Blame it on the nice bed and hot tub. Blame it on my Little Special Pillow which helps ease my back. But Dallas Cowboy Fan and I look at each other this morning and say. “I don’t really feel like walking today.” And then I tie the Little Pillow onto my suitcase like it’s a fat, reluctant hostage. Dallas Cowboy Fan puts on his boots, and we head for the trail, lest we think too long about going back to bed.
We do a bit of shopping around town. Richmond, unlike other villages we’ve passed through is open for business EARLY. Picking up some meat pies for lunch from Taylors Noted Pie Shop, we then buoy ourselves at Frenchgate Fudge & Chocolate Makers by loading up on thick hot chocolates and a good supply of chocolate-rum truffles to get us through the day.
Day 11: Richmond to Danby Wiske: 14 Miles
The heavens open and water pours like it’s coming out of fire hoses. Straight down. No
slant. Hoo Boy. Happy July 30th. We don’t faff around. We are getting very good at whipping out our rain gear and suiting up. Even the sheep are clustered under the trees today—which, Dallas Cowboy Fan says, “Is the smartest thing I’ve seen any sheep do, so far.” He doesn’t consider them too bright.
We round a corner and are surprised to find Leslie, a British C2Cer. She is standing still and straight like a little gnome under an oak tree because she has no rain jacket or brolly (umbrella–which some Euros hike with)She plans to wait a wee bit for the storm to pass.
We continue through barley and rapeseed fields. After 7 miles, we stop in Bolton-On-Swale at the lovely St. Mary’s church. We’d hoped it would be open and it is, offering refreshments. We sit in the breaking sunshine among gravestones, sipping hot tea and trying to dry out. A gentle lady comes through the cemetery. She and another parishioner consider it their service to take turns, coming to the church each afternoon to make sure there are snacks and libations. 5 weary hikers (including Leslie and us) pass through to sip hot drinks and chat, soaking up the kindness. Again and again, I’m touched by the hospitality shown to strangers. We leave a donation and put a pin in the world map to mark our home. We are the first to mark Oregon.
In a few more miles, it doesn’t seem like we’re in the United Kingdom anymore, I learn once again, I must correct my images of what England looks like. We are passing through broad fields of wheat—like in Oklahoma or eastern Oregon.
It seems that across the whole of England, only several farmers don’t like hikers crossing their land. The guidebook tells hikers to TURN Right at the Blue Garage Doors in Streetlam.
I’m telling you to turn left and take the road the rest of the way to Danby Wisk. You and your boots will miss a slip’n’slide experience through a horselot several inches deep in gooey muck, a boggy creek bottom with weeds up to your crotch, and carefully treading next to a wheat field in which a farmer has erected an electrified line a couple of feet high and just a few inches beside the trail to keep footfalls on the outer 6 inches of the field. I’m sure it’s tiring to have people passing through your land, and I’m not sure why the “official route,” does so, but I suggest taking to the road, and thoroughly enjoying the folks who love having you near their village.
And Danby Wisk is a great area. Jean at the Ashford House gives us a cuppa when we arrive and encourages lively discussions around her kitchen table. She even joins us at the White Swan for a pint. We’ve discovered the best places that we’ve stayed are because the owners sit down and visit with us…as though we were family. (An amazing gift of time in their busy schedules).