Coast to Coast Walk 2018

Author: George Tod

This walk is illustrated with photographs. Click on small photo to enlarge in situ, or click caption to enlarge into new window.
Part 4 - Keld to Lion Inn, Blakey


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Day 9 - Wednesday 4th July 2018 - Keld to Reeth - 10.7 miles, 2110ft ascent

Accommodation - Black Bull, Reeth

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Swaledale Yurts by Keld Bunkbarn
Swaledale Yurts by Keld Bunkbarn
Keld Village
Keld Village
Waterfall at East Stonesdale
Waterfall at East Stonesdale

For breakfast, I had a bacon and egg baguette which was again served to the bunkbarn at the appointed time. With a fairly easy day's walk ahead, I wasn't worried about getting an early start and, after chatting for a while, I got going at 9.30. After heading down the road into the tiny village of Keld and past the waterfall at East Stonesdale, which was reduced to a trickle with the lack of rainfall, I started to check the route ahead on my map. I was a bit confused about the route that I should be taking, as I had downloaded some recent GPX files to print out the route on my maps as well as loading them onto the GPS that I lost on Helm Crag. In my haste, I had not noticed that the route was shown following the River Swale. This route didn't agree with the maps in Wainwright's guide nor the route I had followed in the past over the old lead mines at Gunnerside, though I noticed later that the following paragraph appears in Wainwright's guide.

"For most walkers the royal road from Keld to Reeth will always be along the lovely banks of the Swale, the first three miles to Muker especially being very beautiful and the whole distance with minor interruptions being possible by using public footpaths on or near the riverside. If the day be wet or misty this is the way to go."

Note that the three miles that are "very beautiful" are on the Pennine Way and he later makes this comment.

"....the route coincides with the Pennine Way. Spare a smile (of pity) for any poor wretches you see travelling thereon. Your own route is so much better."

This arose because Wainwright produced a guide for the Pennine Way. He had no car and had to rely on lifts to get to various sections and these were mainly in bad weather when the views were obscured and there was squelchy peat underfoot. He therefore had a very jaundiced view of the Pennine Way and this is one of the things that inspired him to devise the Coast to Coast walk which he considered to be much better.

However, the riverside route now seems to be the route recommended in at least some of the latest guides. O.S maps now show a route along there that is marked as a major Trail and named 'A Pennine Journey'. I had not heard of this before, but it is based by an early walk by Wainwright in 1938, which pre-dates the Pennine Way (officially opened in 1965) by 23 years, though the initial concept of the Pennine Way dates back even earlier to 1935. Wainwright never produced a guide for 'A Pennine Journey' but it has been taken up by Wainwright enthusiasts who produced a guide in Wainwright's style as a tribute in 2010.

There seem to be a few changes like this that have taken place to suit people who want easier routes but, as always, I am tempted onto the high-level routes and, as I was more or less copying my 1992 route and the weather was good, I decided that I would go via the lead mines. The old route is still walked by a few, but the majority of walkers take the easier options wherever they can, considering that these are difficult enough anyway. For my part, I am accustomed to the rigours of mountain walks like the Cambrian Way, so do not consider the Coast to Coast to be particularly difficult even when taking the high-level routes. In terms of beautiful scenery, the low-level route no doubt wins, as the old lead mines have left ugly scars on the landscape, but they are an interesting insight into our industrial heritage with a sort of beauty of their own.

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Remains of an old Tractor near Crackpot Hall
Remains of an old Tractor near Crackpot Hall
Upper Swaledale from near Crackpot Hall
Upper Swaledale from near Crackpot Hall
Back towards Keld from near Crackpot Hall
Back towards Keld from near Crackpot Hall

I therefore had to forget my maps and revert to my old Wainwright guide to pick up the high-level route by Crackpot Old Hall, passing the relic of an old tractor half sunken in the ground. There are beautiful views down Upper Swaledale from here, route of the Pennine Way, before heading up the steep sided valleys into the old lead mining areas. The distance is not much different but there is considerably more ascent on this route. This is quite a fascinating area though not always beautiful: some of the ruined buildings by deep valleys and streams are picturesque but the devastation of the landscape is not so, as the lead has poisoned the soil and killed off large areas of vegetation that has not managed to grow back even to this day.

