It's £3 per entry or a fiver for 2. Top three places win a prize, and they will be based on what the total collected in is.
You can return to me at danny_woodgate @hotmail.com.
It's gonna be kicking off soon and here's your chance to enter my now traditional world cup score predictor. It's dead easy, just predict the scores of the group stages of the World Cup, points are based on results and scores and it is all explained on the sheet itself. What could be easier?
It's £3 per entry or a fiver for 2. Top three places win a prize, and they will be based on what the total collected in is.
You can return to me at danny_woodgate @hotmail.com.
Happy New Year, or as they say in Angola - Feliz Ano Novo, lamento que tenha sido um longo tempo.
It's a good few months since my last blog and, after having a good break from fundraising and blogging, I am back (at least for now anyway). I had intended to have a bit longer break, maybe set myself a project for 2015, but oh no, constantly in my mind, particularly over the Christmas period, was an idea - like an itch that just couldn't be scratched - a pantomime!
And so it began. The long hours sifting through websites looking for ideas, which panto to perform? How much is it going to cost? Will it make much money for the Brain Research Trust? Who is to be in it? Can I actually pull it off from scratch? All good questions, which by the end of 2014, I would hope to answer, all with a resounding YES!
Having read through scripts for Jack & The Beanstalk, Snow White and Cinderella, I opted to go for the latter. A few reasons why - firstly it was the one I was able to envisage when I closed my eyes. Secondly, having thought about the set construction and the limited space available it seemed quite 'doable' (not sure how I will get a horse and carriage on, but that's part of the fun I suppose). Lastly, the cast list seemed to be the most appropriate for my team of budding thespians - I couldn't get my hands on 7 willing dwarves!
So, if nothing else, I have established the following;
I will keep you posted......
It was time for our final fundraiser for the Brain Research Trust - the second of our comedy nights. This was a bonus night for us, due to Pat Monahan and Andrew Ryan not being able to attend the first we had booked, they wanted to appear in some form, and this was it. Add to this the return of Tony Jameson as MC and we had our line up for the night.
We opened the hall up just before 7 and there were already people queuing, great! The parish hall gradually filled up until there was not any spare seats together. With no bar, people were invited to 'bring their own booze' and it wasn't long before the fridge was bursting even more than the hall. It was all set up for a great night.
Tony was up first and he welcomed everyone to the night, most people had been to a comedy night before, a few had not - and I suspect they wish they hadn't said so! The first roars of laughter came as he innocently assumed Mam and Les were husband and wife (out by 30+ years - Les you owe me for this, Mam I am only joking!). It was a hot night with shorts the order of the day and it didn't take long before he picked up on the fans scattered around and also the amount of food on the go - a warning to be careful as these guys pick up on everything!
He introduced Andrew Ryan for his first half act - we had seen Andrew many times before, but this time he was a bit more risque. Nevertheless the crowd roared and laughed. He even managed to embarrass Vicki into getting on stage and giving her a kiss, surely she will never wash again now! He told us of how he is often confused with Ardal O'Hanlon and then proceeded to perfect the likeness down to a tee. More laughter ensued and it was back over to Tony to complete the first half.
The blind card winner was announced (Janet, who else, and all spent before Chris gets home!), and then we had a couple of speeches. Mark was first up, he summarised all of the work we had done in the year and some of the challenges we faced, it was an emotional speech delivered well, even if it was longer than Pat Monahan's act! I was next up and I couldn't resist rhyming it all (again). It was short and sweet but was finished off with a toast from everyone in the hall to Granda. Next up was the raffle, we had 17 prizes this time, and they were scattered around the hall (although a number of them went to Mark Morton's table). Big winners were Mark & Jackie with the half price meal for 4 at The Falcon, Hilton, Ian from Ingleby who was at his first comedy night won a meal for two at the Beckfields, Ingleby, and Mark from Northumbrian Water went home with a gallon of beer for the Beckfields. Thanks to everyone who played, and thanks to everybody who contributed. A special thanks also for Jackie's sweet trees, always a great prize, particularly when paraded around like the World Cup by Pat Monahan.
Tony was back again to announce the headliner of the show, Pat Monahan, and headline he did! As he walked to the front the Bollywood music started playing and it wasn't long before he had Muddy up showing him the moves, before he retired and was replaced by Paul (who momentarily forgot his own name), and it all ended, eventually, with a Dirty Dancing style move. Pat is like the King Midas of comedy - everything he says turns to laughter, and tonight was no different. He was previewing his Edinburgh show 'Cake Charmer', and although he did talk about cakes and cookery (Ethel's palette knife became legendary), it was interspersed with happy birthdays for Vicki & Heather, plenty of hugs and strangely enough, a rendition of Gangnam Style.
