Thursday, 18 September 2014

Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 September 2014 – Robin Hood’s Bay


This was a trip for Graham and Tove and 16 of their friends, by way of celebration of their tenth wedding Anniversary.

Sue and I were allocated to the luxurious surroundings of 'Hensingham' - a cottage that we shared with Robin, Jenny, Tom and Julie.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon, in the bright September sunshine to which we'd become accustomed, to find lazy seagulls and crows basking on the chimney pots.

We soon found the others at 'The Studio' and 'York House', equally fine holiday houses, or dining at 'The Dolphin', which does very nice meals.

Friday morning dawned fine but overcast in Robin Hood's Bay.

Fifteen of us made our way up the hill to the Cleveland Way footpath, which passes near a strange hobbit home like millennium sculpture.

We soon passed a 'Rocket Post' from which a thin line could be fired to a ship in distress, enabling a thicker hawser to be attached to the ship's mast. Rescue could then be effected by way of a 'Breeches Buoy' - a lifebuoy attached to a pair of shorts - into which the shipwrecked seamen jumped one by one, taking turns to be hauled landwards.


There were good views back towards Robin Hood’s Bay on this hot hazy day, on which we soon met an elderly couple last seen in Reeth on our Coast to Coast walk - it was great to see them successfully finishing their third C2C walk.

Frequent pauses were enjoyed, with folk lingering and chatting and admiring the coastal scenery.


There were swarms of Black-backed Gulls and many more seabirds.

Sometime later, we paused for tea and cake.


After a further period of ambling, the remains of Whitby Abbey slowly appeared through a veil of haze.


After passing through a large mobile home site, we arrived at the Abbey. Some visited the church, whilst others waited at the top of a long flight of stairs.

Eventually descending the stairs, we entered the buzzing metropolis, with its Whitby Jet shops and ice cream parlours

Some of us found a fine lunch spot on the south pier, sheltered from a gentle sea breeze and with a good view to the town and the harbour. Others found a pub.


Whilst the other thirteen drove back to Robin Hood’s Bay using pre-positioned transport, Sue and I enjoyed the walk back, starting across the beach in Whitby harbour.

We headed for the old railway line, but we were seduced by a fine looking riverside path to Ruswarp, from which the cinder track on the viaduct high above wasn't really accessible!

Sue spotted this Orange Hawkweed (aka Fox and Cubs).


After the pleasant diversion through Ruswarp, and a short section of quiet road, we eventually gained the cinder track at the south side of the viaduct

It was mostly uphill. We found a lady carrying a bench that some jokers had moved a few hundred metres out of position. We gave her a hand (or four) before depositing it in position and depositing ourselves on it to enjoy the dregs of our flask.


There was a good view back to Whitby. Soon after this we reached Hawsker Station, which flourishes as a centre for bike hire, tea shop and a bunkhouse, including luxury accommodation in old Pullman coaches.

Today’s walk for Sue and me was about 25 km, with 500 metres ascent, taking 7 hours. The others did about 12 km.


After a celebratory meal at the Bramblewick restaurant, we adjourned to our respective cottages before rising on Saturday to slog up the hill to the X93 (I think) bus for Scarborough - a pleasant double-decker ride on another fine, hot, but overcast day. Fifteen of us set off on the walk back to Robin Hood’s Bay, the best part of 5 km passing before we reached the outskirts of Scarborough.


During the walk along the ‘prom’, Sue and I popped into a coffee shop for refreshments, soon catching the others up as they had spent the time queuing for a toilet. We then passed a blank wall onto which delicately painted windows had been added.

Fred Gilroy (1921 to 2008) was a former bricklayer and war veteran who had the misfortune of being involved in the liberation of Belsen Concentration Camp in 1945. He was also a reluctant magician, and has retained this skill in death, thanks to the brilliance of Ray Lonsdale. Here he has waved his wand at Julie, who is quite small enough without being shrunk by naughty Fred!


Sue was impressed with these colourful beach houses that towered over our diminutive companion.


Eventually, after some "It's a long clump along this eternal sea-front" groaning from those who hadn’t taken advantage of the coffee shop, we reached Scalby Mills and the bridge over easily forded Scalby Beck that leads to the soft cliff top path followed by the Cleveland Way.


After a while, and after an early lunch, we found ourselves on course for Hayburn Wyke, passing large clumps of the Hogweed that lines these paths at this time of year.


