What Happens in the Moors—Stays in the Moors: Day 13: Walking Across England: Coast to Coast

Day 13: Osmotherly to Blakey-21 Miles

Of course, the path starts out lovely and elf-like through the woods. Immediately we40.The Cleveland Way begin climbing through country estates of moor after moor–each one getting higher, and my eyes getting bigger and bigger at the “rollercoaster gradient” (as the guidebook charmingly calls it).  I had expected a rather “flat” day of walking. By the time we’ve gone a few miles, we’ve reached nearly 3800 feet of accumulated ascent.

41.More Moors. to GrosmontEarlier, we’d stopped at Lord & Stones Tea Room for a second breakfast.  Now we stop at ClayBank Top ( a wide spot in the trail) to eat our packed lunches.  It’s one of the few places we can get a phone signal, and if we had any sense, we would call a B&B to come get us. (HINT: Stopping over at Claybank is the No. 1, item on our “If-I-had-To Do-It-Over List.” There’s only one inn within the moors (and we aren’t even close to it yet), but B&Bs from the surrounding towns will pick you up and drop you back off the next day.)  Do it…or you’ll find yourself doing strange things. . . out of tiredness.

I know I said I would stop taking shortcuts, but I lied. The first chance I had, I asked locals for secret byways across the moors. I was told, “There aren’t any.” Curses.

The trail stretches out as far as we can see in front and behind us.  There’s no one around. Mile after mile. And another mile. Then another. A little hike-crazy, I sing show tunes to pass the time.  Dallas Cowboy Fan walks faster in an attempt to get away from my Broadway Revue.  But he has begun to talk to sheep….and keep up their end of the conversation.  Sometimes he’s interrupted by grouse, harking, “Ralph, ralph, ralph,” as they fly away.  And I ralph right back at them.

31.Burger Richmond

Throughout England, I NEVER received a burger less than 6 inches tall.

Then we talk to each other. Bad jokes. tired-stupid laughter. Stories we’ve heard before.  Stories we don’t want to leave in the moors. We hone the “Where-Can-We-Hike-Next List.”   Of course, food is a topic.  But we’ve discovered from previous long hikes, there comes a stage when appetite disappears and eating is simply a function of intaking fuel.  This is the second time on this trip, we’re really not hungry, and not even discussions about the piles of potatoes, yardages of sausages, or uber-stacked hamburgers we’ve been served in England sound good. Eventually we settle into the quiet zen of walking, our legs roboting along in automatic strides, our poles thumping the beat. A light mist begins to fall. And the miles roll on.

After a long while, we round a bend between hillocks and I shout. Through the distant haze, I see the red roof of the ONLY inn on the wide, wide moors. By the time we reach it, the bottoms of our feet are numb and both of our water bags are empty.

I chug a pint as soon as we reach The Lion.  We’ve jumped ahead of most of the other C2Cers. Only 6 other people made the long haul today.  After dinner, we slip into our Swing-A-Cat room (my term for “It’s so small, you can’t swing a cat without hitting the walls).

It doesn’t matter. By now we’re used to rearranging rooms, sticking tea trays in drawers and chairs in amoires.  It has a tub to soak in. The heat and the drying racks are on.

Rain is tapping against the window—and after 21 miles, we’ve finally made it inside.

NEXT: Harry Potter, I’ll Meet You At the Station with Father Brown’s Pear Drops: Day 14: Walking Across England: Coast to Coast

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.

23 Responses to What Happens in the Moors—Stays in the Moors: Day 13: Walking Across England: Coast to Coast

  1. Recie says:

    I’ve been enjoying the trip, Barb, and the photos are excellent too. Thanks.


  2. I am LOVING this. Thank you so much! I’m laughing and rubbing at imaginary blisters the whole way!


  3. What beautiful country, which probably becomes lost in the fatigue of non-stop walking. I love the virtual walk with you.


    • Barb says:

      Yeah, after the first 15 miles of moor, it starts looking a bit the same. I wish you were really walking alongside so we could talk about stories and writing.


  4. Pingback: Another ShortCut; Another Mistake in Marital Bliss: Day 12: Walking Across England: Coast to Coast | Before Morning Breaks

  5. Very, very impressive. Or insane. Or both.
    I am doffing my hat to your impressive insanity. And tenacity.


  6. Wow, that’s a LOT of miles in one day. After all the hiking you’ve been doing, I’ll betcha you could take down a Sumo wrestler with your leg muscles alone. 🙂

    A six-inch tall burger? Yowza. To get something that size into my mouth, I’d have to unhinge my jaw.


    • Barb says:

      I know, right? I tear my burger apart and spread it around on the plate. It’s just like eating a meat patty covered in cheese and a side salad. Forget the buns…I’m saving that “stomach space” for toffee pudding.


  7. Alice Lynn says:

    If I was wearing a hat, I’d doff it to you. Twenty-one miles! You guys deserve medals. Love the photos. Can’t wait for the next leg of your journey. 🙂


    • Barb says:

      I deserve to go to a Broadway show and learn some new tunes. My version of “Paint Your Wagon,” got a bit tiring after the 23rd chorus…..”Where are we goin’? I don’t know. When will we get there? I ain’t certain. All I know is I am on my way…..”


  8. M j rivera says:

    Ok Barb. I am taking hiking off my to do list! Go forth with courage and prayers for all good.


  9. Margie says:

    Isn’t it interesting to think about the fact that you are seeing places and sights that the vast majority of Brits have never seen!
    How on earth does anyone eat a hamburger that size? Do you have to deconstruct it, then eat it in stages?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb says:

      Wow!! I’d never thought about Brits not seeing these places. Wait a minute…let me get my head wrapped around that idea. Go ahead and deconstruct my burger for eating phases…while I think….I’ll hum you a little tune while I ponder the idea that I’m seeing beauty that some Brits haven’t seen.

      “Gotta dream, boy. Got a song…
      “Paint your wagon, and come along…
      “Where am I goin’? I don’t know…


  10. nrhatch says:

    Love the Elfin steps and the upside down boots!
    21 miles across the moors in a single day isn’t my idea of a good time. 😛


    • Barb says:

      It does sound like a lot to us little ramblers, but not to most of the locals along the trail. Strolling to the neighbors or another village is a way of life.. Most of them hike about on Saturdays or Sundays. We met several young men who have run this trail, completing the 192 miles in 2-3 days. But thanks…as the English would say, “It WAS a bit of a long walk.”


  11. Rose L. says:

    Seems like way too much walking for far too little scenery to me! When we took a bus tour of England, Scotland and Wales I thought it was rough when I hollered out for them to stop as I wanted to see something. But we did see lots of wonderful places and sights with minimal walking and that was fine with me!


    • Barb says:

      I understand National Geographic-leads a C2C hike and they skip large portions of the Dales and the Moors.
      Every now and then we’d come to a broken down cottage with the stone walls still standing, but the roof rotted away and I’d try to imagine what sort of life the residents had way out here, isolated from everyone.


  12. Al says:

    Twenty-one miles in a day. Pretty impressive. I’ve neglected to mention, your pictures are great and you are seeing some beautiful English countryside. Right out of a Charlotte Bronte novel.


    • Barb says:

      Maybe it’s the isolation. Maybe it’s the wind blowing through the heather, but at times, I was sure I could hear voices. I’d stop. Only silence. Wait. And walk again. Not even our footfalls were very loud. The earth seemed to eat the sound. And when a grouse would startle, barking “Ralph, ralph, ralph!” next to the trail, I’d jump out of my skin.


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