Coast to Coast with LOROS (days 12-15)

December 8, 2016 by

Coast to Coast and back again: nearly 400 miles in 29 days (days 12-15)

By Cindy West

Over the North York Moors: Day 12 to 15

Coast to Coast joins Cleveland Way

Coast to Coast joins Cleveland Way

Day twelve and a twelve mile stint in beautiful sunshine from Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top commenced our journey through heathered moorland, up significant gradations as we climbed and descended the peaks, plateau and valleys of this ancient landscape first populated significantly by our Viking invaders. The Lyke Wake Walk and the Cleveland Way both intersect with the Coast to Coast, indeed our coastal crossing follows both of these in part. After Osmotherley, walkers need to be mindful of following the Cleveland Way signs to keep on the right track. We came across fellow walkers who started their day at Osmotherley and, if it had not been for Tony, would have followed the coast to coast signs back to where they had started from. Whilst only 12 miles, this section takes in six fell tops and we found it a challenging walk in the very hot weather. The need to stop for frequent rests and water accompanied by a fair few expletives, unmentionable in polite company, gave us lots of opportunity to admire the panoramic views. The Wainstones, a large outcrop of rocks dominate the landscape and presented us with some puzzles as to how to use both hands to climb up rocks and through rock passages whilst still holding on to walking poles. Being a little “undertall” there were times when my feet needed to be placed higher than my knees, a feat of physical contortion rarely practiced before. It was great fun and made me almost wish I still went rock climbing.

39s-glaisdale-to-low-hawkster-day-14

A twenty one miler across the moors from Clay Bank Top to Glaisdale was relatively easy walking but mizzle and rain didn’t allow us much of a view and wet us to our underwear. Lunch at the Lion Inn isolated high up on the moors, viewable long before it was actually reached, gave us opportunity to dry out, restore our inner selves with wholesome soup, and prepared us for our descent towards the valley of Eskdale. On the way down, just along the roadside we made an obligatory stop to feed “Fat Betty” a white mediaeval cross, looking just like a very rounded matriarch, one of a number of waymarkers for travellers across the Moors. There are many stories attached to Fat Betty but the one we paid attention to was that which tells us that our journey across the moors would be safe if a gift of food was left for her. We hoped our offerings of jelly babies, sugar, or anything else edible we had in our pockets left with many others gifts, would satisfy her and keep wrath at bay.

35s-stepping-stones

Our penultimate day for our west to east crossing took us from Glaisdale to Low Hawkser and moved us on from the bleakness of the moors into natural woodland that covered the hillsides and presented us with rough hewn paths or worn stone steps. Our lunch that day was taken at Grosmont station, a steam railway enthusiast’s heaven. Thanks to the North Yorks Moors Railway Society magnificent steam locos still plough their way through this lovely landscape and provide the thrill of steam travel for all age groups. The road from Grosmont starts with a very challenging steep hill that seemed to just go on for ever and brought us out once more to moorland. On, along the moorland road, passed prehistoric stone circles we walked and, low and behold, a glimpse of the sea, where we would, eventually dip our feet. But not yet, there was still a valley, trees, streams and the lovely Falling Fosse waterfall to see as we wended our way towards our goal.

Throwing the precious stones into the sea at Robin Hoods Bay

Throwing the precious stones into the sea at Robin Hoods Bay

Day fifteen was both our last and first day as we ended our west to east traverse and started our east to west one. The day was beautifully sunny and warm and our spirits were high as we set out from Low Hawkser to walk the last five miles into Robin Hoods Bay. Through the village we went, disregarding the quick route via a former railway track, that would be cheating, to take the scenic route along the coastal path. We were soon rewarded with views of the coastal cliffs and great expanse of the North Sea as we walked along the edge of cliffs looking down to the waves pummelling the rocks below, accompanied by the screeching sounds of Seagulls. Discarding our packs into the minibus in the top car park we were met by the east to west team and friends and relatives who had made the journey up to welcome us, some of us at journeys end and some looking forward to the exciting challenge of another hundred and ninety two miles. Clutching our precious stones that we had carried across the whole of the country we walked jubilantly down to the sea. Smiles, laughter and stories of our adventure were exchanged as we paddled at the waters edge in boots that had been through water, bogs, and over rocks on feet that had delivered on their promise to walk in Wainwrights footsteps across our beautiful isle.

