Coast to Coast - Friday 15th July - Day 10 - Richmond to Ingleby Cross 23 Miles
Richmond Castle from the River Swale
Today was the day that most Coast to Coasters dread, the long, largely scenery and contour free crossing of the Vale of Mowbray between the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. Strangely, when I did the walk in 1998, I had really enjoyed this day as I had probably the best weather of the whole trip and had treated the day as a challenge walk, trying to complete it in as short a time as possible. This time however, we had the extra impediment of a large rucksack to carry so it would almost certainly take longer than I had thirteen years earlier. After an excellent breakfast at the guesthouse we set off for the centre of Richmond and stopped for supplies in the market square and with the clock on the church tower chiming 8am, headed out of town over the River Swale with good views of the castle ruins to our left.
The weather was fine although a little cloudy and we stopped occasionally to take photos of the castle as we headed out into woods just beyond the town. After one or two up and downs through the woods on muddy paths, the terrain settled down into largely featureless fields interspersed with the occasional village all of it unmemorable but not unpleasant and we made good progress before arriving in Bolton on Swale. The village is most notable as the resting place of Henry Jenkins who is reputed to have lived to the frankly unbelievable age of 169. There is a monument to mark his fantastically long life in the churchyard but as I had seen it on my previous visit, and partly because I find it hard to take seriously, we didn't linger and soon passed through the village.
The River Swale
Although a lot of the road walking to the village of Danby Wiske has since been omitted by diverting the route across fields, we stuck to the road to enable us to clock up the miles as quickly as possible but by the time we reached the quaintly named village, we were ready for a drink in the White Swan. After being served by the most miserable barman it has ever been our misfortune to encounter, we sat out in the pleasant sunshine to enjoy our drink before setting off once again, partly because we didn't want to give anymore business to the grouch at the bar but mostly because there were still quite a number of miles to walk before reaching Ingleby Cross. One of the welcome features of this stretch of the walk was the refreshments left out for Coast to Coaster's at various farms we passed through.
A Welcome Sight
Often, there were cool boxes containing cold drinks, chocolate bars and flapjacks, so you could help yourself to what you wanted and make payment in an honesty box. Towards the end of the long walk, one of these was a very welcome sight as it also had a picnic table and chairs where we could rest our weary legs. After many more miles of largely forgettable countryside we reached the outskirts of Ingelby Arnecliffe from where we had to cross the extremely busy A19 road as we headed to Ingleby Cross, which we reached after nine hours of walking feeling fairly footsore. Arriving at the Blue Bell pub, we found that it was closed but there were other Coast to Coaster's camped in the camping field at the rear of the pub so we pitched our tents and showered and washed clothes before eventually heading into the bar for a meal and a few beers with a number of others doing the walk. In all there were seven Coast to Coaster's staying at the campsite for the night and we had a good night in the crowded bar before retiring to our tents. As I fell asleep I heard rain falling on the tent, which signalled the end of our good fortune with the weather.