The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Day 11 - by Welburn to before Cold Kirby

11 May (0730-1840)
Distance: 21.5 (Tot: 198.5)
Fitbit steps: 52200 (so maybe our distance was actually more than 22 miles)
Weather: glorious start, getting gradually cloudier as the day went on

There I was, lying in the tent last night, whilst Mick was away doing the dishes, when suddenly the body that I had assumed was Mick returning turned out to be a huge wire-haired lurcher joining me in the tent. It all happened fast and the first I realised that it wasn't Mick was when it thrust its face into mine. Can't half make you jump, something like that, you know.

Fortunately, that was the only dog-related disturbance of the night. Indeed, there was no other disturbance of any kind. We were the only people on the excellent C&CC Certified Location at Greets Farm, and much sleeping was done, to make up for the previous night.

We woke to find not a cloud in the sky and it was a perfect morning to walk through Castle Howard, through Coneysthorpe and along the 'ridge' (ridge implies it was bigger than it was, but I can't think of a more suitable word) that lies to the north. The air clarity was excellent, the rape in bloom, the skies blue and I could go into raptures about how perfect a walk it was (I'll overlook the torn-up mudfest condition of some sections of the path in that assessment!).

Equally perfect was the gorgeous village of Hovingham, where we didn't subject the well-dressed folk lunching at the tea-room to our odour, but rather obtained a take-away from the adjoining bakery which we consumed on a bench in the sunshine.

Having already used part of a Centenary Way and part of the Ebor Way (and having lunched on the ground, 2 minutes before finding a bench with a view), we arrived in Helmsley, where we were to pick up the Cleveland Way. It was teeming with people on this market day in Helmsley, which turned out to be a far bigger place than I expected, and we spent a long while there as we sorted out supplies. Alas, there was no gas to be had, leaving us hoping that there will be some in Osmotherley tomorrow.

Time was marching on by the time we got going again, and the sun was dipping low in the sky by the time we got to Rievaulx Terrace, which we really must go and explore sometime, but not with backpacks loaded down with water and near the end of a long day.

Some lovely pools would have provided a perfect pitch for the night if they (and we) had been in Scotland and thus at liberty to pitch in such a place. As we're in England, we had to find somewhere more discreet, and the unploughed margin in the corner of a fallow crop field, being in a dip, seemed to meet the bill. Approaching 7pm on a Friday evening, we figured the chance of the farmer passing (in the one direction from which we are visible) was slim, so up went the tent without further ado. We always seem to be wrong in our assessment of stealth and sure enough, five minutes later, an engine was heard and along came a tractor, straight towards us. There was no way he could miss us, so I sent Mick out to do the talking.

Once again, no talking was required. If he saw us then he didn't have the time or inclination to make his way down to the bottom corner of this field. We are not going to have a peaceful night though, surrounded as we are by pheasants!

(Conrad: I recall that we met you in Yarm on your Broads to the Lakes. Where did we leave you?)

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  1. 11 May already, I see. Has the Challenge started without you? Really enjoying your journey, vicariously. Green with envy, though.

  2. We parted at Hurworth, so I reckon you may well cross my path later.

    Here is an extract from my journal - Day 24, Monday 5th July 2009
    The walking, following The Teesdale Way was easy at first but then there was a long section of difficult going through very long grass and along the edge of crop fields. Much of the time the growth was above our heads and there was a good distribution of nettles. There were also dire notices about Giant Hogweeds and I hope none of us sccumb to their dangers. Brave Mick was the trail blazer and I followed (unfortunately wearing shorts) and Gayle came on behind. I had been boasting that I had encountered hardly any nettles so far on this trip after reading Gayle's woeful account of her experiences nearer home. At one stage we met a gang of youths and their supervisors all armed with petrol driven strimmers - pity we didn't come a day later after they had done the bit we had walked on.

  3. Oh my word. I'm late! I'm late, for a very important date!!

    A face full of hairy dog when you're not expecting would be a tad unnerving! And then you managed to sleep well?