Well, here I was in the middle of England, preparing to take off on my first solo hike ever. This morning, my friends and fellow hiker had left the trail on their way(s) to less strenuous activities and I had determined to continue on for the remaining 12 days of this Coast to Coast path. I was now the only guest at last night’s B&B, the Ingleside B&B so breakfast was a solitary event. My guidebook described this and the next day of the trek as the least interesting of the entire trail, so I was not looking forward to much. Fortunately, the agrarian landscape, the farm animals, the distant views and people that I encountered through these two days all became very interesting and entertaining. I actually began to enjoy hiking alone. This day’s trail passed through a number of farmyards filled with cows who for the most part ignored me as I walked through their pasture.
Occasionally, I was the center of attention. I was glad for the fence between the cows and me!
Signs warned hikers of high speed trains which regularly streaked along train tracks. The idea of crossing these tracks was a little unnerving, as I often had to “stop, look, listen”. Notice the Cleveland Hills in the distance, now miles behind me.
Some farmer was a practical joker and decided to see what kind of reaction he could evoke by placing plastic rats on the wooden supports of a stile. I got a good chuckle out of it.
Honesty boxes were a common sight and very much appreciated by the hiker. The unmanned coolers generally contained food and drink and I could take whatever needed as long as I left an appropriate payment. These two men became my hiking companions for a portion of the day.
The farm landscape was very peaceful and quite lovely.
About lunch time, we happened on a “honesty patio” containing, a frig, electric tea kettles, and containers of food. After relaxing for a midday feast, my two companion hikers disappeared and I carried on.
My next destination was Danby Wiske, where I arrived a little early and spent some time sightseeing in this tiny village. The parish church was early Norman and any records about the initial building had been lost – most likely destroyed when the Scots raided the area in the 12th century. Additions and alterations were added over subsequent centuries revealing an historical progression to the various portions of this interesting church. The churchyard was a tranquil scene with a few birds and rabbits hopping about and small, white daisies growing in masses upon the grass which surrounded the listing gravestones.
I strolled back to my B&B for the evening, the Old School House B&B, where I met my very warm and hospitable hosts, Frank and Doreen Phillips who greeted me with a big hug and ushered me into the house, which was a remodeled, 19th-century school house. Sometimes the B&B hosts have a personal involvement with the history of these B&Bs, and Doreen was one of these as she had completed her first eight years of school here. Three other guests and I were served a delicious and bountiful dinner after which I was invited to come into the Phillip’s private living room to watch the very highly regarded flower show known as the “Chelsea Flower Show” on TV.