The Coast to Coast

Walked in August 2008

Day 10 – Monday 25th August

Ingleby Cross
Rest Day

I woke early but dozed until 9.30. I read a little then got up and had a flapjack and some cookies before going to the small toilet/shower room to brush my teeth. The room was a cold, outside building attached to the pub, and was a haven for spiders, but it served its purpose well enough. When I returned to my tent I decided to look at the photographs I’d taken already as well as the camcorder footage. Around lunchtime I went to Darryl’s tent for noodles and coffee then left to get ready for my short walk to Mount Grace Priory. Darryl wasn’t coming as he wanted to rest up properly, but I wanted to check it out because although it was on the Coast to Coast path we had decided to cut it out as it’s a sizeable diversion at the start of the next day and we didn’t fancy adding the miles on. Looking at the map I could see a footpath that should get me there quicker than the Coast to Coast route, so I would be heading in that direction.

I left the small field by the pub and walked up the road that headed uphill toward Arncliffe Wood, seeing the odd grouse on the way and wishing I was armed to the teeth. I followed the forest path to the right then branched off onto what could have been the correct path though it was hard to tell as the paths on the ground didn’t seem to correspond properly to those in the guide book. I wasn’t too bothered however as I was only really out for a stroll so getting lost wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Pretty soon it became quite clear that I was in The Land of the Grouse, or some parallel grouse dimension as the buggers seemed to be everywhere. Give a man an M16 in Arncliffe Wood and he’ll eat well for the rest of his life! I took a few photos of them but they moved so quick it was hard to get decent shots. In the end I found a much better subject in the form of a tiny frog who was probably hiding from the grouse and hoping I wouldn’t give away his position.

The path was pretty dodgy. It was rutted, slippery and muddy and if I wasn’t trying to avoid tripping over mounds of earth that had been churned up by a vehicle of some kind I was trying to avoid sinking knee deep in squelchy matter. There were grouse prints everywhere, but no footprints which I found a little worrying since it was a footpath and was meant to lead to a tourist attraction. Nevertheless about ten minutes later I caught site of a stile, and beyond it Mount Grace Priory. Next to the stile was a large wooden board detailing the prices of admission (I thought entrance would be free), along with an instruction to any interlopers from the path I’d followed to report to the manor house to pay. Fat chance, I thought. I didn’t just negotiate the footpath from hell through The Land of the Grouse to end up having to part with money. Attempting to look casual, I sauntered around the ruins of the priory and found the reconstructed monk’s quarters which was quite impressive.

The National Trust had rebuilt the stone building and reconstructed the sleeping quarters and dining room, as well as the outside privy and herb garden. The monks only spoke when reciting prayers and occasionally during walks, so it must have been a pretty tough existence. I suppose it depends on what kind of ‘herbs’ they were allowed to grow.


After a good wander around taking photos I returned to my point of infiltration and did a runner, half expecting to hear a cry of ‘Oi! You there! You haven’t paid! He hasn’t paid everybody - Stop him!’ Thankfully no one was that vigilant, or bothered, so I got away with it, although I did have the punishment of having to tackle the terrible footpath again, with progress no faster than before due to the appalling condition of the ground.

When I returned to the pub I saw that another tent had appeared not far from Darryl’s. He later told me this was a female walker who was also doing the Coast to Coast walk. I didn’t see her emerge from the tent so I’m not sure if she was one of the people we saw on the last few days. Darryl also said he had walked back up to the garage on the other side of the motorway to get some more food, and on the way back had tried to run. He had stopped almost immediately. His legs really weren’t having that.

I read in my tent then tried to doze for a while before visiting Chez Daz for a hot chocolate. I dozed again, read again, then thought about popping into the pub for a drink and some dinner. We ate in a small dining room just off the main bar while watching a documentary on dinosaurs on the TV in the corner. A nice relaxing end to the day. Apart from the visit to the priory it was a pretty unproductive day, but this was fine since we were meant to be resting, and it had actually been nice to just chill out and lie around in the tent dozing and resting the feet in preparation for the hard work left to do. Nevertheless a part of me had been really itching to get going again and was glad that in the morning we would be back on the trail. Little did I know that the next day would be the toughest and most painful day of all. A day that could very easily have ended the whole walk.


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