As always, Pat went on longer than he should have, brilliant! It was one of the latest nights in the parish hall history but it also had a hell of a lot of laughter.
As this was a bonus night and we sold tickets a lot cheaper than we could have, we were still able to clock in nearly £400 for the charity. The total raised so far for the Brain Research Trust is £7,271.11.
Thanks to everyone for supporting the night, and thanks to Tony, Andrew and Pat for performing, and Neil from Hilarity Bites for setting it up.
Tickets are now on sale for our second comedy night, and it will be the last of the events for the Brain Research Trust after a year of solid fundraising, which means it's your last chance to give!
It's a truly international night with Ray Bradshaw from Scotland acting as MC for the night, Irish comedian Andrew Ryan filling the first half and local lad (but part Iranian) Pat Monahan headlining the bill. It's an exciting line up and for the first time we will be in St Patrick's Parish Hall (just behind the church off Westbury Street). There is no bar available but you are more than welcome to bring your own drinks. There will also be a raffle with a load of prizes so bring plenty of money.
With it being the last event for the BRT let's make it a memorable one, we will have a totaliser (of some sort) on hand and will be able to announce the total fundraising for the year at some point throughout the night.
What's more is that it is only £8 a ticket (or only £4 if you came to the first one) and they're expected to fly out at the weekend - when they're gone they're gone!
No sooner had we finished the walk than June 22nd was upon us, and that meant only 1 thing - the tombola at Asda. Thanks to the generosity of people, particularly the parishioners of St Patrick's and Christ the King, we had amassed 100 prizes in total. Amazingly they all fitted into Dad's car and we headed to Asda for 10:00am. Having met Mark we got ourselves ready to be signed in only to realise we had forgotten the trestle table, well everyone is allowed one mistake on a Saturday morning! After a quick dash back we were soon in and ready to go.
We soon realised we were going to need more than 1 table so we scrounged another, sorted the prizes into some sort of order and we were off! There wasn't quite the rush of the Debenham's Blue Cross Sale, but it was steady away. It was edge of the seat stuff waiting for the very first winner, but it was all a bit of an anticlimax as it turned out the first prize won was a dust pan and brush, I bet the winner went home and started a cleaning frenzy.
There was enough of us to do shifts so we split the time up. Highlights of the day include the girl was thrilled to win the knitted cardigan and will use it for one of her 300+ dolls, and the two kids who won Jackie's sweet trees - I bet they are still scoffing them now!
As always, people were very generous, often having more goes than they intended, in the hope of winning something which, in all honesty, they probably never wanted! Some people seemed genuinely interested in the Brain Research Trust and the fundraising we were doing, with a few people eager to learn more, and even raise funds themselves. It's amazing how many people are touched in some way or another by brain conditions.
With a few prizes still to win we decided to call it a day, it was 2:30pm, and we had put our 4 and a half hours graft in. Throughout the day we had raised £522 in total, that's over £100 an hour, and another great contribution to our overall efforts. We had now broken the £6,000 mark for the year, with more funds to come in.
A few thanks for their efforts today. Thanks to Asda and in particular Cath Able, as well as Mark & Jackie for getting this all together. Thanks to the brilliant team of helpers who made the day a success - to Mam & Dad, Kath, Grace, Angela, Sheila, Pam and Janet. One last big thank you to Mam & Grace who spent many an unseen hour sorting the prizes out and folding (along with a team of little helpers) the 100's of raffe tickets.
What? It's Saturday, Day 12 already?? Get away! No it was true, we were actually on our last day. After having walked 182 miles already, the last 11 were going to be a doddle, who knows we might even enjoy them!I had opted for the floor again in the flat so I didn't have too much sleep, and we had sorted most of our gear out last night for Nat to take home, so all we were left with was pretty much our sleeping bags, and Graeme and Sharon, the landlords at The Plough had very kindly agreed to hold them for us until Nat picked up later. The guys in the pub had also agreed to serve up breakfast at 9:00am so we got ourselves ready, called downstairs to the garage to thank Don and return his keys, and headed over there. It turns out we were the only people for breakfast meaning they had put themselves out especially to serve us, how kind!
