNE 2012

I have to be quick to tonight, as the hotel I am staying only allows two hours of free WiFi. Cheapskates!

As you can imagine, I slept well last night. Before doing so, I had a lovely home cooked evening meal at the B&B I was staying at. Also staying there were Mick and Sandra from south Yorkshire, whom you might remember from previous blogs. We were joined by two brothers from Australia. In their 50s, I would guess, they had previously done the Offa’s Dyke walk and had come back to do the C2C, though at a more leisurely pace than me. They were great fun and we had lots of laughter at the table, so much so that Beverley, the hostess of the B&B, said it was like a hosting a dinner party to which she wasn’t able to join in. There were two other guests, Neil and Jack, they had been staying in the same place as me in Richmond and had set off before me yesterday morning, but they took a wrong turn fairly early on, and that was the last I had seen if them. They rolled in at 8pm, having be walking for 12 hours. It makes my 10 hours look like nothing. Ian was English but living in Germany with his wife and family, and Jack was German and a work colleague of Ian.

I woke up this morning to a beautiful blue sky and the promise of a fine day. It was time! It was time for the shorts to come out of the bag for the first time. After breakfast I began the walk with a little detour; there was something I wanted very much to see : the remains of the beautiful Carthusian Mount Grace Priory, slightly off the route. Bev had told me about a route to it, strictly speaking on private land, but that it wouldnt be a problem. I set out along the path and soon it felt like I was back at yesterday, the path was very muddy and waterlogged, my relatively clean boots (I had washed them last night) were quickly muddy again. As I progressed through the mud along the path I saw a man in a digger. I thought I would probably get a telling off for being on a private road, but he smiled and said hello. Shortly, after that I arrived at Mount Grace Priory. I was making an “unofficial” visit, i.e., without paying an entrance fee, so I couldn’t get too close, but I did managed to get this lovely photo of it.

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I then took a short cut to rejoin the path for today’s walk, up a steep wooded hill. Today the C2C follows the same route as the Cleveland Way, and so I was directed to follow the Cleveland Way Signs, of which there were plenty.

Once I was out of the trees, I had a lovely view back across the flat farmland of the Vale of Mowbray I had crossed yesterday.

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Hurray, I was on high ground again, and the North York Moors opened up before me. The high moor on the far left of the second photo is Carlton Moor, where I was heading.

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I had imagined that I would get to it by keeping to the high ground in the middle of the photo.

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But, oh no, today was going to be a roller-coaster of steep up and downs. This was the first down.

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I ended up having lost all the height I had gained and walking in the valley forest. I had to go right round the valley. The open green area at the top right of the photo was the high ground I had been on.

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But now it was time to climb again, up a steep flight of stone steeps through the forest.

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And soon, once again, I was on the open moor; this one being called Live Moor.

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I headed on across the open moor. This was the view back to Live Moor from Gold Hill.

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Then it was a more gentle descent before the climb up to Carlton Moor.

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The Trig Point at Carlton Moor. The man standing admiring the view, told me that he was originally from South Sheids, but now lived in Australia, but had come back for a visit and was doing part of the C2C. Perhaps he was reliving some childhood memories.

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Rosebery Topping viewed with the telephoto lense and behind it my first view of the North Sea – journey’s end- though still two and half days walking away.

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Another descent.

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Looking back to Carlton Moor.

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And then it’s up again to Cringle Moor.

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A memorial to the man who created the Cleveland Way.

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Another view of Rosebery Topping.

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Looking out across the moors.

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And on along the path.

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Looking back to Carlton Moor, now with two gliders soaring above. As I looked to the far horizon it occured to me that I had walked all that way, and more, beyond the horizon, all the way back to the Irish Sea – it was a moment for silent reflection.

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Looking up to the next climb, Cold Moor.

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And then from Cold Moor, a view of the final ascent of the the day – to the Wainstones and Hasty Bank.

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The Wainstones, using the telephoto.

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Looking up to the Wainstones.

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Climbers on the Wainstones. Rather them than me! I was surprised they weren’t wearing helmets.

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A closer view of the Wainstones.

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The Wainstones viewed from above on Hasty Bank.

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The Moors of tomorrow’s walk, viewed from Hasty Bank.

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Then there was then one final descent to the car park at Clay Bank were I called the hotel and they came and picked me up and took me down to Great Broughton.

All in all a lovely day. It was wonderful to be up on high ground again, and the beautiful weather was a real bonus.

Health report – my blister is still proving troublesome. It is worst first thing in the morning for about the first half an hour of the walk. I can do little more than hobble along, but it seems to improve after that, and I am able to walk almost normally. I guess the problem is that it is not getting a chance to rest. Each day, I am putting it under more pressure. But at this stage, nothing is going to stop me completing the walk.

Once again, I want to thank everyone who has posted comments on my blog. I am only sorry that I don’t have time to reply to you all individually. But I have read every one, and it is an enormous boost to know that you are all following my progress and rooting me on. Thank you all for accompanying me on this amazing journey!

Only two days to go. I just hope I have WiFi in the next two places, so that you can hear all about how the journey ends!

