Friday, 23rd August 2002
We had our breakfast at The Buck Hotel, Reeth at 8.30 a.m. and although it was a full English breakfast we are now cutting down our portions as we have been feeling a bit heavy over the first few miles of walking each day. Norman, the very helpful “Jack of all Trades” at The Buck gave Tina all the help and directions she needed to get to our next destination.
When we were at Kirkby Stephen, Tina had managed to find a launderette and she had laundered all Pat and Mary’s clothes as well as our own and everybody was able to wear nice fresh clothes for our daily sojourn. We set off from Reeth at 9.45 a.m. on what is supposed to be one of the easiest walking days of the whole trip. We met Peter and Melva (the two Australians) at 10 a.m. at the junction going out of Reeth which is signposted towards Marske and is the general direction in which we are heading.
Today’s schedule on the Wainwright Coast to Coast walk takes us to Richmond (only 10 miles away) but we have booked in at Catterick Bridge, a further 4 ½ miles en route as we are apprehensive about tomorrow where the schedule would take us 23 miles from Richmond to Ingleby Cross. When we planned the walk we were apprehensive about having to walk a total of 23 miles in one day and as there were options on this particular section we took what we believed to be the safest bet for us. Anyway, today’s walk to Richmond and beyond is supposed to be a lovely, relaxing walk and we took off in good spirits.
Unfortunately for me, I have hated the mountains and hills in previous days and, mentally, every comparatively small incline now seems like a hill to me. This is ridiculous and I have to get the mountains and hills of the past week out of my system. After two miles today we went past Marrick Priory which, by the signboard outside, now appears to be used as a residential place for such as Outward Bound groups and other adventurists.
Just over an hour into our walk we saw the most welcome sign which we have come across in the last eight days – “Elaine’s Teas at Farmhouse”. This brought yells of delight from Mary and Melva and there was no doubt that we had to stop. We looked in the direction of the arrow on the sign towards the farmhouse about 150 metres away and there were four people waving frantically to us – two young couples, probably in their late thirties, whom we had met from time to time during the last few days, either on the top of a mountain or in a hotel in the evening. We went to the farm and Elaine supplied us with whatever was ordered, in the case of Mary and Melva it was the traditional tea and scones together with the most gorgeous strawberry jam produced at the farm. Mary, as thoughtful as ever, suggested that we should take Tina a jar of jam and as Tina is rather partial to strawberries, I agreed that it would be one way to earn some brownie points!
When we were at The Buck Hotel the previous evening Norman had told us that they were expecting a group of Americans for the following two nights who were walking sections of the Coast to Coast. Sure enough as we were about to leave the farm we saw a large number of people in what can only be described as Combat Expedition gear coming towards us and we correctly guessed it to be the Americans.
We made our way towards Richmond and, although there appeared to me to be a good walk at low level by the river, in typical Wainwright fashion we have to follow his prescribed route which took us as high as possible. By this time the drizzle which had been prevalent throughout the day was getting heavier and we eventually entered the pleasant town of Richmond at 3.30 p.m. As we walked down one of the main streets we heard shouts of “Roger” and it was again the two young couples, one of whom had lived in Richmond for twelve years previously and they were all finishing their journey here. We said our farewells to them and also our temporary farewells to Peter and Melva who have accommodation in Richmond itself although we expect to see them later in the trip.
Pat, Mary and I decided to walk the 4 ½ miles to Catterick Bridge by road and we telephoned Tina to tell her to expect us at our next destination within 2 hours. We had a cup of tea in the café at the back of the Edinburgh Woollen shop and then set off on the road to Catterick. The rain was getting increasingly heavier and Tina spoke to Pat on his mobile phone (mine had packed up some days ago) and suggested that she could meet us on the road and take our rucksacks in the car. This was readily agreed to and we had only reached the Catterick Garrison when Tina collected the rucksacks.
With the weight off our backs we strode out purposefully towards Catterick Bridge. Mary, who is excellent at walking up and down mountains and hills, over the Dales and Moors, clambering over stiles, does not relish the prospect of walking on roads and for the first time in the entire eight (or is it nine) days of walking I heard her complain that some part of her anatomy was aching. She is a very resilient lady and I am determined that she should get to Robin Hood’s Bay successfully as she has been so helpful to me. I am not bothered about myself but I do want Mary to achieve her objective and am sure she will.
For most of the day Pat, who has taken to this venture like a duck to water, has had trouble with his ankle and he is not sure what has caused it. It is alright for me as the only injuries which I have at present are as a result of the altercation with the hills the previous day and they are clearly visible, looking as though I have been through a couple of rounds with Lennox Lewis and I am therefore getting some sympathy, particularly from the ladies we meet. We arrived at the Bridge House Hotel (under new management and in need of refurbishment), Catterick Bridge, at 5.45 p.m., had a welcome bath and then had an excellent meal and the customary drinks in a very pleasant restaurant in the Hotel which appears to be about the only part already re-furbished.