Harry Potter, I’m Waiting At the Station with Father Brown’s Pear Drops: Day 14: Walking Across England: Coast to Coast

Day 14: Blakey to Grosmont: 13.75 Miles

I look outside and see rain with low clouds hanging over Carlton Moors and take another Advil. By now, our 14th English breakfast has lost all novelty.  I order porridge with bacon crushed up in it, which seems to amuse  the waitress.  She’d never had that combo before.

41a.Fat Betty

There’s actually a lot of wrapped snacks on top of it.

Suited up in our rain gear with pack covers, we again begin walking across the moors through the fog and mist.  I interrupt our striding to stop at Fat Betty.  For some reason this stumpy landmark of a cross exists without explanation. Tradition requires that you take a snack and leave a snack.

I leave one of my favorite nut-bars.  Dallas Cowboy Fan grouses, “Who wants to take anything that’s been lying out in the rain, for who knows how long?”  Finally he has the brilliant idea to leave coins. He feels pretty smug and triumphant about this because at every opportunity on this trip, he tries to pay with the “weird coinage.”  He says each time he buys something, he gets heavy money back (instead of paper bills) and it’s dragging one side of his pants down.

Off he goes, but I call him back. We HAVE to take something. Tradition demands it!  I take a few of the coins he just laid down. I don’t mind having my pants dragged off by money.   He frowns at the whole offering, finally tweezing between his fingers a tiny single piece of cello-wrapped hard candy, grumbling like an old badger that it’s probably laced with LSD.

After hours of hiking, the topography slowly changes. Trees appear along with old terraced houses built for the early ironstone miners. We know the calendar has flipped from July to August, but we’ve lost track of the days.  When we discover that it’s Sunday, we’re concerned—usually every store closes on Sunday in the country. Fortunately, one place has stayed open  (Bless you Glaisdale Tea Gardens!). We get cheese and onion toasties and huge slices of coffee cake. Through the windows, the owners point out we’re only 8 miles from our final destination. “Just over a couple of hills.” But it’s going to takes us much much longer to get there.

43.Egton Bridge to RobinHood Bay

Gotta get back to Egton Bridge

We leave and follow soggyy tracks beside the River Esk. I rip my hat from my head, flogging the hundreds of  black flies buzzing us. And in doing so, I pop the BB-size stud out of my ear. It’s a memento of another hiking trip, and Dallas Cowboy Fan thinks he can find it since he’s pretty good at finding golf balls in the rough.  I think he’s nuts, and besides, I’ve been wanting to get some new “English” earrings.  But……… I’ll be jiggered! Due to his persistence, we find that ear stud even though it’s jade green. Buoyed with our success, the sun decides to break between the clouds. We pass through the quaintest town of the whole C2C: Egton Bridge. Grand stone houses surround an uninhabited island on the river.  An old toll road leads us on to Grosmont. The toll fares are still displayed in shillings.

As we near town, the screech of a train whistle makes us look at each other. In a few minutes the chuff-chuff-chuff of the engine travels across the countryside. We pick up the pace. This we gotta see!!

The one-street former iron-smelting town is dominated by the station and intermittent comings42a.Grosmont Train and goings of steam trains. We can get up close and personal with the big ol’ magnificent monsters hissing white vapors  and belching smoke. These locomotives were part of the Hogwarts Express and were featured in the first Harry Potter movie. We’re also able to amble through a loooooong tunnel and visit the old loco sheds.

We bump into Brits John and Mary, another pair of C2Cers, in the railway shop. They

Queen Victoria made jet popular, wearing it as

Queen Victoria made jet popular, wearing it as “mourning jewelry” for her beloved Albert.

explain the uniqueness of a local stone called Whitby Jet, (wood from the Monkey Puzzle tree which has been compressed in the cliffs for a million years …really…I’m not making this stuff up.)  Well, say no more… I can get jewelry crafted by a local gal, from local jet stone, with a portion of the sale helping the local locomotive museum. Even though I found my lost earring, how can I resist the opportunity to wear British Monkey Tree fossils?

