Starting Time: 8:00 AM
Finish Time: 8:30 PM
Total Milage: 24 miles+
Bed & Breakfast The West End Bed & Breakfast
It's days like today you both dread...and thank God for. I knew being this would be our longest mileage stage that we would need to get and early start. We had an 7:30 AM breakfast at the West End. Ian ( we've been meeting a lot of Ian's on this trip) sorted us out in style with a helping of salmon and scrambled egg on toast that rivaled anything else we have had on the trip taste wise. There was even Chinese from Macau staying at the B & B that night who we chatted with for a moment before we departed.
I was so happy to set off a 8 AM but then things took a turn for the worse. We got lost taking the "short cut" through Richmond that Ian had suggested. I'm sure it was easy...just not for us. 20 minutes later we were right back at the entrance to The West End which, of course, put me in a great mood. As we started out again Gabriel started, "ouching" and limping, pulling over to a bench on the side. Removing his boot revealed a nasty blister developing above his ankle. Pulling out our medic bag we affixed a blister bandage and then a little gauze and tape above that. Putting his boot back on he continued to wince in pain as he tried to shimmey down the street. He pulled over onto another bench to sit down while I looked at my watch.
|Gabriel replaces some tape on his foot|
40 minutes out we had accomplished about 200 meters. Not a good start when you have 24 miles to go through grain fields and cow pastures.
For the first time I was wondering if Gabriel was going to be able to do the whole walk. Our luggage still hadn't been picked up at the bed & breakfast and Packhorse allows walkers to ride with them to the next destination if they feel they need a break or are hurting to much. I thought for a moment that Gabriel could ride with Packhorse and I could walk the stage meeting him in the evening and giving him a good day's rest.
But my goal, dream really, was that Gabriel and I would dip our boots together in The North Sea at Robin Hood's Bay having done the WHOLE Coast to Coast walk. The voice of our new friend Tim was ringing in my ears from a few days before, "If you skip a little you'll always know you hadn't really done it.". I think the same voice was ringing in Gabriel's mind as well because as tempting as the thought was he said, "I'll just go barefoot on that foot." "No way," I said, " you can't go 24 miles barefoot" "Let me try" he answered," I can wrap my foot in the adhesive tape in the med kit." He wrapped his foot and we made our way through Richmond.
( Gabriel later confessed to me that he thought I wouldn't really allow him to ride the bus...which wasn't true but either way...it worked out for the best)
Our travel maps are hand drawn in the "Stedman" guide and allows the walk to be done in map "sections". Most days we needed to get through 6 - 8 maps...today we had to get through 11. With Gabriel moving faster now we completed the first map about an hour later. "How are you doing? I asked. "Good, I can do this." he responded I shook his hand and said "congrats, we made it through map 1...only 10 more to go."
We were fortunate that the elevation changes were negligible on this stage. Mostly flat pastures and grain fields...and lots of mud. A couple times we stopped to re wrap the tape and admire Gabriel's mud caked bare foot. I must admit I didn't know if he could do it. I mean to walk a mile or two...or even 5....but 24 MILES! I started though to get that Band of Brothers "leave no man behind" thing going. When I was unsure of direction I would run off first and scout the correct way so that he didn't have extra walking to do. It became my mission to get him to the Park House Bed & Breakfast even if we didn't make it until midnight.
|Lots of fields today!|
|Beverly helps Gabriel's blister|
But we figured out that Gabriel had walked more than 13 miles with one barefoot wrapped only in some adhesive tape!
Gabriel limped at the beginning but eventually the foot worked itself out...we were on our way. About 8:00 PM we arrived at Ingleby Cross and at this point I was wishing we were staying here and not at the B &B a mile further on. We bypassed the pub even though we were very hungry as my guide said the place we were staying at provided food. Besides it was getting late and I knew the hosts would start to worry soon. Sure enough as we approached, and all terrain vehicle approached and our landlady, Beverly, had just headed out to see if we were OK. We walked the last 1/2 mile (all up hill) to the Park House. WE HAD MADE IT! I can't think of a time I was more proud of my son. With this behind us I knew we could make it the next four days to Robin Hood's Bay!