It was the penultimate day! And the first day that John cracked open his bottle of suncream. All of us tramping with him lathered some liberally on our arms as hey, it was a short sleeves day!
Bucolic is a word I have always had problems with, because I always forget the definition. To me it sounds like some description of an illness but it means an idyllic rural or pastoral scene and so today, or at least this afternoon when we came down from the moors, was typically bucolic. We had small villages with stone built houses and village greens and woods and streams and steam trains (although I missed the train!!!) and yet more English bluebells and we had the sunshine. It was like we’d strolled into an episode of Heartbeat and that was not so far fetched as the programme was filmed very close by.
We had a lengthy walk along the moors to begin with but being fortified by yet another cooked breakfast (for nearly all of us) and perhaps because we were now getting used to this walking lark it went by at a fairly decent pace. We weren’t quite yomping but we did surprise ourselves pleasantly each time one of us asked Julie how far we’d come.
We made our votive offerings to ‘Fat Betty’.
This is also called the White Cross but there are myths and legends about why this stone was erected, involving nuns or farmer’s wives or both, who may have been called Elizabeth or something like that and anyway apparently it’s now a bit of a tradition for walkers to take and leave some food on this ancient stone slab. I solemnly put down my last packet of jaffa cakes as it was only right to give someone else the benefit of the main thing that has kept me going this couple of weeks.
On one of our stops we got treated to a couple of fly-bys by a ‘Hawk’. I had no idea what it was called really, it was just a fast, loud plane to me but Paul and Derek know these kinds of things. Then as we walked down and into the first village of Glaisdale it flew higher up but kept circling every five minutes until I started feeling paranoid. Was someone carrying something in their rucksack that was sending dodgy heat signals? Eventually I tried to block out the still considerable noise and distract myself with some inviting signs for a tea shop.
We were due to go through three villages today; Glaisdale, Egdon Bridge and Grosmont where we were staying. Sally had suggested waiting until Egdon Bridge before we stopped anywhere as that meant that we wouldn’t have far to waddle with our cake filled bellies. The signs here cannily pointed out that this was the LAST teashop UNTIL Grosmont. It was like it had read Sally’s mind! That in itself was a sign that we should stop and after all we had less than 5 miles to go. As we walked in, the Aussies were on their way out. This was the second group (not the band of 4) that we’d met on and off and today they were stalking us in reverse. I.e. they kept getting to a place before us. They had been two guys and a woman but now it was just her and one the guys, Doug and Sally. Nice people and intrepid travellers by the sounds of it.
With the cakes and scones scoffed we wended our way past the Beggar’s Bridge and into the lovely woods between this and the next village. It is so called because apparently a pauper who was courting a young woman in the village decided he needed to go off and better himself before he could marry her. On his last night before heading abroad he wanted to say goodbye to his sweetheart but the rains had come down heavily and the ford was not fordable. But he did make his riches and eventually came back and married her. Then he had a bridge built over the Esk so that no other lovers would have to go through his heartache. I love a nice happy ending 🙂
The Gallery cafe in Grosmont is a lovely place to stay. Lovely rooms and they cook a mean evening meal. Doug and Sally were also staying here (see what I mean about stalking?). It’s above an art gallery and a cafe funnily enough and the whole place is run by a local artist and Julie even bought one of his paintings. Grosmont is tiny but it does have a train station and although I missed seeing the steam train pull in this evening there is, fingers crossed, another one coming at precisely (because trains are always on time!) 9.15 tomorrow morning.