The breakfast itself was great, and Graeme made sure we had enough tea/toast/everything! There was an unfortunate incident involving an egg however. I can't believe for the third time I was to spill breakfast on me - I never do that! We chatted with the owners about last night, and what a great night it was for both us and them. They had obviously enjoyed the fruit of a crowd of hungry and thirsty party people, and we had enjoyed the hospitality and pleasantness of the relatively new pub owners. It was great that as we were eating a couple came in and asked to book a table for the night, apparently they had seen how busy and wanted a part of it! We finished our brekkie off and as I went to pay was told it was free of charge as a thanks for the great night, and what's more, they gave a donation to the Brain Research Trust. Great people - if you're out towards Whitby, make sure you call in at The Plough in Sleights and mention the ukulele night - I can't guarantee you will get a free breakfast, but I can guarantee a big smile and a warm welcome!
Anyway, back to the walk! We set off from Sleights and we immediately confronted with a series of hills which we took in our stride. We could see Whitby Abbey in the distance and the North Sea, ah the glorious sight of the North Sea. We were also pleased to the periodic road signs 'Robin Hood's Bay 9 miles', 'Robin Hood's Bay 7 miles', etc. We knew RHB (Robin Hood's Bay) was in touching distance, and there would be a crowd gathering to meet us.
We walked through a quirky little place called Ugglebarnby, there really was no stopping us today. We powered on past a track way and heard a bit of barking from behind us....great, just what we need. "Don't run" were the wise words from Dad, as he shot into the distance faster than Usain Bolt. Fortunately for us they got cold feet and stopped before they were in attacking distance.
It wasn't the only encounter of the day we had with dogs, the second being two seemingly out of control dogs in a garden we passed, only kept at bay by a flimsy fence (I was convinced they could have jumped it if they really wanted to...). To be fair, I thought we would have had a lot more problems with dogs, maybe it was the influence of Dr Doolittle which kept them at bay, who knows.
It was early afternoon when we reached High Hawsker. This was only 3 or 4 miles away from RHB so we waited there and timed it so that everybody who was meeting us would be in RHB for us arriving. It was quite an eventful stop off, we got to meet George Stephenson - the local barfly, he told us tales about how he used to run faster than horses, and about the time he was offered the chance to buy Red Rum and declined. It was funny because when he left his seat to go to the toilet there was a plaque entitled 'Bullshit Corner', well, if the cap fits! We also met a guy who was 93 year old who was still getting out for his regular drink, good on him. We had a pint (or two) and then set off on the home straight, oh after nipping back to the pub for forgetting my trusty trekking pole!
As we headed towards the cliffs we spotted Stacey & John and the gang driving past, reality was kicking in, we were almost done, people were actually coming to meet us at the end. We headed onto the cinder track (thanks for the tip off Mark), and then dropped down to walk along the cliff edge, it was a fantastic feeling, we could see RHB approaching. We had a few little ups and down, and a few more stiles before we rested on a bench just above the bay. At that I got a text, it was an unknown number congratulating us - it was Mr Angola himself - Chris on his 'holiday phone'.
It was time for the last push, we wandered into RHB at the top end, feeling like heroes. We were buzzing, we almost bounced down the hill with a spring in our step, 12 days of aches and pains totally forgotten about. RHB was busy, it was a glorious Saturday afternoon, why shouldn't it be? We had notched our 11th mile of the day and so it had took us 12 days, and 193 miles to be here to join them, and we were loving it! As we turned the corner we could see everyone, it took a few seconds until they clocked us - we heard a "THERE THEY ARE", and at that the loudest cheer went up, probably the loudest cheer RHB has ever heard! Hairs stood up on the back of my neck, in fact, my newly grown beard stood proud too! Even writing this 1 month later brings back fantastic memories of that moment and a tear to my eye. All faces were a blur for a few seconds before I could get my bearings. I went to Nat, Dad to Mam, and Ged straight into the sea!
Congratulations were flying left, right and centre. Nat had produced some celebratory posters and Joe & Isaac had made a welcome back poster (all by themselves I think!). It was a who's who of the greatest gang of people on Earth, all people we love. There were a handful of people who couldn't make it, but we would catch up with them all at a later date. I bounced from person to person like a pinball soaking up the praise (well it was my barmy arsed idea in the first place!). From Nat, then onto Mam, Matthew & Emma had brought Joe and Isaac, Stacey and John were also there with Ruby, Billy and baby Alice. Amy, Philly, Janet, Emily, Mark and Jackie who had all met us over the past 12 days were there. Frank and Sonia had come with Nat to be there. It was brilliant to see Uncle Peter and Peter who had promised to try and get there. Shifty and Hayley had even re-arranged their train back from Leeds to meet us, that meant a lot. Sue, who helped to care for Granda in his final weeks, from Ward 24 at North Tees was there, and she got a great big hug! And last but by no means least, Josie, Jayne, Steph and Hayley were there, I was really so happy to see them all - so much so that I got so filled up with emotion I lost the ability to talk, and that's only ever happened once before, at Granda's funeral. Still, words didn't need saying, a great bear hug got the message across well enough.
