Coast to Coast – Reeth to Richmond

Date: 17 Mar 2020 Weather: 11’C, cloudy
Height gain: 1,345 ft Distance: 10.9 miles
Time taken: 5 hrs 20 mins Wainwrights:

Challenging our out of shape selves here – 10+ miles on consecutive days.  We decide to close the gap and do the section up to Richmond which adds a little more height gain in compared to yesterday’s walk.

Coronavirus is starting to tighten its grip and last night the Prime Minister advised everyone to stop going to pubs and restaurants.  Nothing is officially closed at this stage so we’re hopeful we’ll be able to buy food in the morning.

We wake up to cloudy but bright weather and lighter winds than yesterday.  We set off for the award winning bakery again.  When we arrive we find no pasties or pies ready as they run later than usual on a Tuesday after being closed the day before.  They don’t do sandwiches, but the cakes look good so we buy a cornflake cake and a biscotti brownie and head to the town square again for the main course.

S had spotted the Noted Pie Shop as we left yesterday and wanted to give it a try.  He picks up a Cornish pasty and a sausage roll and I only have a cheese and onion pasty to choose from in the meat free options.  I’m not sure about the lack of veg and whether the cheese will be overwhelming, but we’ll see.

We leave Richmond and head to Reeth.  The roads have been battered by the winter floods and in fact there’s a mini detour at one point where one side of the road has collapsed into the field next to it but we make good time and find a large parking area in the middle of the village.

Reeth is a very attractive place surrounded by the Yorkshire Dales:


All the pictures I took have a lot of cars in them which detract from how beautiful the place looked in reality.  We put on our boots and load up the rucksacks – we didn’t get through all our water yesterday so we’ve only taken three bottles today and happily S has taken two so my pack feels much lighter.  As we set off it starts to spit with rain, but the cloud remains high and the views are good so we don’t really mind.

We make our way down the main street and over Reeth Bridge:


The road takes us along the banks of the River Swale with glimses of sunlight lighting up the hills behind it:



The walking is initially on quiet country roads as we head towards Marrick Priory, which is fine by us as it’s not muddy and gives us a fast start to the day’s walking.

We turn up a track and pass a field with these handsome fellows rushing to have a good look at us:


The rain has started for real now and we pull our hoods over our heads as we start walking through a farmyard.  The farmer is moving his sheep from one field to another and it isn’t going too well.  His sheepdog Nell looks very obedient to us, getting behind the farmer or staying still on command, but stray sheep keep making a break for freedom and the farmer looks like he’s not having a good day in the office.

Just beyond the farm our route heads off the road and onto a steep path up through Steps Wood:


The remains of the priory are intertwined with the farm buildings but become a little more distinct as we gain height:


The path is steep as we ascend 450 feet through the wood and while the good stones reduce the mud quotient they are very green and slippery and I don’t enjoy the sensation of my back foot sliding away behind me with each move forward.  We both take it slowly and carefully and happily both of stay upright all the way through the woods.

At the top we emerge into a field with a few sheep and their brand new lambs – the Mum’s looks at us with worried expressions while their offspring bounce happily around them with tails shaking at 100 mph.

Once through the field we’re back onto a quiet road into the tiny village of Marrick.  Once into the village it’s uphill to reach farmland beyond it and an initial steep downwards track across fields on our way to the village of Marske.

The next three miles are slow going as we trudge up and down through muddy field after muddy field, farmyard after farmyard, negotiating eccentric gate or stile after eccentric gate or stile.

The scenery remains good despite the rather grey weather and the rain has mostly stopped:


We finally reach Marske and find a bench with views over fields where we stop for lunch.  S’s pasty is ok, mine is a predictable sludge of mashed potato with very little taste of cheese (thankfully).  I eat most of the pastry and leave the sludgy middle.  S very kindly shares his sausage roll with me so I shouldn’t run out of energy for the six or so miles still to go.

There’s a long descent on the road out of Marske which doesn’t do our tired knees any favours but at least we have a break from the mud.  We continue on the road for about half a mile out of the village before picking up a footpath off to the right which will take us up to Applegarth Scar:


We have to cross a field before picking up the path you can just make out in the picture and it’s mud central.  We pick our way through trying not to disappear up to our ankles but our boots are thick with wet mud and our trousers are pretty much mud all the way up to our knees.  It’s a relief to finally get onto the upward path to the scar.

Once we get to the top of the path the views that open up below us are great.  The weather has perked up a little bit and the light makes the landscape around us look lovely:


The path now takes us below the scar through interesting terrain:


We’re getting tired now and although the scenery is beautiful we’re relieved when we reach the small road which will take us into Richmond:


It still looks a long way away and we know we have to get across the town to get back to our cottage – probably just under three miles to go.

Our progress is slow as we weave our way down the road towards Richmond.  On the outskirts we find a low wall and we sit ourselves down for a five minute breather.  It’s surprisingly restorative and we pick up speed (relatively speaking!) as we continue on our way.

We finally reach the bridge over the River Swale with the walls of the castle looking like they might fall in any day:


It’s a last stagger quarter of a mile and 60 feet uphill back to the cottage.  We get straight into my car (with my trainers left in it after yesterday’s learning) and head back to Reeth to collect S’s car and have an uneventful trip there and back.

This was a really beautiful stretch of the Coast to Coast even with the rather dull weather – it was a shame about all that energy sapping mud in the middle part of the walk which has made us feel more tired than we normally would have done.

We have managed to leave our cakes to be enjoyed with a cup of tea after a hot shower –  the biscotti brownie from the award winning bakery is the finest thing ever when slightly warmed in the microwave …. mmmmm …….

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