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Ruins of Crackpot Hall overlooking Upper Swaledale
Ruins of Crackpot Hall overlooking Upper Swaledale
Swinner Gill
Swinner Gill
Old Lead Mines by Swinner Gill
Old Lead Mines by Swinner Gill

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Looking back down Swinner Gill
Looking back down Swinner Gill
Looking back along East Grain towards Keld
Looking back along East Grain towards Keld
North Hush, Gunnerside
North Hush, Gunnerside

There were several walkers about but most of them were doing day walks not the Coast to Coast walk. Heading up Swinner Gill, I passed some of the lower lead mines before ascending by the stream of East Grain onto the top of the moors. Further along I passed North Hush, a hush being the name for a stream where a dam was built to hold a large amount of water. The dam was then broken, allowing a sudden rush of water to wash away all the soil down the valley with the hope that it would reveal lead ore beneath. This had a rather devestating affect on the landscape but was one of the primative ways of achieving things using available resources whilst saving a great deal of wasted manpower. In those days nobody gave a care about the effect on the landscape or the pollution of streams with lead, it was only the economic benefits that counted.

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Ruins of Blakethwaite Smelt Mill, Gunnerside
Ruins of Blakethwaite Smelt Mill, Gunnerside
Old Blakethwaite Smelt Mill, Gunnerside
Old Blakethwaite Smelt Mill, Gunnerside
North Hush from Bunton Hush
North Hush from Bunton Hush

Further along, the route drops down the steep sided valley of Gunnerside Beck to the remains of the old Blakethwaite Smelt Mill, which is more picturesque than the lead mines. This made a convenient place for a lunch break and I spent some time sunbathing amid one of the ruined buildings. After a while, Bridgette came by. I didn't expect this as she had had problems with her legs whilst walking through the Lake District causing her to rest up for a few days previously, so I thought she would have gone for the easier option along Swaledale.

After my relaxation, I continued up over the moors to where the worst of the devastation had taken place, passing Bunton Hush from which there was a clear view across the valley revealing the full extent of the erosion caused by North Hush. In fact, Bunton Hush was even more extensive than North Hush. Higher up, the steep hillside levels out onto the Old Gang lead mines on the top of the moor. It surprised me to see notices saying that this was a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and warning of surveillance cameras and that people should not stray off footpaths nor allow dogs off leads. This all seemed to be a bit over the top for an area that was already devastated by mining and where all the waste from the mines had prevented anything at all from growing there. It also made me wonder if this SSSI was the reason for trying to encourage a different route for the Coast to Coast walk. However, looking it up online, the SSSI is for the vast areas of blanket bog and the moorland bird population which just happens to include the lead mining areas as well. Very few people would be walking over the wild, open moorland but many more would walk this way, hence the proloferation of signs.

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Abandoned Machinary at Old Gang Mines
Abandoned Machinary at Old Gang Mines
Poisoned Soil at Old Gang Mines
Poisoned Soil at Old Gang Mines
Level House Bridge
Level House Bridge

Once over the top of the moor, it was a steady descent down to Level House Bridge, an old packhorse bridge, to follow Hard Level Gill, which becomes Mill Gill or Old Gang Beck as it flows steadily down from the moors passing Surrender Bridge and the Old Gang Smelting Mills on the way. Most of these old buildings have been saved from further deterioration by stabilising the masonary and in some cases re-roofing them so they are preserved as part of our industrial heritage. The weather forecast had said that a band of cloud would cover this part of the country for most of the day but there was in fact fairly little cloud and this mostly dispersed making it another very hot day. I was now coping with the heat quite well, setting off with 2.5 litres of water and sipping it regularly along the way and this managed comfortably without me feeling thirsty. Although I was coping with the heat, I am sure it was still making the walking more difficult, though it was still far preferable to rain as it brought out the best in the landscape.

