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Cleveland Way days 3 and 4 - Osmotherley to Saltburn (2017)

Cleveland Way days 3 and 4 - Osmotherley to Saltburn (2017)


Postby nigheandonn » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:20 pm

Date walked: 10/04/2017

Time taken: 2 days

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Days 1 and 2 - Helmsley to Osmotherley
Day off - North Gare to Saltburn
Days 5 and 6 - Saltburn to Boggle Hole
Days 7 and 8 - Boggle Hole to Filey

Day 3 - Osmotherley to Kildale
Monday 10th April 2017


A long road, and an early start - this was the true moorland day, along old paths and past the old marker stones, and I had decided not to try to drop off halfway through, but just to push on to Kildale at the other side of the moors, 20 miles on.

A reasonable idea, but logistically slightly complicated, because there was no shop or pub at Kildale, and to be able to restock for the next few days I had to be in time to catch the train up to the co-op at Castleton - which meant leaving the hostel in Osmotherley before breakfast time. So as I'd been too late down yesterday to stock up on breakfast food at the shop in Osmotherley, I really just had chocolate to take me through to a late breakfast at the Lordstones cafe (unless I got desperate and ate my lunch, but hummus really didn't appeal in the early morning).

Although I'd come down from the main bulk of the moor the night before, the day doesn't start by climbing back to it - instead the path climbs onto a little arm of higher ground above Mount Grace Priory, with good views over the village and the spring farmland back to yesterday's heights.

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Moorland morning

All through the day I was meeting and leaving the routes of two other walks which were signposted but not marked on the map - the Coast to Coast path and the Lyke Wake Walk.

From the first highpoint by the trig point on Beacon Hill I could look right along today's edges to tomorrow's Roseberry Topping - a view I expected to keep with me through the day, but instead I lost it almost immediately, dropping down to the first road crossing at Scarth Nick.

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Edges of the moors

Once down, the path stayed down for a while, through woodland to another road at Huthwaite Green, which also had a welcome bench, then climbed from a path along the edge of woodland to a flagged path over the moors.

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Flagged path

It was nice up here, open and brown with different lines of moorland all around, but it seemed a long time before I finally saw the valley with Lordstones down below me.

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Coming down to Lordstones

I finally arrived at the Lordstones cafe in the awkward time too late for breakfast and too early for lunch, but fortunately the one kind of food that they did serve all day - bacon or sausage sandwiches - was just what I wanted, and I was soon revived by sausages and coffee.

From there I was climbing on up the edge, with glorious views over the flatter land and the villages below and up to the Tees. The top of this hill was the Marilyn summit of Drake Howe with its old cairn, so the highest point on this part of the moor.

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Drake Howe summit

This whole section was very confusing geographically - although I was walking along the northern edge of the moors, with a sudden drop to the north to the flat plain leading to the Tees, there was never consistently high ground to the south - instead valleys led up apparently from nowhere, with no low ground beyond to drain into, leaving me walking more or less on a ridge. Trying to figure it out on the map didn't help much either - I knew I was going to have to see much more of it at once to make sense of it.

(And it is odd - the same great river valley from Rievaulx, running up to almost cut the moors in two, and splitting at the end into winding fingers with the bulk of the moor still in view behind them.)

But it meant a lot of up and down this morning, and therefore slow progress - the edge falling as one end of the valley cut into it, and then rising again to another hill.

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The next hill

The next hill again had the Wainstones, an odd spot, but interesting to prowl around a bit.

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Wainstones

The next drop, at Clay Bank, was the head of the main dividing valley, and the line of the main road through the moors. It was late, and I'd found the morning hard work, with all the repeated ups and downs, but the good thing about this break in the moors was that it marked a real change - from now on I would be on much smoother ground, up and staying up.

Up here it was all heather, a change from the earlier grass - it must be glorious in early autumn, but I love the deep spring colours too.

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Heather moorland

The first rise here is the highest point on this half of the moor, another Marilyn summit called Round Hill.

Somewhere along here I was supposed to find something called the Hand Stone, but although I passed a lot of mostly boundary stones along the track nothing I met looked like the illustration, and I was worried that I had missed it - it turned out to be one of the first, right at Round Hill, only a bit worn and come to bits.

The writing is fairly illegible, but apparently points to Stoxla - Stokesly - on one side and Kirby - Kirkbymoorside - on the other - a remnant of days when it was easier to pass over the tops than through the valleys.

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Hand Stone on Round Howe

The Face Stone, however, was unmistakeable, and slightly unsettling. No one seems to know its purpose - it predates the main stone marker posts, which are the result of 18th century waymarking laws.

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Face Stone

The next landmark was Bloworth crossing - now just a path junction, as it must have originally been, but once the top of a long railway incline on a line leading to moorland mines.

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Bloworth Crossing\

The path, and the edge of the moor, make a sharp turn north here, and this is essentially the start of the slow descent to Kildale. I was making better time now, and had time for a rest and something to eat (not really lunch, as it was nearly 4) by Jenny Bradley's cross (not very cross shaped) and the taller boundary stone beside it, before heading on down the broad track.

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Gently descending

I had one last landmark to look out for, further off the path than I expected it to be - another 18th century guidepost, this time giving the choice of Ingleby and Stoxley, Kirby and Hemsley or Gisbro - slightly modernised spelling.

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Ingleby Moor guidepost

Kildale sits in an odd gap in the moors, so from up here I could look right over it to tomorrow's moors and Captain Cook's monument - and since the land all around was so flat, I also had the whole line of the Pennines stretched out faintly in the west.

