The weekend started early for me - I finished work on Friday at 2 o'clock and headed off to North Tees Hospital with Mark for an interview (of sorts) to get an item about the Coast to Coast published in their magazine. It went very well, so that will hopefully garnish a bit more interest.
I was intending to do 2 legs of the walk at the weekend to give me a feel of getting up on day 2 and doing the same again, or as some would say, a glutton for punishment! As it was, this never transpired but I went out on Saturday with Dad and did a trusted route - over to Stockton, then on to Portrack, nip into Go Outdoors, over the Newport Bridge and on into Middlesbrough. We called into Walkabout for a bit of the Spurs v Newcastle match, and Nat was on her way home and the offer of a lift home was there so we took it. In all though, we had clocked up 6 miles, not bad.
Saturday night was poker night, it was on tour this time though and round at Amy & Pip's house. I was glad to be going, as Nat was cooking for 9 of the girls. The night itself was a good one, though oddly I didn't win a single game, very untypical! Congratulations to Sharpey on winning 4, but more importantly to Pip for the spread, with Amy shirking her duties.
The morning after the night before. I had arranged for cover to play the organ at church so it meant I could be up and about early on Sunday. Although I was planning one of the latter stage walks of 17 miles, it was a late switch and we opted for the Reeth to Richmond leg, which was about 11 miles
3 of us were walking today, me, Dad and Les, so we had two cars - Les parked at Richmond and Dad drove us on to Reeth. We were talking about Back to the Future, and I think we had actually found it at Reeth, a nice little villagey type place with the pub sign upside down (see top photo), and a Willy Wonka-esque character running the local newsagents. Very nice! We set off on the walk armed with my trusty Coast to Coast guide, and it was invaluable en route. We had only walked about 50 metres when Dad was nearly wiped out by a cyclist, "watch where you're going" shouted the disgruntled cyclist as he sped into the distance. To be fair, we were walking in the middle of the road, bloody walkers! This was followed by disrupting a jogger to ask directions (come one, we were just getting started - everywhere else I have walked I have knew where to go!), he didn't mind though he was very pleasant. So we were off, heading to Grinton, and we encountered our first wicket gate of the day. It was snug getting through and I ended up falling onto a pole. Within 5 minutes of the walk, Dad had nearly been mown down by a cyclist and I had bruised buttocks, surely things could only get better.
Don't worry, they did. We meandered along following the River Swale to Marrick Priory, an old ruin, and despite missing a turning, we made it up to Ellers Cottage. The weather was lousy, we encountered rain, snow, sleet and a whole lot of mist. We seemed to walk through endless fields, and at times felt like quicksand, thank God for my boots, had they been anything less they would still be stuck in a field now! We strode onto Marske, and this is where we made our second mistake - taking a right instead of a left. We should have known really instead of presuming the book was wrong.... We did, however, pick up on the road again and followed the road into Richmond, all 5 miles of it (felt like 10 though). It was a slog and we clocked in a total of 13 miles (2 miles more than we should have), but I'm so glad we walked it, at least we can iron out mistakes before the day. I hope to have more of these dry runs before May 21st so if anyone fancies it, you're more than welcome! Thanks to Dad and Les, it always helps to have banter on the way.