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Old Gang Smelting Mills
Old Gang Smelting Mills
Inside Old Gang Smelting Mills
Inside Old Gang Smelting Mills
Surrender Bridge
Surrender Bridge

Along this moorland route it is amazing just how remote this area is with no sign of civilization for miles and no mobile phone reception all of the way apart from the very occasional weak signal letting me pick up texts but only once allowing me to send one. Eventually, I reached Surrender Bridge where I met the first road since Keld. For the rest of the way, the route follows a path along the hillside up above Barney Beck, then down a lane to join the road into Reeth. I should have continued further along up the hillside to follow the correct route, but I ended up on a minor road to Healaugh, so continued my way along a path following the River Swale into Reeth. I thought that as Reeth came close that I would get a mobile signal but even in town I got none, so I had to revert to the old-fashioned call box to phone home. The call box needed 60p but wouldn't take a pound coin, so I had to ask a couple sitting outside a nearby pub for change. The chap said he had a good signal on his phone, but he was obviously on a different network. This is what happens quite a lot in remote areas; some networks give reasonable coverage whilst others do not, though there is often the ability to make an emergency call if your own network doesn't give reception but another one does, which is a great help for mountain safety.

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Towards Healaugh in Swaledale
Towards Healaugh in Swaledale
Reeth Village Green (from my Room in Black Bull)
Reeth Village Green (from my Room in Black Bull)
Black Bull, Reeth
Black Bull, Reeth
I always think that Reeth is a beautiful place with its wide village green surrounded by pubs, shops and stone houses. There was some game being played on the green which involved throwing metal hoops. A lot of locals were participating in this and it was taken very seriously with someone washing the metal hoops presumably to allow them to be thrown more accurately. I had my evening meal sitting outside the Black Bull where I was staying and watching all the activities in the distance. The Black Bull is a very old pub as I could tell by the very uneven stairs, but they had very good homemade food (I had steak and kidney pie) and one of my favourite beers, Old Peculier. When I went back inside all the Americans were in there, so I had a chat with them for a while before making my way to my room.


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Day 10 - Thursday 5th July 2018 - Reeth to Brompton-on-Swale - 14.5 miles - 1570ft ascent

Accommodation - Village Farm Bunkhouse

I was quite surprised by the fact that I was the only one for breakfast, as it was quite busy in Reeth last night. Speaking to the landlady they seem to get peaks and troughs with bookings, sometimes being fully booked and sometimes empty. I suspect that as far as Coast to Coast walkers are concerned, so many of them book through companies offering packages including baggage transfer that if a place is not on their list of approved places they get very few bookings. I had my breakfast and got going by 9.00, setting off down the road through the village green. It was very warm and sunny again and I was already sweating from having breakfast with the sun streaming through the window.

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Village Green, Reeth looking North
Village Green, Reeth looking North
Evangelical Church, Reeth
Evangelical Church, Reeth
Towards Grinton, Swaledale
Towards Grinton, Swaledale

As I walked along the road out of town there was a view across the river to Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel up the hillside about a mile off the route. It is a quite imposing building with a turreted tower and was originally a 19th Century shooting lodge. I was unable to get in on this occasion as it was fully booked, but I did manage to stay there in 1992. The next place of note on the route is Marrick Priory which is now an outdoor activities centre situated close to the River Swale. This is followed by a climb up to the village of Marrick itself where there was a bit more of a breeze. Here I had some mobile reception so texted my wife and this also prompted emails that were queued to get sent. It gets to be a bit of a nuisance trying to keep in touch with people when you go all day with neither mobile reception nor WiFi. It just shows how dependent the world has become on these things. When I first started doing long-distance walks, I was totally dependent on phone boxes or payphones in youth hostels. These days rural phone boxes are being removed on a regular basis, though they still tend to survive in places cut off from mobile reception. Part of the problem, though, is that it depends very much on which mobile network you use. The locals know to subscribe to one that works well in their area, but visitors do not realise where they stand until they try to make a call.

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Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel on far Hillside
Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel on far Hillside
Marrick Priory now an Outdoor Activities Centre
Marrick Priory now an Outdoor Activities Centre
Marrick Priory and view across Swaledale
Marrick Priory and view across Swaledale

The walking was mainly through farmland and it was noticeable that this was much more affected by the hot weather than the moorland areas, with much of the grass looking very dry, though wild flowers on the verges and in the hedgerows still seemed to be thriving. Gradually the weather changed with more cloud in the sky until it was overcast and rather sultry with only a few sunny patches. The forecast said that there was a possibility of a few heavy showers in places, but it didn't seem too likely at the moment. This had the advantage of making it quite a bit cooler for walking but it unfortunately made the scenery duller.

