More Down Than Up

From Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge: The Horseshoe Hotel
19.43 km
8:10 AM- 1:50, 90 minutes stopped time
142 metres up. 495 metres down
Tuesday, June 7, 2016

It was a very warm night. Our best breeze was in the bath tub. I considered lining the bath tub with our comforter, but I thought Brian might miss me or the comforter and there was not room for both of us in the tub.

We arrived hot and sweaty at the Arncliffe Arms at 11:50 AM looking for a drink and lunch. It did not open until 12 PM; so, we stretched out on a picnic table and waited. The barkeep opened at 12:01. We swallowed a half pint in seconds: Brian, a Foster’s and me a shandy made with Black Sheep ale. We have ordered a cream of vegetable soup and a bacon and Brie sandwich. We are thrilled to be sitting indoors in the cool of thick stone walls.

Brian was asked if he wanted the bacon and Brie on ciabatta or potato. He said, “potato” thinking “bread”. The large baked potato arrived with bacon and Brie on top and a salad on the side. All good!

It is 23C and the only shade we had was about 100 metres in the Arncliffe woods just before arriving at this pub. The barkeep says this is the hottest day this year.

We settled for a cold breakfast this morning so that we could start a little earlier. We had cereal, preserved grapefruit and prunes, yogourt and toast with jam. Very satisfying. We would like to have started walking at 7 AM since we were awake, but hotels won’t usually serve breakfast before 8 AM. Since there is rarely any place to eat in less than four hours of walking, we wait for breakfast.

There are no trees on the moors; so, hot is very hot. Only a few kilometres from Blakey Ridge, we met Fat Betty where tradition has it that you leave a snack at the base of this rock and take a snack. We were not sure how solid a tradition this was but a tanker truck stopped at the side of the road and the driver made his exchange; so, we did too. Almost every room we have had provided a small packet of two cookies; so, we exchanged one of these.

We did more road and lane walking across the top of Glaisdale High Moor and for a good stretch we had Great Fryup Dale to the left of us and the Esk Valley to the right. Lots more grouse chicks were running about. It was a quiet beginning but then for a couple of hours a jet or two played overhead. Brian said they were stalking us. A jet buzzed over us then roared down Fryup Dale below us. It circled, banked, dove then disappeared, reappearing minutes later roaring through the Esk Valley. I think the pilot was having fun on a clear sky day.

The only building we encountered on our journey before Glaisdale was a small stone barn known as “trough house”. Its windows were boarded. It provided shade for a small flock of sheep who looked miffed that we walked among them taking their photos.

Small dandelions randomly dotted the edge of our trail, usually alone with at least a hundred metres to the next one. None appeared to be more than a couple of feet from the path. Are these gifts from hikers’ boots? Tiny daisies and four petalled yellow flowers bloomed in patches.

All the streams are controlled by estates for fishing. The Esk River had signs along it proclaiming its privacy. In The Horseshoe Inn there are two mounted salmon on the wall. Both are over three feet long. One was from the Esk River and one was. Fought back from our Great Lakes by a local fisherman.

Glaisdale is a village of stone row house cottages that were built for the workers at the iron or coal mines from a century ago. There is no mining now. Half the village is up for sale.

After Glaisdale, we crossed a small bridge and climbed steep steps into East Arncliffe Wood.nit felt good to be in shade for our last three kilometres. The ferns, which we have seen all along the Coast to Coast, were fully unfurled here. There were many wild flowers blooming pink, yellow, blue and white.

We were shown to our lovely room with king size bed, white linens, huge opening window and tiny shower. Something had to be small! We have the Esk River running below us with a walking bridge to take us to an island where from our room Insee yellow gorse, fuschia coloured rhododendron, pale pink clematis and flowering white black thorn. The latter is what I have been calling hawthorn. This is less thorny.

We sat at a picnic table in the shade having a brew while waiting for Sherpavan to arrive. He came!

Thunder and dark clouds are rolling in. I must shower. We might have time for a stroll around the hamlet of Egton Bridge.

Last night Brian ate a lamb dinner with five different vegetables and a small Yorkshire pudding. I had a very filling lamb moussaka with peas, salad and too many fries to finish. Servings are always enormous. Dave and Sue will join us again for dinner here. They are staying at the Old Mill B and B on the other side of our little island.

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