Pen-y-ghent, Dog-Dazzers, The Pen-y-ghent cafe, Hull Pot, J.B.Priestly, Gangrene?

Post 135: 6 April 1997: Day 2 – Stainforth Youth Hostel to Buckden – 16 miles, On Foot from Settle to Hadrian’s Wall: Hadrian’s Way.

Next morning, the day of the christening, we crawled out of our bunks to get to breakfast. When most of the party were seated, two suited gentlemen entered the room to loud cheers. It is the first and only time I have seen anyone in a suit and tie in a hostel. Whilst the christening party left to a nearby church, we headed in the direction of Horton-in Ribblesdale.

A steep ascent from Stainforth along the Ribble Way led to the Moor Head Lane, with splendid views ahead of Pen-y-ghent. By skirting it to the west and north we are able to obtain fine views of its great prominence above the surrounding landscape. Of the ‘Three Peaks of Yorkshire’, Pen-y-ghent is the most distinctive in shape but the lowest in height. It was near Pen-y-ghent that I once met a German lady who told me about the time she was walking near Manchester and was bitten by an Alsatian dog. She even had the scars to prove it. I advised her to carry a dog-dazzer which, as previously described, lets out a loud shrieking noise to scare the violent dogs away, although protection is not guaranteed. I used one until I found out it also frightens horses and makes them stampede.

We descended to the River Ribble and followed it to Horton in Ribblesdale, a focal point for walkers and potholers (photographs taken later).

3 peaks_8226_edited-1

3 peaks_8261_edited-1

This walk so far warranted a refreshment stop in the Pen-y-ghent Café, the start and finish of the famous ‘Three Peaks of Yorkshire’ challenge walk.

3 peaks_8227
The clock used to check Three-Peakers out and back

One of the main attractions of Horton is its medieval 15th-century perpendicular style church dedicated to St Oswald. The church also has notable Norman features in the south door and the font. St Oswald was converted to Christianity on Iona and died in AD642.

Leaving the warm confines of the café, we climbed the track over Horton Scar to the massive chasm of Hull Pot.



This huge chasm is the biggest natural ground opening in the country, measuring 300 feet in length and 60 feet in width and depth. The chasm marks part of a strata of permeable Carboniferous Limestone to be found in this area at about 1250-1300 feet. It is fed by a stream, which normally sinks into the ground before reaching Hull Pot to re-appear under the floor but, after heavy rain, continues to the edge to form a waterfall; occasionally, after exceptionally heavy rain, it has filled the chasm. Fall down there and you never get out again.

Continuing to the open expanses of Foxup Moor, we were devastated to find that motor-cross bikes had turned areas of Special Scientific Interest into quagmires of mud. Indeed, while we proceeded, the bikes were churning peat and moss high into the air as their wheels spun in anger. It was a moment of despair and the only consolation was seeing one of the bikes sink irretrievably into a peat bog, never to churn up the rare habitat again. We later came across National Park rangers and reported the incident to them. One hopes the National Parks will be able to find the means to protect these areas. Although walkers can cause some erosion damage, such widespread destruction as caused by these bikes does not occur.

It was with relief that we descended into Littondale, a valley of great calm and beauty. At ten miles Halton Gill made a sheltered and pleasant spot for a packed lunch, before climbing the Horse Head Pass which rises to over 1900 feet. One way of deciding if you are a ‘New Man’ is to climb the Horse Head Pass. It is guaranteed to get the heart beating and test your fitness.

An exciting descent into Wharfedale, with views ahead of Buckden Pike, led us to the Norse settlement of Yockenthwaite, from where the River Wharfe was followed to Hubberholme village, with its fine church and inn. The church, dedicated to St Michael and All Angels, is the parish church of the Upper Dale, but originated as a forest chapel and, after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, was served by curates from Arncliffe in Littondale. The interior is worth seeing as it has a rood-loft of 1558, one of only two in Yorkshire, carved in oak, painted red, black and gold. Almost all the woodwork in the church is modern oak, made by Robert Thompson of Kilburn in 1934 and his signature, a tiny mouse, can be discreetly identified on many of the pieces. There is also a plaque dedicated to the author and dramatist J. B. Priestley O.M. (1894-1984) whose ashes are buried nearby. He loved the Dales and found Hubberholme to be one of the smallest and pleasantest places in the world. I have to agree with him.

The George Inn used to be the vicarage, remaining church property until 1965. Each New Year’s Day there is the letting of ‘Poor Pasture’, a custom almost 1000 years old, when farmers bid for the tenancy of a 16-acre field behind the inn; the proceeds go to help the elderly people of the village.

