If elections were held today to determine the best segment of the Coast-to-Coast, this day would receive Dennis’ solid “Yes”.
After some meticulous attention to Dennis’ ailing left heal with guidance from an anonymous YouTuber, we accepted a lift from our host Malcolm to the trail head located about a half mile from Ingleby Farm House. We insisted on a photo with Malcolm before we set off on the Cleveland Way. This is one of a dozen or so national trails that are maintained by the UK government several of which form part of our coast to coast route.
I will briefly divert to the high horse that led me to comment the other day about the embarrassment that is the American passenger rail system and insert here my realization that great and useful public works, whether they be rail transport or hiking trails, require the community effort that only government can supply. Mike and I ascended and descended a series of low mountain peaks today on a nearly effortless path made possible by careful and continuous grooming of these paths by the national government. These are facilities that would not be possible if left entirely in private hands. If private landowners were at all inclined to create this infrastructure, it would be for their own selfish purposes or to extract a profit. “Government” is too often derided as a synonym for “taking the fruits of my labors and giving it to others.” Not so. Government is community.
Back to important stuff! We spent a most pleasant night as the guests of Malcolm and Jane, the owners of Ingleby Farm House and their wire-haired terrier, Socks. The property is a working sheep farm where various out buildings have been transformed into comfortable guest accommodations. (See yesterday’s photo) The paths to the rooms are surrounded by lush and carefully tended flower gardens. Just a delightful place to unwind from a day on the road.
Jane was most helpful delivering blister patching supplies as well as delicious breakfast and lunch selections while Malcolm, assessing the condition of my foot, insisted that we accept a lift from him to the trail head. We parted company at 9:44AM and headed into the wooded trail which then proceeded steadily upward to the summit of Live Moor. The wonder of this climb was how it was literally paved with flat stones, placed to make foot transit tolerable. And this condition continues up hill and down dale until the end point at Great Broughton. Government did this.
Once we attained an altitude of 300-400 meters, the views of the valleys and farm lands below were simply breathtaking. I remarked to Mike that I was willing my brain to burn permanent images of this countryside into my brain. We both photographed the views but a review of the photos is unsatisfying and a verbal description will do no good at all. But trust me, these were vistas the likes of which I have never seen before and likely will never see again.
Other highlights of the day included the off-duty park warden with the Popeye calves [walks 1100 miles a year] with whom we crossed paths after descending Cringle Moor, the highest elevation of the day. [As Mike observed, the climbs tax the muscles. The descents tax the brain because every footfall down these steeps needs to be cataloged by the brain as safe, questionable or dangerous over a course of countless steps.] Anyway, Popeye came through with his black and white canine companion and provided invaluable assistance to us finding our way to the bottom and the parking lot from which we would summon our ride to the hotel where I now sit.
Mention of Popeye’s companion also prompts me to remark about the relationship of English men, women and families to their dogs. Dogs are ubiquitous in these parklands! Someone please look up the ratio of English citizens to dogs. The relationship must be close to one-to-one.
Tomorrow we set out to the penultimate destination of Glaisdale. It is a long walk of 17.4 miles but the maps tell us that most of it will be a downhill trudge toward the sea. We’re almost there!
Socks under the spell of dog whisperer Mike in Malcolm’s car
Malcolm and Dennis at the trail head