44s-champagne-celebration-at-robin-hoods-bay-day-15Stones were hurled into the sea or dipped for the journey back to their home shore and others collected for their long traverse in the pockets of our new west to east travelling companions. Time for champagne, lunch and purchase of T-shirts before farewells and starting our return trip. For three of our team it was journeys end, for all of us, it was time for hugs and tears as we said goodbye to our companions. We were firm friends who had shared in joy and adversity, sang together, cursed together, shared and overcome moments of doubt and fatigue, always supporting each other and now determined to maintain friendships.

View report of the return trip Coast to Coast days 15 to 29

Go to the first report Coast to Coast days 1-7

Coast to Coast with LOROS (days 8-12)

December 6, 2016 by

Coast to Coast and back again: nearly 400 miles in 29 days (days 8-12)

By Cindy West

Through the Yorkshire Dales: Day 8 to 12

Nine Standards Rigg 2172 ft

Nine Standards Rigg 2172 ft

Day 8, walking from Kirkby Stephen to Keld took us through the Cumbria, North Yorkshire Border and challenged us with a walk up to Nine Standards Rigg 2172 ft. It takes its name from the nine cairns at the summit whose origins are somewhat obscure. My favourite theory is that they are stone men built by the Romans to look like troops. They were certainly a welcome sight for me at the end of a steep climb that left me a bit breathless only to take my breath away again at the lovely views.

The team at the top of Nine Standards Rigg

The team at the top of Nine Standards Rigg

Walking in the Dales provides very different but equally good walking and scenery. I was reminded very much of our own Leicestershire landscape as we walked through fields, woodland and along riverbanks. We took the lower route alongside the River Swale. It was a welcome respite from the steep climbs and descents previously negotiated. Our route took us via diversions for diversions over the A1 and we spent a few moments watching archaeologists painstakingly scraping away at the earth to reveal its Roman heritage before the new road extensions buried them again. This part of the route has the longest section of road walking and the eight or so miles of tarmac were easy on my legs but a bit hard on my feet as the luxurious grass and meadow gave way to the hard tarmac surface.

17s-waterfall

Our youth hostel accommodation throughout our trip was brilliant. We stayed in some lovely old well converted houses. Grinton Lodge however, gave us more than we had bargained for one very stormy night. Whilst getting ready for dinner the fire alarms went off accompanied by the lights going out, as we were debating as to whether or not we should evacuate, lights returned and the alarm ceased. This was followed by shouts from neighbouring rooms that the roof was leaking. The room next door was now behind a waterfall that fell relentlessly from the lintel above the door to the carpet below, threatening to drench the occupants if they went through the door. Buckets were hastily arranged beneath leaks in many parts of the building and we congregated in the lounge. Lights again went off and it felt as though we were all in an Agatha Christie whodunnit or participants in a cluedo game in the spooky atmosphere. We settled into chairs and were treated to a spectacular light show as the storm raged outside.

23s-keld-to-marrick-valley

The section between Richmond and Ingleby Cross is not strictly within the Dales National Park but the terrain is similar and the end of this section gave us, I think, the only challenge that made us run. The A19 was a daunting six lane obstacle populated with cars and lorries intent on getting to their destination at the maximum speed limit. We took life and limb in our hands, or rather feet, as we ran across it to reach the safe haven of the other side and down to our journeys end for the day at Ingleby Cross with another seventeen miles under our belts. Our next day would bring us the delights of the moors and the Cleveland hills glimpsed in the distance.

Go to next Coast to Coast report Coast to Coast days 12-15

Go to start of Coast to Coast report Coast to Coast days 1-7

Coast to Coast with LOROS (days 1-7)

December 4, 2016 by

Coast to Coast and back again: nearly 400 miles in 29 days (days 1 – 7)

By Cindy West

The team at St.Bees on the LOROS Coast to Coast and back again 2016

The team at St.Bees on the LOROS Coast to Coast and back again 2016

You must be mad” are words I heard many times before my journey started and also from folks we met on our way. There were times when I thought I was, as I laboured up hills, slid down slopes, scrambled over rocks, traversed bogs and waded through streams. There were many more times when I knew I wasn’t as I gazed on wonderful scenery, devoid of other humanity and populated only by hardy sheep, cattle and beautiful wildlife. My journey across England, through 3 national parks, the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors following Wainwrights coast to coast route from St Bees on the west coast, to Robin Hoods Bay on the east, and back, was one of the most challenging and enjoyable I have made. The autumn weather provided everything apart from snow. We had fog, hail, rain, gale force winds and magnificent sunshine as we walked an average of seven hours a day, sometimes achieving a staggering twenty miles and sometimes a mere nine dependent on the terrain.

