Here's another blast from the past - rare visit to the area where I spent my teenage years and did my first backpacking some twenty odd years before this 1988 trip. I've tried to slot in the pictures in the appropriate places as per the hastily composed text of our diary, but I may not have succeeded. Never mind!
26 and 27 March 1988 -
First Backpack of 1988 (Diarist: Martin)
Due to work pressures, Martin's new walks program had not yet been distributed, but hearsay brought Martin to
Burton Road by 6:30 am. And thence with
Dave to Hurworth for 8:45. The anything but dynamic trio eventually left Grosmont
soon after 10 am, after an extensive tour of an alleged car park there.
The riverside path to
was quite scenic, especially the part submerged tour bus which had come to grief
in the ford. Egton Bridge
Lots of Daffodils, Violets, Butterbur, Celandine and other earlier plants, and Catkins, Primroses etc.
Dave was nearly knocked down by a horse and rider whose path he blocked.
We missed the stepping stones first time, then had fun on the submerged one when crossing. The river is in spate.
On up paths around Egton Grange, and on to Pike Hill Moss via a long lunch stop at Grange Head in a sheltered spot out of the strong wind.
Dave's Tandoori chicken turns out to be Chinese chicken. Two brews for me. John eventually condescends to join us for lunch. Some weird self-timed photos - no handy rocks.
A tramp through the heather - we had lost the path - brought us back on course and we soon reached the road to Hamer House. John dived Into the woods whilst Dave and Martin rested in the shelter of the trees.
On to Hamer, where John gets his directions confused and tries to leave the road from the wrong side. There is not a Lyke Wake walker to be seen. We head cross country in the unrelenting gale towards Northdale Farm and down a muddy valley to
The campsite welcomes us at 4 pm, with a fee of £1 each and a 2-page set of rules. There are several others on the large site. It's a good pitch.
Dave kips listlessly, after being frightened by Martin's stories of (mystery, intrigue and) higher rates of taxes.
John snores comfortably; hard working, knackered, and with no such concerns.
Beef stew for Dave and John. Soup with frankfurters and tuna (very filling) for Martin, and at 8:30 the merry band awakes, to venture in the FRESH conditions to the Milburn Arms, which is an active pub.
"Juke" box is initially uncomfortably close, but Animals / Moody Blues classics are later appreciated.
Dave laments the non-eating of his pristine pudding. Martin took lots of photos on this dull day. 400ASA rules ok!
John describes how to eat beef stew (
's): " Wait till it gets dark so
you can't see wot you're eating; borrow a tin opener. Eat. (Saves on washing up)". Campbell
Dave describes his addiction to sleeping ("kipping") whilst camping.
We agree that backpacking is our bizarre excuse for a rest and lots of sleep, with intermittent but brief periods of exercise.
No one else seen out walking all day.
Lots of regenerating heather about.
Birds: Robin, Blue Tit, Lapwing, Mallard, Grouse, Pheasant, Skylark, Dipper, Carrion Crow, Magpie.
First people seen are at Wheeldale, where we stopped for lunch in the sun by the stepping stones after a pleasant, mainly woodland, stroll from
Rosedale past St James's Farm.
John has another forest diversion in aid of bowels.
The last bit before the
Roman Road was a bit of a drag with cars
present on the track. Thankful it wasn't summer - no dust problem today.
Spanish Pyrenees style of track, but not so dusty.
People come and go at the stepping stones (far right in the above picture) whilst Martin enjoys Tandoori chicken again, and Dave and Martin savour second brews.
Finish lunch at about 3 pm - partly due to losing an hour last night.
On to Grosmont by 5:30, along the scenic West Beck and
A bit of mud wasn't deterring the day trippers on this delightful afternoon
stroll. The sun shone, and I easily got through my second film of the weekend. Lots
of pictures of the photogenic Mallyan Spout. Esk Valley
There were at least two locos in steam on the
North Yorks railway, plus some derelict ones looking for
volunteers to commence some mammoth tasks.
Here's a rough approximation of our route - 40 km with 900 metres ascent. Another one that I'd be delighted to repeat.
All fairly tired, and feeling our feet.
Dave used his old Totem Senior rucksack due to his Jag being in for repairs. This rucksack had not been used for walking since late 1979.Fortunately, like Martin, I was very lightly laden and it wasn't too uncomfortable, but having a bog with a split compartment made carrying the Vango Mk4 tent poles interesting, as they towered above me and kept hitting trees.
We decide not to believe a story in 'The Great Outdoors' magazine about a couple who keep their trousers immaculate by ironing them with rocks heated on their stove!
Nor do we believe stories about:
1. oxygen starvation in tents, and
2. 'Head-Pak' - the new way of carrying gear (April '88 issue).
Dave is still having blister problems with his new boots - large plasters needed to prevent trouble.