At Hayburn Wyke, the ‘Hotel’ marked on our Ordnance Survey maps turned out to be a good pub despite the lack of a blue tankard on the map. Others seemed set on spending the afternoon here, so Sue and I finished our tea and set off as an advance party back to Robin Hood’s Bay.


Harebells kept us company as we tootled on, up some rather steep steps at one point, towards Ravenscar.

By the time we reached the remains of Ravenscar Radar Station the sun had managed to pierce the overcast skies, and Tom was waiting for us at the Ravenscar Tea Rooms, a familiar place to those who have completed the classic 40 mile Lyke Wake Walk as many times as I’ve done.

Sue has also spent time here, uncovering the Alum workings.The site of the uncovered remains is just to the right of the house, pictured below, that Sue stayed in 30 years ago.


The Cleveland Way is now a well established Long Distance Path. The signage for this, and the Coast to Coast path on which we recently walked, has recently been upgraded or replaced and is impressive hereabouts.

It was good to see that the work started by the working party that Sue was part of 30 years ago has been maintained, if not continued, though the information boards are rather badly faded.


At Stoupe Beck you can leave the cliff top path and return to Robin Hood’s Bay via the beach - we had just enough time to take this route before the tide came in.


Past Boggle Hole the beach becomes sandy and heavily used, with the fleshpots of Robin Hoods Bay beckoning the weary walker.

We got back at 5.15, with Robin joining us for a giant piece of carrot cake just a few minutes later, whilst the rest of the team staggered in at around 6.30, just as Sue and I were enjoying another meal at the Dolphin

Today we covered 27 km, with 700 metres ascent, taking 7 hours (others taking rather longer).


Sunday dawned ... cloudy, but fine and warm. We slowly dispersed from Robin Hood’s Bay - Flamborough, Stokesley and Sandsend were all mentioned, but Sue and I went to Goathland, a favourite destination of mine.

Coffee and cats at the Station tearooms went down well, including an amusing incident involving two cats trying to sit on the same small map.


Whilst Goathland Station was getting ready for a busy Sunday, we headed along the trackside path and watched this loco at Darnholme before heading up the hill to Greenlands Farm.


Again, it wasn’t the best day for photography, but there were some very pleasant views through the haze.

Lunch was taken on a bench overlooking Grosmont, where the national rail network links with the rejuvenated line to Pickering.


The path back to Goathland leads past the engine sheds and yard, with Sir Nigel Gresley and 75029 in evidence, as well as this  huge 2-10-0 engine, number 3672. Now then, where did I put that Iain Allan spotter’s book!


Moments later a huge diesel loco huffed past us. I remember these Deltic class locos providing the beef in front of the expresses on the East Coast line in the 1960's.

Apart from the reclaimed line to Pickering, there's also an older, disused, line that started as a tramway and operated between 1836 and 1865. This now forms the basis of the path between Grosmont and Goathland.


Beck Hole station remains much the same as it was in bygone days. The tramway continues to Goathland, but at Beck Hole we took the path beside West Beck towards Mallyan Spout, past trees with impressive growths of mosses, lichens and fungi.


A rising path leads from Mallyan Spout to a busy hotel, then two sides of a triangle led us back to Goathland and this recovery vehicle and Heartbeat’s Ford Anglia police car from 1965.


Here’s our route for the day - 16 km, with 400 metres ascent, taking 4.5 hours.


Then we went home, most satisfied with our weekend exertions in the best of company.

The delay in this posting is due to Sue and me taking around 250-300 photos during the course of the weekend. In a busy week, these have had to be sorted and culled, with just 25 appearing above, and a slide show of 83 pictures having now been uploaded here. If you click on the first image, then click ‘slideshow’, then click ‘Pause’ at the bottom of the screen, you should be able to move through the show manually using the arrow buttons on your keyboard. Please let me know if it doesn’t work; I’m having trouble with Google and Picasa at present.

Have fun!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Tuesday 9 September 2014 – A Marple Evening


Having recently visited ‘Historic Marple’ on Jack’s evening walk on 20 August, by coincidence we returned to Marple tonight on one of our own evening strolls.

Our foursome was rather more sparse than Jack’s 35, though just as hard to control, what with Andrew’s broken leg and Graham’s ‘Hamish’ impressions. What’s more, shortly after we’d left the comfort of the Midland, the light faded and we were left to blunder our way along moonlit potholed paths under the cover of leaf-laden trees.

