Since it's our day of rest, we arrange for a late breakfast (9am) of scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. We have a great view of their backyard garden and chickens while we eat. Since its our day of rest, we think we're going to nap and read and eat. After about 20 minutes of rest, we realize that a body in motion tends to stay in motion. We need something to do.
We hop a bus to nearby Helmsley, a picturesque market village. What a find! It has loads of bookstores (we both lose track of time in a bookshop), gift shops, cafes, specialty food shops and pubs (oh darn). There's a beautiful old church and we oohhh and ahhh our way through an ancient graveyard with stones so old and worn that the inscriptions are no longer legible.
We buy Lauren a few really nice rings and a gift for her BFF. I buy a couple hunks of local cheese to nibble on and some treats to take home for Dougie. As we're wandering the streets, Lauren nudges me and points up. We stare up into what's left of Helmsley Castle. Wow! It's so inviting but the sky is about to let loose and I'm kind of tired of being stinky wet.
We bounce from pub to pub until we find the one that suits us best; The Feathers Inn. As we tuck into a pint, the skies open and we smile at each other. We each enjoy a hot bowl of tomato basil soup with crusty bread and butter. By the time we decide to leave the pub the rain has stopped. We pass a fairly uneventful but very enjoyable day of window shopping and strolling.
Although we're spending another night in Osmotherly, we're staying at a different B&B. We go back and pack up and head off to find our new home for the night. Suffice to say that we should have stayed put. The proprietors are in way over their heads. They have two babies that are obviously consuming the mom and the dad is well....old. They don't have any patience left and shouldn't be in the hospitality business.
One example: the man asks us when we check in what we want for breakfast. I ask him if we can let him know in a few minutes because we haven't given it any thought yet (its not even 4pm). In less than 15 minutes, there's a knock at the door as it opens! What?! Yep, the man knocked as he entered our room, pen and paper in hand, asking for our breakfast order. What a creep.
At some point, I realize that we didn't make arrangements for packed lunches. I knock on the door connecting the B&B space to the owner's private quarters, which they said we could do at any time should we need anything at all. The mom answers and barks at me, asking me what I want. She's so rude that I tell her that I don't want to put her out, we'll buy something at the village store in the morning on our way out of town.
Considering the number of places we've stayed, we have been very lucky. Everyone has been welcoming and kind and so many of our innkeepers have gone out of their way to help us with anything we needed. We can't complain...these people just have too much on their plates.
We have an early dinner at the Queen's Hotel. Lauren misses her dwarf and is sullen. Her lasagna arrives and we discover that it's not really lasagna. She decides she's not hungry anyway and doesn't eat. My spinach and ricotta ravioli tastes a little odd but I assume it's just the cheese. About 2 hours later, when I begin vomiting, I decide it was more than just weird cheese.
It's a lonely night and we go to sleep early, knowing that tomorrow we walk alone. I remind myself to find ways to cheer up Lauren tomorrow and hope that she'll have fun again.
17 Day Itinerary
Our walk begins in St. Bee's on the West Coast of Great Britain at the Irish Sea. Almost 200 miles later, we will find ourselves at the North Sea in Robin Hood's Bay.
Day 1 - Moor Row, 9 miles The Jasmine House
Day 2 - Ennerdale, 8 miles Low Cock How Farm
Day 3 - Seatoller, 14 miles Seatoller Farm
Day 4 - Grasmere, 10.5 miles Town Head Farm
Day 5 - Patterdale, 7.5 miles Grisdale Lodge
Day 6 - Shap, 16 miles Brookfield House
Day 7 - Orton, 8 miles The Westons
Day 8 - Kirby Stephen, 13.5 miles The Black Bull
Day 9 - Keld, 14 miles Keld Lodge
Day 10 - Richmond, 14 miles The Old Brewery
Day 11 - Danby-Wiske, 14 miles Old School House
Day 12 - Osmotherly, 12 miles 32 South End
Day 13 - Clay Bank Top, 11 miles The Maltkiln House
Day 14 - Blakley Ridge, 8.5 miles The Sevenford House
Day 15 - Grosmont, 14 miles The Station Inn
Day 16 - Robin Hood's Bay, 16 miles The Raven House
Of course, these distances don't account for getting lost and doubling back a few times, avoiding an aggressive herd of heifers or navigating the moors.... or wandering off in search of a pint.