04 Jun Day 12
On Day 12 we have left the Swale and are heading towards the Cleveland Hills and the North York Moors. It’s been the least interesting and enjoyable day despite (or maybe because of?) walking over flat terrain. On top of that, to use the eloquent Scottish vernacular, it was a dreich day (dreich pronounced DREECH with a lot of back throat on the CH), not exactly raining but with a smirr (as in SMURF but dropping the ‘F’ and adding an extra ‘R’ to be rolled around the tongue!). Yep – we Scots have a feel and the language for this kind of weather. It wasn’t horrid but some sunshine would have helped….and the lunch spot under pylons pulsating with kilowatts could have been bettered.
The route across this low country, the Vale of Mowbray as it’s called, alternates between lengthy sections on small country roads and long trudges along the edges of fields where the path almost disappears between burgeoning crops of wheat on one side and borders of wild grasses, flowers and nettles on the other. Very pastoral chic and, today, very wet what with overnight rain and overall smirr! As a result, you emerge from these off-road sections with trousers soaked up beyond the knees. At least I do. Jim had decided to wear shorts – gamely (ever the optimist), vainly (he does have a cracking pair of calves) insanely (yes, known to occasionally take leave of his senses) – in expectation of sunshine breaking through on the 17-18 mile trek. Alas, he was wrong. But, in fact, legs are much easier to dry than trousers after the intermittent field soakings. So good for him, but he had a helluva job navigating those knee-high nettles. Haha!
After 11 days in the back country, today’s flirtation with main roads was a shock to the system. We had crossed the A1 yesterday via a footbridge so we were spared the immediacy of motorised traffic, being granted a safe aerial view. But today we had a double ordeal: firstly, 400 metres along the edge of the A167 between Northallerton and Darlington where the cars whizz past at incredible speeds (I think the speed limits must be different up here); and secondly, crossing the A19, a dual carriageway – eek! Genuinely, it’s disconcerting. You forget, when you’re out in the trail day after day, about the speed, the noise and the draught of air as cars pass close by. Suddenly you’re reminded and you feel vulnerable.
Ingleby Arncliffe tonight and another splendid B&B. Last night we had the classiest ever at Scorton with a bedroom the size of our entire ground floor, a range of herbal teas that was much too extensive to remember and about 15 different granolas! Ingleby has a lot to live up to.