Coast to Coast Walk 1992

Author: George Tod

This walk is illustrated with photographs. Click on small photo to enlarge in situ, or click caption to enlarge into new window.
Part 4 - Keld to Farndale


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Day 8 - Sunday 14th June - Keld to Grinton - 12.5 miles

Accommodation - YHA Grinton Lodge 13.65 including full meals and packed lunch

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Old Gang Smelt Mill
Old Gang Smelt Mill

Set off at 9.15 with the weather rather overcast and with a cool wind, which made a pleasant change from the heat of the past few days. The route goes past the ruins of many of the old lead mines and smelt mills in the area. In parts the landscape has been completely devastated with spoil heaps and there are still large areas completely devoid of vegetation after all these years. This is because of the poisonous effects of the lead on the flora, which prevents nature from covering up some of the scars on the landscape, though it does give an interesting insight into the industrial history of the region. One can imagine what the working conditions must have been like high up on the moors in the middle of winter, matched only by those underground. Some of the mills are now being preserved, not before time, as part of our national heritage.

After the old mining areas, the route leads back to a track on the hillside overlooking the river Swale with good views along the dale. Some people took the alternative route, which omits the mines and follows the banks of the Swale down to Reeth. This is undoubtedly easier and, probably more picturesque, but it would have been a pity to miss out this part of the walk. For all of the ugliness of the scars on the landscape, there is also a beauty in some of the ruins of the mills in these steep moorland valleys.

Reeth was very busy with Sunday tourists, so I made my way straight up to the Youth Hostel. Grinton Lodge is about three quarters of a mile off route, up a steep road out of Grinton, and is built in the style of an old fort, commanding fine views over the Swale. I was a bit early and the hostel hadn't opened so I waited outside where I soon met up with Graham, Brian and Henry who were just coming up the hill. There was a school party in the hostel, so the male and female accommodation had been swapped around to allow them to be better catered for. I had dinner of soup, quiche and apple pie and later joined the others in the pub in Grinton, this time managing to get back to the hostel before closing time.


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Day 9 - Monday 15th June - Grinton to Bolton-on-Swale - 18 miles - 1200 ft ascent

Accommodation - Bunk House & Breakfast, Leylands Farm - 10 without dinner or lunch

Started out at 9.45 a.m. with the weather overcast with low cloud but, as there was no high level walking to do, the low cloud didn't matter so much. My shoulder started giving a bit of pain, having not given much trouble for quite a while, so I stopped for a few rests to help it along and it improved again after a few miles. The walk was pleasant, though not spectacular, through undulating countryside, with the walking easy and the temperature pleasantly cool. The tranquillity of Whitcliffe wood and the nearby hillside was disturbed by the pipe laying operations of Yorkshire Water and I was glad to get away from the tractors and other heavy vehicles which were busy in the area.

Richmond soon came into sight over the hill and the weather started to brighten up. At 1.45, I was just in time to catch a fish and chip shop before it closed, as my plan was to have a hot lunch, saving my packed lunch to eat later on in the evening. After a wander around the castle walls, I called at the bank to replenish my supply of cash, called for a pint of Bass, and called at the shops to get a few things for the next day's lunch. Not having a meal booked at the B&B I took my time and went down to the river where I cooled off my feet for a while before setting out on the rest of the walk at 3.30 p.m. It was well worthwhile spending some time in Richmond as it is a very historic town with its castle overlooking the river and its many interesting old buildings.

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Richmond Bridge from Castle
Richmond Bridge from Castle
Field of Poppies near Bolton-on-Swale
Field of Poppies, Bolton-on-Swale

The terrain beyond Richmond was now much flatter although the walking was easy and pleasant, through farmland, more or less following the river. The route in these parts is extremely well signposted, so there is no difficulty finding the way. One particular bit through the woods was extremely muddy despite there having been little or no rain for ages and everywhere else being bone dry. At 7 p.m. I reached the B&B, which had quite a few people staying there. Some were in bed and breakfast accommodation inside the farmhouse, some like myself in bunkhouse accommodation in outbuildings, and some were camping on the lawn, which led down to a duck pond in a lovely setting, surrounded by flowers and trees.