Suddenly I had a pint of lager in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other, I could get the hang of this! Of course, we then had the formalities to do, they were as follows:
We did all of them then sat and enjoyed the weather while recalling stories from the walk. It wasn't long before fish and chip time came, and the hike back up the hill to the car.
We had done it. 193 miles from Coast to Coast in 12 days. Nobody could ever take it away from us now. When I suggested it in August last year I am sure people scoffed at the idea, maybe it was crazy, but did people really think I wouldn't do it?
The walk would not have been such a success if it wasn't for a number of people. For the people who helped along the walk, to Don, Fr Damian, Mrs G, Guy, and Graeme & Sharon at The Plough, thanks. For the people who came and joined us for a day's walking, helped with support or turned out on a night to meet us, it was a logistical challenge, so thanks to Paul, Amy, Phil, Les, Mark, Jackie, Janet, Emily, Shifty, Hayley, Pam, Graeme, Stan, Gaye, Frank, Trish, Emily, Jack, Cameron, Foster, Kath and Martin. For those who turned up at RHB on that glorious Saturday thanks to Matthew, Emma, Joe, Isaac, Uncle Peter, Peter, Stacey, John, Ruby, Billy, Alice, Sue, Sonia, Josie, Jayne, Steph and Hayley. For putting themselves out on a Friday night and making sure the whole of Sleights knew we were there, thanks to Graham and Roz. For one of the three musketeers who crazily signed up to do the walk with me, and for the bloody good cups of tea and breakfasts, thanks to Ged. For being the best long distance fan, for spreading the word in the far flung regions of Angola, and for kitting me out good and proper on our many jollies to Go Outdoors, thanks to Chris. For the millions of food parcels, and the stream of clean clothes, as well as the eternal support both on and off the walk, thanks to Mam. For being the second musketeer, for joining me in practising the long walks prior to the Coast to Coast and for showing there's life in the old dog yet, thanks to Collo. And then finally, the biggest thanks of all to the number one support driver, having clocked up more miles than anyone on the trip, who is always there to assist us with murder drills or infinite knowledge of escaping tricky situations (mountain lion attack, surviving a falling elevator etc), who is ALWAYS supportive of every crazy idea have, thanks to the best wife in the world, Nat.
Sorry for the exhaustive list of thank you's, but it needs to be said. When I get chance I will transfer all of this to my Coast to Coast tab for ease of viewing, and hopefully add more pics from John and Ged.
Day 12 over, no more to go! 193 miles clocked up in total. All in the memory of Granda.
It was the start of Day 11, the penultimate day of the walk, and we were really geared up for it. We had about 30 miles left of the walk and had 2 options - first was to walk half way (Nat had again offered to pick us up where we fell and drop us back the next morning), or go for it, the 19 mile walk straight past Glaisdale, past Egton Bridge, past Grosmont and into Sleights. In order to leave us an easy day tomorrow, we decided to put all our eggs in one basket and go the whole 19 miles.
We grabbed breakfast in the Lion Inn (I may well have slopped something down my t-shirt, I can't remember now) and headed off. It was a nice day, ideal for walking and we seemed to be leading the group today.
We walked along the roadside for a short while noticing Ralph's Cross and then into the moorland, any aches, pains, blisters etc forgotten about, the idea of only having one more night away from our own beds driving us on. There were a few minor ascents and descents, though nothing too taxing, in the main the walking was pretty good.
We encountered a friendly group of women who were walking the Coast to Coast over several weekends, obviously work being an intrusion to some of them. We also came across a couple of guys who would not have been out of place in Little Britain, and a father/son combo who had camped wild behind a building on the moorland.
Kath & Martin wanted to meet us in Robin Hood's Bay on Saturday but couldn't make it, so they decided to meet us up for a part of the walk instead. Due to the terrible weather yesterday we thought today might have been a better day to meet, so, after a few phone calls between us (mainly me trying to work out where exactly we were!) we finally met up, on a bit of track before Glaisdale.
As always, it was great to meet up with friends and family on the walk, and today was no exception. We carried on into Glaisdale, and it was there we decided to stop for lunch. The Donegan's were even armed with coffee/coke/sausage rolls and more - wish we could have met them up every day! We decided against buying an ice cream, and while Kath drove on to meet us in Egton Bridge, Martin joined us for another few miles.
