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DAY 11. Tuesday 27th June 2006 - Osmotherly to High Blakey Ridge

"This is the finest section of our marathon (outside Lakeland) - a splendid high level traverse across the escarpment of the Cleveland Hills: beautiful country with far reaching views"

Hills, today they are a bit like buses, for two days we haven't seen one and then we have 6 all at once! But first we have a 'gentle' climb out of Osmotherley onto the Cleveland Way, another National Trail, which we follow for about 14 of the 19 miles we are due to cover today, most of it is paved!

The views ahead are amazing, the idea of having to go up and down so many ridges after two flat days though is not quite so good. On our way up to the Cleveland Way we disturbed a Grouse at the side of the trail and a brood of the smallest chicks ever dashed into the hedgerow.

There were optimistic signs that it may be a sunny day, Kevan even got his sunglasses out, but it was not going to last long, the cloud dropped later in the day. A very welcome hot chocolate at  a little café near Lords Stones, fuelled us up for the first main climb up and over Cringle Moor, not sure whether Lizzie had noticed but there was quite a nice path going round the bottom, still the view from the top was worth the effort. This was the first of several climbs and descents. At a rock formation called The Wain Stones there was a group of climbers but we weren't tempted to join in, we would need all our energy for the final climb up to Clay Bank Top.

At last the hills gave way to open moor land and a very gentle path heading towards the course of an old railway which we would follow for the final flat 5 miles.

Despite the previous hills Lizzie looked to have plenty of energy and shot off along the old railway, I think secretly she was trying to catch up with John and Sheila who we could see on a distant bend, but they were moving so fast it looked like they had found a couple of bikes. We were gaining a little and then boredom set in, the couple ahead stopped so that we could walk the last few miles together, chatting to take away the monotony of the track.

Despite the mileage we had made good time and found our guest house, handily opposite the pub, the only two buildings for miles sitting on the edge of the moors. We are planning to give details of the guest houses we used later on the links page but our room for the night warrants some mention here.

Our jaws dropped when we were welcomed in and shown to our room. It was bigger than our flat! The view out of the large landscape windows across the moors is simply breathtaking. It had been worth walking 19 miles up and down hills just to get here, even if it did take so long to hobble from the sofa to the bath!

It was so romantic sitting watching the last rays of daylight fade away from the hills and as the light faded we thought about those we had met along the way who should by now already have arrived at Robin Hoods Bay. Nigel will have put his 50lb rucksack down at last, Dominic will no longer be spending the night under tarpaulin, Lizzie's two gallant knights whose names we never knew, Janet and Caroline who we last saw limping towards Richmond, Naomi and Duncan, not forgetting the Wagon Train. We have 30 miles left - 2 more days.


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