My feet were aching quite a bit when I arrived. This seems to happen for about an hour or so after stopping when all the nerves come back to life again. On the Pennine Way the aching often lasted all evening and sometimes through the night, but my feet must have been getting more used to the walking as it did not tend to last so long on this walk.

There is no pub in Bolton-on-Swale, so some of the others had persuaded the farmer to give them a lift into Scorton where there are three pubs. Against my better judgement, as it goes against the general principle of a walking holiday, I was persuaded to go along with them, as there was a seat going spare (the farmer was doing a double run).


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Day 10 - Tuesday 16th June - Bolton-on-Swale to Osmotherley - 17 miles - 925 ft ascent

Accommodation - YHA Osmotherley 14.05 including full meals and packed lunch

Started out at 9 a.m. after breakfast at 8 a.m. to tackle the longest continuous road section of the walk (about 8 miles). At least the roads were very quiet country lanes with very few cars, and there were wide verges and hedgerows abounding in wild flowers to break the monotony. There is no real alternative to road walking in this sort of country, as any rights of way through fields have usually been ploughed up and are growing crops three feet high. The weather was good for walking, being fairly cool, but the general feeling about this day's walk was that it was just a matter of getting it over with to reach the more interesting scenery of the North Yorkshire Moors. The hills could be seen in the distance from time to time and very, very gradually began to look nearer.

My first stop was at 10.50 at Danby Wiske, which has a pub by the village green. It was a bit early in the day for drinking, so I had a rest and elevenses on a seat by the village green. 10 minutes later Graham, Brian and Henry arrived and headed straight into the pub. At 11.10 I set off again to stop next at the 10 mile point of the day at 12.30. Here the Cleveland Hills looked distinctly nearer, although still about 5 miles distant, and the road walking had given way largely to farm roads and paths. I met up with Graham, Brian and Henry again and made some comment about whether they were headed for the pub before closing time. Brian was not aware of the Blue Bell Inn 4 miles further on, at Ingleby Cross so his ears pricked up. A little while later I saw him marching off at a cracking pace whilst the others were having a rest. It seems that the mention of beer was too much for him to resist.

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Cleveland Hills from Moor House Farm
Towards Cleveland Hills
Blue Bell Inn, Ingleby Cross
Blue Bell Inn, Ingleby Cross

As I reached Ingleby Cross, I stopped to take a photograph and suddenly saw Brian in the viewfinder, waving from the door of the Blue Bell. He was doing his bit, keeping the bar open and waiting for the other two to arrive. I joined him for a pint of Magnet and left him still waiting for the others who came along shortly afterwards. I made my way up the hill through the forest and then about a mile off route to Osmotherley Youth Hostel, arriving at 4.15 p.m. Three other lads, who were doing the Cleveland Way, came along and sat waiting for the hostel to open. My feet did not ache as much this time even though I had walked a similar distance to that on the previous day.

There was a party of young schoolchildren in the hostel and dinner was planned accordingly with no choice and only fruit juice as a starter, a child sized plate of chicken with about a dozen chips and a few vegetables, and fruit and ice cream for desert. We did manage to get a few extra chips and vegetables for seconds, but not many. The warden was miserable and unfriendly and some of the other walkers were complaining about the way he treated them. The teachers with the school party said that he had given them no co-operation at all and they would be glad when they left.

Henry was suffering from a problem with his thigh muscle, which had swollen up, and was very painful. He resorted to a trick, which he had used as a runner, and bought a pack of frozen peas to strap round his leg as an ice pack. He got the peas re-frozen each night and it kept his leg cool for about half of the next day.

I met up with many of the walkers again later in a pub in Osmotherley. Some of them went to buy fish and chips to supplement the skimpy meal in the hostel.