Before the light completely vanished from Low Lea Road, we reached Mellor Mill and the Wellington Wheelpit. The blurring in the following pictures perhaps gives away the fact that they were taken in less than ideal lighting conditions.


Leaving the Wheelpit in pretty much total darkness, we wandered on past Roman Lakes and all the way to Strines, where we passed a couple of punctured mountain bikers before rising to the Peak Forest Canal.

During that ascent, the moon – apparently at its largest (closest to the earth) for some time – rose, thus illuminating the rest of our walk along the canal towpath, though the shadows in the following image do seem to indicate the presence of a street light.


It’s hard to go wrong whilst following the canal towpath. The worst that can happen is someone falls in. Not even accident prone Andrew managed that, and Sue had already done her ice bucket challenge, so our stroll was uneventful despite the occasional blinding by polite mountain bikers with bright lights.

It’s an excellent route for an innocuous evening stroll – 9km with about 200 metres ascent, taking about 2 hours.


Just in case anyone is worried about Andrew’s health/state of mind, here he does look a bit happier, and he was pleased to report that his broken leg feels less broken than it used to. Our car, on the other hand, still needs a new bumper and tailgate after a minor injury sustained on the way to the Midland.


Saturday, 6 September 2014

A Taste of the C2C Path - Shap to Richmond - Day 5

Reeth to Richmond - 20 km, 500 metres ascent, 6.6 hours. 

(A and D - 13 km)

There were lots more people on the paths today, and yesterday in particular, on two wonderfully sunny days. 

Sue and I were dropped off in Reeth, then A and D gave themselves a 5 km start by driving to Marrick.

It was a beautiful walk along the riverside (pictured) to Marrick Priory, an ancient place now converted to an outdoor education centre. From there, a perfectly formed sunken lane headed up the Nuns' Steps to the nondescript hamlet of Marrick. Then the path to Marske undulated over high ground with views towards the tall spike of Hutton's Monument. A lovely stroll.

Once in Marske, accidentally reached via the road rather than by the footpath through Clints, we discovered Anna mooching around St Edmund's church. An interesting place with boxed pews. Meanwhile, Dale enjoyed a snooze in the shade of a wall next to a horse mounting whatdoyoucallit.

The full C2C team then proceeded to romp into Richmond along delightful paths through fields with barns (pictured) and lanes through pleasant woodland overlooking the town. 

Lunch was taken in the shade of one of the many yew trees that grace Applegarth Scar, after Dale had fallen awkwardly on his ankle. He managed to stumble valiantly on to reach Richmond by 4pm, where we enjoyed celebratory tea and cake at the end of this five day C2C taster.

Well done to both Anna and Dale, neither of whom had done anything like this before, for reaching the objective. The ramparts of Richmond are pictured high above the easily fordable river from Richmond Bridge, over which I crossed to collect our car from the other side of a caravan park via the excellent path along the south bank.

All in all an excellent trip in the best of company. Thanks go to all the participants and 'occasional visitors', as well as Brenda, Robert and Sheila at the B&Bs.

Finally, as promised, here's a list of some of the flowers we think we saw:

Autumn Crocus
Bell Heather
Buttercup (various)
Common Nettle
Enchanters Nightshade
Eyebright (Common and Dwarf)
Field Scabious
Forgetmenot (various)
Great Burnet
Great Willowherb
Hawkweed (various)
Herb Robert
Himalayan Balsam
Lady's Mantle
Lesser Stitchwort
Marsh Marigold
Meadow Cranesbill
Monkey Flower
Pale Persicaria
Ragwort (Common)
Red Campion
Red Clover
Ribwort Plantain
Rosebay Willowherb
Salad Burnet
Self heal
Spurge (Sun?)
Thistle (Meadow)
Umbellifers (various)
Water Mint
White Clover
Yellow Corydalis

Field mushrooms (found on the path to Marrick and in the church yard at Marske) and a variety of Ceps. The former were taken home and enjoyed for supper.

A slideshow should follow in due course. 

Friday, 5 September 2014

A Taste of the C2C Path - Shap to Richmond - Day 4

Keld to Reeth - 22 km, 300 metres ascent, 6.2 hours. 

