Coast to Coast

A Walk on the Irish Seashore

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What started as a grey day turned sunny. We are sitting in the sunroom basking in light and drinking cocoa. We had a leisurely walk on the seashore at Seascale, just a few miles east of Gosforth. The tide was still going out; so, there was plenty of beach to walk on. The red earth and grass sea cliff has been reinforced in various places to keep the cottages from falling into the sea. Below the cliff the rocks are pushed up and some very large cut red sandstone fell to the shore some time ago. Then there are brown sandy bands, followed by pebbles and shells, more sand then more rock before giving way to more sand, the last two bands being under water at high tide. The board walk to the end of the pier was covered in sand in its middle part.

I had said I would wear my bathing suit and go for a swim. Jim said if I did so I would be front page news. Only little kids wade in the water here and then only on the hottest days of summer. Jim must think I am no longer a little kid. There was sufficient sea breeze that I wore long pants and a wind jacket and did not go swimming.

I did enjoy walking the beach. That is always a happy stroll for me. I love stopping to examine shells and stones. Brian will say I pocket too many treasures. I am selective when travelling with a backpack. There were not a lot of shells on the beach. I left behind eight inch long razor clam shells, too big for my pocket. I did not collect the sea urchin casings: too soft, they would be crushed in my pack. I did not take any stones; I already have a sampling from the east coast. I did pick up a few shells for my garden collection so that I have a sampling from both coasts.

The Isle of Man and Scotland were barely visible through the clouds. On the far southwestern horizon in the North Sea we could see dozens of windmills. To the north the sun shone brightly on the field above the cliff at St. Bees where we started our Coast to Coast hike three weeks ago!

There were magenta and white lupins standing tall on the grassy cliff. Sheep and lambs grazed on the pasture that edge the cliff. They called out to us as we walked below. As at Robin Hood’s Bay, there were only a few seagulls gliding above the sea.

Red sandstone is the predominant colour of the older buildings st Seascale such as the water tower and St. Cuthbert’s Church. When Sellafield Nuclear Plant was built in the fifties, homes were built for employees in Seascale. Many of these are two story rowbouses covered in grey stucco.

Brian and Jim stopped at the Friendly Butcher’s to buy lamb chops but they were sold out. It looks like super thick pork chops for supper. There is a full size rotund jolly butcher mannequin outside, always welcoming with a smile. Around the corner at the Ground Bailey Ice Cream Shop, a full size Jersey cow greets customers.

Back in Gosforth we walked to the Bakery to queue up out the door to buy steak and mushroom pies. We had this lovely lunch sitting in sunshine in Jim’s well tended garden. Old Jamaica ginger beer is very refreshing and non-alcoholic.

My thumbs are worn out from shuffling cards. We have played eight rounds of Hand and Foot since Sunday evening. The score now stands at Brian 3, Jim 1 and me 2. We are thinking of making some new crazy rules for after dinner. A set of 500 would be worth a thousand points.

Last night Brian prepared chicken cacciatore and I a salad. Brian has had a break from cooking these past few weeks. Few chefs cook better than Brian. He is working on pork chops in mushroom sauce. Jim and I are selecting vegetables. We will have rice which we have not seen since being in England.

We still do not have a photo of a ring neck dove although Brian captured a good blackbird shot. This last one is not colourful but he sure does sing!



Relaxing in Gosforth

Gosforth, Cumbria
Monday, June 13, 2016

Lanercost Priory deserves further mention. If ever you are passing by in Cumbria, it is well worth a visit. We did not give it the full time it deserved as we were tired, Jim was waiting for us and it was getting close to closing time. A good part of the priory can be viewed from the outside but for a small fee you can also visit the inside and see more of this well preserved church and Roman ruins. The priory was built using stone from the wall and local red sandstone. As with Whitby Abbey this combination of grey and red allows for interesting decorative stone work.

Lanercost’s three east arches are fully intact soaring some eighty feet high, an estimate of mine. A blue sky would definitely have added drama! The priory was built around 1169. As with all such constructions it no doubt took several years to build. The Scots led several raids on the priory but they must not have had sufficient breakfast or the priory was too well built because they did not destroy all of this magnificent structure.

Lanercost is not directly on Hadrian’s Wall. We walked down a hill some four hundred metres to the priory. It was well worth the descent. If we were planning to walk the full length of Hadrian’s Wall, I think I would plan on shorter distances each day to spend an hour or so at such wonderful sites. An added bonus is that there are tea rooms some of which even sell ice cream. I thoroughly enjoyed my lemon curd ice cream cone. There is also a B and B beside the priory.

