The Highest Point of the North York Moors, a Lion, Fat Betty and Explosives.

Post 40: 9 April 1991: Day 12 – Great Broughton to Glaisdale – 19 miles (from Clay Bank Top) 

In the morning we paid our pound to get a lift back to Hasty Bank and the Coast to Coast route. I had arranged to meet Clint and Wendy at the car park, but had in fact waited at a different end of the car park. After ten minutes we stumbled into each other. It was good to have some companions to walk with now that Archie had returned home.

We ascended to Urra Moor and the highest point of the North York Moors at Botton Head at 1491 feet.

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Urra Moor. Cold Moor to the far left in the distance and the Wainstones after the dip.

Our spirits were high on this penultimate day, the weather was good with clear and bright skies. Arriving at Bloworth Crossing on the dismantled Rosedale Ironstone Railway, we decided to pretend we were trains, such was our delight at being on flat easy walking for 6 miles. We even started singing train songs, such is the effect a Coast to Coast walk can have. At this point, I decided to do what the Americans call ‘power striding’ where you stride out at great speed, in my case pretending to be an Inter-City 125. My ‘youthful energy’ was definitely returning as I sped along the dismantled railway line around the head of Farndale! Perhaps there was another motive? I soon arrived at my goal the Lion Blakey Inn, dating from 1553 and conveniently situated on the top of the moors at 1,325 feet.

The Lion Blakey Inn

You have to leave your muddy boots outside, but unfortunately it has been known for boots to be stolen. I found it difficult to relax knowing that my Coast to Coast walk could finish if someone decided to take my boots.

Suddenly a Saga coach trip arrived full of elderly people; they had great difficulty walking the few yards from the coach to the pub. I really did feel super fit and young again! In an outdoors magazine survey in December 1997, the Lion Inn was included in the nationwide top ten pubs. It has a fine selection of beers including Theakston’s Old Peculiar and, if hungry, there is even an Old Peculiar casserole. There is also a welcoming fire, which makes leaving the pub one of the most difficult challenges on Coast to Coast.

Deciding we wanted to finish the walk, we left and soon ‘met’ Fat Betty. No, this is not a lady who comforts coast to coasters, but is in fact one of a number of crosses to be found on the North York Moors; many of these crosses were thought to have acted as markers or guides to monks, travellers and traders crossing the moors. There are often coins on top of the crosses, which are left for those who have run out of money.

Fat Betty

Wendy had her radio and headphones on as we walked briskly over Glaisdale Rigg. We did not stop again until we reached Glaisdale.

Glaisdale and bottom right the powder house used for the local ironstone mining, which took place between 1862 and 1876. It lost its roof in about 2009.

The Arncliffe Arms at Glaisdale was our last overnight accommodation of the whole walk.

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The Arncliffe Arms

It was definitely a ‘male domain’, as a group of men listened to Country and Western tunes of a bygone era. There was also Neil Young singing ‘Heart of Gold’ and other seventies music, which I had listened to some twenty years earlier when I was an undergraduate student; like the North York Moors, the juke box was stuck in a time warp. The landlord of the pub said it was a pity it wasn’t karaoke night; I wasn’t so sure…………….he hadn’t heard me sing.

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