Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Friday 20 October 2023

14 to 16 October 2023 - RAMSOC weekend at Helmsley YHA Rentahostel

                                        The view west from Sutton Bank

This was our regular rentahostel trip with members of Sue's old University hiking club, RAMSOC, and their hangers on. Other trip reports can be found here.

This time Helmsley was the chosen venue. It's an excellent custom built hostel that for some reason the YHA is currently trying to sell. We occupied nearly 30 of the 40 bed capacity, and for the first time we booked a third (Sunday) night, so those attending could choose to stay an extra day. Given that many of the group are now retired, this worked very well - the third night is not much more than half the cost of the Friday and Saturday nights.

Saturday morning started rather slowly for all except Richard K, who found a nearby parkrun, and several ladies who found an ice cold swimming pool to start their day.

Eventually, about 18 of us headed off to the start of the Cleveland Way, which we followed as far as the White Horse and Sutton Bank, where several cars had earlier been deposited.

Outside the hostel

Richard and Roger at the start of their 'Cleveland Way' project

Winter greens

Curious sheep - they thought we had food

En route to Rievaulx

Rievaulx Bridge and (below) a view to the Temple

Rievaulx Abbey was 'off route' today, so no photos of that.

Stepping Stones near Spring Wood

The track towards Cold Kirby

Lunch in Cold Kirby

A view from Sutton Bank

We took a 'horse leg' to the White Horse of Kilburn. The horse wasn't really visible from the top path, so most of us went down to the car park, where all except the head could be discerned.

Then we adjourned to the Visitor Centre and the cars back to Helmsley. The ice creams were apparently tasty, the coffee less so.

Here's our route (click on the image) - 18km with 450 metres ascent, taking 5 hours.

We all ate in the hostel, sharing duties and choosing between beef stew (me), chicken curry (Richard K), salmon (Richard C) and veggie Moussaka (Jenny H), plus lots of nice starters and desserts. Thank you, everyone.

Sunday found over 20 of us walking on a loop to the north of Helmsley - a lovely route over easy ground.

Setting off into Ash Dale

Shaggy Mane

The path to High Baxton's Farm


Heading south after lunch in the sunshine

A view to some tabular hills

The path to Riccal Dale

Luscious berries

Riccal Dale

Field paths to Helmsley

Here's our route - 21 km, 400 metres ascent, taking 6.5 hours. Half a dozen folk took a shorter route.

A dozen of us then enjoyed an excellent meal of left-overs, supplemented by pizzas, etc sourced from the local Co-Op. The majority of us stayed for all three nights. Booking for the extra day was a definite success,


We were packed up and away in plenty of time, leaving the long-standing warden, Neil, with a reasonably clean hostel that would now be open to the public.

Eight of us drove to Ampleforth College for a walk to Byland Abbey and back.

Ampleforth Abbey and College buildings

Setting off in the direction of Byland, we came across a pub, The Windmill, where the cleaner showed us around. He was proud of the pub's 'Mouseman' (Robert Thompson) furniture. 

'The Windmill' looks as if it was once a private house

Today's route to Byland Abbey was largely through dew laden fields. My trail shoes just failed to keep the moisture out. The waterproof lining in the old Keen Targhee 3 shoes is just about shot. They have done well though - 1500km to date.

Jenny negotiates a chain operated stile

More winter greens, and a farmer who doesn't care to take
any notice of the right of way across his field

Elevenses near Wass Grange

The yellow blobs seen from the elevenses spot turned out to be
 a sparse collection of sunflowers

Various animals were seen today, including a small deer, but not the camel that a sign in someone's garden warned of. Some woolly animals that looked like a cross between a pig and a sheep were apparently Hungarian Mangalitsa pigs. They had to be pigs, not sheep, as those who had escaped from their compound were bright enough to know exactly how to get back in when we turned up.

We spent some time at Byland Abbey, where there were convenient benches on which to enjoy our lunch.

The ruins of the abbey complex are spread over a wide area.

Setting off again, we passed a pretty pond in Wass, before taking a short-cut and finding a good route back to Ampleforth, where the Heart Cafe provided excellent cake to go with the tea and coffee that we enjoyed before returning to the College/Abbey site and heading off home.

Here's today's route - 13km, 200 metres ascent, taking 5 hours.

So that's it. Another enjoyable Ramsoc weekend in good company, with weather that contrasted hugely with the previous weekend's offering of persistent rain.