Coast to Coast: Day 10 – Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge

(24th March 2013 – 20 Miles)

After yesterday’s long miles, there would be no let-up today … and unlike that endless crawl across the flat, there would be plenty of stiff climbs too.

From a distance, the Cleveland escarpment resembles a saw-blade and those sharp peaks and troughs mean six steep climbs between Ingleby and Blakey.  It would be an exhausting day; but also one of the most exhilarating of my C2C.

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (1)

Breakfast was later than I would have liked but eventually, at about 8.30, Pat and I got away and immediately began our first climb of the day – up through Arncliffe Woods.  After a mile, a finger-post welcomed us onto the Cleveland Way which the C2C would follow for most of the day.

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (20)

Me leading the way for once. Pat’s photo

I first walked The Cleveland Way when I was 19 and though it wasn’t my first long-distance footpath, it immediately became my favourite.  It might still be.  I’ve completed it again since I was a teenager and I’ll happily return for a third time.

The Cleveland Way

It is a grand footpath, circling the North Yorkshire Moors and then following the coast from Saltburn to Filey.  And I think this stretch between Osmotherley and Kildale is as fine a day’s walk as you’ll find anywhere in England.  But easy it ain’t.

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (3)

The second climb of the day was a long one up to Live Moor (followed all the way by Blue Person and Yellow Person)

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (5)

and the climb then continued to Carlton Moor.  It had been bitingly cold and windy all morning, but as we neared the 1640ft summit the headwind became so strong that not only did we struggle to stay upright we even had difficulty pulling the fast moving air into our lungs.

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (6)

At the summit trig point, we leaned into the wind to avoid being bowled over but even so I was sent sprawling if pretending that I hadn’t.

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (7)

A little alarmed, we bent once more into the wind and started the descent.

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (8)

Pat trying to demonstrate just how strong the wind was.

Alec Falconer memorial (1)

Our third climb was up to Cringle End.  The gusting easterlies and northerlies were a little less strong here

Alec Falconer memorial (2)

and we nabbed a few minutes rest on the Alec Falconer memorial seat.  But if the winds weren’t as strong, the cold was just as perishing.  We didn’t hang about.

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (9)

A swift glance back at Carlton Moor and the way we had come

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (11)

Cold Moor with Broughton Plantation below it

whilst ahead the escarpment led on toward Clay Bank.

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (10)

Pat disappearing

Though we were in a rush to get off Cringle End’s summit, the icy path and crosswinds forced a slow pace.  I didn’t fall over again though.

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (12)

At the foot of Cold Moor, I said farewell to Pat.  He was meeting Sue a mile or so ahead at Clay Bank and driving to an off-route village for the night.  But from Clay Bank, I would have a further 9 miles before bed.  Happy to avoid two of the day’s six hills, I used the path along the foot of the escarpment through Broughton Plantation.  It’s called cheating.

Coast to Coast Wain Stones

The Wain Stones

The path through the forest was out of the wind and I found a sheltered spot for lunch.  Whilst I sat on a rock, munching sandwiches from Park House, I watched contentedly as Pat slogged up to the Wain Stones (outcrops of rock on top of Hasty Bank).  I’d made the right decision.

From Clay Bank, I had one more climb ahead of me – to the top of Urra Moor (1489ft).

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (15)

The day had remained bright and so, halfway up, I did a rare thing – sitting out of the wind under blue skies and watery sunshine;

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (16)

before continuing the relentless climb.

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (17)

I needed frequent stops to drink in that view and pull in huge lungfuls of freezing Yorkshire air.

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (18)

Then I would tuck in my chin and climb some more.

Coast to Coast Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (19)

At two o’clock, I was at the top of the last hill of the day and the penultimate big hill of the trip.

Coast to Coast North York Moors (1)

Ahead of me was about 8 miles of mostly level, if Arctic, moorland.

Coast to Coast North York Moors (2)

There may have been no climbs on this section but I still had to battle into that wearisome headwind for the rest of the day: powerful, excoriating and painful, it scraped my face red-raw.

Coast to Coast North York Moors (3)

Occasionally there was enough sunshine to provide some fleeting, fickle company.

Coast to Coast North York Moors (4)

I saw, at a distance, only two other people in that wilderness

Coast to Coast North York Moors (5)

but for three hours and 8 miles, I didn’t meet anybody.

Coast to Coast North York Moors (6)

Eventually, at Bloworth Crossing, I left the Cleveland Way for now (we would meet again near Robin Hood’s Bay)

Coast to Coast North York Moors (8)

and then sped up along an old railway (built to transport iron-ore from nearby Rosedale to Teeside and Durham).  It was getting late and I didn’t want to be out here in the dark.

Coast to Coast North York Moors (7)

The Lion Inn on the horizon, centre

Toward the end of the afternoon, I glimpsed ‘The Lion Inn’ – my goal for the night.  But it was still far, far away on the horizon and I wouldn’t reach it till almost 5 o’clock.

The Lion Inn Blakey Ridge (1)

‘The Lion Innis a remarkably remote pub, set in a bleak landscape.  It dates from 1533 though, from the outside, you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

The Lion Inn Blakey Ridge (3)

Photo taken the following morning – it had been too busy for photos on arrival

But inside, the pub was aged, gloriously warm, warren-like, cosy and very, very busy.  After that long, tough march across the moors, it was a bit of a shock to be thrust into a crowd of loud, raucous folk.  Like arriving at ‘The Prancing Pony‘ after crossing the wilds, I should think.  And it is one of only a couple of pubs I have ever stayed in that actually felt like an ‘Inn’.

The Lion Inn Blakey Ridge (2)

After wallowing in a long, hot bath, I returned to the bar for excellent food and ale, if not for long.  After completing almost a quarter of the C2C in two days, I was soon back upstairs and fast asleep.

Tomorrow would be a far easier day but I was increasingly aware that the end of my winter trek was drawing to a close.Save

4 thoughts on “Coast to Coast: Day 10 – Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge

  1. Hope this bed was warm, though it sounds as if you wouldn’t have really noticed! I am grateful to be able to admire the views without the effort it entailed. Spectacular, but even the photos made me feel cold… Wouldn’t it be funny if yellow person and blue person discovered your blog and found themselves immortalised!

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  2. That’s what it looked like. It was a blizzard from Clay Bank to the pub the next day and I just saw the next 10 metres of the path. Looking forward to the final two instalments.

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