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Village of Marrick, Swaledale
Village of Marrick, Swaledale
Marske, Swaledale
Marske, Swaledale
Applegarth Scar north of Swaledale
Applegarth Scar north of Swaledale

At the village of Marske, about six miles from today's start I stopped for a rest on a convenient bench. It was a bit before noon, so I decided to have a snack whilst resting my weary feet. A couple of chaps who were doing the Coast to Coast came by. They were doing it in ten days taking on some rather long stretches each day, then an elderly chap who was just walking around the area, joined me for a while. As I was just about to leave at 12.30 two elderly ladies came along and recognised me from Nine Standards Rigg where I had spoken to them as they sat on a seat admiring the views. I didn't realise at the time that they were doing the Coast to Coast and thought they were just out walking for the day. They seemed to be having no problem with the walking though they, like most people, were using a baggage transfer service. As we moved off, they took our places on the seat as the two of us went our different ways. There was no sign of the Americans: they would be taking a more leisurely pace as they were only going to Richmond.

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Looking back towards Applegarth
Looking back towards Applegarth
Richmond Castle from Hill
Richmond Castle from Hill
Richmond Bridge from Castle Walk
Richmond Bridge from Castle Walk

Richmond was my next objective as I headed onwards and upwards towards Applegarth Scar on the hillside high above the River Swale, then on to a path below Whitcliffe Scar, a limestone outcrop, before entering Whitcliffe Wood. The weather was now a bit brighter with patches of sunshine but not too hot. The views were pleasant but nothing special until Richmond started to come into view, though it was a long way from the sign announcing the town to the first habitation. The town has a large circular centre with a museum and shops all around and I stopped on a seat to have the rest of my lunch followed by an ice cream from the nearby van, though there had been plenty of other times that I had been more in need of an ice cream than now, as the weather was rather overcast. I then called in the Co-op to get a few things for tomorrow's breakfast and lunch, so I would be able to get off to an early start in the morning with over twenty miles to walk. I also topped up my cash from the cash machine and headed round the Castle Walk on the way to the bridge over the river and out of town.

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Richmond Castle from River Swale
Richmond Castle from River Swale
Richmond Castle
Richmond Castle
Walking through Fields in Swaledale
Walking through Fields in Swaledale
There was still about five miles to go and it was not as quick as I thought as the route meanders up and down, though it didn't matter too much as I didn't have a tight deadline. One thing when planning the turn off to Brompton-on-Swale was that I had to get there from the opposite side of the river, which involved overshooting by half a mile to the main bridge and then coming back again. However, I could see another small bridge earlier along on my map, but it was not marked as a right of way. I kept a lookout through the trees on my left and spotted an unofficial path going down to the bridge which was on a track leading to the road on the other side of the river, so I took that as a shortcut. As I reached the road and looked back, I saw a sign on the gate saying it was a private track, but it was too late to take any notice as I was then already on the road. I arrived at the bunkhouse at 6.00 and found I was the only one staying the night so had the place to myself. It only cost £10 for the night plus £1 for a sheet sleeping bag and the elderly couple made me a pot of tea on arrival with a Kit-Kat and refused my offer of more money. The local pub served several main courses at around £6.50 which is a lot less than most places on the route would charge, but these were only for a limited period of the evening.


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Day 11 - Friday 6th July 2018 - Brompton-on-Swale to Osmotherley - 21 miles - 1280ft ascent (including getting lost)

Accommodation - Osmotherley Youth Hostel

There was a disaster in Brompton on Swale! The annual duck race had to be postponed because the river level was too low, and they were praying for lots of rain to come soon so that it would be possible for it to go ahead on a new date a few weeks ahead.

