After an excellent breakfast, we hit the road just about on schedule for a tough day knocking off two stages of the Coast to Coast. I always encourage the people who are walking with me to take a good look round the accommodation before setting off as it can be something of a nuisance to have to return to the B&B.
As I waited for Ian to, admittedly, run back to Butt House for his sunglasses, I took the opportunity to adjust the laces on my new trail shoes and check the route.
It was lucky that we ended up taking a wrong turn as on Frank’s Bridge I thought to myself ‘shallow, fast running water, lots of rocks – classic Dipper territory’. Almost on command, one flew under the bridge. It ‘dipped’ nicely a few times and then flew off. There were quite a few Oystercatcher calling and flying around but no sign of the Curlew from yesterday.
The walk today followed the River Swale for the next few hours as we headed towards Gunnerside. The river level was, as you can imagine given the heatwave we’ve had, ridiculously low – as shown in the photo at the top of this piece.
We were accompanied from time to time by small groups of kids doing the D of E. We saw their trendy teacher talking to some of them at Gunnerside and neither of us could quite withhold a smirk. Fair play to him though for giving up his weekend.
Gunnerside also held the highlight of the two days walking. As we were topping up the Factor 50 something caught my eye and I thought I could see the outline of a Little Owl in the opening of an old stone barn. I quickly dug my bino’s out and there it was, clear as day. A first for me and a bird I’ve always wanted to see.
The pace was good, basically just following the river mixed in with a fair few fields and stiles. I think they were basing the average width of people on Twiggy when they built the traditional Yorkshire Dale’s stile – they were a bugger with a rucksack.
We made Reeth for lunch after about 4 hours 20 minutes and had an excellent repast at the Buck. A pint of Timothy Taylor’s, in excellent condition, to wash it down. It was getting hotter all the time and we wanted to get a move on. After replenishing our water supplies in the village shop we were underway again.
We were plodding along for the second stage of the day to Richmond. It was a scorcher and we kept referring to View Ranger regularly to see the kilometres still to walk and both applying the usual references:
10km – 2 Park runs
4 km – once round Sevvy (Sefton) Park etc.
Marrick Priory was the first target. It was right next to the scruffiest, ugliest farm you could ever imagine – a real shame.
There was a short steady climb of about 120m but it was all on slab steps so it wasn’t too tough. After that it was a steady succession of fields and stiles to Marske.
Whitecliffe Woods offered a welcome bit of shade and we kept up the pace, knowing we were now within a couple of kilometres of the end of the day’s two stages.
Eventually, Richmond came in to sight and we were both relieved to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It was a job to get any accommodation in Richmond but we did find a B&B with a twin available eventually. The landlady had been a joy to deal with but after the longest walking day I’ve ever had, I just wanted a decent shower… what a let down. I haven’t seen a shower that poor since Allardyce was picking the Everton team.
Anyway, Richmond is a Timothy Taylor stronghold so that was soon forgotten. Only had to make sure we were on the 08:47 bus to Darlington the next morning.