Have you ever parked your car underground at Asda, then done your shopping and forgotten where you had put it? Now imagine parking your car in Grosmont, getting dropped off 7.8 miles away (as the crow flies) and finding your way back to it, with everything against you.....
The day was already at a stutter as two potential walkers, Ged and Les, were rested up for the day. I had looked at rearranging the last four days of the Coast to Coast and the new route took us via Richmond - Osmotherley - Blakey Ridge - Grosmont - Robin Hood's Bay. I decided to try the Blakey Ridge to Grosmont leg today. I had already slightly overslept but was at Dad's house for 9:30 raring to go, and better prepared than last time. Nat was also driving, and we left for Grosmont. Dad left his car there and we headed to The Lion pub in Blakey Ridge, the plan being to walk back to the car.
As we travelled over Blakey Moor we realised it was going to be a long cold walk in the snow, one which we were unprepared for today, especially kitted out in our shorts! So instead, after my navigation had managed to get us lost in the moors, we ended up in the car park of The Grapes pub along the Moor Road, the GPS had said it was 7.8 miles back to Grosmont so we decided to get out and walk from here. We waved bye to Nat and we were alone in the wild!
About to embark on a 7.8 mile walk in the freezing cold after being dropped off in a pub car park, we thought to ourselves what would be the best plan of attack? You got it - we went into the pub for a pint. Technically though, we never, we went to the toilet, but we felt obliged to buy a pint while we were in there, we don't expect free facilities. We got talking to the owners who had recently taken over and they sounded keen on making a go of it so good luck to them.
The last time out I had used Dixie's GPS but never really got the hang of it, this time though, I had spent all of the time in the pub playing around with it and I had pretty much sussed it, and what an asset it will be on the actual walk. Disaster was to strike though, I had spent so much time messing with it and plotting the upcoming route, and had forgot to charge it after the last use, that when we left the pub, after about 30 metres the battery gave up the ghost. Never mind, I had my new iPhone 5 with all of its glorious settings - only thing is it doesn't get signal over the moors. Ah wait! I have my C2C route maps, hmmm, only thing is we had veered off course and the maps didn't cover it, bugger!
So there we were, stood outside a pub in the middle of the moors with no navigational aids. The only thing I remembered from before the GPS went off was that it was 7.8 miles as the crow flies, but actually 12.5 miles walking. Great! It was at that point I realised it was April 1st and the walking gods were having a laugh at me. Despite my ability to levitate, there was no way I was even attempting to walk on water, it was far too cold for that, so we headed right from the pub and set off walking around Scaling Dam Reservoir. We followed the designated path for about 2-3 miles hoping it would take us to our first point of interest, Lealholm, but instead, we came out on the other side of the reservoir...near the pub we had earlier left! Gutted.
Undeterred, we set off, again, in search of the Holy Grail, or Lealholm as it is more commonly known. With nothing to go by, it was a strut across many fields (which always look the same) for mile upon mile with no sign of civilisation. We even hoped PC Nick Rowan would pass and pick us up in his sidecar, but to no avail.
A chance meeting with a couple of fellow ramblers set us on some kind of right path, even if it was back to the Moors Road, where Nat would come to meet us once more. It was at this point we had completely given up on Lealholm, although I am sure it is still there somewhere.
It was a long pathway back up the track but we eventually made it and parked ourselves in a bus shelter just by the road to The Black Bull. Had we noticed that there was another pub about 100 metres away we would have no doubt took refuge there but as it was, we were happy for a sit down and some relative warmth. Overall we had clocked up somewhere between 8 and 9 miles, and despite the problems we suffered, we managed to have a decent walk out. It wasn't part of the C2C as hoped, but a good day out nevertheless. Nat picked us up from the bus shelter and as we were only 9 miles from Whitby we headed to Mr Chips for tea. A decent day all round.
Oh, and Dad did finally get back to his car in Grosmont, somehow!