It is with a weary hand that I hold my phone to type this missive. Twenty three miles over what is generally considered to be the dullest stage of the C2C. You will hear no argument on that front from room 5 of the Bluebell Inn. You will hear thunderous snoring in a couple of hours – and that’s covered by the Wilco guarantee.
Having rendezvoused in Darlington and having the good fortune to catch the bus to Richmond driven by a young man channelling the spirit of Alain Prost, we arrived in time to check in at our B&B and get out for a couple of pints before retiring.
In the morning, after a filling breakfast and great black coffee, we set off just after 09:00. Richmond Castle was the first checkpoint of the day – towering over the footpath on the other side of the Swale.
We were making good progress, it was perfect walking weather – dry, no wind and nice and cool.
After the first twenty minutes or so Ian declared that we had now left the Neutral Zone and Christian Prudhomme had stuck his head out of the sunroof and waved his flag!
There was a noticeable change in waymarking and path conditions as we approached Bolton on Swale. On notice on a gate stated:
- Keep dogs on leads
- Don’t cut across the field
- Pick up after your dog
- Take your litter home
- Enjoy your walk
I made the last one up…. They probably wanted to say it but there wasn’t room after writing all the orders.
Bolton was however very picturesque:
We were now faced with four miles of road walking to Danby Wiske but, as I’ve noted before, road walking is dull but you do cover the miles quickly.
The hedgerows had all been chopped back ruthlessly and they were eerily silent. You would expect to see and hear lots of bird activity at this time of year – all a bit worrying to be honest.
The whole walk was pretty disappointing on the bird front. A greater spotted woodpecker and a solitary redwing being the highlights. There were lots of rabbits though!
We had been pre-warned that the White Swan at Danby Wiske probably wouldn’t be open and that turned out to be the case. We had a bite to eat from our supplies on the neat village green and continued on our way with about eight miles to go to Ingleby Cross.
This was much of the same – fields and roads, fields and roads. We had been walking towards the Cleveland hills for the last few hours and they were looming larger now. We could also now hear lots of traffic.
Then came the realization that with legs aching from 22 miles of walking, we now had to take our lives in our hands and attempt to cross 5 lanes of the A19. The guide book recommended taking your time and then running like hell. We followed their advice!
We finally reached The Bluebell and were given a warm welcome and beer! The evening meal was tasty and filling as well. The room was compact but warm and I filled one of the thoughtfully provided hot water bottles and moved it from calves to quad’s to shoulder to try to ease the tiredness a little.
Only the same distance to walk tomorrow – just with more ups and downs. Still, The Lion Inn will be our reward!