Coast to Coast: Day 11- Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge

(25th March 2013 –  10 miles)

My stay at The Lion Inn was one of the best of my holiday.  Yep, this trekking across tundra was a holiday.  After breakfast, I was sorry to haul myself up and away from the already lit fires.

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (1)

Yet again it was snowing when I stepped outside (not for the last time).  The first mile or so along a busy road was fairly miserable walking.  With the roar of the wind and my hood up, it was difficult to hear approaching traffic.  I was relieved when the route turned off onto a quiet lane.

Fat Betty White Cross (2)

Fat Betty or, as she prefers to be known, White Cross.

A little further on I sought out White Cross aka Fat Betty: a white-painted cross on a large stone base.  Tradition has it that travellers leave and take offerings but I had no sweets or snacks to leave and the ones on offer were sodden and unappetising.  Next time, perhaps.

Fat Betty White Cross (1)

Betty is possibly Norman (by which I mean C11th or C12th – not that she’s transgender) and is a form of cross known as a wheelhead.  She stands at the junction of  three parishes and might be a waymarker for travellers crossing the moors. Or she might be commemorative.  One story tells of two nuns from nearby Rosedale who got lost on the moors.  The cross marks the spot where their dead bodies were found.  Cheery.

But I prefer this tale.  A local farmer and his wife were crossing the moors on a dark, foggy night.  When the farmer arrived home he realised that his wife, Fat Betty, was missing and that she must have tumbled from the cart.  He went back the way he had come but all he could find was this large, squat stone.  Poor Betty.

Lion Inn Blakey Ridge

I had walked for nearly an hour but as the route described a large semi-circle,  I could still see ‘The Lion’ – once more alone on a distant horizon.

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (2)

The way now ran along Fryup Lane – a word which was beginning to make me blanch.  A good Full English is undoubtedly a marvellous thing and a real treat for the first few days of any walking trip.  But after almost two weeks, the thought of yet another fried breakfast was beginning to turn me a little green about the gills.

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (3)

Luckily for me, there had been no new, deep snow up here on the moors: had there been, I doubt whether I would have been able to wade across.

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (4)

The track leading to Trough House – a shooting box (according to Mr Wainwright).

But where there was surface water it had frozen hard and the going was treacherous.  (I carried a pair of Yaktrax in my rucksack and though they have proved invaluable on other walks, I didn’t need them once on this trip).

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (5)

I’d always thought that the Herdwick is the hardiest, toughest sheep breed but having now crossed the North York Moors in ‘winter’ I’m going to transfer my vote to the Swaledale.  (I think that’s what these are).

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (6)

Were it possible, there seems even less to eat up here than on the fells of Lakeland – and less shelter too.

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (7)

I had been texting Pat hoping that we could meet up.  But as he was starting out from Clay Bank and had nine miles to cover before even reaching The Lion, he was far, far behind me.  We wouldn’t walk together this day.

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (8)

Looking down into Great Fryup Dale

I was on my own and had to entertain myself.

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (9)

It took me some time to perch my camera on a wobbly cairn for this selfie but let’s face it.  Hardly worth the effort.

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (10)

The path skirted Great Fryup Dale and then followed a wide track over Glaisdale Moor; visibility wasn’t great

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (11)

and so I studied dry-stone walls (plenty of them)

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (12)

and red grouse (plenty of these too).

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (13)

Glaisdale

The snow had fallen only on the tops of the moors and I left it behind as I descended into Glaisdale.  I wasn’t carrying a packed lunch so I was delighted to findThe Arncliffe Arms open.  And sitting inside – waiting for Pat and desperately trying to get warm – was Sue.  It was a lovely surprise to see her and we had lunch together in the otherwise empty pub.

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (15)

After lunch, and having arranged to meet Pat and Sue in the evening, I only had a mile and a half to walk along the River Esk.  There was a little going up;

Coast to Coast Day 11 Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge (14)

there was a little going down but this was a walk-in-the-park compared to some of the terrain I’d covered recently.  Even though I had slowed right down and taken a long lunch-break I still arrived at Egton Bridge early at 3.15.

The Horseshoe Hotel Egdon Bridge (1)

I was staying at The Horseshoe Hotel and jolly nice it was too in an old fashioned way.  (I’ve included the link to their website but, looking at it now in 2019, the hotel has had a major refurb since I stayed).  I was the only guest and all alone until Pat and Sue turned up.  I ordered a great steak served with remarkably awful mashed potato.  I can only think that the kitchen ran out of potatoes but then found an old plate of mash at the back of the fridge and sent it out to me without first warming it up.  Sublime sticky toffee pudding somewhat salved my indignation.

The Horseshoe Hotel Egdon Bridge (2)

My room in 2013. The rooms are swankier now

Tomorrow would be my last day on the C2C and I wished I had carried through with my original intention of walking an extra day – from Robin Hood’s Bay to Scarborough along the Cleveland Way.  But I could see from Pat’s expression (and spluttering) that he didn’t agree that an extra 15 miles would be a marvellous thing.

4 thoughts on “Coast to Coast: Day 11- Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge

  1. I’m with Stacy – and perturbed that you liked that version of the story the best! On the other hand, I love the sheep, and the shot of the wild landscape stretching out before you. There is no excuse for bad mash potato.

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  2. I would not trust a farmer who told a tale about how he “lost” his wife on the moor one dark, lonely night like that. (Even if he was Norman.) One of them had a bit on the side, is my guess.

    The grouse are lovely — what a cheerful patch of color on a gray day. I don’t envy you the icy patches, though. The brisk walks in wind and snow (with bonus sheep), yes, a little bit, but not the icy patches.

    You’re almost done!

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    • Yes Stacy I think you’re right. It does all sound a little “Well, Officer I lost her coming over the moors y’see. One minute she were there, the next she were gone.” I should cocoa. And goodness, yes almost done. Y’know what? I’m not sure this was such a good idea – it takes an awful lot of time and effort But thanks so much for commenting and reading as ever. Dave

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