(A and D - 14 km)

Car logistics were easier today. It was a simple case of driving up Swaledale, dropping off A and D at Muker and continuing to the campsite beyond Keld to leave our car for the day. 

The walking was picturesque and simple:

● head down to Keld then Muker then Gunnerside then Healaugh then Reeth, keeping as close as possible to the north bank of the River Swale;

● humour Sue as she tries to head off in the wrong direction on a borrowed tractor,  yelling "AlanR where are you";

● enjoy the lovely scenery between Keld and Muker, including a number of waterfalls; 

● catch up with A and D near Gunnerside, before coffee and cake outside the local café - really excellent parsnip cake;

● continue on this glorious day after early fog, to a fine lunch spot before reaching an ancient bridge;

● leave A and D to enjoy their 14 km amble to Healaugh whilst speeding on to collect car number two from Reeth; 

● pause in Healaugh to finish flask of tea and admire the 'wasp man' Rob digging out wasps nests, from which the grubs will be used as bait for trout fishing;

● still in Healaugh, admire the rows of rabbits in 'Ron the Rabbit's' car, proudly guarded by a couple of ferrets - "£1.30 each" said Ron;

● admire during the course of the day - heron, mallards, dippers, wrens, starlings, willow warblers, kestrels, and swallows getting ready to migrate;

● tea and cake at Cambridge House, courtesy of Robert and Sheila - an immaculate B&B;

● dinner at the Buck (thank you A and D) and an amusing confusion between mustard and custard on the part of one of the Polish staff who suggested Dale might like mustard on his chocolate tart;

● Anna's bemused look when she thought she was being referred to as a chocolate tart.

Enough of this rubbish. Tomorrow is another busy day, so my report may be delayed...

Thursday, 4 September 2014

A Taste of the C2C Path - Shap to Richmond - Day 3

Kirkby Stephen to Keld - 22 km, 600 metres ascent, 7.0 hours. 
(A and D - 14km)

Andrew repaid a favour by helping me to deposit our car in Keld before breakfast. 

Anna and Dale headed up to Hartley Quarries.  Sue and I waited in Kirkby Stephen. Heather, Carmen and Rowan eventually appeared from a noisy campsite beside the main road.

A and D's 3km and half hour start saw them up at Nine Standards Rigg a few minutes before the rest of us. We took a riverside path then ascended by Ewbank Scar to gain the C2C path beyond Hartley Quarries.

A red squirrel had made a brief appearance at Ladthwaite.

We lingered at the summit (pictured) on the fine but grey day with flat light, before continuing along the ridge and descending via the 'blue' route, allocated to 'August to November'. 

Lunch was enjoyed in a sheltered spot, after which A and D were left to amble on to Ravenseat at their own pace.

The rest of us continued merrily on, pausing to empty our flasks at Ravenseat, where the chickens (pictured) tucked in to any ground nestling cup of tea and seemed quite happy to be handled. Then we continued past the beaters for a grouse shoot, and some giant 'cep' like mushrooms that Heather couldn't identify.

A and D were retrieved from Ravenseat, Heather and co were deposited back at their campsite, A and D's car was recovered, Sue was recovered from a tea shop in Keld, and the four of us got to Cambridge House in Reeth at 6.30. A quick turnaround saw us enjoying the Buck Inn's culinary delights a little after that.

Quite a full day it was, with insufficient time for more than this rather hasty entry.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

A Taste of the C2C Path - Shap to Richmond - Day 2

Orton to Kirkby Stephen - 22 km, 400 metres ascent, 8.1 hours. 

Brenda provided an excellent breakfast and told us how the old MF tractor outside was her son's first love. We needed to hasten a car to Kirkby Stephen, then drive to Orton to start our day's assault on the C2C route, so photography time was at a premium, and the tractor sadly missed out. Sorry Alan.

Anyway, despite the faffing with cars we managed to start walking by 9.30, on a 22 km stroll that would have taken Naismith about 5 hours. Our pace was rather slower. 

It was a lovely sunny day, as confirmed by the stinging bath water earlier tonight, and the red colouration of my arms and neck.

Despite the glorious weather, we saw nobody all morning and hardly anyone in the afternoon. There were a few rather cute Shetland ponies to say hello to - see top picture.

