Wednesday, 4 June 2014

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.

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