Thursday, 26 June 2014

Wild Camping

Tomorrow night we are heading up to the langdale valley to wild camp next to red tarn on pike o blisco, pics to follow over the weekend 

Monday, 16 June 2014

Our next challange

The Yorkshire 3 peaks is our next challenge on the 12 of July me, Sean and a few of Sean's work colleagues will be setting off on this 24.5 mile challenge over Pen-y-Ghent (691 metres), Whernside (728 metres) & Ingleborough (723 metres) the challenge is to complete these three peaks in under 12 hours and hopefully make some money for charity, i will keep you all updated over the next few weeks :)
http://www.justgiving.com/Cutler3peaks

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Day 12 Egton Bridge to Robin Hoods Bay 16.5 miles



Once again sunshine, blue skies and warm conditions greeted us when we woke, perfect weather for our victory walk in to Robin Hoods Bay. After a quick breakfast of muesli and toast we hit the trial for just after 8am, we wanted a confidant and early start today, the last day is still fairly challenging with enough up’s and downs to leave you suitably shattered on arrival, especially on a hot day like this we thought.
We had a fine walk that morning leaving Egton Bridge, it was a nice mix of bridle tracks and woodland walking before we arrived at the Falling Foss cafe in Little Beck Woods, surely no other cafe can have a setting like this, deep in Little Beck Woods with the Falling Foss water fall visible near the outdoor seating area and the trees providing some welcome shade from the sun, a perfect stop for lunch, even if it was only 11:30am.
Already sat down, guess who, yep, Astrix and Martin were already enjoying coffee and cakes, still just one step ahead of us, but not finishing their C2C until tomorrow, so they were only heading to Hawkster today, planning the final stretch across the cliff tops to the bay in the morning, so they were in no rush enjoying their “brunch”.
After our tea and cakes we said our goodbyes to our friends, for what we thought would surely be the final time. We followed the bridle track and road out of Little Beck woods, just at the right time it seemed as day trippers were now beginning to swamp Falling Foss overwhelming the tranquillity we were enjoying. The walk along the normally wet and boggy moors was an easy one; the hot sun had dried all the bogs making the crossing of Sneaton Low Moor a much easier one today. Walking across the moors provided fine views of Whitby Abbey, the North Sea clearly visible beyond.  We arrived at Hawkster at around 14:30, still feeling pretty good, but now ready for a coffee and something proper to eat (not cake).
We stopped at a cafe at the North Cliff Caravan Park, wanting to save the last walk along the Cliff Top to the Bay for just a little longer.
After our lunch stop I put my Rucksack on for one last time for our final 2-3 mile walk along the cliff tops to Robin Hoods Bay, the weather hazed over slightly which I was really pleased about, just enough to take the direct sun heat off us for our final section. The walk across the cliff tops is a dramatic one, with stunning views both north and south cross the ridge, it’s great to end the walk as it’s starts with a cliff top walk, it is very similar to St Bees and memories of our walk setting off 12 days ago came flooding back.
We arrived at the end of the cliff top walk and began to descend the steep road into Robin Hoods Bay, as we did I noticed a bloke who looked just like Sarah’s dad taking photos of everything that moved, only two groups of people take photos of literally everything, Japanese tourists and Sarah’s dad Bill which confirmed that it was him!
So the three of us walked down the final stretch down to smugglers bay to touch the North Sea and throw our stones. After meeting up with Lyne Sarah’s mum & dipping our boots in the sea Bill said “right, who’s for a drink” great idea we thought, we sat outside the Bay Hotel reflecting on our walk and telling stories of the up’s and downs of or journey for the next hour or so. Sarah’s parents had also bought us a certificate from Cromwell’s at the bottom of the bay; on our first C2C in 2011 our friends had bought us one similar for our achievements. The special thing about this certificate was it combined all three C2C walks, 2011, 2012 and 2014, 576 miles in total, thanks guys!
We finished our drinks and walked back down to the sea, with the tide now fully in and lapping around the foot of the bay to throw our stones in to complete our journey, quite an emotional moment really and officially ending coast to coast 2014. One good thing about Bill’s continual picture taking was he got some great shots of us throwing our stones into the North Sea, pictures we’d no doubt look back on with happy memories.

And that was it, our Coast to Coast journey was over, and far too quickly it seemed. I think our previous C2C walks, as well as some other long and multiple days walks we’d done had mainly been enjoyed on reflection, but this walk had been enjoyed right from day one, and every day since. Even though it was our 3rd C2C we still found out more about this walk, again tweaking our route from previous crossings. Each C2C was very different from the last, which each being its own unique experience.
We both agreed C2C 2014 was our finest experience, with no injuries or blister problems to speak of, lovely places we’d stayed, good navigation, in particular on the tricky days over in the lakes shrouded in cloud, wind and rain we remained positive and on route (easier said than done). And with that in mind we’d discovered more about ourselves on C2C, yet again, on this walk you will always learn more about yourself and each other.
People ask me “why don’t you have a relaxing holiday, instead of hiking almost 200 miles?”, We always feel totally away from the rest of the world on C2C, no traffic, emails, phone calls (even phone signals are rare), and so return totally refreshed after our experience, plus the people we meet and places we see make this walk.

