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]

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Day 18 - Scawton to Osmotherley

Wed 6 April (0740-1520)
Distance: 15 miles?* (Tot: 310)
Weather: blue sky all around but a big cloud overhead

(*bit of a guess on the mileage as I don't have a map of the whole day to measure it.)

What a magnificent day - even if longer than we felt it should have been. Perhaps it was all the faffs and stops that made it feel that way, or maybe it was longer than my 15-miles estimate (I'd err on the side of the former).

With the combination of Al's directions and the knowledge that National Trails are usually very well waymarked, we opted to take the Cleveland Way even though it involved falling off our map. And, whilst I don't know what we missed by not taking my originally planned route, I definitely feel that the Cleveland Way was the better option.

The bit that Al described as the "great view" was most definitely worthy of an oooh of surprise. Reaching the escarpment the land didn't just drop away below; it dropped a long way. The views were truly superb.

Even better, whilst we were getting side tracked by the cafe in the visitor centre at Sutton Bank, the skies brightened and the views cleared. Right across the flatness we could see, to the Pennines beyond.

It wasn't a short-lived view either. Whilst it changed subtly as the day went on, we remained up on that edge for the much of the day.

It was windy up there, mind (the night had been rather windy too; the downside of pitching atop a hill). A westerly wind, so it was neither impeding us nor trying to push us off the edge, but it was a constant presence.

Hiding behind a dry-stone wall for lunch (not that dry-stone walls offer the best protection from the wind), we enjoyed tins of mackerel on oatcakes, which justified me trotting out the fact that St John's Wood is the only station on the London underground that doesn't share any of its letters with the word 'mackerel'...

The moors to the east were almost as impressive as the views to the west, but eventually both were left behind as we made our way downwards. There was still a bit more up and downing before we reached Osmotherley (this was the most ascent in a day so far).

We ummed and arred about whether to visit the village first or go to the campsite first, and the village won. There Mick replaced the missing t-shirt and I got inventive in selecting groceries for the next couple of days in the tiny general store (so tiny that some of my selections caused the step-ladders to come out).

I'm unlikely to gush so much about tomorrow's surroundings. I know that they're completely inoffensive, but we've walked most of tomorrow's route before, so for the first time in this walk it's not going to be all new.

(Louise: I am looking after the feet, even if we're failing on the short mileages! Only 5 weeks and 2 days to go? That's sneaking up fast isn't it?
Maike: good to hear from you. About to tuck into a tasty Butter Bean Curry - just a pity there's not a brownie for pudding!)

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. Glad the directions worked for you, how I envy you both on such a long trek. Enjoy it all!!

  2. Another random fact of the day: South Ealing and Mansion House are the only tube stations that contain all five vowels.

    Absolutely gorgeous weather down here in London too.

  3. "the fact that St John's Wood is the only station on the London underground that doesn't share any of its letters with the word 'mackerel'." Bloody wonderful Blogging at its best!
    Mick - Pull yourself together. You're falling apart, man!. Good grief...

  4. Isn't St. just a abbreviation of Saint, which would mean that it shares an "A" (at least when you pronounce it)?