The Clock is Ticking. Now We Have To Hurry: Day 6: Walking Across England: Coast to Coast

Day 6: Bampton-On-Grange To Orton: 12 Miles

We thread through the tombstones, past the stone shed, and ease our way between brown cows and a bull as big as an elephant grazing in the pasture.  We are now “OFF MAP”.   I’m guessing someone who has done the C2C is going to look at my mileage and say, “Hey wait a minute…that’s not the mileage the official guide says.

And you know what? They’re right. Because Dallas Cowboy Fan and I are living like rebels now. We’re free spirits. We’re taking shortcuts on Mr. Wainright’s route.  And I’m as nervous as a pig in a bacon factory about it.  Our B&B last night was a mile and a half off the official trail, but rather than backtrack…we’re cutting across country and intersecting with the route about 5 miles farther down the path.

Up until today, we’ve carefully been using a guidebook, GPS, and maps.  But all we have now are our compasses, the idea of the general direction, and our  half-baked Oregon Trail Spirit.

“EASTWARD-HO!!!” And we must not lose any time today. We’ve GOT to get to Orton before 5pm.

Good grief…..hurry….hurry.   There’s a chocolate factory there!!!

England is criss-crossed with so many public bridalways the locals use to walk or

Another gorgeous bridge to cross

Another gorgeous bridge to cross

horseback from farm to village. These aren’t roads. They are footpaths and back lanes across farmers’ lands. The whisper of a byway that we’re walking on doesn’t seem to be used much. It’s overgrown with weeds and thistles in many places. But to our amazement in a shorter time than we estimated, the ruined tower of  the old Shap abbey appears around a bend—and we’re back on trail.

We stop at the Co-Op in Shap and buy items for a  picnic lunch.  Often, Dallas Cowboy Fan is a curmudgeon, but there’s something about this hiking trip that has turned him into a jabberbox, and he has taken to chitter-chatting to…EVERYBODY.  “That’s a nice dog, you’ve got there.” “You think it’ll rain?” “You live here long?” I’m shifting from one foot to the other while he graciously turns down the sweet little lady who is trying to get us to “Come in and see the FREE Archaeological program at the old depot.”

I pry him out of town and in a few miles we use a platform to cross over a 6-lane highway with views of smoking industrial plants to the north.  A bit farther along, outside of a rock quarry, we have a surprise meet up with KIM, the girl we’d helped on the very first day.

She and her companion are waiting waiting for a taxi. She’d jumped down off a rock wall and rolled, injuring her knee. We are so sorry. It looks like her hike is over.

In Yorkshire, we find more signs to indicate the trail. This one is on a path behind a barn.

In Yorkshire, we find more signs to indicate the trail. This one is on a path behind a barn.

At the small walled village of Oddendale, we slip over their cattle guard and have lunch on a lawn—because it’s the only place we’ve found so far that’s not covered in sheep-crap. We continue on for mile after rolling mile. Each time we top a rise, there is STILL nothing for miles. No houses, barns or towns.  Just sheep.

We don’t even stop at the area of Robin Hood’s grave, because a) the clouds are getting  dark and the smell of rain is in the air, b) I’m too tired to go searching for it, and  c) frankly, this brush and scrubby trees don’t look like any resting spot that Robin Hood—if he really existed—would be buried.

Through an overgrown lane of weeds, we enter Orton, and the world changes. Yards are manicured and edged with colorful flowers. We have entered a Thomas Kincade painting. Two young freckle-faced boys wave from the beck where they’re catching minnows with a net.  A man is on a ladder, painting his window frames bright blue. Below him, his neighbor is mowing his perfectly landscaped postage-stamp size lawn.

We cross a footbridge to get to Kennedy’s Chocolate Factory. [Skip the chocolate milkshakes which taste like American Chocolate Sodas]. Go right for the hot chocolate which is made by melting rich chocolate and adding it  to hot milk

Someone had tacked this behind the shop. (Credits: from the Kennedy Chocolate Facebook page.)

The sign behind the shop. (Credits: from the Kennedy Chocolate Facebook page.)

(marshmallows and whipped cream 50 pence extra) Holy Mooing Cow!!! This is a treat!

The moment we sit down in the chocolate tea room, the skies open and water pours outside. Let it rain. We’ve got creamy hot chocolate and rooms of chocolate confectioneries to explore.

