What a difference a good nights sleep makes. Anne has breakfast on the table at 8am and we chat about walking and gardening. What a sweet caring landlady. She has even supplied a bowl of plasters for walkers with sore feet.
She doesn’t have WiFi. Or a website. Or even email. But – she has warmth and hospitality in spades. I’m a little bit sad to be leaving but the St Michael charm she gave me will serve as a reminder.
Catering over the next couple of days is going to be hit and miss so I stock up with food at the small village shop. Every day has seen some bodily malfunction – hip then calf and now a painful achilles. This latest malady is something I have experienced before near Hartington and it killed my walk, so I’m taking this seriously. A plaster is applied plus an extra pair of socks. Boot laces are loosened also and these cumulative changes seem to do the job so long as I don’t take long strides. Preventative care is going to be vital on a walk of this duration.
Fortunately, aside from a couple of steep climbs the trail isn’t challenging. Much of the route is across heather-rich moorland with far reaching views north down into the valley. For the first time on the trail I encounter several other hikers, including two American girls who have flown here just for the walk.
My lunch stop is at 408m where a cairn above Carlton Bank serves as a wind break. Other walkers stop for 15 minutes but I while an hour away relaxing and reading.
The sun is a good companion, warm but not intolerable as a fresh wind takes the edge off the heat. I’m listening to comedy podcasts that serve to take my mind off the discomfort from my achilles but gets me odd looks if I laugh as walkers are passing.
My legs are toughening up and the rucksack feels lighter. Other more experience walkers I have met have said that it takes a couple of days to “find your legs”. On this, my third day, it feels like I have found my legs. So much so that it’s almost a disappointment when in the lead-up to Clay Bank I have to take a tarmac road down to Chop Gate (pronounced “Chop Yat” apparently) on a relatively dull hour long diversion from the route.
The door to my impressive three storey stone B&B is open and I have barely poked my head in when landlord Robin sits me down next to another CW visitor Nigel and pours us all some tea. So begins an enthralling two hour conversation in which we learn about Robin’s remarkably diverse career through the army, private organisations, police force and now to landlord and forager. As an ex copper he is keen to suss out Nigel’s profession but Nigel isn’t ready to blag to the fuzz and I suggest we consider him a pole dancer, which meets universal approval.
There is also a guided tour of the house (dating from the 1790s) and gardens, all originally part of the Lord Faversham estate. Robin left the city life of London to renovate the building and now he keeps hens, sheep and cows in the field across the road. He is particularly close to the cows and says that he sits on Nellie sometimes who (he insists) enjoys the attention! He takes me over for a sit down but Nellie is busy with other bovine affairs.
Nigel and I visit The Buck Inn 30 yards away for sustenance. The landlady hails from Germany (which explains the sign outside) and there’s bratwurst on the menu and Dortmund pilsner on tap at the bar. Much though I love German food and beer I feel obliged to go for the very quafable Buck Pale Ale (only available at this pub) and the delicious venison, recommended by Robin as it’s locally sourced.
The evening passes very happily as Nigel and I chat outdoors until sundown. A memorable day in the company of engaging people – it’s only a shame there hadn’t been time for blogging. Wednesday: the day my adventure went up a gear.
Here’s today’s walk in point form…
In a nutshell
More moors, fine weather and plenty of heather
A fine evening with Robin and Nigel
Hour long detour from the trail to reach my overnight stop
A relatively short walk tomorrow. Should be some good views too
|Stage||3 – Osmotherley to Chop Gate|
|Distance||11.7 miles||Speed||2.6 mph|
…and the route taken…