It was a long walk today but mainly easy walking across the Vale of York to the Cleveland Hills in the North York Moors with a climb onto the moors to the hostel at the end. It is all rather flat and not very interesting, so it was really just a matter of pushing on to get to the next interesting part of the walk. I decided to get off to an early start so that I wouldn't end up short of time as is often the case. I therefore got up at seven and managed to get off at 7.40.

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Wild Flowers (mainly Ragwort) by A1(M) and River Swale
Wild Flowers (mainly Ragwort) by A1(M) and River Swale
Metal Military Sculptures, Catterick Bridge
Metal Military Sculptures, Catterick Bridge
Village Pump, Bolton-on-Swale
Village Pump, Bolton-on-Swale

The first part of the walk goes under the A1(M) and along the riverside past Catterick Bridge where there are some metal sculptures of military figures, this being the location of a large army camp. There were not many views of the river which is mostly hidden by trees. Then followed large quarries, where it would have been quite ugly except for the fact that the mounds of rubble were topped with a host of beautiful bright red poppies. Soon came Bolton-on-Swale with an attractive Village Pump at the entrance to the village. This village's main claim to fame is a grave in St Mary's Parish Church, which belongs to Henry Jenkins who died in 1670. It is claimed that he was born in 1501 making him 169 years of age when he died. However, this is extremely dubious and it is much more likely that there was a mix up with records. However, it still remains a tourist attraction, particularly for Coast to Coast walkers who are passing by.

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St Mary's Church, Bolton-on-Swale
St Mary's Church, Bolton-on-Swale
Village Green and Pub, Danby Wiske
Village Green and Pub, Danby Wiske
Walking through Fields near Danby Wiske
Walking through Fields near Danby Wiske

The walk continues onwards following a series of paths through farmland, along minor roads and dusty tracks for most of the way. There are few views worth mentioning until near the end when the Cleveland Hills come into view, though there are some picturesque villages and hamlets ever few miles. Danby Wiske is one of these and I stopped there on the village green for an early lunch break sheltering from the heat of the sun under a tree. The village pub was right beside but didn't open at lunchtime, as most village pubs do not attract enough mid-day trade. For the first time in the walk I started to feel cold, so I moved to a seat in the sun and was soon baking hot again.

The weather was overcast to start with and reasonably cool which made walking easier but when the sun came out it could be very hot unless there was the occasional cool breeze. My feet had been feeling rather tender for a while, but I realised that the hot dry weather was part of the problem. Normally, walking on grass or on a path is easier on the feet than walking on a road or pavement. However, in hot weather muddy paths set like concrete and, where boots or farm animals have churned them up, they set in a very uneven way, which makes them uncomfortable to walk on. Normally, I would prefer a footpath to a road, but in these conditions, I found myself preferring the road for its smooth surface. The paths varied in quality, some being good but others just narrow uneven strips beside a field of cereal crops. By not making many stops I managed to make reasonably good progress, but the lack of any good scenery made the time drag.

I stopped for a rest after two hours and there was now light cloud and a breeze making it a bit cooler and more pleasant for walking, though it also had the effect of making the landscape look duller, which didn't matter so much as it was mainly flat running through farmland.

In the early afternoon I could see the Cleveland Hills in the distance which gave me something to look forward to. Later in the afternoon a man in a car pulled up next to as I walked one of the sections on a minor road. He warned me that in the section ahead I should not follow the apparent route of the path to the left side of the field but should go across the middle of it where there was a bridge over a stream. He had wasted three quarters of an hour there a couple of weeks ago. There was actually a marker post, but it was quite a distance away and could be easily missed, so I was glad of the advice. There was one farm who had put a fridge freezer full of drinks and snacks beside the route with an adjacent box for donations. As I was very hot now that the weather had brightened up again, I had a can of cold drink. There were no suggested prices, so people probably put in more than the true cost of things, but it is good to offer the service.

