Coast to Coast 2006

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Footloose Librarians' Coast to Coast Journal
Day 10

Day 10: Richmond to Danby Wiske
Thursday 13th September 2006

It rained briefly but sharply overnight, about 4 am. The Old Brewery Guesthouse lies under a block from the river bridge over the Swale as the C2C route leads us out of town. Starting shortly after 9am, we were tempted to hold off and see if the misty rain that was just beginning might lift, but decided to head out.

Today's march was planned for about 14 miles heading along the River Swale. We have been following the Swale for the last three days since we joined its course just before arriving in Keld. We have watched it change and grow. Now in the valley is wider and the river a bit slower, but the Swale is still a laughing brook.

The transitions on today's walk seem its most memorable feature. From Richmond, the valley floor is both wider and richer, there are no more stones near the surface of the earth, and we began to pass through plowed fields for the first time. Stone walls give way to hedges and stone houses to brick. Cattle gradually replace sheep in the pastures, and horses become more a part of the rural scene.

Our decision to push ahead paid off, as we had only a brief rain to deal with, and that while we were under the protective canopy of trees along the Swale.

The landscape gradually flattened out, and the walking went swiftly, through fields and down country lanes, bringing us to Danby Wiske by 2:15.

The landlady at the White Swan noticed us sitting outside ("Always have an eye out for weary walkers") and invited us in , though they don't ordinarily open until later. We passed an enjoyable afternoon with other walkers as they arrived, with side visits to the fine local Norman Church, and to check in at the Ashfield House, our home for the night. The rain caught up with us, but we were snug indoors.

Had a good meal at Ashfield House topped with a fresh hot pork crumble. We learned from our hostess that the epic "Battle of the Standards" between the Scots and the English in 1138 took place nearby.

We are looking forward to a return visit to the White Swan this evening. It's Thursday, and all the local farmers turn out for the busiest night of the week.

A word about litter: conspicuous by its absence. On the road there is very little, while on the footpath there is virtually none. In 10 days walking across England, we have seen so little trash, that the appearance of a single cigarette butt stands out in a walk of 15 miles.
 

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