To Richmond, And Beyond!

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Working my way through the alphabet, one country at a time

To Richmond, And Beyond!

When we woke this morning Joseph said “I don’t think I’ve ever walked 23 miles in one day.” Because that’s what we were facing. Twenty-three miles. And if Joseph hadn’t done it, my prospects seemed grim.

But I’m ahead of myself. Yesterday was another hike with beautiful landscapes. We are discovering a new vocabulary that is helpful when navigating. For example, “stay beckside on the path.”  (BECK=a brook)  DALE=a valley and SWALE=a low or hollow place; hence the “Swaledale” River.  CROFT=a fenced or enclosed area of land, usually small and arable. WYND=a narrow lane between houses. And, of course,  MOOR=a tract of open uncultivated upland, typically covered with heather.  Often the stone cottages are named with these words, and we make a mental note to look them up each evening.

We arrived in Richmond at another accommodation and slept well notwithstanding the 23-mile walk looming before us.

We had a gloomy beginning and Joseph needed a break from reading the map. So I accepted the challenge. This worked well until late in the day when I started looking at the map on the opposite page of the guidebook. Joe and I are perfect companions, however, each of us able to shrug off misdirection without resentment.

St. Mary’s Church

We had a pleasant break in Bolton-on-Swale at St. Mary’s Church. The remains of Henry Jenkins, who lived to be 169 years old, are buried here. The parishioners leave beverages for the coast to coast walkers free of charge.

The scenery became more familiar as we passed many fields of wheat and barley just harvested and cows became more plentiful than sheep. Hedges mark boundaries instead of dry stone walls. We stopped to eat several hours later in Danby Wiske and had a great conversation with a local. She told us the major battle featured in Braveheart actually occurred in this area.

A break!

We valiantly carried on, Joseph gleaning barley to eat as we crossed the fields. I even tried it–and enjoyed it!

As we traversed a pasture–one of many that day–cows began approaching. Usually they ignore us as we tramp through. But these cows seemed sinister and began surrounding me as I led the way to the stile. Joseph followed cautiously, as the cows circled around us. The whole incident seemed surreal –I’ve never heard of cows harming innocent travelers–but they seemed possessed. Had we reached the Twilight Zone?

When we finally appeared at our lodging at 8:00 p.m., our fellow travelers were relieved to see us. There’s a wonderful feeling of camaraderie among the hikers, even though Joe and I suspect they all refer to us as the bumbling mother-and-son duo!

Sinister cows

Rhonda Sarantis

Rhonda Sarantis

"She's crazy and loud but she loves you!" That's what they tell my infant granddaughter to prepare her for my visit, so I thought it would be a great way to prepare you. And while I may not always be crazy or loud, one thing is always true: I LOVE people. That's at the heart of my passion for travel. I love getting to know people from different cultures who speak different languages, eat different food, have different ideas and opinions. I'm endlessly curious and make a point of reading about the countries I visit. Instead of saying "that's not how WE do it," I enjoy identifying strengths in diverse cultures, and learning about their way of life. I LOVE road trips! I have great memories of monthlong vacations growing up. Dad always had a van--before they were popular--and invited anybody who wanted to join us. My road trips within the United States will be featured in "The Lower Case Travelogs." Be sure to buckle your seat belt. I execute illegal u-turns if a bakery or estate sale is spotted!


  • Jennifer Christensen

    Rhonda this is so fun to read! You two are having memories that will be told for Generations! Thanks for sharing your experiences and your reflections! I’m trying not to covet what you’re doing!

    August 28, 2017 at 4:26 pm
  • Cindy

    Ohhhh my. Mooo doom did not strike, thankfully. I think you two were referred to as the dynamic duo😊👍. So glad you two survived this 23 mile day to write about it. So interesting.

    August 28, 2017 at 8:11 pm
  • Ali

    169 years? I’m skeptical. I loved learning the vocabulary of the region and then imagining possible cottage names, like Wynddale or Beckmoor. You two are rock stars for finishing that long day!

    August 29, 2017 at 6:29 am
    • Anonymous

      I wonder about Henry’s age, too. But it’s their claim to fame! As Alzheimer’s progressed, Henry’s age probably accelerated.

      August 29, 2017 at 8:14 am