A further mile and a half of easy walking led us to the delightful village of Buckden. In the medieval period Buckden was a ‘forester’s village’, being one of a number villages on the edge of a large hunting forest. Nestled below fells, including Buckden Pike (2303 feet) to the north-east, and situated alongside the River Wharfe, Buckden has become popular with tourists, cavers and walkers intent on exploring the higher reaches of Wharfedale.

My ‘new’ walking boots were causing me agony, the top of my big toe had lost all its skin and my foot was starting to swell up. There was only one thing to do and that was to take painkillers. So we popped into Buckden for a meal followed by a visit to the Buck Inn; Guinness would surely remedy my swollen foot? Arriving back at the bed and breakfast, I realised my foot had swollen to twice its normal size. Had gangrene set in? Was this the end of my walk? As a last resort, I adopted the ‘Dales Way technique’ involving keeping the foot as high in the air as possible. When you are asleep this can be difficult but by adept use of blankets and pillows I succeeded and in the morning, by a miracle, blood had been drained from the foot and it was back to its normal size. After a quick dressing of Compeed on the bare skin, I was almost one hundred per cent and the walk was back on again.

In Search of an Ice-cream and Getting a Rocket and Dracula’s Blood.

Post 134: 28 March 2017, Cleveland Circles 23

We started walking at just after 9.00am from Fylingthorpe just outside Robin Hood’s Bay where there was free parking. Not for us the £5 car park charge in Robin Hood’s Bay! Sid the Yorkshireman has an allergy to car park charges. We needed the £5 to pay for an ice-cream we hoped to have in Robin Hood’s Bay towards the end of the walk, provided the required air temperature was reached. We are not cold weather ice-cream eaters.

After heading inland through the hamlet of Raw we came upon our first opportunity for an ice-cream in the middle of nowhere. Sid checked it out but the sign promised a lot more than was available; that is nothing!


After a brief coffee and banana break at Hawkser, we arrived at the coast and The Cleveland Way to find a delightful bench was available for us to have lunch. This was fortunate as it had been ‘booked’ by someone else on the previous walk. There were views to the sea, which was a little misty. However, for the first course (jam roll) the sun came out, but by the second and third courses (yoghurt and fruit cake) the clouds came over again and the temperature dropped considerably. Time to move on.


Some delightful coastal walking followed.


Then we reached the point where Wainwright’s Coast to Coast joined The Cleveland Way .



It was at this point we came across a fixture for firing rockets. Unfortunately, not being November 5th we didn’t have one with us.


A noticeboard then explained its purpose, which was to rescue sailors.


We then arrived at Robin Hood’s Bay, The Bay Hotel and Wainwright’s Bar signifying the end of the Coast to Coast Walk.


I completed this in 1991 as outlined in previous blogs:


It was disappointing that it was still too cool for an ice-cream so we carried on.

Just before arriving back at Fylingthorpe, in warm sunshine, we came across a Landrover ice-cream van with free Dracula’s blood, but dracula was no where to be found.

We were to be denied an ice-cream.

With a heavy heart we got into the car for the return journey to York.

However, passing through Sneaton we saw the signs for the Beacon Farm Ice-cream Parlour and, not being a Monday, it was open (opens on Mondays 10 April).


A great finish to the walk. I had an ‘Easter Special’, with chocolate eggs in the ice-cream. No calories of course.

Miles Walked 11.88

Calories Burnt 1400

Average Pace 19 Minutes Per Mile 

Steps 25,697. 

A New Adventure – Walking to Hadrian’s Wall. The Naked Man and the Naked Women, My Bellows Have Lost Their Wind!

Post 133: April 1997. On Foot from Settle to Hadrian’s Wall: Hadrian’s Way.

Throughout history Hadrian’s Wall has fascinated many people, not least William Hutton who in 1801, at the age of 78 with an umbrella to keep him dry, walked from Birmingham to Hadrian’s Wall, along it twice, then back home; the 601 mile walk being described in his book The History of the Roman Wall published in 1802.

In 1938, at the age of 31, Alfred Wainwright, the ‘master’ fell-walker, walked from Settle to Hadrian’s Wall and back, his experiences on the walk being described in his book A Pennine Journey published many years later in 1986. Whilst waiting for my daughter at her ballet classes, I was fascinated by the book, describing a time just before the Second World War broke out.



Having pored over Ordnance Survey maps, I decided that his general route – passing through and by named towns, villages and landmarks – was so good, it could not be significantly improved and decided to use it as the basis of my next walk.