We never did find out what happed to the two guys who got lost on Dent Hill on day one, did they carry on from Ennerdale? Did they ever make it to Borrowdale?, who knows, I have my doubts, we also never met Paul and Tony again as we left them after lunch back in Danby Whisk on day 9, which was a shame.
Me and Sarah are getting married next year in the Lakes, so we perhaps won’t get the chance to walk C2C again for sometime at least, and we definitely want to walk another long distance trail at some point too, the Pennine Way won’t stop bugging me until I’ve done it I’m sure, so maybe that next? But I’d hate to think this is our last Coast to Coast, and we’re hopeful it won’t be, but maybe the last for a few years we suspect.
And there it ends I’m afraid, 2 years in the planning, 12 days in the walking and a life time in the memories, Coast to Coast 2014 is at its end.
If anyone reading this is contemplating walking Coast to Coast you must, it is a truly fantastic experience and one you will never forget, but proceed with caution, you might just become addicted......

Sarah & Sean’s Coast to Coast

Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge 10 miles





We woke to beautiful blue skies and sunshine again and after sorting the bags headed down for breakfast at about 7:30am, we had planned to eat a little later this morning as it was quite a short day to Egton Bridge, however I think the warm sunshine and constant noise from the grouse outside meant we woke fairly early.
I ordered bacon on toast for a change whilst Sarah stuck to cereal and toast. After breakfast we packed up and headed downstairs to check out, as we did we met Astrix and Martin having their breakfast, after briefly chatting to them and saying, (what we thought) was our goodbyes due to them supposedly not walking as far today we hit the trial for around 8:30am.
The weather was perfect as we left the Lion Inn, the sun was shining, sun cream on, lovely warm conditions, and we felt good as we headed over Blakey moor. Streams of Saturday traffic was heading past, cyclists, classic cars and bikes, and cars packed with beach equipment no doubt heading for Whitby we thought, thankfully not where we were heading.
We soon arrived at the Fat Betty marker and had a couple of quick photos, as we pressed on we were walking a little slower than usual, it was an unusual feeling really, with the North Sea now visible in the distance we were almost ambling along, not actually wanting this day to end as that would mean the last normal day was over, with tomorrow being the final stretch in to Robin Hoods bay.
We stopped to take a few photos again as we passed Great Fry Up Dale, the weather was fantastic, but also very hot. We stopped on Glaisdale Rigg and fired up the stove for a coffee and hot chocolate, along with some really nice rice crispy cakes we’d picked up a couple of days back.
After a nice and lengthy break we headed along the spine of Glaisdale Rigg towards Glaisdale, whilst walking along the top another little family of grouse chicks crossed our path, as well as a small lizard, which was something we’d not seen before and demonstrated how hot and dry the weather now was.
As we dropped into Glaisdale we decided we’d look for a pub for an extended lunch, I dug out my Coast to Coast guide book which indicated the Arncliffe Arms was not far away, so we headed there. Again it was nice to get out of the hot sun for a while, so we sat inside and had a bowel of homemade tomato soup with a roll and shared a huge bowel of chips, chips round this way are really nice incidentally, so any chance we had we ordered them!
After lunch we had a really nice walk towards Egton Bridge, ambling along after a picture with Beggars Bridge in Glaisdale and a pleasant walk through the woods we arrived in Egton Bridge at around 14:00. With ample time in the bag we enjoyed a nice pint of Theakstons ale in the bar at the Horseshoe Inn which was our accommodation for the night. The Horseshoe Inn is a lovely village pub, and clearly an angler’s pub with fish caught in the river Esk proudly hung on boards from years gone by, some pretty monstrous examples it has to be said.
After our drink we headed up to the room to freshen up, I was hoping we’d have a TV so I could watch some of the FA cup final Arsenal v Hull, which we did. What we didn’t have however was a bathroom door, very strange....it was a case of “going round the corner” to use the toilet or shower...
Otherwise a nice room and place, after getting freshened up I watched most of the final in our room which was 1-2 to Hull in the 70th minute, by now we were both hungry so we decided we’d go down for dinner and keep a check on the football on the internet.
After enjoying our meal the suspense got the better of me and I and went to the room to watch the end of the match, which ended with an Arsenal win. After the game we went back downstairs to for a drink.  After a nice relaxing evening and briefly chatting to a couple of other walkers we’d met from America that day we headed to our room to watch TV and to turn in for the night.
As we relaxed watching TV I was reading my Wainwright book and making some notes (these notes in fact). I read a passage called “concluding notes” at the back of the book, if you’ve not read his book it is strongly advised, reading it day by day as you walk C2C gives the biggest impact. As I read this section which draws the Coast to Coast to a close I felt a bit emotional that our walk was almost over, Wainwright has a way with words, and describes the feeling perfectly, that whilst many long distance walks are finished with relief, the Coast to Coast is finished with regret and I couldn’t believe how fast the last 11 days had passed, both of us were feeling a little sad our C2C 2014 was one day away from completion.......
We already missed this walk and we still had 16.5 miles to do. Anyway, tomorrow is a great day’s walk, and we still had that to look forward too!

