Fields and Paved Roads

From Richmond to Danby Wiske: Ashfield House
23.61 km
139  metres of ascent, 249 metres of descent
8:10 AM -1:50 PM, 43 minutes stopped time
Friday, June 3, 2016

Sitting at the White Swan pub, Brian with Falconer sessional ale and me with a shandy, made with the Falconer and lemonade. Our hostess for the evening was visiting her friend, the barkeep at the White Swan when we arrived. Ashfield House is just around the corner.

It was a relatively flat day. Tomorrow is to be even flatter. We started out cool but after an hour or so, the wind was softer and I was able to remove headband and gloves, not the long sleeved merino though. It seems like a long time since we could just wear a t-shirt.

Many thanks to North Yorkshire that provided us with many signs today to show that we were on the Coast to Coast.

We had a couple of diversions today that added a kilometre or more to our hike. We were diverted around the motorway A6136 where a new bridge was being constructed. We were glad there was a temporary pedestrian bridge over the highway. We had heard that motorists step on the gas when they see coast to coasters crossing. Bridge construction had come to a standstill as archaeologists scoured the area. We also had to skirt a large quarry.

For the most part we walked through woods and even more so on pavement around huge fields where the barley was ready for cutting. Hay had already been brought in from some fields. Canola fields were growing tall and yellow. I think another crop was rye and we saw one field of soy beans.

According to our guide book there were many muddy sections and places where we would be wet from tall weeds and grasses. Fortunately because it has been dry for several days this was not the case. We certainly travelled through some potentially wet areas but even though the cow parsnip was over my head, it was not wet.

I think we only saw one stone wall today. Most fields were surrounded with wire fences that have disappeared in thick hedges or trees of flowering hawthorn the blossoms of which are just beginning to fade to pink. One field had an electric fence with the warning sign, LIVE.

The elms are dropping their seed pods carpeting our path. There were enormous chestnut trees in bloom. Some of these were Japanese chestnut. Their flowers were dusty rose, very beautiful.

We met a grain farmer from Cambridge at breakfast. He was taking a few days off for a hike along part of the coast to coast.

We were happy to find St. Mary’s Church at Bolton on Swale open to welcome visitors. There was a kettle with water, tea bags and snacks ready for self service and suggesting a donation. We were delighted to have a hot cup of tea and a place to change our socks. It was also a pretty church to visit. It was built in the fourteenth century. There were even older looking stone faces carved in its walls. Its claim to fame is the obelisk in the churchyard cemetery marking the grave of Henry Jenkins. Henry led an unremarkable life except for its length: 169 years!

We saw more crop fields than animal pastures but most of the latter were sheep or cows or both. Near the end we saw pastures of horses and the trail led us through most of these, except one pasture that had many white horses, short in stature but stocky with long manes and hairy legs. It is good that we did not cross that pasture. The stallion was fiercely protective. We did share our last apple with them.

The last pasture had plenty of cow patties. Try as we might we did not miss all of them. We had to clean our boots before entering the pub.

We are now happily relaxing in our sunny room, once again with three single beds. We have had both a hot bath and a shower. Our hand washing is on a clothes line drying in sunshine. Just like yesterday, the sun broke through the dark cloudy sky after our arrival.

Some have wondered why I have not written a blog each day but only posted photos. I have done both daily but I have posted writing and photos as separate blogs since WIFI connections have not always been speedy. If you have not seen what I have written, and you want to, scroll to the bottom of the WordPress page and click on “old posts”, you can then click on “previous” to go back through other posts.

We had good Italian seafood pasta last night at Piazza2. Tonight will be pub fare from the White Swan. This was once a much bigger centre with three pubs, a large police station, and many more inhabitants. There is now only one pub and three small B and Bs and a non-dedicated church from the eleventh century. Apparently there are 366 people. Most must be on vacation elsewhere. Tomorrow afternoon when we will be gone there will be lavish cakes in the village hall which we will miss.

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