Hiking England Coast to Coast: Yorkshire Dales National Park and North York Moors
Back on the trail in the Yorkshire Dales National Park for a long 10-mile day. Today, we’d cross the main watershed of the Pennines and it was also the halfway point of the Coast to Coast. Nine Standards Rigg is an array of cairns at the top of the watershed and we made our way up in a complete fog and steady rain. (No one knows how the stone men of Nine Standards Rigg originated.) It was impossible to even see the person in front of you on top and I was seriously concerned about getting lost and wandering forever over the moors, calling…“Heathcliffe…where are you”… No photo ops at the top and Chris was walking back and forth looking for the next directional marker down when all of a sudden, we heard, “does anyone want any chocolate?” It was Chris’s girlfriend who walked to the top from her home for the fun of it and joined us for the next two days.
Do bears #*!# in the woods? Of course, we wanted chocolate. Feeling better, the long way down through more fog, lots of mud and bogs. I still couldn’t imagine “yomping” through this terrain. The entire stretch to Keld is wild moorland made worse in bad weather occurring now.
Once again, the umpteen bogs actually turned out to be the comedic highlight of the trip. It was a rare day when one of us didn’t get a boot stuck in the mud-sucking bog and struggle to pull a foot out with boot still on. (Chris said I looked as if I was trying to kick-start a motorcycle.) I never did a face plant but did gracefully slide down slopes into the mud. At least falling in the bogs didn’t hurt and there were no exceptions! We all had a turn.
Followed the river Swale through the meadows and Yorkshire valleys, past Marrick Priory established in 12th century for Benedictine nuns to Richmond. But before that…
Topo, Michael, Steve and I got separated from the rest of the group somehow. No worries, there was only one direction to go so we merrily made our way in the rain, doing our Wiffenpoof baas and singing until…oops…no more trail. Allrighty then. There was a small road running fairly parallel to the trail and we just moved out of the muddy track onto the road and continued baaing our heads off. After a few hours, we saw Chris coming towards us just about ready to send out a search party.
Keld is the first village and hamlet after the long stretch of moors and we finished early enough to have some free time exploring Richmond and Durham.
Richmond dates from Norman times, and was founded in 1070 by Alan the Red, Earl of Richmond. The historical buildings in Richmond were: the The 16th-century church of St Mary, Georgian Theatre Royal (1788), and the church of the Holy Trinity. Richmond also had narrow cobblestone alleys and quaint buildings.
The itinerary eliminated a good portion of the Coast to Coast from here and we began the next portion at Mount Grace Priory. According to Wilderness, this avoided uninteresting crossing of the low country and stretches of paved road. Now in North York Moors National Park, the next few days would be spent on a high-level traverse along a well-defined path in the heather-clad moors and wilderness.
But first, a night in Borrowdale…
NOTE: A sharp-eyed reader noticed that my photo wasn’t of Richmond Castle at all but Durham Castle and Cathedral. How right he is, and thanks Malcom for correcting me. Sorry readers…my apologies…