DAY TWELVE

DAY TWELVE – CLAY BANK TOP TO GLAISDALE – 18.5 MILES
19 JUNE 2012

It was another bright and sunny day, so once again the shorts were on. After breakfast it had been arranged that one of the hotel staff would drive us back to Clay Bank Top, where we had finished our walk the afternoon before. Neil and Jack went at 8am, and Mick, Sandra and I went at 8.30am. The woman driving us came into the Reception and said to the receptionist, “What time they going?”. “8.30” replied the receptionist. The driver lady just grunted. She didn’t say a word to us all the way back to Clay Bank. When we got out of the car, having thanked her, still with no comment from her, Mick said, “Great conversationalist she were, weren’t she”! She didn’t even return our wave as she drove back down to the hotel. Her “handle” will have to be ‘Mrs Grumpy’. If there was a prize for grumpiness, she would have won it!

Mick and Sandra went on ahead, but as it has been each morning since my little toe exploded, I had to hobble along for the first half hour or so. Gradually, the pain lessened and I was to walk at something close to my normal walking speed.

There was an initial steep climb as we rejoined the Cleveland Way, but it wasn’t long before the views began to open up. As I looked back, I had a great view of yesterday’s walk.

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You can see that the path I was on was good and dry. Thank goodness no mud today!

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Along the way there were many ancient way stones by the side of the path. This one was especially interesting, it is called the Face Stone, for obvious reasons.

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The track carried on for quite a good while before it joined the trackbed of the Victorian mineral railway, which I then followed for the next five miles. It was nice easy walking.

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There were lovely views down into Farndale.

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The path continued to wind its way along the old railway trackbed for the rest of the morning. And then this came into view:

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A pub! The Lion, to be precise. Apparently, the fourth highest pub in England. It was a welcome scene. When I arrived I found Sandra and Mick already tucking into a pub lunch. Perry and Angie were also there. They are fast walkers, so I usually only see them at the end of the day. I had seen them in the car park at Clay Bank Top yesterday evening. After a while Neil and Jack also arrived and joined us. They too had been driven up to Clay Bank by Mrs Grumpy, and had had a similar experience.

After lunch, Mick, Sandra and I headed off together. We had an important person to pay our respects too – Fat Betty.

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Fat Betty is one of many large way stones that mark this part of the moors. There are also some stone crosses, but they were a bit off the route. Wayfarers traditionally left food or drink on her for others, in thankfulness for a safe journey. The tradition continues and we all left a little something from our rucksack food stores.

Anyone for breakfast?

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Another large way stone.

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It’s hard to see here, but in the far distance is the North Sea.

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These moors are famous for the grouse that inhabit the heather. Sadly, they are bred to be shot at. Come August 12th and the guns will be sounding and these lovely birds will probably be among tthe targets. I was lucky enough to see a mother with some chicks.

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Does this sheep care that I still have another three and half miles to go? Not at all!

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The track down Glaisdale Rigg seemed to just go on and on. I thought it would never end. My feet certainly took a pounding.

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At the village shop in Glaisdale I met a guy who was doing the C2C in ten days. He was carrying everything with him and was camping. He had come up onto the moors from Farndale, and he told me that he had another two hours of walking ahead of him to the camp site he was staying in tonight. He made me feel like a fraud. Compared to him, I had it easy!

In the pub later, I met Mick and Sandra, they have decided not to finish the walk tomorrow, but to get the train from Grosmont to Whitby. They did the walk last year, so there was no pressure on them to finish it this time. I had walked with them on and off since Patterdale, so it was sad to say goodbye to them. They very kindly gave me a donation towards the restoration of the church.

So tomorrow is the final day. There are a lot of intersting things to see along the way and it is a fair way to travel. It looks like the sun is going to shine on the final day of my adventure!

DAY THIRTEEN

DAY THIRTEEN – GLAISDALE TO ROBIN HOOD’S BAY – 19 MILES
20 JUNE 2012

As I left the B&B this morning in Glaisdale I was seriously wondering what time I might get to Robin Hood’s Bay, because my feet were so bad. I could hardly walk, and it looked like I really would be hobbling all the way to the sea. To make it worse, the B&B was outside of Glaisdale, at the wrong end of the village, so I had 15 minutes of walking just to get back to the starting point. With my hobble it was more like 20.

First of all I had to pass through East Arncliffe Wood, just outside Glaisdale. It was pretty, but the path was quite muddy.

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After a bit of road walking, I arrived in Egton Bridge. I had to cross the Esk on two sets of stepping stones. They were quite safe, but I took my time.

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Egton Bridge has a strong Catholic tradition. It was the home of the priest Blessed Nicholas Postgate, who at the age of 82, was hung, drawn and quartered for his faith, in 1579. This is the pretty church of St Hedda. Unfortunately, it was closed, so I couldn’t look inside.

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The walk then took me past Egton Manor, with its donkeys.

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This brought me out at Grosmont, which is famous for its steam trains. Unfortunately, my forced slow pace meant that I didn’t arrive in time to see the steam train departing.

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There followed a long gruelling uphill slog on the road out of Grosmont. This photo doesn’t really do justice to how steep the climb was.