Day 10 Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge 24 miles



We were up early and knocking on the door of the Blue Bell for our Breakfast at 7:30am, the weather was again blue skies and sunshine. As we were having breakfast the landlord (serving breakfast) said what a long day today was, we knew this however, and we were mentally prepping ourselves as we ate the largest bowels of porridge we’d ever seen. The forecast for today was “hottest day of the year so far” whilst the walking was the “hardest on the C2C so far”, making for an interesting day I thought.
It was shorts, t-shirts and sun cream from the off as we checked out and left the Blue Bell Inn, destination the Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge. The climb up toward the moor tops and Beacon Hill certainly got us warmed up, and once at the top the views were amazing looking back across the Vale of Mowbray with the Pennines rising and visible beyond, looking equally as far away as the Hills where we now stood did two days ago, contextualising how far we’d walked yesterday. It felt fantastic to be up high and in the fells again after the flat road walk of yesterday, with beautiful weather we were really enjoying the walk this morning. The hot sunshine of the past couple of days had dried up a lot of the mud also, so the going underfoot had now greatly improved.
Whilst the climbs up and over the Cleveland hills were tough, they were very rewarding with excellent views continuing, we soon seemed to move along the undulating hills of Live Moor & Carlton moor.
We arrived at Lord Stones Cafe at about 11:30am, this place has really changed since our last C2C, in 2011 it was a lovely walker friendly cafe, serving tea’s, cakes, and even beer! On a cold and wet day 2012 it was all boarded up and redundant offering nothing but a doorway to shelter for lunch. Whilst now was a very “up market” restaurant, which was more canap├ęs & lattes then tea and cake. Still we decided to go in for a coffee and tea all the same, taking our boots off and being shown to our “table for two sir”.
Funnily enough Astrix and Martin were just finishing their lunch on the table next to us, after a short chat with them we ordered our tea and coffee, it was actually nice to get out of the sun for a while which was now beating down and very hot today.
After our drinks we “asked for the bill”...really....and got back on the trail, setting off at the same time as the Australian who’d also stopped for some refreshments, he was  still enjoying the walk and his boots bought back in Grasmere, which seemed a long time ago now, were well and truly broken in. He had a relatively short day today stopping in Great Broughton tonight, whilst we still had at least another 12 miles to tick off before our destination of Blakey Ridge.
We climbed once again over the undulating tops, and over the ever impressive Wainstones before climbing up to Urra moor for the 3 ½ mile trek to the desolate Blow Worth crossing, it felt like a scene from a film walking across the dry dusty moor tops with the sun beating down.
We arrived at the crossing and double checked the maps (a common navigational black spot) and continued to follow the disused rail track for the final 6 mile push to Blakey Ridge, this section of the walk seems to go on forever, and is perhaps a bit of an anti climax after the dramatic hills of Cleveland. We did however have some fine views on a clear day like today, whilst also seeing a group of baby grouse crossing the track in front of us, as well as a dear which skipped across the heather moor with incredible speed.  
We could just make out the familiar figures as Astrix and Martin in the distance further along the track as we decided to stop for a flapjack and some water, (too hot for tea or coffee), the bottom of our feet was hurting again which was probably the road walking from yesterday combined with this long rail track taking its toll.
We packed up and dug in to tick off the last 3 miles, as we did someone had written “Pub this way” in the gravel track, followed by another stating “Beer” half a mile later, whilst we knew this it did cheer us on a little as we plodded the remote rail track. The Lion Inn eventually came in to view on the horizon, which offered another bout of encouragement on this ever long day. Just at the bottom of the hill outside the pub another message in the gravel said “pub closed, next pub 200 miles”
Very funny we thought....not, we walked in to the very busy Lion Inn, which on a day like this was packed with bikers, classic car enthusiasts, people out for evening meals and of course other walkers, we found a seat near the bar and ordered a pint of Wainwright Ale and a baileys for Sarah, along with a nice bag of dry roasted nuts.
Astrix and Martin were already enjoying a beer, after a short chat with them we headed up to get showered and changed, today is a one of the toughest days on C2C, so the shower felt amazing, although I soon noticed a few little bits of sun burn in the shower I’d again missed with the cream.
After getting refreshed and washing some clothes in the sink we headed down for dinner, it was still quite busy in the bar, however Astrix and Martin were still there and had now claimed a bigger table, so it was nice to sit and chat with them. We had a really nice night that evening chatting between the four of us, great food and beer at the lion Inn, if you’ve never been make sure you do one day. And at the end of a long day, great food, beer and nice company of friends we’d met on the trail made for a pleasant evening. Astrix and Martin were camping tonight, not too far from the pub as they were returning for breakfast, so as they headed off to pitch up, I ordered another beer and we headed up to the room and put the telly on. We we’re both starting to reflect on what had been a fantastic walk so far, and becoming slightly concerned we only had a few days left. After my beer we had a cup of tea watching the weather, which had now become my favourite programme, hot clear and sunny was tomorrows forecast again, and we turned in for the night. It’s essentially all downhill from here; this was perhaps our last long and tough day. We fell asleep to the sound of grouse making that weird noise they do, whilst contemplating what day 11 will bring.