We stopped for a Beatle-esque photo shoot at Beggar's Bridge before heading through the woods - Martin being an expert at this walking caper. It wasn't too long before we were out of the other side and heading into Egton. Here we met back up with Kath and visited the Catholic Church of St Hedda. If only all churches could stay open all day like St Hedda's! We called in and looked around, an unexpectedly fantastic church which even held relics of the Blessed Nicholas Postgate. Having signed the guestbook we bid farewell to Kath & Martin and set sail. The next stop - Grosmont.
After leaving Egton Bridge we walked along an old toll road and following the path led us all the way to Grosmont. We knew we were in the right area as we had heard the steam trains passing. It seemed like a nice village and thought we wad have another break, this time in the pub next to the station. I got a photo from Nat showing her, Amy and Paul in the car, setting off to meet us in Sleights.
A nice break meant only one thing - aching legs. As it was day 11 and we were bordering on 'superfit' status, it didn't take long before we were back in the stride. Good job too, as there were plenty of ups and downs to be had on the walk into Sleights. It was water off a duck's back though - we had walked for nearly 11 days, and had racked up 175+ miles - a few hills weren't going to bother us now. Dare I say we even powered up them?! OK, we stopped less times than we would have had to this time 11 days ago.
Saying all that, the hill into Sleights is a bugger! So much so that someone very kindly plonked a bench at the top. Well, it would be rude not to have five minutes.
Tonight's accommodation was very kindly provided by Don, a 'good Catholic lad' who I knew through work, he was allowing us to stay the night in his flat, which he wasn't using at the present. Fortunately for us it was right opposite a pub, hurrah!
Not 100% sure where we were going we saw Paul appear out of the blue, and no sooner had he appeared, than he disappeared again. We knew he had gone through a cut so we followed it up and we were met by the most wonderful sound - The Wild Rover - played on pipes and drum by our friends Graham and Roz. It was fantastic, we were instantly buzzing by the sound, we were being piped in! Not only was it the sounds, it was the look to, as when they came into view there they were in the whole caboodle, perfect (well, Graham's legs were a bit dubious but...)! Not only was this a total surprise, but it turned out Mam, Pam & Graeme were there too, as well as Nat, Amy and Paul. With all this gang there was only thing to do - the thing we do best - have a great night!
It was all very emotional - even the neighbours came out to see what the fuss was all about. After the hugs and kisses subsided, we dumped our bags in the car and headed for the pub. It turned out to be one of the best nights in memory. Nat had brought my ukulele, and Graeme and Roz had brought theirs. It wasn't long before we had took over the pub and were eating, drinking and generally being merry! It swelled even more when Trish, Emily, Jack and Cameron came, as well as Foster.
We had called into the pub (The Plough) a couple of weeks before when we first picked Don's keys up, and we threatened to return on this very night. We were made extremely welcome by the owners daughter and she said that we could pretty much do what we like as long as we were spending money - and we did!
The pub was buzzing, regulars peering over from the other side of the bar to see what the racket was. Mam had asked if there was a chance we could go over for breakfast tomorrow morning, and to our surprise they said yes, fantastic. We had a cracking night in the pub, including a recital from a regular, who we thought was going to complain.
All things had to come to an end though, and so did today. It was 19 miles nailed with relative ease. Thanks to everyone who made it a very memorable day, particularly Graham and Roz for putting themselves out for us. Only 1 more sleep until an element of routine came back! 11 days down, 1 to go.
Day 10. It was Thursday, and the Saturday finish was in touching distance. The weather had not eased up from yesterday, it was so bad none of us even had shorts on! After walking earlier in the week Shifty had decided to come back for another 'jolly' outing. He arrived bright and early up the bank to the Lady Chapel and we started loading up the car for Nat to take home. It was then that the first problem of the day occurred - with all of the gear going home there wasn't enough room for the four of us to get in the car too, but thanks to Nat's Auntie Teresa she was able to dump the gear at her house in a nearby village then come back and drop us at our finishing point yesterday. She would then go back to pick the gear up and take it all home. You don't realise what went on behind the scenes!
