Archive for July, 2012


So Lonely – The Session #65

The session is a monthly group blogging session with the beer blogging community, hosted by a different blogger each month. This Month is the turn of Nathaniel Southwood who asks us to comment on the issue of drinking alone.

I have known people (lets call them Ms. X) who won’t meet their friends at the pub because Ms. X might get their before their friends and then would have to spend a few moments waiting for their friend. How ludicrous. I feel like picking this person up by the collar and shaking them, “you are a grownup, you are allowed in a pub with out supervision, what do you think is going to happen to you? The locals arn’t going to have you for dinner, and the miserable bloke in the corner won’t say anything against you, he probably won’t even notice you!”. Why do people think that everyone else in the pub will be judging them because they are by themselves?

As someone who doesn’t care what random strangers in the pub think, this really bother me and so I am happy to go to the pub by myself. If someone does think I’m an alcoholic, let them, it doesn’t mean that I am. I have no problem with the idea of drinking by myself. I do not myself feel under pressure to show the world that I have company, that I am able to socialise and that I need the company of others at all times when I am in public. In fact I often feel the urge to go to the pub by myself. I sometimes just want to sit by yourself with a good book, getting away from the noise of home, stress relief. I can see the appeal of quiet pub, a crackling fire, a good book, and pint of something special. What a lovely way to spend a winters evening, eh? The world going by, while you, in the comfort of an arm chair absorb a good book and a good pint. I can’t think of anything more blissful, but it is a bliss not to be shared, for me this moment would be completely spoilt if someone else was there, even a friend. Unfortunately no pubs near me fit that criteria without a considerable walk. Pitty.

Depending on the type of pub you can go out and meet new people, many bubs are very sociable and you can easily spark up a conversation at the bar with nearly any of the regualars, why not make a new friend?

Another thing that I do quite a lot is go to pubs and bars by myself which have got live music on. If I want to see a band and my friends don’t, well why would that stop me. I’m just going to be one more in the crowd, I get to see the band and no one else even knows I was there, unless I talk to them, but that’s up to you.

I suppose, in conclusion, I can understand why people don’t want to go by themselves, but I can’t square it in my head for myself. If I want to do something I just do it. What I can’t understand is why do people have to be in company if they have a drink in their hand? Does the rest of the world really look at you and make judgements? Or are you looking at the rest of the world wondering what they are all thinking about you when really they haven’t even noticed you?

We had decided that we had to make the most of the early morning breeze before the weather got hot as it had most of the other days. We therefore got up as early as possible, as soon as the light had made its way into the tent. We were up by around half past four. We had eaten breakfast and packed up soon after and just before 6 a.m. we left the Lion Inn and made our way up the lonely moorland pass, which at this time in the morning had hardly any traffic on it at all.

The road was quiet, even the birds hadn’t started making their usual racket yet. We followed the roads and paths along the top of the moors for some time, there are some roads which seam to go nowhere up in the moors, it was puzzling to think about why they were tarmac’d in the first place. A single track road branched off from the main, which we followed for several miles, going further and further from the Lion Inn and what had been our only check-in with the rest of the world for some time by now. It felt that we were just walking further and further from reality. It wasn’t until we made it over the top of another hill much further on, where a new valley presented itself to us, there at the far end of the valley was the village of Glaisedale.

Walking down the hillside and into the valley should have been the most simple of things, we could see our target. It was right there and the map said to just follow the footpath all the way down the hill. It was getting on by now, we had been going for about three hours, the heat hadn’t really picked up but we were ready for a rest. We said that we would stop in the village, so we just needed to get there. Could we manage that? Hell no! The path just seemed to stop at a wall. We looked around for where the path might go round or over, nothing. Every time we thought we had found the path, it would stop at the edge of a cliff. Blind luck and stumbling through fields eventually bought us into the village.

After stopping for a rest on the bench in the village we carried on, passing the railways station which serves the village. Passing the railway station we also had to negotiate the works which were taking place to shore up the railway bridge. We did not have to get too involved in these as we soon followed another path which lead into the cooling shade of some woodland. It was pleasant in the woods. The temperature had started to creep up and it was welcome relief in the shade from the trees, especially as the woods were steeply banked and there was lots of up hill sections. After a mile or so, the path came out of the woods and we followed a country road to, and then through, the village of Egton Bridge. Egton Bridge is a very quiet village, and on such a nice day it seemed wrong, us tramping through, making undue noise with our footsteps and conversation. I’m sure the locals are used to seeing walkers pass through though.

From this village there was one last footpath of about a mile which lead to Grosmont. This was a footpath which was as pretty as Egton Bridge. There were lovely views of the river, and of the railway, with sheep in the fields between. The sun was out and it was getting warm. It was a very pleasant walk and made a nice way of reaching our lunchtime stop.

