Day Nine - Reeth to St Giles Farm  

    Wednesday 6th  May 2009

Swale

Again I got up early this morning, about 6:45 and took Elsie for a walk around the Reeth village green.  When I got back to the pub David was getting up too.  We then watched box until breakfast.  Afterwards we slowly go ready to leave.  We checked out at 9:30.

Today would be spent never too far away from fellow walkers.  After leaving I quickly noticed a group of about five behind us.  They trailed 400 yards behind for the first two miles then we lost contact.  After the said two miles of lane walking we passed a huge bull and climbed up some stone steps through a garlic scented wood.

A further two miles of fields, with Elsie on a lead, followed before we arrived at Marrick.  Shortly after we hit walker congestion leapfrogging with a group of six men and a pleasant Yorkshire couple first encountered at Keld.  We walked through and around a few farms before emerging from Whitcliffe Wood where the track became a lane, leading gently down to Richmond.

During the morning's walk I had realized that I didn't have my compass in my left pocket – it's designated place.  I checked my rucksack and could only conclude that it had been left in Reeth.  Knowing that we may, in the worst of possibilities, need one on the North York Moors, I bought a cheap Silva from the first outdoor shop I saw.  David's mission was to get some more blister plasters, which was easily achieved in Boots.  His feet were slowly deteriorating.

It was gone 1:00pm and we both fancied lunch.  David was, as usual, in search of tea but we could not find a tea shop with tables set outside (for the dog).  We therefore treated ourselves to a Greggs, plus tea, and sat on a bench in the market square.  Elsie had some cheese.

We occupied the bench for half an hour before making our way down Castle Walk to the river side.  Of course, as is the way things work, we then found a refreshment kiosk with outside seating. Anyway, we walked upstream along Riverside Road, to find our route across the river then started the four miles downstream to St Giles Farm.  Again there was a bit of walker congestion.  We followed one pair whom we had met at Reeth and who were making their way to a B&B a further ten miles beyond our stopping place.  Half way along we also passed two more blokes who I thought we'd not met before.  I commented on Elsie never tiring and they responded by asking if she was female!

The remainder of the day's walk was pleasant enough, if not with any real highlights.  We arrived at our day’s destination, St Giles Farm at about 4:00.

Elsie was accommodated in a separate utility room; however before settling her in we were treated to tea and freshly baked chocolate cake.  David was very appreciative.  The farmhouse was by no means run down, it was very well maintained.  There's obviously money available somewhere.  Could it be the B&B, the new barn conversions on the farm site or just beef farming?  Jane the host was also looking after a lad, Ethan, who lived next door, after school.  Ethan insisted on giving us chocolate digestives as well as the cake.  He ate the lot.

We finished the tea ceremony and bedded Elsie into her room.  Next we were shown our room where we both had a bath before collapsing onto the beds for a couple of hours.

We had booked evening meals, but Jane was out that evening, so instead she ran us down to The Farmers Arms in Bolton-on-Swale, a possible alternative stopping place.  We pushed the boat out a little and the bill was a bit more than the standard pub meal, especially with the bottle of wine. 

When we finished the meal we moved to the bar to finish the wine and wait for our lift back.  There we fell into conversation with a couple of obvious coast to coasters.  These we then realised were the pair we’d passed earlier that afternoon.  Furthermore they’d been in the Black Bull the same night as us, where they’d been particularly impressed at the price of bottles of wine.  They were gently introducing themselves to long distance walking by completing the C2C from Keld to RHB.