Coast to Coast 2009 – Day 9

Days 8 and 9 reports have been posted from the Lion Inn at Blakey with a single bar on the phone signal so no pictures are available unfortunately.

Today was likely to be the hardest day so far. Just a few yards short of 20 miles and over 3800 feet of ascent, this was even harder than the days through the Lakes. The reason being that we want to leave a short final day into Robin Hood’s Bay, so we’re pushing on to the Lion Inn at Blakey rather than stopping at Clay Bank Top as is more usual for today.

The day involves 6 climbs of varying lengths and a final 5 mile slog along the disused railway, which is flat, but very tedious.

First duty of the day was to run down to the Queen Catherine and try and settle last nights bar bill. As it turned out I found a rather annoyed Andrea from the Magnificent 11 trying to discover who’d added £40 to her room bill. The landlord was severely huffy about trying to remove it from one bill and add it to another so I just gave Andrea the money directly.

When I got back to the room I found Rob drying his socks in the oven in the little kitchenette in our room. I nearly choked on the hot sickly scent. Apparently he’d had them on the rad all night but the heating hadn’t come on and they were still wet, so rather than put wet socks back in his bag he had them cooking at 150 degrees on the top shelf.

A light breakfast allowed us an early start and it looked like being a cracking day, with blue sky and white fluffy cloud, the only fly in the ointment was the wind, obviously straight from Siberia, it was bitterly cold and quite strong at times.

We’d seen a new pair of walkers last night in the pub and at breakfast in the B&B and they followed us out of the village. One was dressed in white and from a distance they looked like Randall and Hopkirk (deceased). They took a shortcut and we only saw them from a distance for the rest of the day.

The Magnificent 11 are heading for the Lion Inn as well today, so no doubt we will bump into the fast members of this group at some point.

At the entrance to Scarth Wood Moor I met two serious looking walkers searching for the start of the Lyke Wake Walk, I set them on the right path and hoped their sense of direction improved during the next 40 miles or so. We had them in our sights for the rest of the day, until we passed them on the approach to the Lion Inn.

The number of ascents and descents today makes for a really tough day, although the total height gain isn’t that much more than a good day walk in the lakes, the fact that you’re up and down so often is punishing on the knees and feet.

Rob’s feet are giving him serious problems, he is badly blistered and the shoes he has on are not what he is used to wearing, but his boots gave him a bad heel, which is just recovering so he’s unwilling to revert to them at least until the Lyke Wake on Sunday.

We stopped at Lord Stones for a cuppa and a cake, it was too early for lunch, but had a great time feeding the birds. The toilets here are some of the worst I have ever had the misfortune to use in my life, the cafe itself is super, but the facilities are dire.

We took our lunch at the last sheltered spot before the long pull up Clay Bank and the path over Urra Moor. We met most of the Magnificent 11 as they came past, although some had taken the lower route to ease the burden of the day.

Urra Moor is a great place, mile after mile of rolling heather and peat with nothing to break the view in any direction. It’s a shame you have to traverse it on the most tedious, sinuous, dull track imaginable. The Rosedale disused railway track has one thing going for it, it’s flat. It follows the contours around the hills. It’s also very, very boring. The views to each side are grand and that’s what kept me awake along this section of the path. That and the wind. As the path twisted the wind hit us from different directions and I spent an awful 70 or 80 minutes trying to keep my hat on to prevent being burned by the strong sun, while the wind did everything it could to snatch it from me.

Eventually we saw the Lion Inn ahead of us and we both felt our spirits rise. The final pull up the hill from the railway though was a real surprise, all my ‘up’ muscles had gone to sleep, it had been so long since I’d needed them that they’d all decided to call it a day and clock off.

The Lion Inn is much bigger than it looks and it caters to lots of passing traffic as well as walkers. We had a tidy room in the main building, a long way from the bar and it’s associated noise and we had an excellent meal and the first pint of Old Peculier of the trip.

Hoping that the wind drops tomorrow, as the last few miles were a bit of a trudge because of it today.

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