Who is Brian? Advice on Taking your Trousers down on Cold Moor and The Tallest Man in the World. Don’t cheat.

Post 39: Please note that as this is one of the best walking sections of the North York Moors, most of the photographs were taken at a later date as on Coast to Coast there was not the time or energy it needs to do justice to its beauty.

Some years later, I was walking the next section of Coast to Coast with Penelope, who had just asked numerous questions about the mine workings in the area. We left the Coast to Coast route to return to the car by a circular route. Through the mist and snow we reached a small pond named Brian’s Pond on the Ordnance Survey map.

‘Why is this pond called Brian’s Pond?’ she enquired.

‘I don’t know, perhaps Brian found it?’ I replied clutching at straws.

‘Well who was Brian?’

‘Perhaps he was a farmer who lived hereabouts?’

‘Seems unlikely to me,’ she said unconvinced.

‘Okay, I’ll find out when I get back home,’ I promised. To this day I have not been able to find out why the pond is so named. If anyone knows how the name came about please let me know; a promise to a lady should never be broken.

Leaving Brian’s Pond with Penelope, we reached Scugdale Hall where Harry Cooper, reputed to be the tallest man in the world when he was exhibited in Barnum’s colossal show in America, spent the early years of his life as a farm servant. In five months he grew thirteen inches whilst confined to bed and at the age of twenty-three measured eight feet six inches in height and weighed twenty stones. In 1198 he died in Calgary, Canada, at the age of forty-one, weighing twenty-one stones. It’s a small world as Penelope heralds from Canada.

Back in my ‘time machine’ to 1991 on Coast to Coast we continued to Cringle End at 1472 feet were there is a view indicator, this being a memorial to Alex Falconer (1884-1968) who under the pseudonym of ‘Rambler’ was a champion of walkers’ interests.

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Arriving on Cold Moor Wendy was complaining about her leg muscles hurting and so I suggested she put some Radian B on them.

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The Wainstones taken from Cold Moor

‘I can’t it’s my thigh,’ she said ‘I would have to take my trousers down.’

‘Don’t be modest, do you want to finish this walk or not?’ I replied. ‘Nobody will notice up here and Clint and myself will walk on a little way.’

‘Okay,’ she said taking my Radian B and turning off into the heather. Wendy has the honour of being the only recorded person to take her trousers down on Cold Moor. In addition, it was her birthday!

I must issue a health warning at this point and say that taking your trousers down on Cold Moor is not recommended as it catches winds from the north, east, south and west; if male you are likely to get frost bite or sun burnt, depending on the time of year, on an essential part of your body.

Now they say you don’t know what you don’t know.

In 1991  I was not really aware of the following hazards that Wendy could have encountered by taking her trousers down. I have only become aware of some of these hazards and encountered them after many years of walking on the Moors. In no way should any of them put you off walking on the Moors.

There are adders on the North York Moors:

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This adder has just has his dinner me thinks
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This adder is on a diet
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An adder in the grass this time
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I stepped over this one without noticing it!

In 30 years I have had 3 close encounters with adders so that’s pretty low odds. 1 every 10 years. I have each time come close to stepping on them but still had time to photograph them. So keep your eyes open as if you step on one it is likely to bite. The venom is rarely fatal. Keep calm, clean and dress the wound. A bandage or tourniquet above the wound is useful. Then get to hospital as soon as possible.

There are also ‘scary’ harmless creepy crawlies:

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Creepy crawlies that come out of dark shadows.

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There are also ticks that can bite. If left untreated the bite becomes infected and leads occasionally to an illness called Lyme Disease. This can be very nasty and result in inability to move both sides of the face, joint pains, severe headaches with neck stiffness or heart palpitations. In 1990 there were only 19 cases so Wendy was pretty safe but in 2010 there was an increase to 953 cases. The best advice is to wear clothing, especially on the legs, that covers and protects the skin.

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From the Cleveland Escarpment, Roseberry Topping, the ‘Yorkshire Matterhorn’, can just be seen in the distance and Middlesborough to the far left.


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At the Wainstones
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Looking back to Cold Moor
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The Wainstones
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I believe this is Cleveland ironstone which is hereabouts

The Wainstones are the sharp edge of the Cleveland Hills, facing north over the Tees Valley. Erosion has exposed the thick slab of Middle Jurassic sandstone that forms the cap of the hills. As rain and wind wears down the soft rock underneath, huge square boulders break off. Not good if you are on the boulder at the time!

As we approached the Wainstones we noticed two coasters to coasters take the path off left towards Bank Lane and Great Broughton. Now this would be acceptable as long as they did not take the customary taxi ride back in the morning to Hasty Bank car park. If they did then they would be disqualified from Coast to Coast as they would not have walked completely from one side of England to the other. Next morning we ‘tested’ them out.

‘The two miles of road walking from Hasty Bank to Great Broughton were hard on the feet weren’t they?’ I said.

‘Actually we cut the corner off by going through the woods.’ They looked suitably sheepish and guilty. The long-distance walkers ‘Ethics ’ committee does not approve of such goings on. It’s cheating and leads to disqualification from having completed the whole walk.

Today had been a splendid day’s walking with marvellous views, even though exposed to constant winds. For varied scenery Coast to Coast takes some beating.

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Looking from the Wainstones towards Bilsdale
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Looking back across the Tees valley

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