Osmotherly to Blakey Ridge

The morning in Osmotherly was bittersweet. We were saying goodbye to our friends M&G over breakfast. They were spending a sight-seeing day in Osmotherly and our paths were not to cross again. It’s incredible how quickly you become attached to people on the trail. At first I wasn’t sure if we would cross paths at breakfast because breakfast was at 7:30 am, only. As it would be a rest day for them, they might want to sleep in. I was delighted when I realized that they had elected to get up early on their rest day to have breakfast with us!

As we were packing our bags to leave, my husband casually mentions that today would be the longest day at 22 miles. Actually, he initially told me 20 miles, and then the proprietor of the B&B corrected him, by adding the two miles for which we were off-route. My husband, whose countenance rarely displays a look of dissatisfaction or disapproval gave her a scowl. This is one of the delightful things about  taking a long distance walk or hike: your base emotions rise to the surface.

Since we were going to have a 22 mile day, we decided to pace ourselves in such a way so that we could stop for two lunches. We would split the first packed lunch a third of the way into our journey and eat the second lunch on two thirds of the way into our journey. We would walk up three undulating hills with an elevation gain of roughly about 2800 ft. The photo above from atop our first hill offered a glimpse of the North Sea, our final destination.  We ate our first lunch together examining this view, both exhilarated and a bit saddened that the walk was almost through. Upon completing the third hill, we were still not two thirds of the way through our day’s walk. Although I was still hungry, we pressed on.

We began one of our most solitary walks along an abandoned railway line that led into the North York Moors. I enjoyed this type of flat, isolated walking the most. Although I was sure that we were about due for our second lunch break, my husband pressed forward. When an hour later we still had not stopped, I was a bit annoyed and a bit nervous that perhaps 22 miles was longer than it felt. When our hotel, The Lion Inn, the only hotel and pub for miles, was in sight, my husband proclaimed that now was the time to sit together and eat. I was a bit cross, but we sat together and ate and enjoyed the quiet view.

As we strolled onward to the hotel, which boasts rooms dating back to the 16th C. , my husband casually turns around and says, “you know today there was an Adder.”

I could feel myself getting a bit queasy and dizzy at the thought of it. Although he wasn’t exactly sure that he had seen one, he had read a poster on a North York Moors National Park board that explained we were in prime Adder habitat and breeding grounds and to be extra careful not to disturb them. Once my husband had read this sign, he was afraid to sit down for lunch somewhere, because he knew that if I had an encounter with the Adder, he would be carrying me the remaining miles to Blakey Ridge. This is perhaps one of the things I like best about him: he knows when to keep his mouth shut.

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About 30 Ways of Walking

Gina Liotta's writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, Slate, The Paterson Literary Review, LIPS, and The Healing Muse, among others. She lives, writes and teaches in New York.
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