St Bees start of Wainwrights Coast to Coast walk 183 miles

St Bees start of Wainwrights Coast to Coast walk 183 miles

The “we” were two teams of walkers committed to raising funds for LOROS, our local hospice, six of whom planned to, and did, complete the two way crossing. The walk was planned and supported by Adrian Walker of the LOROS fund raising team who prebooked our youth hostel or bed and breakfast accommodation and the minibus. This enabled us to walk with the freedom of just a daypack, and allowed us to start at our finishing point from the previous day and get us to, and from, our overnight accommodation. Our days generally began with a 6 am wake up alarm, foot preparation, bag packing and bus loading before breakfast. After breakfast we motored to our start point or started walking from our accommodation and were walking generally by 8.45am, any aches and tiredness from the previous day having been forgotten. It’s amazing how a clean pair of socks and dry boots can raise your spirits and prepare you for another days walk. I think I did get fitter as the days rolled by and by the end I could walk more easily over any terrain, although I still had to watch where I put my feet on many occasions.

Choosing the right stone to carry to Robins Hood Bay

Choosing the right stone to carry to Robins Hood Bay

Our walk leader and pace setter, Tony McCleavy is a veteran coast to coaster having mastered the crossing seven times for LOROS and no longer needs a map. He helped many a lost group that we met on our way who struggled with the vagaries of their map, topographical uncertainty, and the occasional lack of signposting. We are indebted to him for his wonderful skills in getting us safely to our destination each day and for carrying the coffee and cake we so enjoyed, often in the middle of nowhere either in the damp and mizzle or beautiful sunshine and always surrounded by spectacular views.

I wish now that I had kept a detailed journal of my walk as some of my companions did because I find it difficult to pinpoint where some of the wonderful pictures I have were taken. This brief account can therefore only be based on what I remember and the old brain cells are just that…old and rather forgetful. It is only a snapshot of the twenty nine glorious days I walked with wonderful companions through England’s beautiful landscape.

The West to East crossing:

15 days with more sunshine than rain and the wind, on the whole, but with one very notable exception, at our backs.

Through the Lakes: Day 1 to 7

3s-the-journey-begins

Our journey began at St Bees in lovely sunshine where we dipped our feet in the Irish Sea and collected a stone that would be carried across the country and thrown jubilantly into the North Sea fourteen days later. Up we went along the coastal path to start our actual eastward crossing from Sandwith to finish our day at Moor Row.

Ennerdale Water

Ennerdale Water

Our first serious climb came the next day when we summitted Dent Hill to be rewarded by panoramic views of this part of Cumbria and the Isle of Man that seemed so close. Having glimpsed Ennerdale water I looked forward to a leisurely stroll along its lakeside. Oh how wrong I was. Rock scrambling, stream hopping and tree root avoidance were the main features here. It was, however, one of my favourite parts of the walk.

Day 5 was a nine and a half mile stint from Grasmere to Patterdale in the pouring rain. Some challenging climbs took us up past Grisdale Tarn much of which was shrouded in mist. Our decent into Patterdale however gave us one of the most beautiful sights of the trip. A wonderful rainbow that seemed to bridge Ullswater, a sight that made walking in the rain all worth while…. If there had been no rain there would not have been this magnificent rainbow.

Rainbow over Patterdale

Rainbow over Patterdale

The highest point on our walk was Kidsty Pike 2580ft a tough six mile uphill trek from Patterdale. This proved to be my most disappointing day. The rain was relentless and, more significantly, the wind was gale force. We trudged up passed Angle Tarn, heads down, poles digging into the hillside trying to keep us upright as we battled the wind that threatened to sweep us off the fellside. Almost at “the Knot”, having passed several walkers who had turned back, our leaders took the decision that our safety was more important than getting to the top. We had lost several backpack rain covers to the wind and didn’t want to lose any of us. Sadly we turned back to retrace our steps to Patterdale, a wise but disappointing decision, as we later found out that a walker from another party had fallen and broken his leg. Back at our starting point we took our minibus, to Mardale Head and continued our walk along the shores of Haweswater to Shap. We certainly completed the right number of miles that day but not all of them in the right direction.

A better day climbing

A better day climbing

A twenty mile stint on day 7 from Shap to Kirkby Stephen saw us leaving behind the lovely hills of the Lake District National Park and across the M6 footbridge.

