To be honest I wasn’t very hopeful for today and set of around 8 am with some trepidation. However, within the first 200 metres I came across an honesty box beside a cottage selling great lumps of flapjacks – date and walnut to be precise. Like Brexit, that flapjack was the gift that keeps on giving – getting me through the whole day. I kept going at it, but it never seemed to get smaller! Until eventually it did and I finished the last morsel within sight of my destination – the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge – 21 miles and 9 hrs after leaving Ingleby Cross.
In fact, the morning was as bad, and probably quite a bit worse, than I’d expected. I was in a whole world of pain and though thankfully the tarmac of yesterday was replaced by country paths and amazing scenery, there was also over 1000 metres of steep ascent. There were also plenty of knee splitting, blister busting descents!
(Approaching the Wain Stones)
But seeing Roseberry Topping with the sea behind, and Middlesbrough close by gave me a boost that I was on home turf and nearing the end of the journey.
As I was planning to take a break at Clay Bank, almost 13 miles in, and as this is not too far from where we live, Evelyne came up in the car with a coffee and some cakes and encouragement. And more plasters!
At that moment I didn’t really know whether I could go further. I was thoroughly discouraged and in danger of letting the mornings struggles dictate my afternoon. Part of me wanted to stop at Clay Bank and lick my wounds – not literally. So I had to slap myself, (again not literally) and say to myself, ‘ OK, I’ll eat, take more pain killers, do a bit of needle work on the blisters (if you know what I mean), bandage everything up again, change socks and give it a try’.
And miraculously I seemed to have new energy and masses less pain and almost flew the 8.5 miles across the moors to Blakey Ridge, skirting above Farndale (below) on the way.
Our friends Tony and Janet came up to meet me and treated me to a lovely meal at the Lion Inn. They even brought a flask of tea so I could have a drink while I put the tent up! Thanks T & J !
Incidentally, camping here costs £2.50 and you get a real towel for the shower! It’s very windy up here, so I think it’s going to be a noisy night.
So thanks for all the encouragement and prayers. I really needed it today and it got me through.
Today, Aiden, one of our lads was offered a place on a safety course which is a starting point for all sorts of construction work. You’d think that was good, right? But his first reaction was, ‘I can’t do it. I won’t be able to. I was rubbish at school’. He was ready to turn it down because of what had happened in the past.
10 mins later he was saying, ‘I might be able to do it, I’ll give it a try’. What had made the difference was his mentor encouraging him to look beyond his past and to catch a glimpse of the potential that he has. It worked. He caught a glimpse of something someone else had pointed to and that was enough. Small, painful steps sometimes, but always significant, because each one is a step in the right direction.