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First Sight of Cleveland Hills from near Streetlam
First Sight of Cleveland Hills from near Streetlam
Blue Bell Inn, Ingleby Cross
Blue Bell Inn, Ingleby Cross
Arncliffe Hall above Ingleby Cross
Arncliffe Hall above Ingleby Cross

I met a young lady walking the opposite way backpacking and I said that in many ways it was better to do it that way, building up towards the more spectacular scenery near the end. I also then met a young chap called Alec who was heading towards Ingleby Cross to camp by the pub there. We walked along together then and encountered the greatest excitement of the day - crossing the very busy A19 dual carriageway with traffic travelling at high speed on both carriageways. We waited for a gap and then made a suicide dash across one carriageway to the central crossing area, then across the other carriageway to the safety of the other side. When your feet and legs are tired at the end of the day and are carrying a heavy pack, it is surprising how fast it is possible to run to save your life. Had it been a footpath crossing the A19 they would probably have had to install a footbridge but it was a minor road, so there were just slip roads going either way, which actually made matters worse by adding an extra lane to be crossed.

I left Alec as he went for his camping pitch beside the Blue Bell Inn in Ingleby Cross. He had set off with his brother and sister-in-law, but they were not up to the rigours of the walk and dropped out on the third day leaving him to continue alone. This is one of the pitfalls of walking with others unless you know their walking abilities match your own. In fact, it is often a matter of knowing if they have the willpower to persevere in adversity or whether the will just give up at the first obstacle.

It was now for me just to make my way up the first real climb of the day to the youth hostel at Osmotherley, a bit over two miles further on. It seemed as if the walk was almost done as I made my way up the hill along the minor road to Arncliffe Hall, a rather imposing building on the right. From there I headed up a track towards Arncliffe Wood, but half way up I made the mistake of taking a wide track that I thought was the main route only to find that nothing seemed to match up with my map. This wasn't helped by the fact that trees blocking any view, so it was difficult to get my bearings. Of course, had I not lost my GPS, I would have soon realised that I had gone wrong and would have known exactly how to get back on track. I decided to ring the hostel to describe what I could remember of the route I had taken to see if they might know where to had gone wrong. However, all that we could agree on was that, rather than trying to cut across through woodland and brambles, it was best to backtrack to where I had missed my way and then try to pick up the correct route. I did this and realised I had taken one of the forest tracks used for logging rather than the public right of way, which was a much narrower track. Everything then made sense, but it added about a mile onto an already long day as well as the frustration of getting lost. However, all was well as they were serving meals until 8.30 so I was in plenty of time. In fact, when I did order they apologised that I would have to wait until 8.30 as they had a big backlog, not from hostellers but takeaway orders from their caravan site which was very busy. I didn't mind as what I needed most was some beer to quench my thirst after the long, hot walk.

The hostel used to belong to the YHA but is one of those that were sold off as being uneconomical. It was taken over by the nearby caravan park and run as an independent hostel with a YHA franchise, meaning that they have to comply with YHA standards but are able to take bookings through the YHA and online through its website. The hostel was very quiet apart from the bar, takeaway and dining room which were very busy with people from the caravan park. There were only two of us sharing a large dormitory with en-suite facilities. The other chap was halfway through a two day walk with his sister who was in another dormitory. The lack of other hostellers was probably because it was a weekend meaning that there were no school parties and it was the wrong day of the week for the bulk of the Coast to Coast walkers.


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Day 12 - Saturday 7th July 2018 - Osmotherley to Lion Inn, Blakey - 20.7 miles 3670ft ascent (including losing way)

Accommodation - August Guest House, Rosedale East - Pickup service from/to Lion Inn

I ordered the earliest breakfast at 7.45 so that I could start as soon as possible with another long day ahead. It was very quiet with only a few hostellers in and I managed to get off at 8.30. I had planned a possible alternative route to re-join the way saving a little bit of distance, but I was feeling fit so took the normal route instead.

It goes without saying that it was another hot day but at least today there would be some glorious scenery to keep me going. The initial bit was retracing a mile of last night's walk and then joining the Cleveland Way, which follows the same route as the Coast to Coast for over half of the way. This has the advantage that it is well signposted, and a lot of path work has been done especially on the steep parts but also over boggy parts as well. At first the route goes through woodland so there is not a lot to see apart from the BT wireless station which must be one of the ugliest products of the modern age. Soon though, the moorlands ahead came into view and it was a very different picture as this is one of the finest ridges of the North York Moors. There is a series of several ups and downs which involves a lot of strenuous work, but it is all well worth it for the beautiful scenery.

