Coast to Coast and back again: nearly 400 miles in 29 days (days 8-12)
By Cindy West
Through the Yorkshire Dales: Day 8 to 12
Nine Standards Rigg 2172 ft
Day 8, walking from Kirkby Stephen to Keld took us through the Cumbria, North Yorkshire Border and challenged us with a walk up to Nine Standards Rigg 2172 ft. It takes its name from the nine cairns at the summit whose origins are somewhat obscure. My favourite theory is that they are stone men built by the Romans to look like troops. They were certainly a welcome sight for me at the end of a steep climb that left me a bit breathless only to take my breath away again at the lovely views.
The team at the top of Nine Standards Rigg
Walking in the Dales provides very different but equally good walking and scenery. I was reminded very much of our own Leicestershire landscape as we walked through fields, woodland and along riverbanks. We took the lower route alongside the River Swale. It was a welcome respite from the steep climbs and descents previously negotiated. Our route took us via diversions for diversions over the A1 and we spent a few moments watching archaeologists painstakingly scraping away at the earth to reveal its Roman heritage before the new road extensions buried them again. This part of the route has the longest section of road walking and the eight or so miles of tarmac were easy on my legs but a bit hard on my feet as the luxurious grass and meadow gave way to the hard tarmac surface.
Our youth hostel accommodation throughout our trip was brilliant. We stayed in some lovely old well converted houses. Grinton Lodge however, gave us more than we had bargained for one very stormy night. Whilst getting ready for dinner the fire alarms went off accompanied by the lights going out, as we were debating as to whether or not we should evacuate, lights returned and the alarm ceased. This was followed by shouts from neighbouring rooms that the roof was leaking. The room next door was now behind a waterfall that fell relentlessly from the lintel above the door to the carpet below, threatening to drench the occupants if they went through the door. Buckets were hastily arranged beneath leaks in many parts of the building and we congregated in the lounge. Lights again went off and it felt as though we were all in an Agatha Christie whodunnit or participants in a cluedo game in the spooky atmosphere. We settled into chairs and were treated to a spectacular light show as the storm raged outside.
The section between Richmond and Ingleby Cross is not strictly within the Dales National Park but the terrain is similar and the end of this section gave us, I think, the only challenge that made us run. The A19 was a daunting six lane obstacle populated with cars and lorries intent on getting to their destination at the maximum speed limit. We took life and limb in our hands, or rather feet, as we ran across it to reach the safe haven of the other side and down to our journeys end for the day at Ingleby Cross with another seventeen miles under our belts. Our next day would bring us the delights of the moors and the Cleveland hills glimpsed in the distance.
Go to next Coast to Coast report Coast to Coast days 12-15
Go to start of Coast to Coast report Coast to Coast days 1-7