It had been some three years since I had started to research the route from Settle to Hadrian’s Wall. I was now ready to try the route out for the first time in its entirety. It is important that the start and finish of a walk must be definite, interesting and inspiring. Hadrian’s Way has these attributes, starting on the Settle – Carlisle railway line, scenically the most dramatic line in England, and finishing at the awe inspiring Hadrian’s Wall. Eric Treacy, Lord Bishop of Wakefield between 1968 and 1976, said that the three man-made wonders of the north of England were the Settle – Carlisle railway line, Hadrian’s Wall and York Minster; the first two of these are on the walk

5 April 1997: Day 1 – Settle to Stainforth Youth Hostel – 3½ mile

Just after lunch Dick and myself arrived in Settle and, with only 3½ miles to walk, spent some time looking around the outdoor shops for a new map case. I think if anyone could make a waterproof map case that lasts for more than a couple of ‘wet seasons’ they would make a fortune.

Settle lies at the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales and, situated as it is beside the largest outcrop of limestone in Britain, is an interesting starting point for a walk to Hadrian’s Wall. It is the start of the famous Settle to Carlisle scenic railway line.

The region has many scars, cliffs, caves, underground streams, and potholes and is a geologist’s delight. Prior to the building of a by-pass in 1988 the town was heavily congested with traffic and even now it can get quite busy on Bank Holidays.

Settle has a number of attractions including its folly, its shambles, its small courtyards, narrow streets and alleyways. The Folly, built in 1675, has a considerable number of Jacobean windows as well as elegant masonry. A Georgian warehouse overlooks Cheapside in the centre of the town and other Georgian buildings testify to Settle’s growing importance when the Keighley-Kendal turnpike road brought the coaching traffic to the town. There was resultant need for hotels and inns, which Settle still has to this day. The town also has the unusually named Naked Man Café on the west side of the market place, so named because of the relief figure of a man modestly holding a plaque dated 1633! The Naked Man was originally an inn and two miles away at Langcliffe, also on our route, there is his companion – The Naked Woman.

Near the centre of the town is Settle Church and in the entrance is a marble memorial commemorating those killed during the construction of the Settle – Carlisle railway. The memorial was erected at the joint expense of the Midland Railway Company and fellow workmen of those who died. On your left, as you leave the church, is a grave stone dedicated to the blacksmith Luke Ralph of Settle whose wife Agnes died in 1830 aged 29. The inscription on the stone reads:

My Sledge and Hammer both declined

My Bellows they have lost their wind.

My Fire extinct my Forge decayed

And in the dust my Vice is laid.

My Coals are spent my Iron gone.

My Nails are drove my work is done.


The mind boggles as to what will be put on my gravestone.

My Feet and Legs both declined

My Lungs have lost their wind.

My Spirit extinct my Teeth decayed

And in the dust my Compass is laid.

My Muscles are spent my Energy gone

My Boots are drove my work is done.

Leaving the churchyard, we climbed Constitution Hill to emerge on the lush green grass of the Yorkshire Dales. After a brief visit to see Catrigg Force, we descended to Stainforth to locate the youth hostel. The village of Stainforth is delightfully situated near where Stainforth Beck joins the River Ribble and has charming quaint corners, picturesque cottages, a church, delightful stepping stones over the beck, as well as a 17th-century inn. The village derives its name from the ‘stony ford’, which linked Little Stainforth and Stainforth together on opposite sides of the banks of the River Ribble. The village used to be a possession of Sawley Abbey and later a halt on a medieval trade route.

On our arrival at the youth hostel, the warden apologised for the fact there was a christening party in residence. The apology was unnecessary as, if there is one thing you want to liven up a long-distance walk, it is a party or two.  A christening party seemed a little tame until we entered the lounge to immediately be offered free wine, an encouraging sign. In addition, the warden had put on a ‘special’ meal, with the party guests providing the drink; we had dropped lucky on this, our first night. There was one place we needed to visit later in the evening, The Craven Heifer Inn, deriving its name from a exceptionally large cow that the Duke of Devonshire owned in the 18th century in this area known as Craven; there is an engraving above the fireplace recording the details of the heifer.

We noticed on returning to the hostel that one of the rooms was full of rockets and planetarium information. We began to wonder if we had drunk too much. In reality the husband of the warden was a rocket fanatic and on occasions launches eight-foot rockets. I hasten to add, not in the vicinity of the hostel. After a couple of hours of drinking, the chances of being woken up in the night by a crying baby seemed less likely than us landing on the moon.

