Blakey Ridge to Intake Farm, Littlebeck (17.7 miles / 179 miles)
It was literally freezing when I woke up this morning at around 5am so I decided to pack up and get moving as quickly as possible. When I say ‘literally’, I am using the word’s modern meaning of ‘metaphorically’, but it was very cold nonetheless! I had tried the usual jumper applicator shuffle whilst still in the slee, but it wasn’t quite cutting it and I hadn’t packed a thermal because a) it’s summer and b) it was too heavy. So with no breakfast ordered, there was no reason to stay put. And yes, provided, as a camper, you book breakfast at the Lion Inn before 9pm the previous evening, they will cook it for you AND allow you to eat it.
To add to my desperate ‘touch and go’ survival situation, it had also been raining all night, meaning the tent was wet making my hands very cold indeed. Where’s Ray Mears when you need him to fashion a pair of gloves out of nothing more than some reeds and some sheep droppings?
Anyway, I knew that a flapjack would cure everything so off I popped at 6am with every layer of clothing I could find and soon got some good distance under my boots as the first 8 miles or so were on roads and tracks across the moors. The moors, so named because everywhere you look there is just more of them, were less bleak than yesterday as the sun was desperately trying to put his hat on, it was just unfortunate that on occasion he was still insistent on buggering off somewhere else with it from time to time.
It was exciting to stumble across what was clearly the rock used at the beginning of each episode of Time Team, although disappointing that the guide book just described it as ‘large carved stone’ somehow belittling its importance. It was also equally wonderful to see Great Fryup Dale. Now, as would be normal for me, I could quip happy about imagining a whole dale actually made of a Full English Breakfast, minus, of course, the black pudding but most definitely with a couple of hash browns, but I am going to keep it a little educational for once. The valley is actually named after the golden retriever from Keld, Freyja, or the Danish Goddess associated with everything from love to war: you choose. It is thought that the reference to ‘up’ is a derivation of ‘hop’ or ‘hlpicumb’, which are Old English Words for Valley or Dale.
Moving swiftly on, I had hoped that I would be able top get a lovely cup of tea in Glaisdale when I arrived there, but alas, I was two hours early and the village wasn’t open until 11am. I was, however, afforded a wonderful display of sheep herding whilst sitting on the village green. I assume it was sheep herding and not a couple of blokes on motorbikes rustling livestock in broad daylight in front of the ignorant tourist.
Anyway, I saw nothing, right: oo yes, Grosmont (silent s – such an educational post this one). Most importantly, they have steam trains and an old fashioned station which had been used on several occasions in the hit ITV drama, Heartbeat. I personally don’t think Heartbeat was the same after Nick Berry left, but that is probably irrelevant. It was also thankfully open, so I sated my appetite for tea from the local tea garden before moving on to the pub for a couple of pints and egg, gammon and chips. One of the pints was made with blueberries, was purple and therefore really good for me. I bumped into Stockport as I was leaving the pub, who confirmed my suspicions that it was cold last night, which was reassuring. His day was over and he was waiting to be picked up by his parents so he could sleep in comfort for the final night. It would mean however that, in the morning, he would have to tackle Grosmont’s (silent first s) really stupidly steep hill which, in parts, hits 33%. I had the pleasure of doing it at the hottest part of the day hauling with me my full rucksack, full belly and sizable bag of supplies from the local Co-op.
The views over the top however were spectacular and I could see the North Sea along with Whitby and its abbey. By the time I reached my overnight stop, Intake Farm B&B and camping at Littlebeck I was just eleven and a half miles away from Robin Hood’s Bay: sad times as the end was definitely in sight.
I bunked down for the evening with the newspaper as company (apparently something called the ‘Olympics’ was happening) and the sound of many, many cows being brought in from the field. One of which escaped and insisted in staring in to my tent for the whole evening.