Post 85: 5 December 2016 Cleveland Circles 8
It was an early cold and frosty start as we left home at 7.45am to head out for walk 8. Stopping at the first traffic lights out of our village, the beautiful sunrise caught my eye. Much to my surprise the windows on Sid’s Skoda actually wound down and I was able to capture the scene with my camera. I say surprised as another walking friends Skoda windows used to open automatically when it snowed!
No doubt Sid will claim that his Skoda has the world best suspension, which is so smooth the picture is in focus. A bit like a picture taken using a tripod. However, it could be his start stop technology, which involves switching his engine off at traffic lights!!!
It is ironic that my best photograph of the day was to be in the car on the way to the walk!
Using our new short cut to avoid the York northern ring road jams we arrived at Osmotherley, the start of our walk, at 8.45am.
Ascending out of Osmotherly we soon arrived at Lady Chapel.It is believed that it originates from before 1397, but the ruined buildings were restored in 1961.
We then started to descend on a diversion to Mount Grace Priory.
Mount Grace Priory dates from 1398, this being the best preserved of nine Carthusian monasteries that were built in England.
Each of the twenty-four monks had his own small, two-storey cell and rear walled garden. Serving hatches adjacent to the cell doors permitted meals to be passed anonymously to the occupants.
The BBC2 television programme, A Coast to Coast Walk, shown in the late 1980’s, certainly helped to put this fine historical site on the map.
The power of television should not be underestimated as, after Sir David Attenborough’s programme, Stoats in the Priory, was screened in April 1996, attendance figures at the priory increased from 35,000 per annum in 1996 to 42,500 in 1997, then, after a repeat showing of the programme, a further increase to 45,000 was predicted in 1998. This despite the fact that stoats have daggers for teeth, are ruthless killers, perform a demonstrative, frenzied dance to hypnotise their prey, and give off a foul odour to deter those that threaten them. There have been no reported attacks on Coast to Coast walkers but they frequently kill rabbits eight times their weight and terrify song-birds and moorhens.
Neither were we attacked on this day.
After a coffee break and further walking we arrived at Cod Beck Reservoir and after walking round it (well it is Cleveland Circles) we stopped for lunch on the dam.
Now this is a popular spot for dog walkers and numerous dogs, smelling our lunches, jumped up at us to try and persuade us to give up food. The owners were very apologetic but it was a good job I did not have my dinner suit on as it would have been covered in paw marks. As it was my walking trousers were already speckled in mud, the paw marks added to my chequered appearance. All the dog owners apologised after the dogs had jumped up.
After more forest walking, we arrived at what used to be the Chequers pub. This was once an ancient drovers inn until it lost its 300 year licence in 1945. The title chequers was derived from the chequers which were issued to drovers to be exchanged for refreshment at the inn. after their long walk over the moors. The Flintoff family kept the inn for 100 years and it is said that the turf fire inside was never extinguished for 150-200 years.
The original sign is said to be the one outside in glass, whilst it has also been reported it was lost in 1965 and replaced in 1984:
BE NOT IN HASTE
STEP INSIDE AND TASTE
But of course as it is always today; tomorrow never comes…….
It was time to follow the ‘frost line’ back to Osmotherley……….
Miles Walked 9.2
Calories Burnt 1,000
Average Pace 19 minutes per mile
Fatest Split 17.36 minute per mile after 5 miles.