It wasn't long before we were on the road again, Nat dropping us back at the top of Swainby bank. Part of today's walking would be following a section of the Cleveland Way, another long distance walk. The rain had made a waterfall down some nearby steps and the mist had made visibility very poor, you could barely see 10 foot in front of you. Shifty donned his waterproof poncho but it wasn't long before he realised he wasn't going on the log flume at Flamingoland and it became a victim to the weather. We encountered a number of ups and downs in the morning of this walk including Carlton Top and Clay Bank Top. Fortunately a lot of the way was paved with steps, but unfortunately the steps were soaking wet and every one a potential hazard. A combination of the dangerous steps (I had visions of me slipping and twisting my knee so close to the end) and the pulling of my thigh from Day 7 meant it was a long and arduous task getting down the steps as well as getting up them. As always though, it didn't matter, we were a team and what time we lost on the ups and downs we made up for on the flat.
According to the guide book there was a cafe built into the side of a hill, but amazingly enough we missed it! It wasn't that we took a wrong turn or anything, we literally could only see what was directly in front of us. We didn't have time to start searching for it, we wanted to crack on. We did, however, hear various animal noises throughout including one I've never heard them sing in the 'Old McDonald' song. It was kind of like a shrill Ewok, I actually thought it was the dinosaur from Jurassic Park and any second it was about to pounce in front of me, open it's wings and spray poison right over me.
Rumour has it that people had petitioned to force the North Yorkshire Moors Authority to put more signs up as a lot of people were getting lost on this leg of the walk. With this weather I was not surprised, it could quite easily have been used for the setting of The Hound of the Baskervilles.
It was approaching lunchtime, and we were approaching the Wain Stones, a collection of large Bronze Age rocks. We seemed to be faced with a choice of routes - up and over the stones or around them on the side of the hill. We set off walking around them but it wasn't long before we realised it wasn't the safest route. We walked so far on the slippy terrain until things got too hairy and we were having to jump across sections. On a slanted hillside, with only a little room for manoeuvre and no room for error we were out of our depth. It wasn't safe to carry on this way so Shifty volunteered to back track and see if there was another route.
The time passed and Shifty hadn't returned, maybe THE BEAST from Tuesday had tracked him down and eaten him, maybe he had got lost in the mist, or sprayed by the dinosaur. But at that Shifty seemed to come from nowhere about 20 feet above us, he had found a way to get us out. We cautiously back pedalled a bit and clambered up to meet Shifty before deciding it was definitely time for a lunch break. Shifty had earned his pips for that day and was thanked for his efforts, no more so than by Dad who still had clumps of the hillside in his grasp, reluctant to finally let go of it.
It was a tale of two terrains today - the morning was spent climbing up and dropping down, whereas the afternoon was a long flat trek. It may well have been flat but it felt like a hell of a long walk. The pathway was quite defined but was strewn with puddles, and the last 7 miles followed and old disused railway line, so easy to navigate. It was a case of head down and walk for this section with the weather being so bad. It was during this time that I decided to unleash my secret power, so fed up with picking which stones to jump on through the streams I opted to just walk across the water instead, it really was an act of magic.
Under normal circumstances I'm sure the Lion Inn would come into view as you walk the track but with limited visibility this wasn't to be, and it took a fortuitous look at the GPS to realise that we needed to turn left at a poorly marked sign for the Lyke Wake Walk, a move which saved us an extra 2-3 miles and having to go back on ourselves. It was to be our final uphill of the day and as soon as we got to the summit we realised the pub, and our accommodation for the night was not far away. Having only seen 4 or 5 people all day it was nice to finally see civilisation again. We sat in the foyer and removed our boots, the steam oozed from them, a sign of a good walk!
The pub was a lot bigger than I had previously thought - I didn't realised they had a restaurant part too! We were shown our room and then returned for a few drinks - the first round being all hot drinks!
It wasn't too long before we were met up again by the gang. Mam, Nat and Uncle Frank arrived and then Hayley came a little later. We only had one more night after tonight so we sorted our gear out accordingly, then relaxed for the night having a meal, few drinks, and a good bit of social.
Day 10 was now over, leaving 2 days to go. It was 14 miles today but in horrendous weather.
Day 9 had arrived - hooray for day 9! We awoke in Osmotherley Lady Chapel and Ged was on with his breakfast for 3. Despite some electrical malfunctions we all managed to have a little something, though I think mine was the only warm one! It was a good nights kip in the warmth, with use of toilets too, despite the old rattling noises and the phantom door knocker. It was nice to be somewhere for more than one night as we were not messing about so much on the morning.
Mark was joining us this morning, and he drove us to back to Danby Wiske so we could pick up where we left off yesterday. We had four days left to go and the route was quite flexible, today we decided to walk as far as we could, and then pick up again wherever we left off in the morning.
Right from the off it was a grim day, and we were doing a fair bit of field walking, great, bring on the mud! I had noticed a potential alternative route to Wainwright's which avoided travelling south to Osmotherley, I suspect he had put it on the route for niceness and accommodation purposed, but we had already been there and done that. I will come to that a little later though.