It is our impression, based on those we met, that many people drive or take a bus to Hadrian’s Wall then stay in two or three inns or bed and breakfasts along the wall for a few nights each. There is a very large youth hostel currently being built beside Twice Brewed. There is hourly bus service that runs along Military Road and drops people off at B and Bs and historic sites.

There are many interesting sites to explore. Those who walk the wall from coast to coast do not usually allow for enough days to fully explore all the history and beauty the ruins have to offer. We saw the ruins of a seventh century fort that was entirely built from the stones from Hadrian’s Wall. The farm in front of this castle was then built from the stones from the castle. It was incredible to see the sixty foot high castle wall remains standing in the backyard of the farm. The farm is no doubt a few hundred years old. As recently as 1999 people were still hauling stones away from the castle before English Heritage stepped in.

Walking the wall path also meant that we walked another section of the Pennine Way as these overlap for several kilometres. As well as the Coast to Coast and Hadrian’s Wall, we walked parts of the Pennine Way, the Cleveland Way, the Cumbrian Way and most of the Lyke Wake Walk. There is no shortage of public footpaths and bridleways in England.

We did not think we could get lost on Hadrian’s Wall. Just follow the wall. Yesterday we did that and at one point that brought us to a cliff. Lacking a parachute or glider, we decided to retrace our steps and see where others turned left ninety degrees. The winding descent took us safely to Cawfield Quarry and our cappuccino.

We had a leisurely morning at Jim’s. Brian delivered a cup of tea to me in my comfortable bed under a turquoise duvet the colour of which I love and a peaceful print of Padstow at low tide. Serene is how I feel. Brian walked to the variety store and brought back fresh croissants and pain au chocolat.

We did some statistics this morning. Our total Coast to Coast walk was 323.09 kilometres. We averaged 21.5 kilometres a day. We included our two days on Hadrian’s Wall when figuring that our total ascent and descent was 18423 metres. When we calculate the ratio of rise to run, it is
.5of a metre. We compared this to doing the Tour of Mont Blanc and discovered that the elevation changes amount to 10600 metres over 180 kilometres. The ratio is then .59 of a metre. For a twelve day tour of Mont Blanc, the average distance is 15 kilometres per day. Bryan and Susan, are you ready? Any other takers? We can do this! Not today.

We are enjoying our lazy indoor rainy day. We might break out our ponchos later to have a little walk in the rain: an excuse to use our ponchos and find puddles to splash in to clean off yesterday’s manure.

We took our ponchos with us for a little walk around the village. We were not outside five minutes when the rain stopped. We had no use for ponchos. We cannot get the rain to fall even when we look for it!

Many thanks to all for your congratulations and good wishes. We appreciate your encouragement.

Time for tea and scones!


Finished with Hadrian

From Twice Brewed on Military Road in Northumberland to Lanercost Priory in Cumbria
Walking Along Hadrian’s Wall
26.37 km
558 metres Up, 719 metres Down
8:35 AM to 3:35 PM
Sunday, June 12, 2016

We left Eliane at Twice Brewed. She walked six kilometres, had an informative guided tour of Vindolanda then took a bus and train and arrived safely in Todd Morden where she will explore gardens and food.

It was a longer and tougher walk than we anticipated. We thought it would be 23 kilometres but that did not include the walk from Twice Brewed to the wall where we left off yesterday. Nor did it include a diversion that took us through the village of Gilsland. I think they wanted us to see their two pubs and maybe stop for a brew but we had just had a cappuccino beside the Wallstown Quarry.

After the first ten minutes we had the longest steepest climb and descent on Hadrian’s Wall. Because of the rainy day forecast I was wearing my rain pants. By the top of the second hill, I was down to my t-shirt. By 11 AM we had arrived at the Cawsfield Quarry where a washroom magically appeared. I took off my rain pants that had soaked me from the inside and out on much lighter cooler Solomon pants. There was another woman in the washroom who was making long use of the hand dryer to dry her long wet hair and soggy camping clothes. She was rained on last night while camping. I was so glad not to be her!

Although it rained in the night, in spite of today’s forecast, we had no rain on our walk. It was foggy when we stated this morning but less dense than yesterday’s. For the first several climbs the fog closed in behind us so that after climbing out of a valley we often could not see the hill behind us. We could always see the hills ahead and there were many. We took more than three hours to walk the first ten kilometres.

It was a wonderful surprise to find a snack bar in the middle of nowhere. We sat down at a picnic table and had our coffee with the bacon and sausage sandwiches we made this morning with our leftovers from breakfast. We had to switch to a table in the shade where there was a light breeze so the midges did not devour us. This is the first day in all of our walking that we encountered any type of biting insects. I think we came away unscathed.