At Grosemont we sat out the front of a pub and sheltered under a parasol. We ate our lunch and enjoyed an ice cold drink from the pub. As we sat, we watched as the road was closed off periodically to allow steam trains to pass through the village, crossing the main road in the middle of the village. This was the north Yorkshire steam railway, where they filmed a lot of Harry Potter, just to let you know.

After we had lunch, we made our way out of the village. We knew that the next section was going to be one huge uphill slog. Jonny went on ahead, as he did in these situations, and I engaged low gear and crawled my way up the hill. As we left the village the trees and buildings cleared and we began to see more and more of a view. By the time we were two-thirds of the way up we could see the sea on the left, and next to it Whitby. This was a moment I don’t think I’ll forget, the sea! We had turned our back on the sea ten days ago and now here it was again in front of us. It was now it began to click in my head just how far we had come.  We only had a few mile to go now and we were going to do it, I could feel it.

When we got to the top of the hill, we were back in familiar territory, the sea had moved out of sight and we were back on the moors. Another vast expanse of scrub and bracken on the top of a windswept hill, with one track snaking aimlessly through it, that we were following. The path met the main road between Whitby and Scarborough, which we crossed during a gap in the traffic. On the other side, my heart sank, there before us was another valley which we had to descend and then reascend. This valley was never ending, I’m surprised that we’re not still climbing back up the other side of it now! The path down was long and windy, the path back up the other side was no where near as long, but almost vertical. For those who have done the walk and do not remember this part of the walk, that is because you turned into a wood and took the easy way up the side of the valley, passing the hermitage and falling foss, Jonny and I had seen the time and realised that we had only a few hours of day light by then. This may be one of many deviations to the official route that we had taken, but it was the only one which deviated from the spirit of the route, we knew we had to do it to catch up with our shortcomings earlier in the walk, I didn’t really want to, but we had no choice.

At the top of the valley, we could almost feel the end. We knew that it was only about four miles from the end, and it was no that my feet decided to tap out. My socks had formed some sort of solid section, god knows how, and this was scraping the under side of my toes and causing a lot of discomfort, much more than my, now subsiding, blisters. We stopped twice in the late afternoon so that I could rearrange my footwear, but it was no good. I just had to lump it all the way to Robin Hoods Bay. For those interested in the route, we followed the road all the way from the top of the valley, all the way to Flyingthorpe, which was where we had planned to camp.

There isn’t much to say about the last part of the walk, it was down the side of a fairly busy road for the most part. The very last uphill section of the walk was to be on this road, which was narrow and busy and winding. We were constantly having to cross the road to keep an eye out for traffic with the blind bends the road produced. When we reached the summit, we knew we were very close to finishing now. There before us was the whole of the North Sea with no interruptions. This spurred me on to try to catch Jonny up, at least for a bit, before I had to slow down again because the decent towards the sea was killing my knee so much.

Jonny had waited for me at the junction in the road in Flyingthorpe. We walked the half a mile or so together and made our way to the camp site. We walked in to the reception where we were greeted with “let me guess, you’ve just done the walk?” I wonder how they could have ever guessed! It certainly won’t have anything to do with my limp and Jonny’s stance, which took the pressure off his shoulder, which was by now fit to burst. We pitched our tent quite slowly, knowing it would be the last time we would have to do it. By now it was about seven o’clock. We through our things into the tent and made our way down the path which linked the camp site directly to the sea front. This was literally the final few minutes of the walk and it was such a relief to do it without the weight on our backs. Such a relief!

When we reached the sea front, we were right next to the Wainwright’s bar in the town. Next to it was a ramp for the RLNI to use for launching boats. We slowly walked down the ramp until we were close enough for the sea to lap around our shoes. I was expecting some sort of beacon of light to shine down upon us through parted clouds, upon which we would understand the meaning of life (or something at least!). All that happened was that my shoes got a bit wet. All that remained was to throw the pebble, that we had picked up in St. Bees, into the sea. I had a marker pen with me, so I wrote on mine “J & L. Coast to Coast. 2012”, so you will know where that came from if you find a pebble like that on Robin Hoods Bay beach. I was thinking, during the walk, of some cleaver words to say at this point just before I threw the pebble. Words failed me in the end and I just said something like “Good Riddance”, like that one small pebble had been what was weighing me down the whole time, and causing all my trouble. I wish I had said something nicer now, because it doesn’t sum up my feelings about the walk at all, I guess I was tired and irritable.

After all of the necessaries finishing-the-walk procedures were done with, we had officially done it, it was over, so we went to the pub where we had a beer.