I woke feeling better than I had for a few days, and although I had a 21 mile day ahead of me it was nice to linger over breakfast with Helen. She walked the first bit of the route with me towards Arncliffe Woods, then, purchasing a large flapjack from an honesty box, I disappeared into the woods whilst she made her way back to the inn and her motorbike.

After the first steep climb to there is a wide-reaching view back across the Vale of Mowbray towards Richmond, the hazy blue outline of the Dales just visible beyond.

Arncliffe Woods

Dropping down through moor and more woods I caught my first sight of the volcano peak of Roseberry Topping and the clouds cleared, revealing another gloriously hot day. I felt pretty cheerful, totally different to yesterday, and put it down to seeing Helen and today’s walk promising some great scenery- I also found a wild raspberry bush which was a bonus.

View from Carlton Bank

On the steep ascent to Carlton Bank I passed a chap who was camping along the Coast to Coast. He had stopped for a rest but I was amazed at how much he was carrying- he had a huge rucksack with various bags, rolls and other bits strapped to it. I didn’t see him again as he was walking even slower than me!

The Coast to Coast follows the line of the Cleveland Hills, which rise dramatically from the plain giving views for miles- from the top of Carlton Bank I caught my first sight of the North Sea! It was a roller coaster of a day- steep descents which were followed by another steep ascent to the next summit. It reminded me somewhat of the Malverns, only these hills were wilder and heather clad. It was a glorious day, sunny and clear, which showed the hills off to good effect.

Towards the North Sea!

I stopped for lunch at Lord Stones Café, a building which has the appearance of being a part of the surrounding rocks. It is tricky going into a café on your own as there is nobody else to keep an eye on your gear for you so it all has to go with you- after nearly having somebody’s eye out with my pole I decided to leave it outside whilst going into the shop, but had to then retrieve it from lost property!

Lord Stones Cafe

I talked to a group of four English folks walking the Coast to Coast who had set off from Osmotherley and were walking to Clay Bank Top. I told them I was walking to Blakey Ridge, and they all felt that they could have walked further today as they felt fit.

Cleveland Hills scenery

I leapfrogged them several times as we climbed and then scrambled our way up and down Cold Moor and Cringle Moor before climbing up to the Wainstones on Hasty Bank- a strange outcrop of rocks with a fanged appearance. Dropping down to Clay Bank Top I was suddenly surrounded by people and cars, as a lot of people leave their cars here to walk and Coast to Coasters staying in nearby villages are picked up from this road.

The Wainstones

I was starting to feel tired, as the numerous steep ascents and descents take their toll, but had to push on to Blakey Ridge. I was faced with one final climb onto Urra Moor, where I ate my flapjack whilst taking in the view, before picking up a track over gently rolling moorland. There are loads of ancient standing stones over the moors- some small, some larger, and others carved with features such as a hand or a face. The guidebook suggested that they are boundary markers, but as so many seem to be found at the side of tracks I wonder if they are old way markers, serving the same sort of function as the cairns in the Lake District.

The Hand Stone on Urra Moor

Coast to Coast walkers pick up the path marking the course of the old Rosedale railway over the moors. This is easy walking- Wainwright suggested that it was possible to walk at 5mph along this stretch- but I had had enough and it had become a painful 2 mph trudge. That’s the problem with doing long distances, it does tend to become a slog. Which was a shame as the moors were lovely and the views magnificent.

Course of the old railway

I was looking forward to my first sight of the Lion Inn as I rounded a bend, but when I saw it on the skyline my first thought was ‘****- it’s miles away!!’

First sight of the Lion Inn!

I reached it eventually, at around 7:55pm. Mindful that I had booked a table for 8pm I asked whether I could shower first. A chap told me this would be fine and showed me to my room, which was off a landing with two other rooms. It wasn’t en suite, and when I saw a door marked ‘Bathroom’ I assumed it was shared by all three bedrooms, particularly as it was locked.

I couldn’t even fill the kettle for a cuppa and waited rather impatiently for 20 minutes, cursing the person using the bathroom for taking their time when others are waiting. After this time it dawned on me that I couldn’t actually hear anyone in it, so eventually plucked up the courage to knock tentatively before unlocking it with my key. It was empty and was obviously for the sole use of my room! Well, he could have told me…

Blakey Ridge sunset

I had a quick bath (tricky as the cold tap didn’t work) before going down for dinner. Hoping for a spectacular sunset I had a mooch around outside, climbing a tumulus mound next to the Inn for a better view but it was less spectacular than I anticipated so turned in for the night.

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