The hills also diminished after our break. We still had hills but more gradual and we began to go more down than up. We saw quite a few hikers on the trail both days. Weekends bring out lots of walkers even in the fog. A group of some twenty teenage girls were on the trail early this morning with adult chaperones. They had been camping. They were carrying large packs. I do not know whether this was a youth, church or school group. Not all of them looked happy to be there. Two girls were clinging to each other as they walked. Their faces said, “Rescue us. We should not be here. Where are our warm beds?”

The English love their dogs. At every pub there is a water bowl inside the door and often a jar of dog treats. Dogs are welcome in pubs. There were often as many dogs as people in the pubs. Many dog owners arrive with two or three dogs. We also saw many dogs walking the trails. Many pastures had signs asking that dogs be kept on leads to avoid harming sheep or cows. Probably only half the walkers obeyed this request but generally dogs stayed close to their owners.

We were so happy to see the rolling pastures, stone walls, sheep, lambs, cows and calves that were mostly hidden from us yesterday.

We were even happier to arrive at Lanercost Priory and find Jim waiting for us while he finished his ice cream cone. We are so grateful to Jim for his chauffeuring. Our supply bag had arrived at the tea room; so, we changed our shoes, had an ice cream, looked around the priory and the cemetery. I found and photographed four Wannop ancestor’s gravestones for you, Kate.

After arriving home in Gosforth, Brian and I each had a hot bath and Jim made us excellent gin and tonics and served chips and nuts. And once we were here in the house, it poured for a couple of hours. All of us were happy, Jim because his gardens needed rain and us because we were not walking in rain.

After good pizza and Caesar salad at the Wild Olive, Jim and Brian are neck and neck winning at Hand and Foot and I am way behind. We have leftovers for lunch. Last night all three of us ordered crab ravioli. There was actually a good amount without surplus. I finished my meal.


Hadrian’s Wall


Taking our time today


The Pennine Way joined us.


Lough Crag below the wall


A slow steep slippery descent

From Carraw B and B to Twice Brewed Inn
13 kilometres
8:40 AM to 1:23 PM
328 metres Up, 368 metres Down
Saturday, June 11, 2016

What was Hadrian thinking In 122 AD? I guess he had plenty of soldiers to build a fifteen foot high ten foot wide mound of earth to hold back the hordes of barbarians from the north. But then he saw that the ground had more stone than dirt ; so, along side the mound which had already created a ditch, he set his minions to constructing an equally high and wide stone wall. Of course, if you are going to have a wall run across this narrow part of England, only 73 miles (117.5 km), you also need some gateways to be able to maintain both sides of the wall. So let’s have a “mile castle” every mile. Now you need two turrets spaced equally between each of these precisely built 20 foot by 20 foot square mile castles. Hadrian and his band did not do anything by halves! The Romans soldiers also needed a place to sleep; so, let’s build a stone fort every five miles. The one we passed at Housesteads is one of the best preserved forts. We did not tour these extensive ruins but we did get a view of the many rooms that had one to two foot high walls still standing. Just imagine all those soldiers busy building! They finished this construction in six years and there are still well preserved evidence nearly two thousand years later. We need some of this expertise in Toronto working on a new Gardiner Expressway!

Brian thinks Hadrian could have done things much more cheaply with less labour and effort if he had just offered some Roman coins to each man, woman and child to the north who made up the hordes. How many of them could there have been, really? But then we would not have these lovely ruins to view and an excuse to explore this part of England.

Why didn’t we spend time wandering around the fort? This was a drizzly day with thick fog. We could not see more than ten metres in any direction until our last half hour when it began to rain harder but the fog also lifted a little. I kept imagining what the fields and hills would looks like if we had had a blue sky. At least we used some rain gear, even the rain cover for my day pack: bright pink to show up on this gloomy day. Our bright yellow rain jackets and some yellow trefoil in places along the wall provided today’s sunshine.

We were able to check into Twice Brewed upon our arrival but our rooms were not ready. They were by the time we had warmed ourselves with a large bowl of tomato tarragon soup and warm bun. We should not have looked into Eliane’s room then we would not have had room envy. Eliane has a room twice the size of ours with a king size bed and a view to the fields behind the inn. Our double bed looks to a green hill across the road from the front of the inn. Ah well, Eliane had a tiny single bed garret on the third floor of the B and B in Robin Hood’s Bay and her room at the Old Repeater Station last night was nothing special. She was due for a nice room.

