Day 14 Blakey Ridge to Grosmont
13 miles Fair and windy
We found food at the Lion Inn at Blakey comes in big portions. Last night Carole ordered lamb chops for dinner and was amazed to be given five full size chops, a bowl with about a dozen new potatoes and enough vegetables for a family of four. At breakfast she attempted to order a small portion of kippers but the waitress laughed and said to just leave what you don't want. In the event she was served two full kippers which I guess was the chef's idea of a small portion. The food was good, however, and we were well fortified for the day's walk when we left the pub to cloudy skies and a brisk wind.
|Walking from the Lion at Blakey|
We joined a strung out group of fellow walkers on the road, which we followed until we reached the junction near a standing stone called Young Ralph Cross. Here we turned onto a waymarked bridleway and soon reached White Cross, another standing stone painted white and nicknamed Fat Betty. Behind the stone people had left packets of biscuits and coins in the old tradition of providing for needy travellers.
|I resist the temptation to stock up for the day|
We were soon on a shooter's track, passing a stone building used by the shooters, called Trough House, and from this point we had our first sight of the North sea on the horizon.
|Stoat trap on moor|
|Carole next to a standing stone|
The weather was steadily improving as the day passed and walking round the head of Great Fryup Dale we had a lovely sunlit view of the dale. Good paths made our walking quick and easy and we left our track to join a bigger track, known as the Old Whitby Road which provided a steady descent with the valley of Glaisdale to the right hand side.
|Great Fryup Dale|
|On the Old Whitby Road|
Eventually our road became a tarmac lane that led into the village of Glaisdale and then a mile further along the road, to Glaisdale Station and the Arncliffe Arms where we stopped for coffee and cream scones. At the next table sat the Aussies from last night's dinner in the Lion and we all laughed about the size of the lamb chop dinners, which they had also chosen.
|The Arncliffe Arms|
|Cream scones in the Arncliffe Arms|
Passing by the station we took our guide book's advice to look under the arches to see Beggar's Bridge, an ancient pack-horse crossing with a romantic story attached to it.
After Beggar's Bridge we followed the sign for Egton Bridge and crossed a footbridge to enter woods. We now had an uphill climb on an old pack-horse trail, many sections of which are paved, leading steadily through the woods to the approach, made finally by road, to the village of Egton Bridge.
|Carole by the River Esk|
|Old packhorse trail through the woods|
|Old North Riding road sign|
We crossed the river at Egton Bridge by stepping stones and soon joined an old toll road which leads through Egton Manor Estate. This is a pleasure to walk along with verges full of all sorts of wildflowers.
We were alerted to our proximity to Grosmont by the sound of a steam train whistle. The Esk Valley Railway between Middlesbrough and Whitby and the North Yorks Moors Railway to Pickering meet at a junction in the village.
|On the Old Toll Road|
|Old list of charges|
We walked into Grosmont and sat outside the Station Tavern with the Geordies and Keiran who were already taking refreshment, and watched steam trains crossing the main road while we enjoyed a refreshing pint.
|A pint at The Station|
|View from The Station Arms|
At this point we were most amused by a local couple who walked past our tables to take one of their own, apologising to everyone as they did so. "I'm very sorry, sorry about the dog, I'm so sorry," again and again. They had a black terrier (who we would soon know to be Buster) who, once they had sat down, started barking non stop for no apparent reason. The couple had probably long since realised there was no point in trying to quieten him and just kept looking round and apologising on his behalf. We probably found this funnier because we were leaving, I don't think we could have put up with Buster for long.
From here things did not go to plan. We walked round to our accommodation for the night where the lady proprietor said she had no record of our booking. We rang Brigantes who were not pleased, telling us that they had paid for our accommodation three weeks ago and provided a check list of all Brigantes' future bookings. When we told the lady proprietor this she said that it was probably her fault as she had trouble coping with 'all the admin,' however she couldn't help as she was fully booked. Because of this Brigantes now had to find us accommodation on this busy Coast to Coast route on a Friday night. Eventually they managed to get us another family room back at the Lion at Blakey, but only because there had been a cancellation. We felt Brigantes were let down by their agent in Grosmont and then worked hard to find us an alternative with the least inconvenience to ourselves. Well done Brigantes!
The journey back to the Lion at Blakey was an hour's drive by taxi and would necessitate travelling back to Grosmont in the morning for our last day's walk to Robin Hood's Bay.