We heard later, that a woman in her 50s from Luton, who was walking with her husband and her boss, had a slight mishap at Ingleby Cross. They had stayed the previous night in Richmond, so it had been a long day's walk of 23 miles to Ingleby Cross, with the weather getting quite hot in the afternoon. The woman sat in the bar after the walk, had a drink and then passed out and fell off the stool. Fortunately, there was no lasting harm done, and she was alright afterwards.


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Day 11 - Wednesday 17th June - Osmotherley to Farndale - 18 miles + 2 miles from/to accommodation - 3340 ft ascent + 170 ft from YHA

Accommodation - B&B Head House Farm, Farndale 10 + 1.50 packed lunch

Breakfast at the Youth Hostel was not bad, as we were able to get extra toast and tea, partly by having them provided and partly by taking the left-overs from the children's tables. I set off at 9.05 a.m. on what was probably the toughest day of the whole walk with 20 miles and a lot of climbing, the route going up and down over several moors before levelling out along the track of the old railway. It was a glorious day for walking the wide, open moors with fine views all around, restricted only by a little distant haze. The path was wide and easy, initially being part of the Lyke Wake Walk and the Cleveland Way as well as the Coast to Coast walk, and lent itself to good walking speeds whilst still enabling the views to be appreciated.

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Cold Moor and Hasty Bank from Cringle End
Cold Moor
Hasty Bank from Cold Moor
Hasty Bank from Cold Moor
Wain Stones on Hasty Bank
Wain Stones on Hasty Bank

After about 6 miles I stopped for a break at 11 a.m. The beauty of the scenery around here is not so much in the hills themselves, as in the fact that you walk along the edges of them with a bird's eye view of the plains below. I stopped again at the half-way point of the day for lunch in the warm sun on Cold Moor at 1.10 p.m. and then laid down sunbathing having done the hardest part of the walk involving 5 of the 7 climbs. Graham, Brian and Henry came along and stopped for a while at 2 p.m. and I eventually set off again at 2.20. I had mentioned to them that I had met up with the two `Australians' on the way, which puzzled them. When I had described them they then informed me that they were not Australians, but came from Newmarket. I said that I could identify most accents from around the U.K. and that they definitely sounded Australian. This caused great amusement later when they told the two of them, and I got ribbed about it later. After the last two climbs it was easy to maintain a good walking speed and I reached the old railway at 4.15, where I had another rest in the scorching heat. Graham, Brian and Henry came along again and, as they had booked into the same B&B as me, I walked the rest of the way with them. The route along the railway is not very interesting, but is very easy for walking and fairly kind on the feet.

The path down to the farm was rather awkward, as it is not used much with signs saying "No footpath". However, as we were going to the farm, we thought it would be alright to ignore these. We arrived at the farm, which was a smallholding of 20 acres run by an elderly couple, at about 6.30 and had a cup of tea. We tossed coins for who should go first in the bath, on the assumption that the hot water would not last very long. Graham went first and hit the first problem - the cold water came at a trickle whilst the hot water gushed out until the header tank emptied. He had a bath full of scalding hot water and had to run half of it away so it didn't take too long to cool down with cold water. Brian went next and found that both hot and cold were running at a trickle so, after a long delay, he managed only a couple of inches of water. Henry then decided to use the same water, rather than wait even longer, but then ran it off because it was getting very dirty. Finally I went in and managed, very slowly, to get a few inches of water. This is one of the disadvantages of a bath rather than a shower when there are a few people who want to use it.

We went down to the pub in Church Houses for a meal where I had Cumberland sausage for 3.50. The portions were very large and Graham could not eat all of his Pizza, so I finished off that for him as well, to make up for the previous night's poor dinner. I had already earned the reputation of being a human dustbin, as I had eaten 3 sausages that Graham didn't want for breakfast on a previous occasion, but despite all this I still lost a few pounds in weight on the walk. I tried to telephone home from the village phone box, but it was out of order.


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