Coast to Coast 2006

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The Savage's Coast to Coast Diary
Day Eight
Day 8 - 15th August 2006

Reeth to Catterick Bridge (15 miles)

End of Day 8: August 15, 4pm, in the garden of St Giles Farm, Catterick Bridge.

Knock, knock, knock. As the proprietor of Cambridge House, our B&B in Reeth, yesterday, approached the front door, you could feel the temperature drop. Nothing to do with the weather. We’d made the mistake of turning up at 2pm, a full hour before she normally expects her guests to arrive. Fair enough, I suppose. I brazened it out, though and we were in. I guess it didn’t help us turning up at the same moment as her annual fire safety inspection was about to be undertaken. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t come in to the public areas.” No chance, we kept our heads down.

Despite us breaking the rules before we’d even entered, we were given a nice room. But the thing I really liked about this place was the large, communal breakfast table around which all guests sat; plenty of chat in the morning.

Reeth is a bit of a special place for us. We had our wedding reception here at the Burgoyne Hotel – 2nd September 1989. It was a bit Fawlty Towers as it turned out (listening to the husband and wife team shouting at each other in the kitchen is something that will stay with us and the other guests). But it’s come on a bit now, I hear. Reeth is obviously somewhere we go back often. Which is why today was a revelation to me; on paths that I’d never before been and on a route through to Richmond that was new to me. Mostly very straightforward, but none the worse for that. Into Richmond before 1pm, lunch and a final push on to St Giles Farm before 3pm.

It’s clear that North Yorkshire County Council has been putting up new C2C waymarkers throughout the route from Richmond; good job; it would not  be the easiest route sub-stage to wayfind without them.

To use GPS (Global Positioning System) or not to use GPS? That is the question. You’ll know that a GPS gizmo will tell you exactly where you are and can guide you through a route if you insert waypoints for your walk. In theory you can’t go wrong. They are widely used now by walkers. Ruth and the boys bought me a GPS for my birthday; it’ll come in useful I’m sure but for the moment it remains unopened in my bag. This walk is without the aid of a GPS. Today we came to a point where we were unsure of which path to take. Down trundles a fellow walker behind us, waving his GPS. Now, everyone we meet on this walk is given a name; this guy was quickly christened Well Meaning Git. He explained in some detail the workings of a GPS and declared: “It’s a no-brainer…the correct route is straight over that way.” I wasn’t so sure. “I tell you what, you go your way I’ll go mine,” he smirked. Off we went in different directions. In a few moments he was behind us. Apparently a GPS also alerts the user when, foolishly, he decides to take the wrong route. William’s snigger was audible; I kept my thoughts to, myself… “Back of the net” was one… “One nil” was another… “Fifteen love”… and oh yes… “A no-brainer.”

I’ve been sharing thoughts on some of the fellow walkers that we encounter. I don’t think I’ve mentioned the two Australians; husband and wife, well into their sixties (at least I hope they are or they’ve had a hard life on the sheep station). They are doing the walk to a relaxed three-week timetable and are an inspiration. However, that doesn’t take them out of the firing line here. There is a bit of the Les Pattersons about them; we call them Kim and Jim (for all I know, that may very well be their names). He often wears a shell suit with the trousers pulled a full four inches above his belly button and over his ample tummy. You feel he knows the price of scrap iron (do you want that in Sterling or Aussie dollars?). She wears her tubby granny’s hand-me-downs and probably spends her evenings on this trip darning his socks and underwear. This walk probably seemed a good idea when looking through the brochures in the hot tub in the Melbourne suburbs. Jim and Kim, I’m afraid, are like the Wombles, always getting lost: “Took another wrong path today… don’t know how we did it.” (Well, I do Jim, maybe we could have a shandy and I could give you a few hypotheses to mull over.) I’ve met others who’ve made the mistake of slowing down when they come across Kim and Jim; immediately the maps go away and they are with you for the day. I like the story of one group they’d latched onto; this group stopped for lunch, Kim and Jim having put the maps away some time ago didn’t have a 4xing clue where they were now. Kim and Jim went round the corner and hid (badly) until this group started off again. Kim and Jim, we salute you.

We also have Moses and his followers out here. Moses is from Kent; If he thinks he’s found the Promised Land there he badly needs a GPS. Moses can be seen marching at a rapid pace, map in hand, with his wife directly behind him and his eight-year-old child breaking into a run behind her. I kid you not. The pace is relentless. I’ve been trying to slip his daughter Esther’s direct dial number at Childline but, to be fair, she seems to be enjoying it. I think she would scream and scream and scream if she wasn’t.

Long mileage day tomorrow. Over to Osmotherly and the foot of the North York Moors; straightforward terrain, though.


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