A short cut on good field paths proved a good means of returning to the C2C path from Orton. Further on we stopped for elevenses in view of Sunbiggin Tarn, which others failed to notice. They did however notice the proliferation of 'biggins' hereabouts. Apparently it means 'building' or 'dwelling', though I'm not sure how that relates to the tarn.

At the road near the tarn we turned right and followed the Dales High Way for a while, that being an easier and more scenic way of getting to Ewefell Mire. Meanwhile, a herd of cows leered at us from the heights of the extensive limestone pavements of the Asby Scars.

We enjoyed lunch beyond Bents Farm then headed past peewits and a dismantled railway line to Smardale Bridge (pictured), where Sue completed a Reverse Ice Bucket Challenge by jumping into the beck, which was full of fish. The local heron flew off in disgust. My camera is still in shock, so no photos I'm afraid. A video may come later.

Continuing soggily on, Sue was able to point out a magnificent viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle railway line. 

We then ambled gently on to reach Kirkby Stephen by 5.30, in time to see the last of some sheep being auctioned.

There followed another jolly evening with Andrew and Rosemary (still at the Black Swan) and Anna and Dale (still at Tranna Hill) at the Black Swan, where we have relocated to the 'Four Poster Suite'. Very nice it is too.

A Taste of the C2C Path - Shap to Richmond - Day 1

Shap to Orton - 14 km, 250 metres ascent, 4.5 hours. 

Early rain faded into a distant memory as Sue and I drove up the M6 in convoy with Anna and Dale. Orton was reached in time to enjoy a leisurely coffee, with cake and complimentary chocolate at Kennedy's café and chocolate factory. 

(The compliments worked - chocolate was purchased.)

A car was abandoned there, and we then drove to Shap to start our C2C taster at the one-third point of the entire route, outside the Kings Arms. 

The route to Orton soon crosses the west coast main line, and a footpath bridges the M6 motorway near the top of 'Shap'. Several other C2Cers were encountered hereabouts, remaining in sight for most of the day. 

The walled village of Oddendale was reached after an hour or so. Here we found a small stone circle, but we failed to find two such concentric circles a few minutes from the path a little further on. Lunch was taken in a cool breeze at this spot (pictured).

A pleasant afternoon stroll saw us return to Orton by around 4.30pm. The weather had been kind - a day for t-shirts, with sunny intervals.

Numerous flowers graced our route (list to follow), as well as buzzards and ravens and an impressively large flock of goldfinches. 

Several impressive limestone pavements were passed - one of these is pictured. Today we enjoyed rolling countryside with the higher reaches of the Howgills a constant impressive backdrop to our views ahead, and the Lake District summits of High Street and Saddleback lingering at our right elbows.

Tranna Hill B&B proved to be a good find, and the Black Swan provided an excellent meal, and company in the form of Andrew and Rosemary. 

Alan R would particularly like Tranna Hill. Brenda is a very jolly landlady, and there's a Massey Ferguson tractor in the back garden!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

31 August 2014 – Out and About with Dale and Anna


Soon after returning home from ‘Camping with Jacob’, an old friend from University, Anna, arrived at our house with Dale. Luckily their four children were not in tow. We’ve enjoyed their company for the weekend and are looking forward to a trip with them starting on Monday.

Today I set off on a bike ride with Dale and Anna. Anna soon turned round, frightened by Stumpy’s eccentricities, but Dale found Shogun manageable, and we enjoyed a ride along the canal towpath from Brooklands to Stretford and then around both Chorlton and Sale Water Parks.


Chorlton Water Park looked and felt very summery on the warm day.


Dale survived a few wobbles and stayed smiling.


The south bank of the Mersey near Jackson’s Boat is in the process of being repaired and re-seeded. The water level in the river seemed pretty low today.


Here’s our 18.5 km route, which at today’s modest pace took a shade under an hour and a half. On the return journey by the canal, we saw the lone lady mandarin duck who has now resided here for nearly two years. Several cormorants were rampaging around Sale Water Park.


After lunch we all went to Dunham Massey.


The deer were sunbathing.


Anna and Dale visited the gardens whilst Sue and I ambled. We reconvened by the Blackamoor that has graced the forecourt of the Hall since before 1750.


The ponds had ducks and weeds and geese (and, if you look at the top picture, an unidentified mystery object).


Before we left we saw this sign and felt it perhaps not quite the right day to upgrade to top of the range BMWs.