Coast to Coast continues with 4 Fearless Petersfield Ramblers
Day 11: September 2021
Back at Reeth we followed through the village, which seemed to be teeming with walkers, and followed along, near the Swale to Marrick Priory. This used to be home to nuns in the 12th century until the inevitable happened in the reign of Henry VIII, it is now converted into an Outdoor Residential Centre. Leaving the Priory behind us we climbed up and then into the hamlet of Marrick, a gentle sleepy settlement that we soon left behind us.
Climbing up yet again and then down we entered the popular village of Marsk. Here the local family was the Huttons. History tells us that they wouldn’t allow any guest to leave the table until they were too drunk to walk to their bed. We did not see such behaviour as we walked through the settlement! Across fields and up a sharp escarpment brought us to the Applegarth area. Low Applegarth, High Applegarth, East Applegarth, West Applegarth, you get the picture, the name dominated our walk along a delightful path that afforded us views across the valley. We were puzzled by a red square on the map near East Applegarth, none of us knew what the symbol meant, so at our lunch stop we looked at the OS map legend. It is the mark of a bunkhouse. So we all learnt something.
A welcome lunch taken before entering the ancient trees of Whitecliffe Wood gave us energy for the last park of this section. Slightly shorter, and certainly easier walking, saw us entering Richmond by 3 o’clock. Therefore, the inevitable cups of tea were drunk at a local cafe before finishing our 11 miles back at our B&B.
Day 12 We set off straight from our B&B through the delightful and historic town of Richmond- well worth a return visit to find out the history and view the sights.
Following our old friend of the River Swale we quickly were out into lush countryside enjoying the sights. Not so lovely was the aroma emanating from the sewage works that we walked past, but it was quickly over as we marvelled over the ruins of Hagg Farm firmly obscured by the fast-growing undergrowth.
The hamlet of Colburn proved to be a pretty place, dominated by Colburn Hall. As the path tracked the river evidence of large scale gravel extraction was evident all around. The route went under the A1(M) passing very close to Catterick Racecourse, but. I racing was taking place today. Very quickly the land became rich farmland and with it the useful Coast to Coast signs dwindled dramatically. Navigation was not too difficult as we made good progress on one of our longest walking days but probably one of the easiest. No daunting slopes to climb, no dramatic windswept moors, no devastation from lead mining, just gentle fields with cattle or crops.
Road walking was unavoidable alongside Kilpin Hall, just after Ellerton Bridge, to an enjoyable stretch as traffic raced along at high speed. Thankfully we were soon walking off the road onto pathways that continued across the farmland. On we continued with no surprising views or change of scenery. A stop for lunch in a field provided a welcome break as we then continued on towards the village of Danby Wiske. One field looked impassable as tall maize plants well over head height filled the way ahead. It was a question of head down and plod between the plants until we were through it, not the most pleasant experience.
Arriving in the village, we stopped for the necessary cup of tea, spending a relaxing time talking to other walkers most of whom we have met over the past few days. They are all friendly, welcome a chat and exchange walking tips with each other. So, all in all, not the most exciting day’s walking but enjoyable in the fact that we are very walking fit now and can keep up a fairly good pace.
The last day of this section of the Coast-to-Coast trek, next installment and the final phase, will be completed in May 2022- seems a long way away at the moment.
Anyway, back to today, 4 happy and relaxed ladies were dropped back in Danby Wiske for the final 9 miles. Today was very much a repeat of yesterday’s walk taking us past farms and across their fields. What has struck us is how productive the land is, crops have been harvested, fields are being harrowed ready for the next crop and cows chew contentedly in their fields.
So, not much to report except one quirky farm that we passed. First of all, we noticed a large fridge by the side of the path inviting you to purchase snacks from it. It contained drinks, chocolate but also ibuprofen and plasters. Then came the surprise! As the stile was being climbed a rat (fortunately of the plastic kind) started making noises. It was difficult to make out what it was meant to be saying but it continued as the four of us crossed. There also was a witch’s broom, plastic skull and other artefacts nailed to the fence. It raised a smile from all of us.
Nearing the end of our walk we had to cross the dual carriageway of the A19. Cars were hurtling along the carriageway so we waited patiently until there was a break in the traffic. Having negotiated this hazard, we thankfully walked down into the village of Ingleby Cross. There, right by the village green, was a delightful cafe which comfortably finished this stage of the walk.
Author: Lynne Burge