We are once again far from a village but the inn has food and drink and hot water. Who could ask for anything more. We reserved a table for this evening as a local fair is taking place just over the hill below Hadrian’s Wall. From on high, we saw the pens of sheep, heard the herding dogs barking, saw a bouncy castle. The local foot race took place through the fields below us. We saw the runners going and returning. Apparently many of the fair participants will be looking for food and much more drink here this evening.

Walking Hadrian’s Wall is a much more up and down affair than we anticipated. We had not done much, if any, research into this. Obviously if we are in a hilly part of England, which we are, the wall will follow the hills. Naturally the wall was built on the precipice of the hills. When we looked over the wall, where we could see through the fog, what we saw were sheer drops. Just as well not to look down. We saw half a dozen Irishmen clinging to the precipice on the opposite side of the wall. We recommended they climb over to our side. They did. We probably saved a few Irish lives today! This group was hiking all of Hadrian’s Wall in less than five days.


Getting to Hadrian’s Wall

From Robin Hood’s Bay to Military Road West of Chollerford in Northumberland: ¬†Carraw B and B
9:15 AM to 3:40 PM
208 km by bus and taxi
Friday, June 10, 2016

Travelling by bus is exhausting! We repacked our two bags as we both carried everything today. No Sherpavan. We made arrangements with Walkersbags to carry our supply bag for the next two days. They were more reasonable than Sherpavan.

We had a good breakfast to start us off. I love the places that provide yogourt and a mixed bowl of fresh fruit. Clare of Lee-Side gets top marks for the best fruit bowl mix of our stay. Clare also does moist fluffy scrambled eggs almost as well as Brian makes. His secret is that he adds cheese.

FYI the winner of the Northern Traverse race stayed at this B and B. He showed up on their doorstep without a reservation. Eoin Keith of Ireland finished in 51:38:15. He was the only Irishman. There was one American. All six women finished. For more about this crazy race:

What would be a car ride of three hours was a bus ride with changes and wait time in Middlesborough and Newcastle of five and a half hours. This got us to Hexham, a busy little hub, where there was a detour for bridge construction that threw an extra wrinkle in our next bus stage. After discussing how to get the local AD122 bus to our two different B and Bs with a man at the bus station, our heads were swimming. It once again looked like rain. Brian asked a taxi driver how much it would cost to take us. He quoted us twelve pounds. After he dropped Eliane off, the meter was already at twenty pounds. He turned it off and drove us the extra three kilometres. It was money well spent. I think we would still be getting here by bus.

Carraw B and B is right on Hadrian’s Wall. It is a very old stone building that has been very nicely renovated and modernized on the inside. They also have a new stone house built in the old style with extra rooms, nine rooms in all.

We arrived twenty minutes too early at the B and B. Leah had gone to get her children from school. Two women and a man arrived in two cars after us; so, all of us were waiting when Leah arrived. We were glad it was not raining. The first half of our bus ride was in the rain. Two of our three buses were double deckers. We had the front seats at the top, but our big windows drizzled with rain. I suggest the company install windshield wipers. Today we would not have seen far as it was rather foggy and rainy. The good news is that we were not walking in it. Our third bus was a single layer. The driver had the heat cranked up to maximum. A toddler screamed for the first half of the trip. He was probably too hot. I could feel his pain.

We had time in the large city of Newcastle (900 000) to take a photo outside Eldon Square of the war memorial and buy a piece of pizza. It was greasy. Eliane chose more wisely and had a roasted chicken bun.

We started this morning with a wonderful hot bubble bath. Even though we did not break into a sweat today we each felt grungy from our bus travel; so, we had a shower. Then at 6:30 PM the two ladies who arrived after us offered to take us with them to supper some miles down the road as there are no eateries here on this part of Hadrian’s Wall. Nothing but green fields do I see…and more fog. We could have had supper at the B and B if we had ordered at least twenty-four hours in advance. We missed that in the fine print at the bottom of the website.

We do have a comfortable room. Too bad about the sloped exposed wood beam supported by stone just inside our room’s door. Brian already banged his head on the wood and stone. We have had a mug of hot chocolate and a homemade shortbread cookie. We will be fine.

The two ladies from Northern Ireland dove us eight kilometres east of here to Humshaugh to the Crown Inn. Two of us thought we would have the salmon offering but it was crossed off the blackboard as we decided. Brian had a burger with onion rings, fries and a salad. Mildred had fish and chips while two of us ordered the goat cheese, tomato and pine nut tart with salad and fries. I am sure the menu board said “tart” but two tarts arrived, each covered with a half inch layer of goat cheese, half a plate of thick cut fries and half a plate of very good mixed salad. I had to force myself to finish both tarts. They were too good to waste. I ate most of the salad but I did not do the fries justice.

