Monday 21 September, 2015
Reeth to Richmond - 19.5 kms
7 hours walking
I have tried to select a sensible number of photos to include in this post and as usual, I had great difficulty in doing so. I apologise if you think there are too many, but as these are my memories, I am trying to record, I will no doubt continue to excess.
We woke to the grey of yesterday, turning to consistent rain for most of the morning. The foggy skyline was quite low, as we crossed the Reeth village green, at about 9.30.
Just below the village, we crossed over the Swale and were stunned to spot this police tank. Surely not required in this peaceful corner of Yorkshire. I wonder what its story is.
Once across the bridge we left the road and walked under a canopy of trees beside the Swale.
For some distance, we were able to enjoy being close to this happily, tumbling stream.
After reaching the trees, we climbed a stile to a narrow road and seeing no signage turned right, in what seemed to be the direction of today's travel.
We had gone nearly a kilometre, when the guide book quite obviously didn't match what we were seeing. Looking up to our left, we could see other walkers passing through a field. We tried to find a way over the fence to join them, but in the end we had to retrace our steps and find the stile that they had used. By this time, conditions were quite damp.
Today we were introduced to a different stile arrangement. A gate with a tight spring on one side and on the opposite, a flat upright stone, that prevents any sizable animal from getting through. Sometimes there were also a couple of stone steps or wooden planks to ascend or descend, whilst holding the gate open, before actually passing through the tapered gap. I'm glad I was never too far behind my friends, that I couldn't run to catch up and have assistance. There was always much mirth as we negotiated them.
This is how another C2C hiker described them on his blog.
Thank you - http://michaelharrison.org.uk/2013/10/coast-coast-keld-reeth-2/
You have to imagine the situation. You arrive at one of these stiles and open the gate towards you, as you step up to the gap in the wall. There's only enough room for one foot, so you have one leg trailing as you use one hand to keep hold of the wall and the other to keep the gate from swinging back and propelling you into space. Now you have a problem. What do you do first? Probably the best bet is to shuffle forward on the foot in the gap, until you get to a situation where you can place both feet on the wall one behind the other. Now it may be possible to release the gate, BUT you have to bear in mind that you have a rucksack, which effectively makes your body much bigger. If successful, the weight of the gate and its spring press against the rucksack, but not in such a way that it pushes you forward. Now you have have the use of two hands. Using them to lift your body, you tentatively move forward so that you can squeeze through the narrow gap caused by the flat, upright stone. Then, with a supreme effort, you launch yourself forward, step through the gap onto the step on the other side, drag your bag through behind you, scraping the sides of the gap as you do so and you are through. Then you have to dismount the step, quite often into a puddle or mud. Once you've got through and congratulated yourself on your selfpreservation, you look up and see that there's another one, less than 50 metres away and there were a lot on this walk through fields and meadows.
Joc manouvering and Margot holding the gate
Margot through the gap, but tentatively descending the step.
A stile without the gate, but with the flat stone on the opposite side.
Gail forging ahead across the field to conquer the next stile.
Another problem that caused terror in Margot, was a herd of friendly cows guarding a stile. I saw the situation as one in which the cows had farewelled Gail and were waiting to welcome us. Having grown up on a farm, I boldly shooed them away and exited the field without concern. Margot relates a different tale and was quite stressed from the ordeal.
Margot we just want to be friends.
The rain became quite heavy and when we passed an open barn, we decided to take shelter. Two Americans, whom we had met at Keld, joined us and took this photo.
Once the rain had eased, we continued on passed an old Priory, now an Outdoor Centre. Above the Priory is the village of Marrick. The nuns of the priory constructed 375 steps up through thick woodland, to access this village. They must have been very fit women.
The priory / out door centre.
Gate to enter the woodlands.
We sheltered in this barn for consultation and map reading. Whilst we deliberated, several groups joined us and together we a chose a route through Marrick. Two cars had slowly passed us, their drivers looking lost. They returned soon after and stopped for help. Did we know where the Nun Coote Nook camping ground was?
Some suggestions were made and we continued on.
Even the sheep were looking for shelter.
We had already crossed this field, when we opened the gate to receive this warning. We've walked passed many bulls in fields, but this was the 1st warning sign. We had a good laugh, at perhaps our narrow escape, from the beast.
When we had come over this rise, we were feeling quite wet and bedraggled. Not for long. An arrow and sign announced refreshments were available at the end of the farm lane. Would we be lucky enough to find them open. A unanimous decision was made to find out.
Gail definitely thought so.
We chatted about life on the farm, with Elaine, a farmer's wife extraordinaire, who has also walked the Coast to Coast. She took us into her kitchen, where all the ribbons and rosettes won for cooking, sheep and pig exhibiting, were displayed.
We were then given a tour of the farm buildings to see some of the prize winning animals. Walking behind the house, we spotted the occupants of the 'two lost vehicles' setting up camp. It was good to know that they had found their way. We hadn't realised we were going in the same direction.
Somehow Elaine also manages to find the time to create a beautiful, cottage garden.
It was still drizzling with rain, as we set forth across the fields of Nun Cote Nook Farm, in brighter spirits.
No 'bull in field' warning sign here.
Gail was ahead and had passed through this gateway, when all the cattle suddenly decided to follow her, at quite a pace. We had another good laugh, when we saw that all was well.
Nun Cote Nook Farm was one of the last hill top farms of the Pennines, but we continued across undulating farmland, for a good hour or so.
This sheep was one of many, that we saw over the coming days, that knelt to graze.
We had been moaning about poor signage to Elaine and she pointed out 2 communications towers to keep in our sight. Once we dropped down to the valley here, this information was of no use. Can you spot them on the middle horizon?
Eventually we came to a road that we had to follow, but again, getting over the fence to it, was quite a performance. No stile or gate here. Just barbed wire, rocks and thistles. Obviously we weren't exiting in the right spot, but we did manage without too much trauma. The rain had ceased and wasn't to bother us for the reminder of the C2C. The road wasn't busy and it was pleasant to stroll under the canopy of trees, that led us to the village of Marske.
Soon after leaving Marske, we were again climbing a stile, to cross more picturesque farmland.
Somewhere across these fields, our new English friend Dave, used his zoom lens to snap a shot of us debating which was the correct trail to take.
Down amongst the trees, [below] we had to cross over a side stream of the River Swale, via Paddy's Bridge. It was a challenge with its steep, wet, clay soil banks. We did negotiate it without a major fall. The climb up this rise was also a muddy challenge, so we were longing to find a suitable spot to partake of our lunch.
Hiking under the brow of Applegarth Scar, we were surprised and relieved to finally spot 2, C2C signs. Soon after, we decided to pull out our 'sit mats', to keep us dry as we dined.
The trail continued up and into muddy Whitecliffe Wood for about 15 minutes, before exiting to a footpath high above the Swale River, giving us a lovely view of Richmond and in the far distance the Cleveland Hills, our challenge over the next few days. It seems so far!
So close, yet so far. It would take us another hour to finally reach our accommodation. We decided the foot slog was well worth it, when we were able to relax in our deluxe B&B.
It was just after 4pm when we arrived here and after some time was spent organising our washing and relaxing, we set off to explore this busy market town, that had evolved around its 11th century castle.
It was lovely to be under blue skies again even if there was a chill to the evening air.
I'm revelling walking through these pastoral scenes, so atypical of Australian scenes. I hope you have enjoyed the day. I would love to read your comment.