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Weir by Osmotherley Youth Hostel
Weir by Osmotherley Youth Hostel
Ugly BT Wireless Station on Beacon Hill
Ugly BT Wireless Station on Beacon Hill
Towards Whorlton Moor
Towards Whorlton Moor

There are a total of seven main moor tops along the ridge with significant dips inbetween them. The first one being Scarth Wood Moor with the BT wireless station and Beacon Hill. There is then a drop down through Clain Wood before the next ascent of Live Moor. Despite the good way marking of the Cleveland Way, I still managed to miss a turning at the bottom of the hill. Just as the track emerges from the forest there is a right turn where it re-enters the forest and swings back round to head SE along Scugdale Beck towards Live Moor. I missed the turning and just carried straight on down the minor road and it was over half a mile before I realised something was wrong. I got my bearings from the map and realised that I would have to walk back uphill again to get back on track. However, this little setback didn't worry me too much as I was feeling fit and wasn't too concerned about the time. I had been unable to get a room at the Lion Inn, which is on the top of the moors and directly on the route so had taken the option of a guest house in Rosedale which offered a pick up and drop off service to walkers. This meant that so long as I arrived in time for a meal at the Lion Inn then I could phone the guest house and they would collect me when I was ready. Being a very popular place on a Saturday evening, the Lion Inn would probably be serving food until quite late, so I would not need to arrive too early.

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Whorl Hill from Scarth Wood Moor
Whorl Hill from Scarth Wood Moor
Looking back to Live Moor and Whorlton Moor
Looking back to Live Moor and Whorlton Moor
Whorl Hill from Round Hill
Whorl Hill from Round Hill

I met another group of Americans on the way over Live Moor and walked along chatting to one of them about Donald Trump amongst other things with one of them apologising for his behaviour on the world stage and feeling that the British may dislike them as a result. However, I assured her that I for one felt sorry that the American people had to put up with him as president because of the selfish motives of populist voters. They stopped for a rest, but I carried on, trying to cover as much distance as I could. I didn't find the climbing difficult as I had built up my fitness by now and was finding it easier going up than down as it was gentler on my feet.

Each moor top gave magnificent views over the lowland below and along the ridge in each direction. The North Sea was now clear to see near Middlesbrough, which a different, less intelligent group of Americans thought was both cool and awesome in equal quantities. I suppose the fact that here you can walk from one side of the country to the other in a couple of weeks is in stark contrast to the USA where it can involve 3000 miles of walking. There were signs of some of the purple heather starting to bloom but only enough to give a slight tinge to the dark moorland. Soon however the whole landscape would be transformed with a blaze of colour lasting for about a month. It was a pity not to be able to see it in all its splendour.

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Towards Carlton Moor
Towards Carlton Moor
Cringle Moor from Carlton Moor
Cringle Moor from Carlton Moor
NNE from Carlton Moor to Roseberry Topping and Coast
NNE from Carlton Moor to Roseberry Topping and Coast

On Carlton Moor, the third of the moor tops, I passed a chap with a hang glider but despite having lugged it all the way up to the top, he couldn't fly it because the wind was not in the right direction, coming from the east rather than straight up the hillside from the north. There were a few others lower down on a ridge where there was an easterly facing slope and they were hoping to have a better chance. There is a landing strip nearby on the top of the moor where gliders are towed off but there were none today. Often there are very good thermals rising up the hillside, but they were not very strong at the moment. I stopped for a lunch break at 12.20 in the glorious, warm weather with lovely views across towards Teesside.

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Whorl Hill and Faceby from Carlton Moor
Whorl Hill and Faceby from Carlton Moor
Live Moor looking back from Carlton Moor
Live Moor looking back from Carlton Moor
Cold Moor and Hasty Bank from Cringle Moor
Cold Moor and Hasty Bank from Cringle Moor

Continuing onwards, I was now finding the going easy, inspired by the beautiful scenery and helped by a pleasant breeze that made it more comfortable as I headed up the fourth moor top of Cringle Moor. It was actually easier going uphill than downhill because downhill was more of a strain on my legs whereas my muscles were attuned to steady ascents. I was a bit concerned about my water supplies as, with the hot weather and all the climbing, I would need a lot. Cringle Moor has a large stone seat and topograph overlooking the lowland area towards the coast and the distinctive outcrop of Roseberry Topping, which is on the Cleveland Way after it parts company with the Coast to Coast route to head north. I stopped for a brief rest there to take in the views, then continued on my way over Cold Moor, the fifth moor top. The walking was marvelous, though rather hot in the middle of the sunny day, and the panoramic views continued for most of the way.