We were glad to hear from Eliane that her host drove all their guests into another town for dinner. No one will starve tonight!


A different kind of sheep


The other guest house at Carraw


Brian tried the local brews including nettle beer.


War memorial in Newcastle

Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby

Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby
Travelling by Bus and Walking Up and Down
20 km by bus 12 km on foot
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Safa’s 16th Birthday

Happy Birthday, Safa!

We saw a few interesting features besides mud and bog yesterday. In Little Beck Wood, a school teacher hollowed out a boulder to make his hermitage. He carved a perfect door with a triangular peak. One assumes he did all this with hammer and chisel since he did it in 1799! Falling Foss, meaning water, is the site of a 20 metre waterfall as well as a charming outdoor tea garden in the woods. A car park a few kilometres away means that people who do not want to walk so far can still get here.

Egton Bridge is a beautiful village with some huge houses and one enormous estate, all with colourful gardens. We walked around the village after our arrival, stepping across the well worn stepping bridge across the River Esk. We visited St Hedda’s Catholic Church, wherein we learned about Blessed Nicholas Postgate, a priest born in 1596 who ministered to the people of the moors for 51 years before being hanged, drawn and quartered 1679. There is a wonderful stained glass image of him wearing shepherd’s cape trudging across the moors.

As we left Egton Bridge we heard and saw many pheasants. In a farmyard we saw a black one. Pheasants have been a feature right across England. The lane we walked was once a toll road, a sign on the toll cottage showed the prices in pence for each type of vehicle, horse drawn or otherwise for as recently as 1948. One horse with 4 wheels was eight pence. A hearse was the second most expensive way to travel at 6 pence.

Once out of the mist the seacoast town of Whitby appeared and reappeared in the distance as we skirted it to the south. Because of the cloudy day, the North Sea was not visible until we were practically on the cliff with another seven kilometres to walk with the sea on our left below us. Yes, we walked up and down on the cliffs, but never all the way to the shore until we arrived in Robin Hood’s Bay. This trail was once again part of the Cleveland Way.

Robin Hood’s Bay has a newer 19th century upper town and a lower town that has evidence of settlement dating back 3000 years. Much of the town is red brick. Every house has a name which is something we have seen right across England. Many of the houses have unique arch brickwork and interesting wood or stone peaks above the front doors. The white rose of the house of York is seen throughout Yorkshire. Here we also see it carved in stone.

Brian and I took the local double decker bus to Whitby ten kilometres away this morning. The bus had us at Whitby harbour in about fifteen minutes even with a long pause for a construction zone. This is much faster than walking! We wanted to see the ruins of the famous Whitby Abbey and we needed cash. There are no ATMs or banks in Robin Hood’s Bay and there have not been any of thaws since Richmond.

It is incredible to see the detail of this enormous abbey and how much of it is still standing. Instead of destroying this one Henry had an inventory done of all of its contents and leased it to a local lord. This seemed to be a far more sensible thing to do. We did not have sunshine as we walked around the abbey but it was great just wandering around it listening to an audio set about various aspects of construction and life in the abbey and stories of saints, pilgrims and the Saxons who inhabited this space before there was an abbey. Did I mention we climbed one hundred and ninety-nine steps to get to the abbey, walked around and through it for more than an hour and descended those same steps. We did not have to count the steps. A sign warned us how many there were.

We were happy to return to quieter Robin Hood’s Bay. Some of the same school trips arrived on the sand beach from Whitby when we did. There were dozens of school trips happening.

After we lunched on cappuccino and a corned beef and potato pastie for Brian and a cheese and onion pie for me, we descended to the beach. We walked almost to the far south end of the beach, 3.75 km from our lodging. We examined rocks, looking for jet and fossils. We found a few and chatted with a pair of student paleontologists . We found a few lippet shells. No other shells to be found.

By the time we were getting an ice cream cone to walk back up our hill, Eliane was texting us her arrival. We had a happy reunion over tea at our B and B. Eliane has a room just two doors down the street. Brian did not feel like a second descent to the beach, but I accompanied Eliane on a beach tour. She did not tell me she had her bathing suit on; so, she had a swim bit I did not! I took photos to record the event. I put my wind jacket on while Eliane frolicked in the water.

We had supper at the Victoria Hotel Pub. Brian and I shared a cream of crab soup then each of us had deep fried scampi with fries, mushy peas and cold slaw. Brian had to finish mine.

We visited the cemetery and grounds of St Stephen’s Church built in 1870. We did not get to see the interior but this is a very large church with a 120 foot tower that is a distinctive landmark.

