Monday, 26th August 2002
The Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge is an excellent pub and restaurant and the overnight accommodation excellent and is probably the best facilities which we have stayed in during the whole excursion. Nevertheless we were astonished to discover that they had served 1000 meals the previous day but the pub had been packed with people from when we arrived until we went to bed. I am not sure where they all come from as there is nothing else for miles around and I am equally unsure where they all go to when the pub closes although there is a campsite nearby.
The breakfast was superbly presented and the quality of the food excellent and this establishment is highly recommended for a visit. As Tina had collected us from Clay Bank Top the previous afternoon she had to return us to the same car park thereat for us to walk along the established route back to The Lion Inn which we had just left. The journey the previous day had been difficult so we decided to try to find an alternative route for Tina which did not involve any steep hills as she would obviously be returning from Clay Bank Top to Blakey Ridge alone in the car. Inevitably the route which we found did not contain any steep hills, was much longer, but we were happy in our own minds that whilst we were walking, Tina would not encounter any unforeseen difficulties.
I had my first blister, on the ball of the left foot and Tina put a Compeed plaster on it after bursting the blister. This eased it considerably, it had only proved to be an irritant and not a deterrent. The first section of the walk from Clay Bank Top was the inevitable climb up to the ridge of the hills. The masochist Wainwright loved the hills but is obviously not so keen on the flat areas and almost every start to the day has provided a long climb. Today was no exception and although we started from Clay Bank Top at 11.15 a.m. we did not reach the ridge of the hills until an hour later.
There is very little to talk about on today’s comparatively short walk to Blakey Ridge (approx. 9 miles) because once we got up onto the ridge the remainder of the course through to Blakey Ridge was fairly flat with good paths and underfoot conditions. The only problem was that there was a strong north-easterly wind which was obviously against us and which was very cold, particularly evident when we were high up. For the first time since we left St. Bees I felt some pressure on the hamstring which I had damaged a few weeks prior to the commencement of the walk and I suddenly realised that I had forgotten to do the exercises prescribed by the physiotherapist before starting today’s walk. This was a sharp reminder to me that I could not take anything for granted and it was a good job that the walk today was a lot easier than most and, apart from the initial climb, was very straightforward.
The walk took us across the heather-clad Yorkshire Moors mainly following the line of a disused railway where the marks of the redundant sleepers could be clearly seen. The visibility was not particularly good and we did not see the outline of The Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge until we were about a mile away. We saw a lot of walkers today, all either going to or had been to The Lion Inn, dependent upon which way they were walking.
Tina phoned Pat on his mobile to say that she had got back to our base i.e. The Lion Inn, at 1.15 p.m. and I was relieved that she had found it alright as anywhere on the moors is a difficult journey. Pat told her that we were making good progress and that, hopefully, we would be back at the Inn in about 1 ½ hours. We did eventually arrive at 2.50 p.m. and we were pleased with the day’s results. The area is the bleakest place in England that I have ever been to but, in sharp contrast, the pub is the busiest I have ever been in. It is full from lunch-time through to its close and I understand it is like that almost every day. It must be a “goldmine” but also very hard work and there are 32 full-time staff with extras brought in at peak times. As we were early back today we ordered soups/sandwiches and then booked a table for bar meals at 7 p.m. We are really enjoying our brief stay at The Lion Inn, had an excellent evening meal, and we are pleased that we chose this location for a two night stay.