We did come across an interesting chap on this day. He was a solo walker and overtook us when we had stopped off for a break. We did catch him up though as he was stood by himself waiting to cross a stile, he must have been there ages. When we asked why he hadn't crossed the field he admitted he was terrified of the cows chasing him, he had been listening to some horror stories of cow stampedes and had obviously terrified him. We passed the field with him and the cows never even flinched. He pulled away but we were to catch up again in similar circumstances later on.
There were plenty of gates and stiles to contend with today, and it was heading down a slippy bank to one of these that Dad took a tumble which resulted in the death of one of his trusty walking poles. I was then faced with the dilemma - do I whip my phone out for a pic of him laid out or run over to help him up? Being the good son I am it was the latter, no good for the blog I know!
We carried on further and again met the Cow Man, and let him join us crossing. Funny enough, a bit further on the walk we came across a field where the cows had all huddled around the stile looking as if it was impossible to get over. Step in Dr Dolittle (Ged) who, like Moses, parted the cows and we crossed.
One farmer clearly had a sense of humour as he had attached rats and skulls to his fences, very good. It was a little further we passed a dog which was going mental. It was chained to the side of a barn and was barking and jumping like crazy, if it escaped from that chain then one of us was for a pouncing. Fortunately though it never did, but I'm sure one day it would.
We passed a railway track, but that was nothing compared to the dash across the A19 we had to do, which sounds quite spectacular, and all books say the most dangerous part of the walk, but despite the poor visibility of the day, we still managed to get across with relative ease, and we didn't have to wait too long.
After crossing the A19 we headed into the villages of Ingleby Arncliffe and Ingleby Cross, where we stopped off at the Blue Bell Inn for a break. We had met up with Mark & Felicia again, and were joined in the pub by the crowd from Wyoming. It was, by this time, atrocious weather, but we were still determined to wear our shorts, the bad weather wasn't going to stop us! The wearing of shorts prompted one of the Wyomings to question us - "Aren't you guys cold?" to which we replied "Nah, it's not too bad this weather, you should see the winter!". We proceeded to leave the pub at this point, to which we all shouted "Bloody hell it's freezing!" Cue the roars of laughter from the Wyoming massive.
We then headed on and took on my alternative route. It was cutting out Osmotherley totally and heading through Scarth Woods. By this time the mist had really dropped, and the ground was really boggy. Perhaps there was a reason the route doesn't go this way I thought as we set off up the hill. It was bad terrain, and at one point we were deep into the mist and you couldn't see over the edge of the hill. This part, for me, was more dangerous than scampering across the A19 - one slip on the muddy incline and you were gone, but the worst thing was you couldn't even see where you were going to fall!
We decided to call it a day and break off whenever we could, somewhere suitable for Nat to pick us up for the day. We would have to take a little detour to head into Swainby. 1 mile the signpost said, well it it must have been the longest mile ever, there is no way it was only 1 mile from where we were. As we were heading down into Swainby we noticed a car tucked away in the mist. Was it abandoned? On closer inspection, it looked like a couple were in it, and, well, perhaps the less said about it the better. They obviously never expected anyone up there in these conditions!
By now it was absolutely lashing down, nevermind though, we were in Swainby - there must be loads of pubs. Well, there was a few, but they were all shut. SHUT!! Unbelievable, what kind of a place was this where all pubs were shut through the day. Here we were, sat outside a pub in the soaking rain waiting for Nat to pick us up, we must have looked desperate. The best bit was when Nat text to say "why don't you go in the pub, you nutters?". As if we were ever going to voluntarily sit outside a pub, no matter what the weather!
As always, Nat the hero arrived and we went back to Danby Wiske so Mark could pick his car up. We were then heading for Osmotherley but as soon as we left Mark we drove past a car with what looked like a dead body in the driving seat. Intrigued, Nat reversed so we could look in again to check. At this, the 'body' woke up and we had to keep reversing back to Mark so it didn't look so obvious!
We decided to call into the Queen Catherine again for a couple of drinks before we took the long awaited fish and chips back to the digs for tea. In the pub we met Mark & Felicia for the last time and they were thrilled when Dad & Ged presented them with a couple of Wainwright glasses we had managed to 'acquire' from the pub "OH MY GAWWWD" (in your best American accent) was their exact reaction.
The great news was that Nat was kipping over with us tonight, the terrible news is that we were all subjected to a full Nat special murder drill. Procedures, emergency actions, escape routes, the whole caboodle!
