May 30, 2008
(22.0 km; 6 hrs 52 min; 239 m ascent; 594 m descent)
Last night, after the noise from the bar died down, we were woken up a couple of times by heavy winds. And when we got up in the morning the wind was still blowing hard from the east. What was surprising was that the inn was shrouded in clouds! We met Christine and Neil for breakfast at 8:30 am, keeping out of the argument between another Coast-to-Coast party and the management about why they couldn’t get breakfast earlier. We had our usual breakfast, but breaking with tradition, Rosemary also had scrambled eggs and Paul had kippers.
By the time we had eaten, got ourselves organized, and checked out, it was 9:30 am. The start of our walk was uphill beside the road. Luckily there wasn’t too much traffic as the visibility was not very good. After a while we turned off onto a bridleway, and from there the route was across the moors, mostly on roads both paved and unpaved. At each major turning point we checked the book, the GPS, and the Ordnance Survey map to make sure we were heading in the correct direction. Along the route we passed several large stone navigational markers with names like “Fat Betty” and, of course, there were lots of sheep. But there weren’t any birds singing in the mist.
Around noon we started to encounter breaks in the mist, mostly because Glaisdale Rigg was leading us down to lower elevations. Now the skylarks started flying, and by 1:30 pm we were off the moor and into the village of Glaisdale, back in farm country. We stopped at Ford’s Butcher Shop, where Christine bought some meat pies for lunch, then continued down to the Arncliffe Arms. Luckily it was still open to buy some tea. We sat inside and ate our lunch, which was a nice break from the wind.
Downhill even more was the Beggar’s Bridge, which comes with a romantic story as its background. By now we didn’t have much farther to walk, so we dawdled along through a lovely forest beside the river, ending up in Egton Bridge where Neil and Christine were staying at the Horseshoe Hotel. Christine stayed there to relax while Neil carried on the remaining 30 minutes along an old toll road to Grosmont with us.
Grosmont is home to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, so upon our arrival what should we see but the steam engine featured in the Harry Potter movies and the Heartbeat television series. Neil left us at the station and caught the (modern) train back to Egton Bridge while we lingered a bit, looking at the trains. Our B&B, Grosmont House, was uphill from the station so we had a steep climb before getting there. It was a large 19th-century house with 10-foot ceilings and spacious rooms, and the owners were very welcoming. We made a cup of tea, then decided to forego our showers so that we could explore the village and watch the trains.
Once we had exhausted the sights, we headed back to the B&B. Basically the only place in the village for dinner was the Station Tavern, which was of course next to the station. It didn’t open for dinner until 6:30 pm, so a little after 6 pm we headed back down to watch the trains. One of the engines at the station was the Sir Nigel Gresley, which had set a post-war speed record of 112 miles per hour. At the tavern we met the two young American guys who we remembered from Osmotherly, so we sat and chatted while waiting for our meals. Paul had steak pie and Rosemary had lasagna, which she said was the best lasagna she had had on the trip. After dinner we headed back to the B&B to have baths and write our journals.