NEXT: Day 7 & 8 Walls That Squeeze: Walking Across England: Coast to Coast

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About Barb

I escaped from a hardscrabble farm in Oklahoma. I'm not sure why people think I have an accent. I miss the sunshine, but not the fried foods.
This entry was posted in A Laugh, Change, Coast to Coast, England, Humor, Traveling and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to The Clock is Ticking. Now We Have To Hurry: Day 6: Walking Across England: Coast to Coast

  1. Pingback: Sleeping at the Graveyard: Day 5: Walking Across England: Coast to Coast | Before Morning Breaks

  2. BARB!!!!! YOU ARE HERE IN ENGLAND? (Sorry, I’ll lower my voice!) If you are at any point anywhere near Berkshire do drop me a line at museumchick@outlook.com. Otherwise, I hope our English weather is not getting you down. It is not normally arctic in September.

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    • Barb says:

      Hi Kate,
      I’m so sorry we’re not close to Berkshire. Before we left, I was thinking how great it would be to meet you in person.. Your blogs are always so witty and warm. And let me tell you how much I learned about hospitality from the British. Folks are so gracious, kind, and helpful. Fortunately, we’re used to rainy, misty weather in Oregon. I did think that there’d be more sunshine in the summer, but the cool temps make walking soooooooo much easier. Thanks for the invite. I hope we’ll meet…don’t know where…don’t know when.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Christie Coykendall says:

    Barb, You are giving me a wee bit of vacation along with yours. Thanks for the great writing, I’m looking forward to see what ‘we’ get to do tomorrow!

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Hi Christie. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the trek. While the views are wonderful, the best part are the people…(well okay…and maybe the hot chocolates).

      Like

  4. Ooooh.
    Normally I have soft brown cow eyes.
    Just at the moment they are glowing green. Massive envy.

    Like

  5. This series is such an enjoyable read!

    Like

  6. Margie says:

    The photo of you on the bridge – stunning!
    Public walkways – when we lived in the UK, there was a field right behind our house. A public walkway bisected it diagonally. Each year the farmer would plant his crop in the field, then soon after he would mow a path through the crop so people would know where the walkway was!

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    • Barb says:

      Yes, Margie. I found this amazing. Farmers would make paths right through the middle of their pastures or wheat fields for walkers. It’s such a wonderful way of thinking instead of our “car-oriented” tendencies here in the U.S. Thanks for the compliment on the photo. I chopped my hair so I wouldn’t have to mess with it and while it was very handy, each time I see a photo, I wish I had more hair. (But then I guess I should simply be happy I have hair and health…and call it all a blessing).

      Like

  7. Alice Lynn says:

    What an awesome reward at the end of the day’s walk. Hot delicious chocolate and resting inside a chocolate shop while the rain pours down. Something besides GPS is guiding you!

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    • Barb says:

      True, Alice. There’s something about just making it inside before a big storm hits, that’s so comforting. The rain tap-tap-taps the glass and we order another hot chocolate. It’s the small pleasures that are surprisingly becoming so important.

      Like

  8. jono says:

    This hike just keeps getting better. What could be better than chocolate at the end of the day?

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Drying racks.
      These warming devices in the bathroom are so perfect for drying out damp clothing and best of all when I wrap up in a towel…it’s pre-heated and snuggy.
      As I mentioned above, a lot of foofoo drops away mile after mile and I begin to notice that it’s the little things that I savor the most.

      Like

  9. Roxie says:

    After reading your adventures, I want a hoy bath and a day in bed. Barb, you truly are a better woman than I!

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    • Barb says:

      Roxie, because you set the benchmark for goodness, I’m going to take this compliment and tuck it away in my treasure box. Thanks (And you’re right.) It’s amazing to me how rejuvenating a simple hot bath and a good night’s sleep can be.
      I don’t know why I don’t make time for the combo more often in my life.

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  10. I’m so glad you finished this leg of the trek in time to make it to that heavenly chocolate place. I’m afraid getting there after it had closed for the day might have led to an international incident. They would probably frown on lovely American women breaking in through the window…

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    • Barb says:

      Susan, I kept thinking what a strain on my marriage it would be if poor ol’ Dallas Cowboy Fan didn’t hurry up and hustle to the chocolate factory. (Never mind that I’d been limping and turtling through the previous days). My noseprints would’ve been all over their windows if they’d been closed.

      Like

  11. nrhatch says:

    Are you sure DCF is a jabber-box?
    He sounds more like a jabber-walky to me.

    Watch out for that bandersnatch . . . he’s trying to steal your hot chocolate.

    Like

  12. Rose L. says:

    I think this hike was worth it to reach your destination. Somehow women always can find chocolate!

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    • Barb says:

      Rose, I think we should test your hypothesis. Perhaps someone could dump us out in several different places and we’ll see if we can find chocolate (even if we have to go knocking on doors for it).

      Like

  13. Al says:

    Holy confectionery, Batman! You sure earned that chocolate delight.

    Like

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