When – 16 May 2013
Where – Clay Bank Top to Glaisdale
Distance – 18.5 miles
Walking with – Annette
Home for the night – The Arncliffe Arms
Weather – Sunny. Not a drop of rain. Incredibly good visibility.
Yesterday may have been mist-magedon, but as is often the case with Britain weather, today was another story entirely. Blue sky, sunshine, hardly any wind and incredible views. It was, in fact, a perfect walking day. It was a day to walk until your feet drop off. Which is why Annette and I changed plan and walked 18.5 miles instead of the 8.5 we had originally planned, and why tomorrow will now be our last day on the Coast to Coast.
I’ve cycled through the North York Moors before, and it was a bit soul destroying – the thrill of the downhill ride diminished by knowing you were about to have to gain all that height all over again. And I didn’t come away with a real sense of how beautiful the moors are. Today I got what an absolutely stunning part of the country they are. It was, I think, my favourite day of the walk along with the stroll along St Sunday’s Crag.
We set off from Clay Bank Tops shortly after 8.30am, climbing for the first 15 minutes or so. And then we were on top. Looking back we could see just how stunning the mist-hidden countryside was that we’d passed through yesterday, and what a fabulous day of walking we had in front of us.
After 12 days of walking, today’s route was a treat; wide, smooth tracks, much of it on a former rail line made for easy walking all the way – we seemed to fly along Carr Ridge, Urra Moor, Bloworth Crossing and Farndale Moor. No map reading required, just the ability to keep putting one foot in front of another and to repeatedly comment on the beauty of your surroundings. A picture tells a thousand stories, so I’m going to leave it to the ones below to give you the general idea.
Our next moor was High Blakey, where we stopped for a lemonade at the very nice Lion Inn, the fourth highest inn in Britain. Bumped into the very funny Andy and Laura there, last seen in Richmond. A bit of road walking later and we met up again at Fat Betty, a squat looking white marker where tradition dictates you should leave a food offering and take one in return. We walked along with them a little further, catching our first glimpse of the North Sea (cue moment of great pride as I realised I really have almost walked all the way across the country) but Annette and I were determined our lunch stop needed to be in Great Fryup Dale, so we stopped on a stone bench by an old building called Trough House.
The final couple of hours walking along Glaisdale High Moor and then Glaisdale Moor were still beautiful, but to honest I was tired by then and although the footpaths were still very clear, they were a tad more stony, requiring more attention. The final walk down through Glaisdale village may only have been a mile but I swear it took forever – for the first time on this walk, I was properly, comprehensively knackered. I couldn’t even finish my second pint of beer. It was 8pm and my bed was calling, loud and very, very clear!