We are repacking our two bags so that each of us can carry one. Sherpavan is not taking our supply bag to Hadrian’s Wall, but most of our travel will be by bus tomorrow. We are leaving Robin Hood’s Bay before this weekend’s folk festival.


Whitby Harbour


Whitby Abbey


Eliane swims!


Happy together again

Mission Accomplished!

From Egton Bridge to Robin Hood’s Bay: Lee-Side Manor
27.97 km plus .79 km to the sea= 28.76 km
8:30 AM to 3:40PM PM, 59:30 minutes stopped
652 metres up, 688 metres down
Wednesday, June 8, 2016

We have arrived! Our B and B is gorgeous. Clare is taking good care of us. We have given her a load of laundry, everything we are not wearing. We have each soaked in a high backed Victorian style tub. Yes, it would have been better if it were half a foot longer, but still wonderful. We each have a soft velour robe to wear. It feels quite luxurious.

Robin Hood’s Bay is a lovely town. It is part of the area known as Fylingdales which is comprised of RHB, Fylingthorpe and Fylinghall School. The whole area has a population of 1346. Upon arrival here we went directly to our B and B to check in and clean up then we finished our Coast to Coast by walking downhill to the harbour and stepping into the North Sea. Brian did so in his waterproof shoes. I rolled up my pants and went in barefoot. My feet feel that the water was 68 F, similar to Georgian Bay. I might have to swim tomorrow! The only problem is that I had no way to wash the sand off my feet. Brian insists that I must wash my feet before getting into bed. The sand is still safely inside my socks for now.

We signed the Coast to Coast book at the Wainwright Bar to officially record our journey. We saw Dave and Barbara arrive while we were having a beer in the sunshine on the terrace of the Bar. That was the first sun we felt all day. Dave and Barbara got lost en route; so, ended up arriving two hours after us even though at one point they arrived at Falling Foss Tea Garden as we were leaving it. They should not have arrived more than half an hour behind.

It was an easy day to get lost unless you were using GPS. We are thankful we had Gaia. There was a dearth of signposts today.

The morning was cool then after two kilometres it was misty and visibility was poor for the next six kilometres beginning in Grosmont. This village is noted for its steam train that was getting ready to puff out of the village as we passed through. From Grosmont we climbed a 33% grade for three kilometres in forty-five minutes. Talk about heart pumping. In spite of the heat my body was producing the cold damp air chilled me and I wore my long sleeved merino and my wind jacket. I had stored my gloves and headband in our shipped bag yesterday. Today I regretted not having them. My hands felt like ice.

Our guide book referred to boggy, very boggy and muddy in several places today. That was all true. This was probably our muddiest day. People who say you can wear running shoes after the Lake District are not giving good advice, in my humble opinion. Especially when you consider that we had fifteen days of walking with no rain, I cannot imagine what some of these trails would have been after just one downpour. We did not wear our gaiters. If you wore running shoes you would definitely have needed gaiters. Our harder soled boots provided considerably more comfort for our feet on lots of hard rubble and rock surfaces.

We travelled across Sleights Moor without seeing far. The mist was lifting as we walked into the picturesque hamlet of Little Beck. There was once a famous woodcarver, Thomas Whittaker, here who was known for his gnomes, but we were unable to see any of his work. Little Beck used to be noted for alum mining but there is no evidence left of that, just beautiful homes and gardens.

Little Beck wood reminded us of the Bruce Trail, albeit one of the muddiest sections. There is nothing straight about the Coast to Coast. It meanders north and south sometimes practically turning us back on ourselves, carving deep Vees on our trail. My guess is a straight line distance would be half of what we walked.

We celebrated our ending with dinner at the Wayfarer, a more expensive restaurant than we had anywhere else. Although the lamb shank and crispy duck were good we do not think they were better than what we had at any pub. The server also did not get Brian’s order right. He did not complain but that was the first time that happened. In fact I enjoyed last night’s salmon dinner more than any I had, at seven pound less than tonight’s duck which was over cooked. Last night Brian had another delicious mushroom and steak pie. No room for dessert either night!

More about Robin Hood’s Bay tomorrow when we explore its narrow streets which run steeply to the North Sea. We are delighted to be staying here for two nights. We look toward to Eliane’s arrival tomorrow.


Suitable for swimming


Robin Hood’s Bay


Finished the Coast to Coast!


Stepping across the River Esk

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.

