Thursday 3 September 2015

Photo Essay: Day Ten of the Coast to Coast Walk

"We ought to take outdoor walks,
to refresh and raise our spirits by deep breathing in the open air."
 - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Our accommodation in Reeth -- The Buck Hotel

Day Ten: from Reeth to Richmond (11 miles/18 km)

Summary of Route:  It is a relatively easy walk today. Although there are a couple of mile-long uphill climbs, this stage consists mostly of gentle downhill hiking. The highest point today is Marrick, about a third of the way along this stage. The highlights of today's walk include a couple of attractive woodlots, two picturesque villages, and the ruins of a 12th. century Benedictine Convent. 

You begin by following the B6270 out of Reeth. After crossing the Arkle Beck, you follow it to Grinton. The beck flows into the Swale River, which you follow until you reach the Marrick Priory; at that point, you leave the river and climb gently uphill through a woodlot to the village of Marrick. From here you walk north-easterly downhill through farmland to Marsk village. After you leave the village, you get to Nun Cote Nook, which is above the last hill farm. Now you are finally leaving the Pennines behind and moving along more level ground. 

Soon you are back to following the River Swale east again, just south of the Applegarth Scar. Beyond the Richmond Camping Barn, you enter the second large woodlot of the day — the Whitecliff Wood. Once beyond these woods, you begin to get some good views of Richmond and the Cleveland Hills rising up beyond it to the east. It's a short walk into the town of Richmond.

Walking towards Applegarth Scar

This is the easiest stage of the Coast to Coast Walk: it's only about 11 miles (18 km): there is only one notable climb uphill — into the village of Marrick; and the ground is easier on the feet, because most of the day's walking is across farm fields and meadows. And we were lucky to enjoy a rare day without rain.

Breakfast at the Buck Hotel

Michael enjoys some black pudding

We began the morning with breakfast. All of the accommodation we are staying in — whether hotels or B&Bs — provide complimentary breakfast. Cereal, fruit, yogurt, and such, are presented in self-serve fashion. In addition to that you can order cooked food from a menu — just a few things, like bacon and eggs, or you can do the full monty that is the F.E.B. (the full English breakfast): usually, that includes eggs, bacon, baked beans, "hash browns" (often some ghastly synthetic potato concoction from a packet), and fried mushrooms. In the north of England, "black pudding" (blood pudding) is a common offering on the breakfast menu: it's usually a mixture of pig's blood and oatmeal. It comes as a large sausage from which circular pieces are sliced off. In his Coast to Coast guide, Henry Stedman advises against too many full English breakfasts: he argues that the grease and fat sit heavy in the stomach and don't give the same energy provided by carbohydrates. Whatever; each to their own. I tend to have coffee, cereal, fresh fruit salad, yogurt and toast.

Row of houses in Marrick

Just before leaving, we receive a packed lunch that has been pre-ordered the previous evening. This is useful, because on most days of the Walk you do not pass a single place in the country that offers food. For lunch you select a sandwich from a basic menu, and they add cake, biscuits, fruit (usually a banana), a small packet of crisps (chips), and such like. The average cost for these lunches has been £6 — about $12.

Nun Cote Nook Farm - site of Elaine's farm Kitchen

Having just said that it is not always possible to get food during the day's hike, we have sometimes been able to stop at mid-day to enjoy a pot of tea and a snack at a tea shop. And we have experienced some delightful tea shops on our hikes — some of them are located in farm houses beside the Coast to Coast trail. 

Elaine with the ribbon awards displayed on the ceiling

Today's example was found at the Nun Cote Nook farm - known as Elaine's Farmhouse Kitchen. The three of us had a pot of tea and a desert ("pudding") — mine was apple pie and fresh cream. Yum! We sat on a patio just beyond a conservatory attached to the kitchen. When we went into the kitchen to give our orders we saw scores, maybe hundreds, of ribbons hanging from the ceiling — awards won in sheep shows. Elaine also persuaded me to buy one of the Coast to Coast mugs they had produced. A memento of a fine day, and a great adventure.

