Coast to Coast

Day Twelve – 3rd May 2011: St Giles Farm to Ingleby Cross – 20 miles

We followed our normal routine in getting ready but we asked for breakfast at 7.30 due to the mileage we had to cover. We again had a selection of healthy and not so healthy for breakfast, although my choice of fry up had degenerated to a couple of rashers of bacon.

We said our goodbyes and set off not knowing what the day would bring forth. This wasn’t any different to any other day, as we could never know what any day would bring, but this part of the walk had such a negative reputation that we were a little apprehensive.

We picked up the path and walked next to the river although this was way below us initially but we soon descended to the bank and followed it until Catterick Bridge was reached. We passed the northern end of the racecourse, crossed the bridge and rejoined the River Swale on its other bank. After a relatively short while we left the Swale for the last time and crossed farmland to Bolton on Swale.


Bolton-on-Swale

In one form or another we had been near or alongside the Swale for many miles over several days, it was a little strange not to have a river for company. We passed a couple of places selling drinks and food with honesty boxes which was very enterprising but with our packs filled to the brim with supplies, we passed by. We made the obligatory stop to look at Henry Jenkins memorial in the church yard but didn’t spend long there, being eager to march on.

So far we felt fine with this part of the journey as it had a bit of interest around every corner but the road walking was ahead of us so we would see. We felt good, the weather was fine with scattered clouds but I did feel that we were starting to walk on automaton which I suppose was inevitable as the initial excitement of the first week and the spectacular scenery of that week receded.

We reached the road section and had already decided that our first stop of the day would be at Streetlam but that was some way away so we put best foot forward and got going. The lanes were very quiet with very little traffic and it was quite nice to have a firm surface and no route finding to worry about. Just around a corner we looked into a field and spotted a very large hare quietly munching on the farmers crop. We stopped and watched for a couple of minutes before continuing to Whitwell where we had our first view of the Cleveland Hills, miles ahead of us. At least we could see our target, as Ingleby Cross, where we were staying, would be at the foot of those hills.
We arrived at Streetlam ready for a rest and something to eat. The road walking had been fine and not as long as expected although there was more to come. We sat at the side of the path just after the village in some long grass and found our stock of goodies in our packs. As it was our first rest of the day we tarried for a little longer than usual but at most no more than half an hour. Suitably refreshed we set off slightly downhill towards West Farm.


Rachel having a break


Danby Wiske

We eventually rejoined the tarmac and headed into Danby Wiske. Having just had a stop, we declined the pull of the White Swan, as it seemed a bit uninviting, and continued up the hill before turning off the road and heading towards Oaktree Hill. The walking was easy and varied, but we still had quite a few miles to go. We had seen no one all day which was strange but since St Bees really, the numbers had reduced each day and we could only suppose that the drop out rate accelerates when getting into the second week.

The way took us through a slightly overgrown and narrow path that had trees and hedges either side which appeared to be a haven for the whole of North Yorkshire’s mosquito and knat population. The air was thick with them and great clouds billowed up into the air as we approached each and every foot of the path. Once we came out of the confines, they all mysteriously disappeared, which was a great relief. We could see the Cleveland Hills quite clearly now which spurred us on but the mileage was taking its toll and we were getting a little tired. We decided to have another stop to recharge but not finding anywhere suitable we continued onwards. There were more refreshment boxes left out for weary walkers but we still had plenty of provisions, plus we couldn’t see the point in lugging our own stores and buying more so we left them for others that may have been following. Just before the railway some joker had nailed plastic or rubber beasties to the stiles across his land which made for a laugh and a photo opportunity.


Rat


Rabbit

We arrived at the railway line which meant a deep descent to the line down some steps and then up the other side. Fortunately the line is straight here so we could see the trains coming a long way away but even so we didn’t hang about crossing the line! Once in the field the other side, we stopped and decided that the field side of the embankment would make an ideal back rest and so we had found our second stop of the day. The legs were a bit heavy, but sunshine and gorging on a feast of goodies meant we were in high spirits. It was quite difficult to get moving again as the food hadn’t worked its magic yet but it was also too comfortable sitting on the bank.


Cleveland Hills

It wasn’t long before the food did kick in and although we had the best part of a couple of hours to go it gave us a bit of a lift. There was a fair amount of lane or track walking which jarred the legs slightly but we soon made it to the infamous A19 crossing. Originally we were going to stock up at the services but being only a truck stop we decided that this was probably too risky which was why we decided to carry more from Richmond. I think we made the right decision as there didn’t seem to be much on offer for the weary walker.

The A19 was a bit of a shock to the system. Although we had seen and been on roads, none were as noisy or as dangerous as this one. The M6 was noisy but we had a footbridge to get us over it, the A19 was a completely different prospect as we had to run across 4 lanes of traffic and a slip road to the services. At least there was a central reservation so we could do it in two bites. In the event we didn’t have to wait too long for a break in the traffic before charging across. Safely in the central reservation we could catch our breath before making a final dash to the other side. All the same the central reservation is no place to be for any length of time and traffic travelling at high speed either side is quite unnerving to say the least. Fortunately there was another gap that appeared quite quickly on the other carriageway, so we managed to cross with life and limb intact.

The final half a mile or so was on roads which after 20 miles wasn’t great but as we had made good time we ambled down to the Blue Bell Inn at Ingleby Cross, taking it easy.


Water tower in Ingleby Arncliffe


The Blue Bell Inn Ingleby Cross

We could and should have had an extra stop really but when you have 20 miles ahead of you everything points to just getting on with it. The up side was that we had time to relax before having our meal. We went into the pub and were given a warm welcome before being shown to our room which was in an annexe to the side of the pub. The room was very basic and the fittings and fixtures not great and past their best, but it was a bed for the night. It was the worst accommodation of the trip but just about acceptable. I would choose somewhere else next time but still eat at the pub. Some had mentioned that the steaks were very good quality and very cheap so we were looking forward to a nice steak and chips when we entered the pub having sorted ourselves out. The menu was a little disappointing but we did eventually decide on the steak. The prices are certainly not cheap anymore, just normal pub prices but the steak was phenomenally good, so as I say, I would return for the food.

After our meal we returned to our room and decided that although it was still quite early we would go to bed as we had had a long day and the rest would do us good. The following day was much shorter, just to Clay Bank Top but we were in for a surprise, in more ways than one.

 

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