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Welcome to my personal blog. Squirrel(!) is such an appropriate title for this spot on the Internet. This began as a way to share the journal from my walk across England with hubby Jan. That trip is archived here for you to enjoy (June of 2012), but now when you visit you'll read my crazy musings on everything from horses, to cars, to grammar, to books, baseball, or weasels. Don't get whiplash trying to figure out a theme; just watch out for the squirrels!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 15

To Egton Bridge (stay in Glaisdale) – (12 miles)

I’m writing today’s post in a beautiful, busy pub called the Arncliffe Arms—an impressive building in the small village of Glaisdale. 
The Arncliffe Arms
We’ve just finished the second-to-the-last day of our incredible walk and although we’re looking forward to seeing Robin Hood’s Bay and the end of the trek tomorrow night, the feeling is very bittersweet. Neither Jan nor I have had any experience like this in our lives and we’ve done things we never thought we could do. We’ve also made some incredible friends that I hope and pray we’ll stay in touch with forever. It brings the threat of tears to think about being done with this journey.
But, we aren’t finished yet and today’s walk completely made up for the dreary rain and wind of the last two days. We breakfasted with Andy and Joy and also reunited with a threesome we’ve run into on and off since early in the trip: Kevin and Jane from Canada and their friend Jeri Ann from California.  Jeri Ann said she’s been struggling for the whole walk to keep up with her fast-walking companions and has often ended up walking alone and meeting them in the evenings. We had her join us and so we were five walking together all day. It was an incredible amount of fun!
Andy, Joy and I leaving the Lion's Inn
Andy, me, Jeri Ann and Joy on the drizzly road
The Fryup Valley
The sun started to lighten the sky--and the valley below.
The weather started out pretty cold and very blowy with some rain, which was much, much easier to take with a friendly company. We started along a flat, paved road (a “metalled” road in Britain). We passed beautiful vistas of the valley below us and beautiful moors around us.  We also passed a huge boundary marker fondly known as Fat Betty, where it’s an old tradition to leave food for walkers coming behind. Joy left an apple, and with a warning to Betty not to eat it, we continued.
Fat Betty
Slowly the rain disappeared and the winds warmed. They stayed very strong, but today they were at our back and probably helped us along the path.

We traded off the lead of the walk, and traveled as easily as old chums. We laughed a lot. One of the funniest moments was when we found a memorial stone just off the path. Andy led us through the heather so we could find out who had been so fondly remembered.  Here’s what we found:
Mrs. Stainthoppe loved the "MOOPS"

We all decided we, too, love the moops!

Joy, Liz and Jeri Ann

When I showed this picture to Joy she said, "I look mad as a hatter!"

Lunchtime on the moor
 It didn’t take long at all to reach the village of Glaisdale on the river Esk. This, of course, was where we were booked to spend the night, but our actual walk took us 2 ½ miles farther to Egton Bridge.

Sign to Glaisdale

Main Street in Glaisdale

A cool mailbox
Beggar's Bridge
Our hosts were scheduled to pick us up there and then return us to that spot in the morning so our final day’s walk wouldn’t be quite so long, so we passed our inn by and headed first to Beggar’s Bridge—one of the oldest in the area—and then to Egton Bridge, a really pretty little village. We visited St. Hedda’s Church, which turned out to be an exquisite cathedral as grand as many we saw in Europe. Despite its size and formality, however, it was warm and welcoming—a respite.

Andy, Jeri Ann, Joy and Jan
Andy, Joy, Jan and me
St. Hedda's Church sanctuary
The beautiful altar
We parted from Andy, Joy and Jeri Ann as they headed a mile further to their B&Bs in the next town of Grosmont. Tomorrow morning we’ll start out early and walk to meet them all so we can share the last day and the walk into Robin Hood’s Bay together.
The Arncliffe Arms where we’re staying is bustling tonight, a Saturday. There’s a huge party of fancily dressed people—wedding formal including tuxedos on a few of the men and fascinators on the women. It’s noisy and friendly and fun. And we stuffed ourselves on the hugest pieces of beer-battered cod we’ve ever seen. The Brits don’t mess around with their fish and chips—no wimpy pieces of fish here – it’s huge pieces of cod or haddock.

Check out the size of the cod fillets!
Just a point of interest: fish and chips are the most common combination for battered fried fish. They’re served with vinegar or ketchup and very often something called mushy peas.  Those are dried peas that have been soaked and boiled and end up soft and mashable. They’re very good.  But they can also serve the fish with new potatoes and veg (vegetables), which is what we had tonight.  We finished it off with strawberry and white chocolate crème brulee cheesecake and ice cream. It’s a darn good thing we’re walking all these calories off.
And finally, to cap off the day we finished our dinner, turned to leave, and whom did we see but Mattieu! We were overjoyed because after all the rain we were concerned that he’d made it safely down the path. Not only did he make it safely to Glaisdale, he’s already finished the entire walk! We’ve never quite figured out Mattieu’s logistics, but he has a car here and he someone gets people to take him back and forth to his vehicle once he’s completed a stage of the walk.  He hugged us, kissed us European-style and told us how happy he was to have met us on the walk. He wished us good health and told us to make good things with our lives. We were nearly crying to say good-bye. Cheers to our friend Mattieu Aalders!
Here I am with Mattieu -- a pretty amazing guy.
Tomorrow’s forecast is iffy again—but we got a bonus today. Maybe the weather gods and God Himself will shine on us for the last, long day’s trek (16 miles) to the North Sea.

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