Day 13: Clay Bank Top to Blakey Ridge

We had a very pleasant 14km walk today over the moors to Blakey Ridge's Lion Inn. The pub is the fourth 'highest' pub in England in terms of elevation, and has stood in this spot, miles from anywhere, for over 400 years. We will sample its beers and wines shortly!

The short upward incline at the beginning of our hike led us to many miles of mostly level ground. The navigation was relatively straightforward and we only had to resort to our maps occasionally…..

We are very much in Wuthering Heights territory now, so I'll start with a quote from Emily Brontë's novel (Chapter 34):

I sought, and soon discovered, the three headstones on the slope next the moor: the middle one grey, and half buried in the heath; Edgar Linton's only harmonised by the turf and moss creeping up its foot; Heathcliff's still bare.

I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.

We kept mostly to the paths, but saw our old friends the marshes, bogs and craggy rocks. From Chapter 18 of Wuthering Heights, here is another quote. It applies to anybody clambering on the moors.

I walked as if for a wager, mile after mile, till a turn brought me in view of the Heights; but no Catherine could I detect, far or near. The Crags lie about a mile and a half beyond Mr. Heathcliff's place, and that is four from the Grange, so I began to fear night would fall ere I could reach them. 'And what if she should have slipped in clambering among them,' I reflected, 'and been killed, or broken some of her bones?

 A sheep on the Moor

A sheep on the Moor

There are sheep dotted over the Moors, even though we are in the North York National Park. Per mile there aren't many sheep at all, but today every sheep we saw wanted to be photographed. We found this fellow balanced on the top of a wall, not sure whether to go backwards or forwards….

What we were supposed to be looking for was grouse. At first we were excited to spot them! By the end of the walk we were contemplating chasing them out of the heather, picking them up by their stumpy little legs, throwing them over our shoulders, and walking into the Lion Inn with them - demanding they be plucked and cooked for our dinner (after being stuffed with partridges, chickens and quails). In other words, there were quite a number of grouse on the Moor. They don't fly terribly well, so must be easy pickings for grouse shooters.

 The Famous Grouse

The Famous Grouse

Advice for Coast to Coasters

Backpacks: 

Acid Drop and Sherbet Lemon carry Polly Pocket Backpacks (and eat very light lunches comprising pumpkin seeds and boiled sweets).

The Water Tank and Tea Bag are a two-thermos team. They are a reservoir of liquids - the camels of the desert.

Coconut Water carries a defibrillator, ultrasound machine, full sized stretcher, and surgical equipment (including gastroscope).

Butterscotch Keeper carries a map (thank goodness(.

Boots:

Acid Drop's boots are the Louis Vuitton of footwear. Classical in design, stylish, and costly. So why do they leak? If you want to survive the wet, I suggest you wear sturdy sensible ugly boots. And also on boots…. sometimes B & B establishments want you to leave them at the front door.  Inns and pubs don't care - and often have a drying room if you need one. The only time our  boots have been washed (by a kindly proprietor) it was a disaster. In the evening we left our boots at the front door. They were muddy on the outside, but dry on the inside. In the morning they were clean on the outside, but wet on the inside. 

 Moorish Vegetation….and sheep

Moorish Vegetation….and sheep

Gaiters:

 Goodnight from the moors

Goodnight from the moors

We read up on gaiters before we left, and thought they may be something only weirdos wore. Wrong! We love our gaiters. You need the ones that clip onto your laces. They give you the confidence to stride through brooks and becks and wiskes. And if you do happen to step knee deep into a bog, the gaiters will keep your boots and legs dry. Equally importantly, walking through long grasses and crops will not be a problem wearing gaiters. Without gaiters, particularly if you are wearing shorts (another blog post altogether!) you risk grass ticks, grass allergies and nettle stings. In short, gaiters are an excellent investment. Having said that, buy them in England because my $80 Aus ones are no better than the £12 ones The Water Tank purchased locally.

Thermoses:

Essential!