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 27 September 2008

Day 10 - Ingleby Cross to Blakely Ridge

26 Sept
Distance: around 18.5 miles

I've not visited this part of the country before, and what a fine day to have walked across those moors.

it was a late start by the time we took ourselves out into the low cloud and through the forestry, and almost at once I felt like I had stepped into 'Danny the Champion of the World'. We both agreed that never before have we seen so many pheasants in one place. Hundreds of them.

And what was strange about all of these pheasants was that they ran off into the trees as we approached. Had we been driving up this track then, based on my prior experience, they would have been tripping over each other to run in front of the car, and had I then swerved would have changed their course to make absolutely sure that they got hit by a wheel.

By the time we broke out of the top of the forestry, now on the Cleveland Way, we were almost above the cloud, the day was hotting up and the views were opening out.

Yet more C2C walkers were seen, plus a couple of runners, one of whom stoped for a brief chat, then before long, just as we started on the first steep cobbled hill of the day, we spied the 15 Americans in front of us.

It didn't take us long to overtake them, as they paused at a cairn and with a cup of tea in mind we almost sprinted onwards.

With stunning, if hazy, views accompanying us whenever the cloud below us broke, we made our way down the knee-testing descent to Lord's Stone Cafe.

Despite the late breakfast, an early lunch was had, but with the knowledge of the number of miles ahead of us (as we had decided by this point to extend our day to Blakely Ridge) we didn't tarry as long as we may have liked.

It was half an hour later, after climbing up the next steep lump in the landscape and descending part of the even steeper other side when we realised that the map was missing. It had last been seen at the cafe and we could only assume that it had blown off the table whilst we were chatting elsewhere.

With the distance we had covered by the time we noticed we were reluctant to go back to look for it (and a phone call to the cafe later in the day told us that no-one had handed it in), so we continued with just the guidebook from which to navigate. I'm not a fan of navigating from sketch maps, even though other people seem to be able to walk by them alone, so I was a trifle annoyed. Even more annoying than that, and more annoying than the fact that both today's and tomorrow's maps were together, was the fact that the maps were contained in the Ortlieb Map Case. Those cases don't come cheap, so we really could have done without carelessly losing it.

As it went the navigation for the rest of the day was supremely simple. The very well way-marked Cleveland Way was followed until it met a disused railway line and then the railway was followed to Blakely Ridge.

It wasn't until just before the railway bed that the lumpiness of the day subsided, but thanks to the good rest last night and the hearty breakfast this morning I attacked the hills with gusto and we made good time.

And the views. Well, hazy though they were they made the ascents worthwhile. It seemed a shame to us that the Americans were sent on a low-level alternative. It may have been quicker (allowing for the next round of leap-frog) but they missed some fine terrain and magnificent vistas.

When I had seen on the map that we were to follow a disused railway I had the picture in my mind of a wood-lined cutting with scant views. The reality couldn't have been more different. This railway was built for the iron-mining industry and runs high up, right through the moor, giving excellent views down to the valley below.

It was hard on the feet, mind, as long flat surfaces tend to be, but we trogged along and made short work of it.

We're now pitched in the field next to the pub and having showered in the pubs clean, heated facilities (and all for £2.50pp pitch fee!) we're now enjoying comfy seats and tasty ale*.

We're not quite sure as to where we will walk tomorrow. We'll just have to see what the day brings (and how much we tired ourselves today!).

(*To the UCO: Oooh it takes me back to the days of the footy club, for we're supping Theakston's tonight.)

No comments:

Post a Comment