Some of our team had never walked 20 miles before so our day ended with a toast to celebrate our “twenty mile virgins” achievement.

More to follow

Go to next Coast to Coast report Coast to Coast days 8-12

Long walk Wednesday Dec 14th from Thurlaston (The Elephant & Castle)

December 1, 2016 by

Unfortunately the above pub is under new management and will not be open at lunch time, however the walk will still start from there, but on completion the leader Mike R has arranged to move to the Red Lion at Huncote for lunch. Meals can be ordered on arrival. Would walkers please park near the church and not on the Elephant & Castle car park.

Roger W.

 

Wednesday short walk Jan 4th 2017 from the Queens Head Saddington

November 29, 2016 by

Here we go again, yet another change to a Wednesday walk, the above walk will now be from the Black Horse at Foxton the leader being Chris M. Apparently the Queens head are having changes made to their kitchen so will not be open on the 4th of Jan. If you are a Wednesday walker reading this message could you inform other walkers of this change, as it not possible to have someone at the Queens Head on the day to redirect walkers to the Black Horse. The Calender has been updated accordingly.

Roger W.

Long Walk from South Croxton (The Golden Fleece) Jan 4th

November 17, 2016 by

Sorry Folks, yet another alteration to the Wednesday walks programme. Do to a re-furb of the Golden Fleece, the above walk will now be from the Carrington Arms Ashby Folville. Leaders Althea & Linda. If you are a Wednesday long walker reading this message could you please inform other long walkers of this change. The walks programme will be up-dated accordingly.

Roger W.

 

LFA Sweatshirts

November 15, 2016 by

Stuck for Christmas gift ideas? Want to be part of the crowd? Need something decent to wear out walking?

Jenny Barbara and Pam show a selection of colours

Jenny Barbara and Pam show a selection of colours

Look no further than an LFA Sweatshirt. Available now with the new style badge and in time for that must have Christmas gift.

Rick up against it trapped between a brick wall and the camera.

Rick up against it trapped between a brick wall and the camera.

See Jenny T with your order.

Detail of the new LFA badge.

Detail of the new LFA badge.

NOTE the sew on badge for competition of the Leicestershire Round remains unchanged and includes Rutland see link to Leicestershire Round page,

Long Walk from Tilton on The Hill 30th November

November 2, 2016 by

The above walk from the Rose & Crown Tilton, is unable to take place due to overbooking. This walk will now be from the Queens Head, Billesdon. The walks leader is Lionel. B. The Wednesday walks calender has been modified accordingly.

Side tracked

November 2, 2016 by
Sketch by Jean Harrison from Leicestershire Round brown guide

Sketch by Jean Harrison from Leicestershire Round brown guide

Despite all the concerns about cyber attacks and the like how would we now manage without the World Wide Web. I’ve just had an enjoyable hour trying to discover more about the monument at High Cross for the updated guide to the Leicestershire Round and I now feel that I must share it with you. The original guide had a nice sketch by Jean Harrison.

From the Leicestershire Round blue guide, un-named artist

From the Leicestershire Round blue guide, un-named artist

The later blue guide had another sketch. If you have visited the site you will know that a little bit of artist’s licence is required. Despite being Listed the remains of the monument base are in a poor state, the Latin inscription which is often reproduced in translation has been illegible for decades.

I wanted to know more about this and started a web trawl eventually discovering a page ‘In Search of Middle England’ by Philip Coppens, I invite you to take a look In Search of Middle England here you will find a contempory sketch by William Stukeley (1687-1765) and more about the monument.

 

Charity Walk at Belvoir Castle

October 29, 2016 by

We have received details of this fund raising event.

Click on the image for a larger copy

Click on the image for a larger copy

Dove Cottage Day Hospice is situated in the beautiful Vale of Belvoir. We are an independent organisation offering high quality palliative day care to those people living in NE Leicestershire, Rutland and SE Nottinghamshire with supportive and palliative care needs, living with advanced progressive life limiting illness. We offer over 3,700 day care places every year and have a high carer to guest ratio and all of our services are provided free of charge.

We have a Santa Fun Run & Walk at Belvoir Castle this will be our second year running this event and we are hoping to double our Santa’s this year.

The event takes place at Belvoir Castle on Sunday 4th December. Last year we had 300 participants register for the 2.5K and 5K route around the beautiful grounds of the Castle. This year we have added a new 10K route.