Day 9 Richmond to Ingleby Cross 23 miles



Up early again today at 6:30am and busy sorting the bags before heading down for breakfast at 7:30 am. It was slightly overcast outside which I was quite pleased about given the length of today’s walk of 23 miles to Ingleby Cross, I didn’t fancy another day of hot sunshine, whilst we both liked the nice weather, none of us were really cut out for sunshine conditions and both sporting sections of sunburn we’d missed with the cream on yesterday walk.
After a nice breakfast at the Old Brewery where we stayed (don’t be fooled, there’s no brewery, or bar for that matter) we said our goodbyes to Sarah’s Mum and Dad, who we wouldn’t see until Robin Hoods Bay now, and also another sad goodbye to Wendy who was taking a rest day in Richmond today, meaning this would be the last time we’d meet on the trail.
We were on the track again for 8am, it’s quite a pleasant walk out of Richmond, down the quaint streets and past the Castle, the first few miles took us along the River Swale through fields and tracks to the Village of Bolton on Swale. I thought this looked like a lovely place to stay, and should we do this walk again at some point “never say ever” I’d certainly consider staying here, given yesterdays walk was too short and today’s too long.
Eventually we joined the flat, but very quiet roads which we would follow for most of the day. It has to be said this is my least favourite day on the C2C, pretty tedious walking for miles and miles on roads, only made more interesting by us walking much of the day with Tony and Paul, who joined up with us to navigate around a tricky section as the route was altered due to some roadwork’s through Catterick, so it was nice to have their company on route today.
By the time we arrived at Danby Whisk the bottom of our feet was aching with the road walking, we stopped for a pot of tea and cake at the White Swan in Danby Whisk, with Tony and Paul caving in and having a Bitter Shandy each.

Tony and Paul set off around 10 minutes before us as we finished our cup of tea and used the toilet, which was the last one until Ingleby Cross.
We set off again on the long tiresome plod, we had at least another 11 miles to cover after lunch which went on forever, it remained dry for the rest of the day at least and after a further 4 hours of walking we decided a break was in order, despite only being 3 miles from the end of the day we stopped for a cup of coffee on the stove and a flapjack perched at the side of the road, we were knackered!.
 After helping an American couple get back on track and calling in to the services on the A19 for some lunch for tomorrow we arrived at the Blue Bell Inn and our room for the night at around 5:30pm, pretty tired with really sore feet from the long walk and huge road sections.
As we walked into the Blue Bell to check in, Astrix and her Dad Martin were sat enjoying lunch, always one step ahead of us it seemed, and after a short chat about the length of today’s walk and the prospect of tomorrows walk we headed to our room and flopped on the bed........After regaining some strength and composure we got showered and changed and headed for our evening meal, the bar was pretty quiet to be honest “the Australian” was there (we never did get his name), and a couple of other walkers we recognised but hadn’t really spoken to, otherwise a pretty quiet bar. Not that we were bothered, we just wanted to eat, drink and bed!  
We both ordered Chicken Parmo, half for Sarah and full for me, some other walkers told me it was a local dish, which is basically chicken breast, battered and covered in melted cheese with chips, probably a worryingly high amount of calories under normal circumstances, however on C2C perfectly adequate given the miles we were burning through.
After a chat with some other walkers and a couple of ales we headed for bed about 9:30pm, tomorrow is my favourite section of the walk (outside Lakeland), although it’s also a very long and tough day again, we had no trouble at all falling asleep almost instantly that night, and it was really nice to take the weight off our feet..