The strong winds on Blakey ridge continued all night and although we lay there with our eyes closed, REM was never quite achieved. As soon as it began to get light we decided it was time to move.
The sun was just rising over the moor and we started packing without leaving the shelter of the tent. Once changed and packed we dismantled the tent and set off without breakfast. We were on the road at 6:45am.
After walking for another hour into the wind we stopped at a shooting box which provided some cover to eat yesterday's packed lunch. The walking to this point had been dull, the moor was featureless and so vast that nothing else could be seen. As we emerged onto the old cart track that would take us down to Glaisdale however, the view opened up. We were walking a ridge with rugged valleys to our left and right, the ridges of the moors behind and the coastal hills directly ahead. We could see a hazy blue line on the horizon, but were unable to tell whether or not this was the sea.
While we were contemplating this a familiar pair emerged over the horizon. Once again the Brothers Foot & Phone had caught us up. They briefly stopped to chat, telling us it was their last day, and that they were pushing on to the coast... A 30mile day. While we spoke, Brother Foot kept walking on the spot, he told us that it is now too painful to stop. With that they said their goodbyes and set off ahead. Having already set a 4mph pace, they showed no sign of slowing down as they became specks on the horizon. We have not seen them again, however the fact he made it this far when he nearly gave up at Shap, leaves us with no doubt that they made it.
As we approached Glaisdale, the lack of breakfast started to show and we stopped at the only shop in the village to find no sandwiches. I took some apples and bananas and headed out unfulfilled. Fortunately a mile or so down the road was a cafe where we stopped for a tea and coffee while sandwiches were made for us.
The next stage of the walk from Glaisdale through to Grosmont took us along the banks of the Esk, through gently rolling paths lined by broad leaved trees and paved with gritstone rocks raising us above the mud (nicknamed North York-shore by us... It's kind of a Mountain Biking joke... If such a thing exists... Maybe you had to be there).
Entering Egton bridge and following a path through the Egton Manor estate, we reached our targeted campsite for the day. Unfortunately it was rather basic. It was in fact a mostly open, inclined field next to a main thoroughfare with no obvious sign of toilets, let alone showers... both of which were needed. It was 2pm, so we headed to the pub. Over a pint and a potato we found out that the next campsite was 4miles further on, but would leave us with only 12miles to go on our final day. So we watched some steam trains go by, finished our food and pints and pushed on for the next village.
The road out of Grosmont to our next stop was the steepest road I have ever come across. Never before have I seen a signpost warning that the upcoming road had a 33% incline. I am convinced that even the climbs we had crossed in the Lake District were not this steep and now we had full bellies!
After a long climb we began descending equally steeply into Littlebeck. We had been told the campsite was half a mile off the C2C route, but when the directions obtained in the village said the farm was "right at the chapel, and follow the lane to the top of the hill" we quickly realised that it was 1/2 a mile above the C2C route as well. We began climbing another lane back up the steep side of the valley to eventually (wearily) arrive at the farm. Ruth knocked on the door, and before she had chance to ask the lady opening it if she had room for us to camp, she had introduced herself, shook our hands, shown us to the garden where we could set up our tent and provided us with a tray of tea, coffee and cake. What a welcome!!
We camped alongside 3 other coast to coast walkers, we chatted while making our dinners on a variety of stoves and sat around a picnic table eating and talking until we could stand the cold no longer. Ruth was in her sleeping bag by 8:30 and I was not far behind.
The campsite was a stark contrast to the previous night. The wind was calm and the only noise was that of the cows and sheep calling to each other. Apparently, at 3am a new calf was born in the shed only metres from our tent... Despite the noise, we only found out when the farmer asked if it had disturbed us. Obviously it had not.