Hot, Quiet Moors

From Chop Gate to Blakey Ridge: The Lion Inn
14.14 km
8:23 to 12:05 PM 25 minutes stopped
279 metres up, 140 metres down
Monday, June 6, 2016


We arrived early in the sprawling Lion Inn. The restaurant bar area is many connected rooms all with low beamed ceilings. The many signs cautioning us to mind our head are justified. The restaurant is busy with noon day traffic. The parking lot is filling up. People are eating and drinking at picnic tables outdoors as well as in. There are four servers behind the bar. The first one we talked to told us our room was ready and directed us up six steps to room number one. Our double bed under a beamed ceiling with small window awaits. The long tub is appealing. Brian is already soaking.

Our three by one foot window looks out on the roof of the inn and the tip of the hill from which we came. I can see two sheep lounging at the base of a tall memorial stone. Although there is not the whisper of wind from this window, there is a lovely breeze wafting in the small window above the tub. Also rising are conversations from the picnic tables. I listened to snippets as I soaked. I relaxed in the tub longer than usual hoping that our Sherpavan driver would arrive. This is the first day we arrived before our supply bag. Brian dressed in his stinky clothes and headed to the pub for a brew. I would prefer clean clothes. I don’t think a towel is acceptable attire in the pub. Brian just came to inform me that Sherpavan won’t arrive for an hour and a half. Stinky it is.

The Lion Inn is Blakey Ridge, the fourth highest inn in England.

We had lunch with Dave and Sue. Their prawn filled buns and salad looked great but huge; so, we ordered just one and a Stilton soup to share.

Today we climbed three moors: Urra, Farndale and High Blakey. Really the first was the steepest and the other two fairly gradual slopes. We were more on top of the moors and in the middle most of the time; so, our views were predominantly of the moors and less of valleys until the last hour.

We contented ourselves with a leisurely, albeit hot stroll. No trees shade the moors. The heather would easily hide a dead body. You can see why murder mysteries might be situated here. One person remarked though that the peat would preserve the corpse then a found body would be good for a cold case.


Do you see the face in the rock

Only four people passed us coming in the opposite direction. One cyclist crossed the moors on a trail perpendicular to ours. Two couples were microscopic in the distance behind us. A much quieter day than yesterday. Plus we were driven to our starting point in less than ten minutes compared to fifty minutes of perilous road walking yesterday afternoon.

The birds provided the only sound. We saw a grouse with chicks but they did not pose for us. We saw many other grouse. They clucked as we approached, giving away their hiding places. We heard but did not see one pheasant. Finches, I think, zoomed back and forth across our path usually in pairs. The curlews swooped, dove and shrieked to divert us from their nests.

A two foot long black diamond on light green snake slithered in front of our boots. We have since been told that was a poisonous adder.

We only saw one bunny and the usual sheep dotting the moors, often mom and one or two lambs. I don’t know how a shepherd gathers his flock. It would be difficult even for a dog to run through the heather. The sheep are spread far and wide.

We did not see water on the moors yesterday, but today we saw a few pools and a stream ran, or rather sat, alongside the old rail bed we walked.


There used to be an iron mine on the moors. This explains the former rail line. No hamlets sprang up along its route. Yesterday we saw the remains of an alum mine.

I counted half a dozen butterflies yesterday and again today which brings my total for thirteen days to nineteen. I included a fat golden bronze caterpillar because eventually she will be a butterfly or moth. Most of the butterflies were white with greyish blue spots. A few were yellow and one tiny one today was bright orange with a broad black border on the wings. One white one almost landed on my nose as if to say, “You want butterflies? Here I am!” None posed.

Our bag arrived. We changed into shorts and are enjoying this restful day.

We shared a warm dark chocolate fudge cake with a scoop of chocolate orange ice cream last night. I do not think I have lost any weight on this trip.


Beauty on the Moors

From Osmotherley to Chop Gate: The Buck Inn
21.89 km
821 metres up, 813 metres down
8:30 AM to 3:20 PM, 1hr 6 minutes stopped time
Sunday, June 5, 2016
Alex’s 12th birthday

Happy Birthday, Alex! To celebrate your birthday, we climbed up and down four moors today. If it had been cloudy, rainy, foggy or misty, we would probably have been sad Heathcliffs, but instead the sun shone brilliantly, the sky was blue and we were Mary Poppins happy.

The moors are blanketed in heather and boxwood. The heather is still brown. The flowering does not happen as early as it did in Spain. I assume the other bright green leaves shrubbery is boxwood. That is what it looked like to me. Common sorrel painted the moors red in patches.