It was a terrible day weather-wise but we had pressed on a little further making the last few days a little shorter. That was Day 9 over, only 3 to go! Another 14 miles done.
Day 8 arrived and we were looking forward to a good pub breakfast. Shifty and Hayley had come to meet us this morning - Shifty was walking with us, Hayley offering the support vehicle for the day. We had filled our breakfast menu in the previous night and were on our way down. Only problem was the door to the dining area was locked. Hmmm, we had a walk out for a bit, came back and it was still locked. It was a little after the agreed time of 7:30am when the cleaner arrived. She had the look of despair on her face but at least she opened the door so we could get our seats. Joining us was an already irate Scotsman who needed to get to Barnsley, he clearly was in no mood for hanging around. The poor cleaner was apologising and offered to make us tea after inviting us to help ourselves to the cereals. As the Scotsman took the cornflakes they dropped all over the floor, that didn't help. By now it was 8:00am, and we had decided to go to the Wetherspoons pub over the road for breakfast. I was squaring up for the stay with the cleaner (in the absence of anyone else - don't worry I got a receipt), less a £15 discount for breakfasts when the owner stuck his head through the door "sorry gents", then disappeared again. It was a shoddy performance, the owner who was obviously the chef as well, was blearly eyed after a heavy session the night before, and I got the impression it wasn't the first time the cleaner had to run the show. Nevertheless we went to Wetherspoons, had a great breakfast, which I managed to slop down my shirt (but we won't talk about that).
OK, back to the walk. One of the options for today was Richmond to Osmotherley, but having walked that before I vowed never to do it again, so I opted for Richmond to Danby Wiske. Having left the pub we seemed to go entirely the wrong way around the market square before coming out about 10 metres on the other side of the pub. Nevermind.
We had a good pace going, and as always, it was nice to have somebody else walking with us, Shifty this time (who incidentally enjoyed it so much he came back for another day later on!). Within an hour we were at Brompton-on-Swale and we decided to treat ourselves to a lottery ticket. We never won.
We pushed on from Brompton-on-Swale to a little village called Bolton-on-Swale. It was a nice little place with an old water pump in the middle. We veered left into the churchyard in search of the legendary Henry Jenkins tombstone. It wasn't too hard to find, it was the biggest there. Apparently he lived to be 169 years old...honestly! There were a couple of benches there so we decided to stop off and have our lunch, yes, in the graveyard.
After lunch we moved on and passed through Catterick and into a series of fields, where I was fortunate enough to put my hand in birdmuck while crossing a stile (and we still didn't win the lottery!). We later encountered what could only be described as 'THE BEAST', that's Shifty's words not mine. As we walked along a country path we seen something in the distance hurtling towards us, ok, at that point you could have been forgiven for thinking it was a pitbull terrier running at us. Naturally, we assumed the 'shitting yourself' position - that is Dr Dolittle (Ged) at the front with me, Dad and Shifty cowering behind. To be fair, Ged stood his ground and as this creature came closer Shifty shreiked out "It's a beast!". Well, it was still approaching but didn't seem to have blood dripping from it's fangs like we expected, and it finally came to about 10 foot away and turned out to be not so much a beast as some kind of pathetic terrier. It actually took one look at us and started to retreat, hell I even got close enough to take a photo!
We survived the beast experience and marched on into Danby Wiske. Having witnessed the depressing landlord once before at the White Swan, I was fully expecting the same, but it wasn't quite so bad, and his business partner was working, who actually was very pleasant! We sat down and I tasted my first, and by no means my last, pint of Wainwright Ale, very tasty. It was also our first encounter with Mark & Felicia, a couple from Chicago who were also walking the C2C but in more days than us, and a large gang of walkers from Wyoming.
Fr Damian from Osmotherley had very kindly allowed us to stay for two nights in the Lady Chapel there, this being our first of them, so Nat picked us up from Danby Wiske and took us to Osmotherley where we would meet up with Mam and Hayley too. We got our gear set up in the Chapel, and, after a song from the Three Tenors, we headed to the Queen Catherine for a couple of drinks and a bite to eat.
The pub was a great choice - more Wainwright Ale, and everybody had something to nibble, the highlight being Col's Steak & Ale Pie, which was more like one of Desperate Dan's famous cow pies - it even had the horns I think. Ged was in for a treat too as Trish, Emily, Jack and Cameron had come over on a surprise visit to see him.
We were closer to home now than we would be when we finished! Day 8 out of the way, we were two thirds done, only 4 days to go. Nearly 15 miles added to the clock.