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Over Kildale

On a good downhill track I was making good time - I was back now to walking between two valleys, with a little one called Baysdale falling away on the other side, and at a gate the track marked on the map became a real road running over the hill - hard on the feet but quick walking.

So in the end, after the earlier worrying, I dropped down to the farm in plenty of time to sort myself out and head out again to the train. As I was the only person staying indoors - there were a handful of tents - they hadn't put me in the camping barn proper, but in a little place called the Byre - an odd in between kind of place, as although it had soft beds and electric lights and even a fridge and kettle, it had bothy walls and a bothy door where you open the top part to unlatch it, and the general bothy feeling of being outside only inside.

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Park Farm

I was doomed to disappointment in Castleton, however - having made my dash up to the village, the pub there turned out to be simply shut, whatever its website might say, and when I went back down to the pub by the station they weren't doing any food. So back up the hill to the co-op again, to buy as much of a feast as they could provide, and then back to curl up in my byre.

Day 4 - Kildale to Saltburn (to Redcar)
Tuesday 11th April 2017


After a quick wander down to the station and church, as the main landmarks of Kildale, the next day started with a bit of a trudge up a moorland road on the far side of the valley - although the views back over the valley to the southern moors were worth turning round for.

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Kildale church and the moors behind

From the road the way led up a forest track, and then a path through more open woodland, before coming out on open moorland at Captain Cook's monument.

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Mill Bank Wood

This is a landmark for miles around - built in 1827 and very imposing. It's odd to think that it's older than Middlesbrough - when it was built, Great Ayton at the foot of the hill was the largest town connected with Cook, although his Marton birthplace has now been swallowed up by the city.

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Captain Cook's monument

Leaving the monument, I somehow tripped over one of the raised drainage channels in the flagged path and fell - having lost my balance I seemed to dash forward to try to get my feet back under me, and only succeeded in hitting the ground faster.

Despite the speed, this is the only time in my life I ever remember falling in slow motion - generally I'm on the ground, and occasionally back on my feet, before I have any idea that anything happened.

I had a map in one hand and a bar of chocolate that I was just about to open in the other, and apparently decided that saving them was important, so that my hands never went down - probably a good thing, as I've got hyperflexible wrists and they're both a bit battered from previous falls. But instead I went down hard on my right knee, then my right thigh, then finally my cheekbone - fortunately I fell a bit to the side of the path, but my cheekbone hit a stone.

For a while I just lay, then I decided that I was in one piece although badly shaken, and gathered myself together to rest a bit longer. I would have to walk down to the car park anyway, so if I did that and felt fine then fine, and if not I might meet someone there who would give me a lift out to civilisation, which wasn't really too far away.

I felt passable at least, although worried that I was going to end up with a very visible black eye, and headed up the slope on the other side, which soon eased off to become a roughish but flat track on towards Roseberry Topping.

It had to be done, although it looked like quite a long way down to go up again - a good stepped and cobbled path, and a busy little top, with good views back to the hills I'd left behind.

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Roseberry Topping

There was another of the stone sculptures here, nicely palindromic - 46 miles from Helmsley and 64 miles to Filey.

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Cleveland Way sign

From here the path is generally flagged - possibly with stones reused from somewhere else, as you pass half an inscription, and then a good bit further on the other half - up past Highcliffe Farm to a viewpoint where I stopped for lunch and the challenge of trying to eat a pot of trifle without a spoon, as I'd only been able to buy a pack of two for my feast the night before, and it would have been a shame to waste one!

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Highcliffe Farm

Guisborough is omnipresent all along this section - always in sight and never in reach, as the path passes by well above it, but it was interesting trying to pick out the priory ruins from above.

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Guisborough from above

A long next section led through fairly open woodland - I'd planned to turn up to the summit of Guisborough Moor, a mile or so to the south, but didn't really have time to spare, so pressed on to where the path joined a farm road, then slanted down again on a tightly fenced path through dirty woodland above Slapewath.

This was the end of my empty moors - the path turns back along the main road, and although it then climbs again behind the pub, it's a crossing of farmland rather than moorland. It was a bit surprising how much I minded - I'd set out to walk the Cleveland Way because it was the next part of my coastal journey, and the moorland half because it was silly to walk half of it, thinking I'd be glad to reach the coast, and instead I'd just fallen head over heels in love with the moors from the first day.

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Down to farmland

A long lane ran on to skirt the little village of Skelton Green and cut down to Skelton itself, where a sign promised various historic buildings that I decided not to spend time hunting for, although I did visit the library, which promised the use of its toilets to walkers, and was pleased to see that my face was neither obviously bruised nor filthy - it was the first chance I'd had to look at myself since the fall.

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Skelton

Coming down through the streets of Skelton was the first town walking of the trip - too much of a change from the morning. Another woodland path ran down below a great railway viaduct, but this was definitely a made path for local walkers, and the same kind of path led down through woods along the edge of Saltburn.

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Saltburn Viaduct

I turned off before reaching the sea to the station, to take the train along to Redcar, where I was staying partly because it was cheaper and partly because I had to pick up my route along the coast from there.

I'd had an ambitious plan to go up to Newcastle for a talk I would otherwise have gone down for, but although I had time to go and drop my stuff and come back I missed the train simply by getting the time wrong - I could have caught it, but didn't. So I pottered about a bit, and thought about getting the train to Marske to walk up to Upleatham (really a later day's story), but missed that one by being on the wrong side of the level crossing at the wrong time - all a muddle which probably really meant that I was tireder than I realised.

So I wandered off to look for some dinner, which proved harder to find than I expected, and eventually ended up in a Wetherspoons with the brilliant name of The Plimsoll Line - I'd definitely reached the sea.
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nigheandonn
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