The window of the washroom at Elaine's Farm Kitchen

Quote of the Day:

"Yours is even heavier."
- older female hiker (taking photos of Tony and I with our cameras) comparing the weight of my camera to that of Tony's

Me just below the Applegarth Scar

Long-distance hiking requires lugging a certain amount of stuff from place to  place along the trail in a backpack (rucksack). The essentials are bottled water, rain jacket and rain pants (trousers), a hat, a map and  a guide book (with more detailed maps of the route). I'm also carrying my Nikon DSLR, which is quite heavy; I have it slung over my shoulders all day — as I do on all my holidays. I'm also carrying my laptop, believe it or not. It's an ultrabook — which is relatively light, as laptops go. I do this because I am paranoid about having it stolen, if I left it in my suitcase. It is absolutely essential. of course, in the preparation of these blog posts. I use MS Word to write the text of my blogs, and I use the computer to transfer photos from my camera, and then to cull and edit them, before inserting them into the posts using Blogger. The rest of our stuff — clothes, books, notebooks, etc. — are transported via suitcases by a carrier company sub-contracted by the organiser of our accommodation. Our carrier is Sherpa. They pick up the three cases early in the morning and drive them on to our next destination.

An example of luggage carriers for Coast to Coast hikers -- this one is Packhorse

A very narrow gap in the stile!
We have seen many different kinds of stiles and gates on our hike across fields and meadows. We go through or over them perhaps twenty or thirty times a day. Because an enormous amount of the ground we cross is actually private property (required, however, to provide a "right of way"), we are often going through fields with livestock — usually sheep and cows. Entry into and exit out of these fields is invariably done through stiles and gates. We have noticed the enormous variety of stiles — some constructed of wood; some made or rock. You usually climb up and over the wooden ones. The stone stiles might have a small wooden gate on a springy hinge, or simply feature a very narrow gap (perhaps about nine inches) to squeeze through. Human legs can get through, but not sheep or cows. We've also noticed the large variety of latches attached to gates.

Quirky pic #1 -- defibrillator on a wall in a hamlet

Every day includes several quirky events or sightings. I try to photograph some of these and share them in these posts. I tend to fall behind on these daily walks. I seem to be moving at a slightly slower pace (shorter stride?). Or I'm stopping more often to get a few quick snaps. You have to work quickly — about 5-10 seconds per shot! Gotta take my pictures, though — I would not do this sort of adventure without fully documenting it!

Quirky pic #2 -- yellow bicycle at Marrick Priory

Quirky pic #3 -- wall sign in Richmond

"If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish."
- Charles Dickens

Quirky pic #4 -- post box in village stone wall

This hike is dedicated to Bill and Barb Cannon.
(see the end of my blog post for Day One for details)

Stinging Nettles

Obligatory sheep photo of the day

Coast to Coast Path (Sixth Edition - 2014) by Henry Stedman;
Coast to Coast: West - Harvey Map XT40

Colin welcoming us to Williance House B&B in Richmond with a cuppa

Alfred Wainwright -- the creator of the Coast to Coast Walk


  1. enjoying being "dragged along" with you on your journey Clive! Hope you don't feel the weight of my anticipation for each day's next instalment! I particularly liked today's focus on the quirky shots - the whole 'totality' of them ;) keep it up though i know u must be drawing near to the end! quite the accomplishment! cheers rk

  2. What a journey so far, Clive.
    Sure beats the heck out of setting up a classroom, eh? Well-timed!
    I love the details and anecdotes you include with your photo blogs - makes me feel like I'm hiking across Her Majesty's great hills.
    Keep them coming!
    P.S. Love the quirky defibrilator shot! You never know when and where one might be needed. Nice to see the UK on board with heart health ;) I will feel safe to travel there now hahaha

  3. Still enjoying the walk and looking forward to more, Clive. I thought Michael's black pudding looked very tasty. Reminded me of those wonderful breakfasts that I grew up with. However, where was the fried bread? I mentioned your adventure to a friend of mine at work and he was fascinated with the idea. Will turns 50 this next year and he has decided to follow in your footsteps to celebrate his birthday. I have given him the link to your blog, so you now have another follower. Best wishes to you, Tony and Michael.

    1. No fried bread on offer these days, Bill!

      Thanks for the feedback.

  4. By the way, Clive, I forgot to mention that today my dad, Gillian and Roberta's son Chris are all celebrating birthdays.

  5. The variety of stiles and gate latches has become something of a quest. Clive, michael and myself have become connoisseurs!! Ha! Ha! I would just like to say, thanks to Clive for being our excellent chronicler as we have progressed along this walk. It is impossible to say what it has meant to is. We have grown as people. It is nearly over. It's been an amazing adventure.