Upon leaving Danby Wiske, we headed on to what was supposed to be our last day of mud and muck and manure. The flatlands between the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors were a relief when we read about them in the guidebook, but in practice, they were far more difficult then I had imagined. Walking through the fields of wheat, as pictured above, was one of the most relaxing parts.
Now my husband is a man of a few, carefully chosen words, and for most of this walk, we walked in relative silence. This is also because he is much more sure-footed then I am and was usually several paces ahead of me. Although we had initially tried to walk side by side, it proved best for us to simply walk at our own paces. As he was the one with the Stedman guide, he was the one most aware of what lay ahead on the trail. After almost a decade together he knows that there is certain information that should be presented to me on a need to know basis, only. Today and tomorrow on the road to Blakey Ridge, he expertly exercised this discretion.
Upon exiting the wheat fields, on a downward slope at the end of the foot path, he casually turned around and said, “there’s a little road here that we’ll need to cross together.”
My husband was beginning to mimic Stedman’s use of understatement. This was no little road, it was the A19, which for my American readers is the equivalent of a major interstate like I81.
Prior to taking this trip, dear reader, you may remember that I am petrified of snakes and my biggest fear was encountering the Black Adder. Almost fifteen days into the trip and I have yet to see or hear of anyone else seeing an Adder. What I had not expected prior to my trip was that the thing I would fear most would be traffic, a fear so unique there is not even a phobia word to describe it (Ex: Ophidiophobia is the fear of snakes). My fear is not all that unprecedented, I grew up in a part of NY noted for its aggressive driving, and most people, myself included, had been hit by a car at one point or another, and nothing scares you straight like looking into the coffin of a classmate hit by a reckless driver, so suffice to say, cars beat snakes in the never-ending battle for most pressing phobia.
My husband who is very calm and rational said that we should wait for an opening, run to the divider and then repeat the process. I can feel myself beginning to cry, but I hold back because nothing makes him more nervous and upset then to see me cry. A clearing presents itself and we run. A farmer in a tractor is trying to turn at about the same point, which my husband, whose geometric thinking increased exponentially as the trip progressed, figured it would be a safety point for us as we raced across the second part of the meridian. Instead of explaining this to me, my husband ran and I was left alone on the divider.
This is the one and only time on the whole trip where I broke down into tears.
After several minutes of wild gesticulation across the highway, an opening presented itself and I ran. Our anxieties running high it was the perfect opportunity to hit up the next pub: the Blue Bell Inn in Ingleby Cross. After a couple of shots, we were ready to head back on the trail.
The road to Osmotherly overlaps with The Cleveland Way, a British National Trail that is incredibly well maintained. The Coast to Coast is a series of Public Footpaths, Bridle-ways, and regulars roads that Wainwright connected to create a Coast to Coast path, but it is not an officially recognized trail. There are very few signs or way-markers to let you know that you are still on the trail. It was such a pleasure to walk The Cleveland Way and know that you are headed in the right direction.
Osmotherly is a lovely, lovely town, that is two miles off route but well worth the stay. We were lodged at Moon House, a very cozy B&B next door to the sophisticated and incredibly delicious Three Tuns Restaurant. If for no other reason, The Three Tuns is worth the trip to Ostmotherly. It has a really hip decor and the fresh bread, Swaledale Cheese, spicy tomatoes and uniquely inspired pasta dishes are so exciting after days of pub lasanga made with cheddar cheese. We went to sleep relaxed and refreshed, unaware of what adventures lay ahead tomorrow.