An encounter with a 169 year old. The end of C to C for Archie.

Post 36: 7 April 1991: Day 10 – Bolton-on-Swale to Ingleby Cross – 15 miles

There is a memorial in St Mary’s churchyard, Bolton-on-Swale, to Harry Jenkins who was born in the year 1500 and died in 1670, at the grand old age of one hundred and sixty-nine. That morning Archie’s feet and legs were in such bad shape, he was feeling about one hundred and seventy. One leg was badly swollen. Hardly a ‘New Man’.

‘It’ll be a piece of cake today, only fifteen miles and all flat across the Vale of Mowbray,’ I said, trying to improve his morale.

However, one of the strange things about walking on lanes is that it seems more tiring than on undulating moors and mountains. The feet are put down in the same repetitive manner leading to a sort of repetitive strain, the equivalent of which, typists and computer operators experience in the hands.

We arrived at the wonderfully named village of Danby Wiske, hoping to obtain a drink at the pub, but, unfortunately, it was closed. We somehow managed to lose Clint when he stopped at a kiosk to phone home. Archie was now in trainers, but was still making slow progress. Trainers are recommended for arduous road walking as, compared to boots, the increased cushioning eases the foot pounding. We couldn’t afford to wait any longer for Clint and eventually left Wendy waiting for him in the village, listening to Radio 4. We felt a bit guilty at leaving a female on her own, but sometimes such decisions are necessary and we were sure Clint would soon join her.

Shortly before Ingleby Arncliffe, we encountered the last major obstacle of he day, the A19 dual carriageway. After 139 miles of walking, cars don’t seem to just go fast, they scream past as though attempting to break the world land speed record. Even small lorries sound and look like juggernauts. It would be easier to cross the East Rongbuk Glacier leading to Everest than cross this road. No wonder so many hedgehogs and other animals end up splattered on the tarmac. After about ten minutes, when nothing could be seen or heard, we scurried across with our packs jumping up and down on our backs, delighted to get safely to the other side.

The big 50_6758
Nearing the end of Coast to Coast for Archie.

At Ingleby Cross, it was evident that Archie was in great pain and could not carry on to our booked accommodation at the Osmotherly Youth Hostel. Instead we managed to book a night at the Blue Bell Inn, where, joined by Clint and Wendy, we had a ‘last’ supper for him. He decided that Coast to Coast had come to an end and he would catch a bus to Northallerton, then train home to London. He had walked 140 miles with only another 60 to go, ten days completed, only three left. It was a sad way to end a walk. On his return to London he saw a doctor who, to our surprise, said that he had been bitten by an insect, which had caused the swelling in his leg. The one thing I hadn’t brought with me was insect bite cream as I never imagined insects would be around at Easter. How wrong can you be? Another lesson learned.

Archie couldn’t be regarded as being a ‘New Man’ at this point, more like a ‘Broken Man’, but it was not so long after the walk that he took the plunge and got married. Clearly the hardships of Coast to Coast had made him realise that a pair of slippers by the fireside might be a better option. The long-distance walkers’ ‘Ethics ’ committee allows for up to five years off from long-distance walks in order to get married and/or have children. However, it was not long before he returned to long-distance walking; once tried it is difficult to give it up.

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