We did have some forest today, mostly on the lower banks of the moors. The lower parts of the forest were deciduous, mostly sycamore while higher up large pine and tamarack grew. We first crossed Scarth Wood Moor and as we descended this we saw that Dave and Barbara had followed the road thus avoiding ascending and descending, but they missed our beautiful views of fields of canola, flax, hay and nearby villages. One of the interesting aspects today is that we could see for a long time where we came from and the long path ahead.

Next was Live Moor where we sat on the windless side of a cairn to change our socks and have a snack. When we descended Carlton Moor we came upon a stone building that housed Lord Stones Cafe. This is a busy hub in the middle of the moors with no less than three parking lots. The Sunday walkers were out in throngs, walking the moors and spending their quids at the cafe.

We saw more people with dogs than children. We saw working trials on Cringle Moor for dogs such as German Shorthhairs, black Labs and Golden retrievers. Further along parasailors were having a grand time floating off the moors. Naturally the wind died by the time I got close enough to ask one for a lift along the Coast to Coast. I have thought of you a lot today, Brilynn, remembering your walking donkeys up to their summer pasture and seeing that every time you thought you were at the top, there was another summit to climb. I also remember that you tried parasailing. It must have been a beautiful day like this one. Those experiences n France were only a few short years ago, weren’t they? Time is so elusive!

When we were just half an hour from Clay Bank Top we came to the Wain Stones, a giant pile of stones that resemble enormous cake decorations rising from Hasty Bank. I am sure Alex and Julie would have loved these and I would have had heart failure watching them. Two young men were rappelling down one of the large rocks. The narrow path along these stones was one place where I focussed on looking up more than down.

The Buck Inn proprietors advertise that they will pick us up at Clay Bank Top but Sunday is their busiest restaurant day ; so they said they could not pick us up until at least 4:30 PM. Fresh from walking over four moors, we walked the extra five kilometres to the inn, it was all downhill. Unfortunately three and a half kilometres of it was on a busy road where motorcyclists were testing their speed and handling skills up and down this curvy road. We were glad to find a walkway for the last bit.

We have a double bed with a delightful red and white flowered quilt. Our washing is hanging outside, almost all dry. The shower stall is the smallest yet but the water was hot. All is good.

Here it is 4:30 PM and we are sitting at a picnic table in sunshine wearing t-shirts. Fabulous! We wore t-shirts most of today. What a delightful change!

It was definitely not flat today, but very different climbing compared to the Lake District, more gradual slopes and paths made of flat stones, not rocky rubble. ¬†Much of today’s trail was on the Cleveland Way a recognized national trail. The signage was excellent, no need to consult the GPS.

We wondered how anyone made this amazing stone trail. Some of the rock slabs were more than three foot square. Some had chiseled markings or remnants of iron bars in them. We think they may have come from ruins such as the amount Grace Priory. We learned from two locals at the pub that this stone path was laid about fifteen years ago. The stone was helicoptered in. It must have been quite the construction project. The stones also help people stay dry when the moors are wet and boggy. Since it has been dry these past two weeks, the moors are quite dry.

We have heard grouse for a few days but never seen one. Back on the trail near Keld there were grouse butts. These are semi round stone walls behind which hunters would wait with their guns while beaters would walk through the heather moving the grouse in the direction of the hunters. This is a rich man’s sport. A person would pay eight hundred pounds a day to shoot grouse. Brian only shot grouse with his camera today, but I think he got some pretty good shots. The grouse are peat brown in colour not beige like our ruffed grouse.

Our friend, Jim Cross, used to live in or near Osmotherley. He made the walk a few times when his kids were in school from Osmotherley to Robin Hood’s Bay. It was a school fundraiser. They walked all night on the longest day of the year. I hope they had full moon clear nights. I sure would not have wanted to do this walk at night. It was known as the Lyke Wake Walk. Apparently at one time it was a tradition to carry a coffin from Osmotherley to drop it in the North Sea for burial.

Brian was in awe of all the expensive cars we saw in Osmotherley yesterday. There were also some pretty large homes in town and estates out of town. We are not sure where the money is coming from. Walking the Coast to Coast you do not get an idea of where people work who live in these small villages. There used to be a large chemical plant nearby but it has been replaced with smaller companies. In Osmotherley we saw Alpha Romeos, BMWs, Mercedes, Jaguars, Porsches, Jeeps, lots of Minis. Of course here salt is not used on the roads and even older models look brand new.

Last night Brian had ribs with chips and salad while I had melt in your mouth venison casserole with potatoes, carrots and cabbage. We had to share a delicious sticky toffee pudding even though we were stuffed after the main course.

There is a variety of German dishes on tonight’s menu. Our hosts are German/ English. We are going to try the beef lasagna made with local beef. I know that is not German!