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This brought me up on to Sleights Moor. Finally, I started to get my walking legs, and was able to pick up the pace.

With the first glimpse today of the North Sea.

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After crossing the moor, the path headed down to the beautiful and enchanting Little Beck Wood.

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Pretty, but hardly Niagara.

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This large boulder was hollowed out in 1754 for a local schoolmaster.

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That’s more like it, the impressive Falling Foss Waterfall.

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The path then led up through the woods to a road from which it was possible to look town on the extent of Little Beck Wood. I stopped here for a brief lunch break, and was passed by the guy who I had met in the shop at Glaisdale yesterday, who was carrying all his gear with him and doing the C2C in 11 days. I later found out his name was Steve.

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Then it was across Sneaton Low Moor and Graystone Hills Moor, both of which were very boggy.

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The sea was getting closer. This is Whitby Abbey, using the telephoto.

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After nearly getting a boot full of bog water, I had to follow a very narrow, stony little path between two hedges. When I got to the end of it, I found Steve sitting on a grass verge. We agreed that it was the worst path on the whole of the C2C. While Steve had something to eat, I carried on.

If only the sign below were true, but I was taking a longer off-road route.
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At Hawkser, I found Perry and Angie with their little dog, having a sit down on a bench. I stopped and chatted to them for a while, and when they moved on, I sat down and had something to eat. A little later Steve caught me up and sat down, and we had a chat about our experiences on the C2C. I then headed on to complete the final stretch.

After a bit of road walking through Hawkser, the final section was to be by footpath.

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But first I had to cross a caravan park, which was a surreal experience.

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And then there it was, the North Sea!

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The weather was absoutley perfect. Warm sunshine, blue sky, no wind. I couldn’t have wished for a more perfect day to finish the C2C. You will rememer that Wainwright began his C2C walk with a cliff walk out of St Bees. And he chose to finish it with is beautiful cliff walk into Robin Hood’s Bay.

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The beautiful little seaside village of Robin Hood’s Bay wasn’t revealed until the very last moment.

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It was then a steep descent into the old part of the village and down to the sea!

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It was a massive sense of achievement as I drew near to the sea. All the tourists I passed didn’t have a clue what I had just done, but that didn’t matter. I headed to the little beach and got someone to take my photo and then I dipped my boots into the North Sea, just as I had in the Irish Sea.

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I then took out the little pebble that I had picked up on the beach in St Bees, and which I had carried with me all the way, and threw it into the sea.

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It was then off to the pub which stands right at the sea, to have my photo taken by the famous sign and to sign the C2C book. It was then time for a celebratory drink! Shortly Steve arrived, closely followed by Neil and Jack. We all congratulated each other and basked in the warm glow of what we had accomplished.

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And so I had done it! Despite being bitten half to death by midges, despite my exploding little toe, and sore feet and aching shoulders, despite rain and threatening cows, I had made it, I had crossed England from coast to coast. I was blistered but happy. And thanks to the people I met along the way and the wonderful and beautiful things I saw and experienced, I will have special memories to treasure for the rest of my life.

Before I end my blog, I just want to say a few “thank yous”.

Firstly, I would like to thank Stuart Greig for setting up this blog for me on his website www.walkingplaces.co.uk. Stuart was very patient with my lack of blogging knowledge and gave me sound and helpful tips about how to blog with my iPad. You can find many great walking blogs on Stuart’s site. So if you have enjoyed this, why not check them out?

I got to know of Stuart’s website through a walking friend, Paul Sharkey, who has his regular Lakeland fell walking site hosted here as well. Last year Paul finished his goal to climb all 214 of the Wainwright fells in the Lake District, a fantastic achievement. Paul puts up walking reports for all his walks, and they are really worth reading. They have detailed accounts of the fells climbed as well as wonderful photos and interesting stories of the day’s events. You can check it out at www.sharkeysdream.walkingplaces.co uk. I would like to thank Paul for his help and advice in preparing for this walk. Paul, I look forward to walking with you again in Lakeland in September.

I want to thank all the wonderful people I met along the way, John, Chris and Pat (the Cake to Cakers), Manhattan Pete, Dutch Matt and Dutch Luuc, Sandra and Mick, Dave and Pam, Perry and Angie, Neil and Jack and Steve, and the many others I encountered too. Without their encouragement and support and companionship, the walk would not have been what it was.

I want to thank everyone who sponsored me for this walk. Sr Margarita texted me today to say that the total amount pledged is now £5,190, which is absolutely amazing and far, far more than I ever could have hoped for. This money will really help with our project to restore the interior of Our Lady of the Holy Souls church. If you want to know more about what we are doing to the church, you can check it out at www.rcdow.org.uk/kensalnewtown.

And finally, thank you to all of you who have followed my blog over the past two weeks, especially those who have posted comments. Your support and encouragement has kept me going.

And so it ends, though the memories will live on and I will have much to reflect on as I head home to London. I hope you have enjoyed reading the blog, and if it has encouraged you to go and explore some of these amazing places for yourself, then I am more than happy.

With my thanks and prayers

Fr Shaun