|Date:||19 Mar 2020||Weather:||8’C, partly cloudy|
|Height gain:||433 ft||Distance:||12.3 miles|
|Time taken:||5 hrs 10 mins||Wainwrights:||–|
We gave ourselves a day off walking yesterday and are planning to do our final section of the week today. We debate which section to do – S is keen to do Keld to Reeth to save us a long and wiggly drive from home but I suggest that we carry on from Great Langton while we’re this far east as, although a lot of driving, we can just about do the Keld section from home. S agrees so Great Langton to Ingleby it is.
We wake up to beautiful blue skies and virtually no wind. We set off for the award winning bakery yet again – hoping this time to sample a pasty. When we get there we find another tightening of Coronavirus’s grip – there’s a large table blocking the entrance to the bakery and the lady asks us to shout over our orders and she slides our choices across the table to us. Again no sign of pasties, although she does say they do them. We decide to pick from what is on display and I go for a Quiche Lorraine and S goes for a wedge of Cumberland Sausage pie. I decide I need another of their excellent biscotti brownies which I hope I can save for afternoon tea later and S decides he has to try a Yorkshire Rascal while he’s here.
We’re in two cars today as we won’t be ending the walk back at the cottage and we drive in convoy to the end point – S had spotted a large car park at the service station on the A19 which is opposite the turning to Ingleby Cross and this seemed like a better option than finding parking in the village.
S takes the lead as he knows what location he’s looking for but Google maps offers me a detour which avoids the centre of Northallerton and I accidentally take quite some lead over S. However, once on the A19 the right service station is obvious and I pull in to find disaster – the Burger King has been demolished and the car park is closed and under construction. It didn’t look like this on Google Earth!
We decide to find parking in Ingleby Cross instead which means pulling back onto the busy dual carriageway, taking the next exit and getting back onto the A19 in the opposite direction before taking the exit for the village. We find a wide parking area outside the little school but it has a big sign saying “no waiting” – presumably it’s left clear for the school run either end of the day. We drive around the village looking for good alternatives but there’s nothing that looks sensible and not invasive to the locals. Finally we drive all the way to the end of the village to find a good roadside spot near the village café.
We’ve lost a lot of time, though, and S is getting twitchy about the delayed start to the walk. I take off my trainers and leave them in my car and pad across to S’s car in my socks for the drive back to Monday’s parking spot just outside Great Langton.
We arrive and are again the only car on the patch of land. We get our boots and rucksacks on and set off across the fields in the sunshine:
We know it’s not going to be the most exciting section of the Coast to Coast as it’s mostly through farms and farmland, but the good weather helps to keep it enjoyable. The terrain gives way to tree lined paths on occasion, although the going is almost entirely muddy today:
After three and a quarter miles of trudging through muddy fields we reach one of the few places we’ll walk through today:
It has such a pretty name I had to capture the sign for posterity. Despite its pretty name it’s not the most attractive of villages although it does have a well positioned church:
There’s a railway line running alongside the village and it’s surprisingly busy – three or four long trains pass through in the short time we spend walking through – we decide it must be the East Coast mainline.
Once through the village it’s back onto footpaths – the one thing that is good about this section is that it’s well signposted which makes sure we don’t miss all the bends and kinks as we walk:
The mud quotient really ramps up now and we’re getting pretty fed up with muddy field after muddy field:
We then reached another wooded path which looked like a good break from all the fields, but as it got wetter and more slimy we saw a large drain with it’s cover dislodged oozing who knew what onto the path. It was a relief to get out of the woodland and onto a short stretch of road walking before heading off again into fields.
We’re just getting out of smelling distance of the overflowing drain when we reach the next farm. A picnic bench has been placed at the edge of the farm buildings near a small stream. Thank you farmer – this is much appreciated as we settle down for some much needed lunch. The quiche is very good and S enjoys his pie – definitely the best of the lunches so far.
We set off again through the fields to the next farm – and this farmer obviously has a fully intact sense of humour:
In fact as we raise our legs to step onto the stile we trigger a witchy Halloween voice and other scary noises – it must drive the owners nuts to hear that every time a walker comes by. There was a caravan in the yard with a cat looking out at us from the window – but he was treacle coloured rather than black.
We carry on following the path from farm to farm then reach a railway line we have to cross on foot:
This line isn’t far from the line running alongside Danby Wiske but thankfully it’s much quieter and we don’t see or hear any trains go past. The map shows that it splits off from the main track at Northallerton on its way to Stockton on Tees.
We’re now 8 miles into the walking on energy sapping muddy ground and are grateful to reach a section of metalled track as we pick up Low Moor Lane. Despite tired legs we can make better progress on the firmer path and knock off the next two miles at a good pace.
As we reach the hamlet of East Harsley we see we’re being watched by a cow who is determined not to miss anyone who is passing :
We cross a quiet road and it’s back into fields as we negotiate the last mile or so before we reach the A19. The sky has clouded over during the day and we see some beautiful herringbone patterns above the fields:
We’re now 11.5 miles into the walk and are approaching what is probably the most dangerous point on the entire Coast to Coast walk – crossing the A19 dual carriageway. There’s no bridge over it and to make it that much more dangerous we also have to negotiate the slip road to the service station we’d hoped to park at today. To make it even harder today a lorry seems to have broken down halfway along the slip road which is dangerous in itself for any traffic wanting to pull off:
It’s approaching 5pm so the road is busy. The traffic seems to come at us very fast and it’s difficult to judge just how much distance we need between us and the next approaching lorry or car to make it to the central barrier unsquashed.
After a few minutes a good gap opens up and we move quickly to the centre of the dual carriageway. We’re now at the point where traffic pulls in if they want to turn right into Ingleby Arncliffe – not a fun move as a driver on a busy dual carriageway. Thankfully nothing is turning at our crossing and the southbound carriageway is not as busy as the northbound so we quickly make it across and to the safety of the quiet road into the village:
We trudge tiredly along the road and stop briefly to read about the water tower built in 1915 by Sir Hugh Bell to secure the water supply to the village and nearby village of East Rounton including Rounton Grange, Sir Hugh’s residence. Having read all that on the plaque we take its picture:
We carry on trudging through Ingleby Arncliffe which blends into its neighbour Ingleby Cross. The road through the villages seems a lot longer than it did in the car this morning but finally the café comes into view and so does my car. We take off our boots which are thick with mud and hop into the car for the drive back to Richmond, stopping along the way to retrieve S’s car at Great Langton.
The shower is very welcome when we get back – as is the wonderful brownie I managed to save for afternoon tea. We both felt better on this walk then either of the last two – admittedly there wasn’t much height gain but it is the longest section we’ve done so far (just beating Kirkby Stephen to Keld by 0.1 mile). Perhaps not the most exciting section of the route but definitely helped by the spring sunshine which has been so absent over recent weeks.
We wavered over whether to come away this week or delay to give the mud a bit longer to dry out after the wet winter. It turns out that, despite the mud we encountered, we made a good decision. On the Sunday after we get back a formal lockdown is announced in the UK to help tackle the spread of Coronavirus and all holiday cottage bookings are cancelled. We may not have been able to eat out in the evenings this week, but we feel very lucky to have got our week away in the nick of time.