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Roseberry Topping, Middlesborough and North Sea from Cringle Moor
Roseberry Topping, Middlesborough and North Sea from Cringle Moor
Topograph on Cringle Moor
Topograph on Cringle Moor
Cold Moor from Descent of Cringle Moor
Cold Moor from Descent of Cringle Moor

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Looking back at Cringle Moor
Looking back at Cringle Moor
Hasty Bank with Wain Stones from Cold Moor
Hasty Bank with Wain Stones from Cold Moor
Wainstones on Hasty Bank
Wainstones on Hasty Bank

There was a café mentioned by some of the walkers earlier on. It was near one of the road crossing points and I had seen it once before, so I was counting on that to get some more water as there were very few streams at all on the way and any water to be found didn't look good enough for drinking without treatment. I had it in my mind that it was at Clay Bank car park, the crossing later on after Wain Stones and Hasty Bank (the sixth moor top), but as I eventually reached Hasty Bank and descended towards the car park, I met a couple who were coming up the other way from the road and asked them if there was anything down there but they replied that there was nothing at all. It must have been at the earlier road crossing at Carlton Bank which was now a long way back and I wondering if I might have to make a long detour off-route to search for water or risk severe dehydration in getting to my destination. However, seeing my predicament the couple said that had some water in their car and, if I could wait for them to go to the top of the hill and come back down again, they would let me have it. They didn't take long, and I picked up a bit less than a litre from them, which was just about right with the half litre I still had left, as I had three or four hours of walking still to do. They refused any payment so, after thanking them profusely and saying they may have saved me from heat exhaustion, I continued on my way. The situation was then helped further by the sun going in for some while and a breeze coming up over the moors.

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Wainstones on Hasty Bank
Wainstones on Hasty Bank
Above Wainstones looking back to Cold Moor
Above Wainstones looking back to Cold Moor
Looking back to Hasty Bank from Carr Ridge
Looking back to Hasty Bank from Carr Ridge

There followed just one more climb up Carr Ridge onto Round Hill on Urra Moor where the moorland becomes much flatter and the route of the old Rosedale Raiway is reached. Though easier going, this is less interesting as the steep ridges give way to rolling moorland and, although there are fine views down some of the dales, they are more distant and less frequent. I eventually reached ther old railway itself and this takes a zigzag course as it follows a contour round the hillside to maintain a fairly level track. It is now covered in cinders and gravel making the walking much easier and gentler on the feet, so I was able to make good progress. It may seem strange to find that a railway ran over the moors at 1200ft (370m) above sea level, but this was built to transport stone from quarries in Rosedale to join main line railways to the coast. A 1 in 5 (20%) incline was built at Ingleby where empty trucks were hauled back up by the weight of the fully loaded trucks going down, a system that was used in many places at the time. I was just changing over pages of my maps when a cyclist came past and in a broad Yorkshire accent announced "Three quarters of an hour to t' pub". Shortly after, it came into view round a bend at seven o'clock. He was wrong - it only took half an hour before I had a lovely pint of Black Sheep in my hand and a meal ordered. I ordered gammon and pineapple but ended up with half a pig! I should have remembered what huge portions they serve from eating here once before. I just managed to eat it all and then phoned to arrange my lift to the guest house in Rosedale, which is just over three miles on foot but six miles by car. After a refreshing shower I settled into bed after a hard but very enjoyable day.

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Billsdale from Urra Moor
Billsdale from Urra Moor
Lion Inn, Blakey (circled) just in Sight on Farndale Moor
Lion Inn, Blakey (circled) just in Sight on Farndale Moor
Lion Inn at Blakey
Lion Inn at Blakey


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