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]

Thursday 25 September 2008

Day 9 - Beyond Bolton-on-Swale to Beyond Ingleby Cross

25 Sept
Distance: 15.5 miles
Number of bulls: 1

It's not a matter to which I had ever given great thought or study, but somehow I had assumed that in common with most other birds, when night fell ducks would tuck their heads under their wings and sleep.

Last night I found out that this is not the case, even though the ducks didn't actually wake me. The first disturbance was one of the dogs barking manically for ten seconds; the second was the roosters at 5.30am, but in both cases once awake I couldn't help but notice the racket being made by the ducks.

Strangely, though, once we finally dragged ourselves out of bed, they all wandered off from the pond to another corner of the farmyard and silence ruled.

With a pretty easy day and a B&B night ahead of us we weren't in a rush to get away - which of course meant that we were unusually swift in packing.

Out over the farmland we went through the light fog, and farmland was the order of the entire day (although the fog did lift to give fine weather).

Looking at the Trailblazer guide the route it gives for today is predominantly on roads and inexplicably it doesn't make any mention of an alternative route across fields.

The downside of the cross-country route was that it involved a couple of short sections on B roads, but they had good verges and I'd rather have a mile on B roads than 10 miles on minor roads.

There's not an awful lot else to say about the terrain. It was incredibly flat and the only things that saved it from monotony were the views of the Cleveland Hills (at the foot of which we are spending tonight) and the industry of the farmers. Having made hay whilst the sun has shone, they are now busy ploughing (not so good when you need to walk across a newly ploughed field!).

Having stayed in an unobvious place last night we today found ourselves out of kilter with everyone else walking this route. We saw no-one until this afternoon when two lads, with packs bigger than they were, passed us going the other way. Of the 35 people we have now encountered doing this walk, they are the only ones who have been camping (as was obvious by the camping equipment being on the outside of their packs; I'd love to know what was inside). I do hope they have a successful trip, as when we saw them they did seem to be struggling to walk under their massive loads.

Having negotiated the multi-laned and very fast moving A19 just outside of Ingleby, our minds had turned to a pint of ale. Our arrival at the pub in the village was well timed, being just as 15 Americans were leaving to continue on to Osmotherly. It's a busy old route is this!

Our B&B is only half a mile or so up the trail from the pub, and we were early to arrive. It's a lovely building on the edge of the forest, well off the nearest road. Clothes are steaming on the radiator and we're revelling in the warmth and the ability to wave our arms around!

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