Our B&B is part of the Geall Art Gallery, beautifully adorned and right beside the depot. Once again, we wish we had more time to hang around. What’s not to love about a town that has a bookshop with overloaded shelves and a village store with jars and jars of multi-colored pence candy?  I buy 50p of pear drops. The clerk tucks it in a bitty paper packet just like they do for BBC’s Father Brown.  I sit at the station, drinking Elderflower juice (yep, that’s what the bottle says) and waiting for Harry Potter to arrive.

“Pear drop?” I offer Dallas Cowboy Fan as he strolls past like a local.

“Nope. I ate whatever that candy was that I picked up at Fat Betty,” he calls over his shoulder and keeps going. “It was good.”

It looks like he’s headed toward the Tavern.

I’m guessing he plans to unload more heavy coins.

NEXT: Day 15: The Final Frontier: One More Doozy Bog to Cross: 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, Traveling and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Harry Potter, I’m Waiting At the Station with Father Brown’s Pear Drops: Day 14: Walking Across England: Coast to Coast

  1. colonialist says:

    … but you made it! Well done!


  2. Elyse says:

    Pear drops sound lovely. And I’m loving this trip. especially as I am warm and dry.


  3. Paul Butcher says:

    I believe that being your lab partner in Mr. Martin’s 10th grade biology class has made you a better writer. Or maybe sitting next to you in Spanish II with you pulling A’s and me struggling with C’s made you a better hiker. Or maybe that both our mothers worked together at Sears made us able to see humor in life. But whatever, your blog has become my version of binge reading — kind of like an entire season of “Scandal” or “Orange Is The New Black” if I knew how to use Netfilx. Hike On!


    • Barb says:

      Hey, Paul!!! How great to hear from you. Yes, I believed our youthful shenanigans helped hone my sense of humor. Heaven help us!!! Thank you so much for spending time reading. I know you’re a big hiker and have taken on some huge challenges, too. Good luck with the Netflix thing.


  4. Pingback: What Happens in the Moors—Stays in the Moors: Day 13: Walking Across England: Coast to Coast | Before Morning Breaks

  5. M j rivera says:

    What a great adventure!


  6. Rose L. says:

    The old man cracks me up! I doubt druggies would even be out there hiking around, much less leaving laced candy! Have you seen any of the thatched roof cottages during your hike> I want more photos!!! Did you go to the Cotswolds? Stratford upon Avon? Old castles? The mamzing village of Castle Coombe??? I loved them all!


    • Barb says:

      Hi Rose. Any thatched cottage had fallen in. The walls are still standing, but the poor roof is left to the howling winds. Sorry, the places you’re mentioning aren’t on my east to west route…but that’s another reason to go back, huh?


  7. Pear drops, earrings, Fat Betty, steam trains, book shops. And being right about Fat Betty’s treat.
    You really know how to reel us in.


  8. So are the earrings in the picture the ones you bought?


  9. Al says:

    Good read again. You are taking us right along with you. Sounds like this was one of the easier treks though.


  10. Alice Lynn says:

    I’m beginning to fear that this may be the penultimate section (am I using that word right?) of your cross-country saga. But loving every bit of it. Pear Drops! Fossilized Monkey Puzzle Earrings!
    Egton Bridge seems like something out of a classic English children’s book. I await your next segment!


  11. Roxie says:

    Cowboy Fan is awe-freaking-some! Finding a jade earring on the ground – he has the eyes of a falcon!

    you could write a book about this trek, you know. I am just wallowing in the vignettes. Are pear drops yummy?


    • Barb says:

      I thought pear drops were GREAT. They aren’t overly sweet…just right on the tongue. If I’d knows how much I’d like them, I would’ve bought more. I can order them from Amazon U.K. if I want to pay British shipping for penny candies.


  12. I am enjoying this series. I like that it’s in segments. I also admire your guts. I’d be asking for shortcuts and motor scooters at every quaint town!


  13. nrhatch says:

    Delightful read. How wonderful that you found your earring AND new Jet earrings on a Sunday when the sun shone. 😎


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