The youth hostel, situated in attractive grounds on the edge of Stainforth, is an elegant listed Georgian House, built between 1831 and 1848. It featured in the hilarious Victoria Wood programme on camping and youth hostelling; fortunately, the stern, disciplinarian warden featured in the programme was only fictional! The video is available for screening in the hostel. Initially a private residence, it has been a hostel for over 50 years and, in recent years, has been significantly improved. Mike Harding, the comedian and author of walking and travel books, came here from Manchester at the age of fourteen with a friend on a cycling and walking holiday. It was to change his life as he eventually settled in the Yorkshire Dales and trekked to many parts of the world including the Himalayas (Update – sadly the building is no longer a hostel).

Happiness Day, A Wedding, Care and Cleaning of Boots.

Post 132: 20 March 2017, Cleveland Circles 22.

We left home at 7.30am after a very heavy shower on designated Happiness Day. Not a good omen for our happiness. Had our good weather talis-woman Carol let us down this time? I am sure most people going to work on a Monday wondered how this was designated as Happiness Day!

However, the rain started to ease off as we drove over the North York Moors to Sneaton. We parked near St Hilda’s Church at about 8.30am and saw the door open and a hoover going up and down inside! We popped in to see what was going on to find out that there was a wedding blessing later that morning. Well and truly Happiness Day.

That was the good news, but the bad news was that the Beacon Farm ice-cream parlour just along the road was closed for the day (it is closed every Monday until April 10th). We surmised that this is why the wedding was chosen for a Monday as a relative involved in the wedding was from the ice-cream parlour.

It so happens that I also got married on what used to be traditionally ‘wash day’ in 1973 and I am still married and still doing the washing! That is when not walking.


We went to the back of the church where I knew there was a great view to our destination Whitby.


Whitby Abbey can just be seen on the hill to the top right.


In days gone by many walking routes went out from Whitby Abbey along stone monks’ trods.  Many trods still exist, albeit a little worn and hence more slippy. We soon found evidence of the influence of the abbey with sign on a door in Sneaton. No doubt many farms would have served the abbey.


To emphasise this we came across a monk in Ruswarp!


We eventually got to Whitby in time for our coffee and banana break.



and were able to watch the ships and boats coming and going.

Soon it was time to leave Whitby passing the harbour


and climb the 199 steps towards the abbey


and church.


There is an interesting inscription at a tomb at the church.


Leaving the abbey and church we rejoined The Cleveland Way coastal path wondering if and when the forecasted rain would arrive. The wind was increasing. We passed Saltwick Bay.


After lunch on the cliffs, gaining some shelter from the wind by sitting against a wall, we left The Cleveland Way and headed inland to High Hawsker and Low Hawsker, which were originally Scandinavian settlements. Hawker is on Alfred Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk. When coast to coasters arrive here they only have another 4 miles to walk to the end at Robin Hood’s Bay.

To the north we could see large rain clouds gathering.


However, every cloud has a silver lining and near Rigg Mill these primroses indicated spring was getting a hold.


Just along Rigg Mill Beck there was a delightful waterfall and ‘beach’.


Needless to say we encountered muddy paths towards the end of the walk and this led to discussions about how to look after our boots.

Good leather boots need a lot of care and attention after a walk. Wherever, possible I always try and get mud off near the end of the walk. A stream or puddle is particularly useful.

Needless to say there is never a stream or puddle towards the end of the walk and indeed we find there is almost always a very muddy path. So cleaning has to wait until I get home. First thing is to take the insoles out so that the boots are aired inside. I then use knife to get large chunks of mud off and sponge with lots of cold water to wipe off any remaining mud. I try to include getting mud off the soles as if not removed this adds to weight of the boots on the next walk.

Occasionally, it is a good idea to wipe out the inside of the boots with a damp clean cloth. The boots are now damp and should be dried over a couple of days away from radiators or any other direct heat source. Failure to do that will result in the leather cracking. When completely dry a leather wax can can be applied. However, I prefer to only do this about every 1-2 months and instead use ordinary shoe polish to treat and polish the boots. This I have found again reduces the likelihood of leather cracking, which too much wax can lead to.

We arrived back at Sneaton and the car and no it hadn’t rained! Carol could keep her good weather talis-women status!

Finally, it was reported today that according to a survey Norway is the happiest country in the world. I wouldn’t want to move from York to live there, but do like visiting Norway! The scenery is breathtaking and we have met some lovely Norwegians on our travels there.

Miles Walked 11.1

Steps 24,467

Calories Burnt 1,300

Average Pace 18.76

Fastest split 17.5 Minutes per Mile at 6 Miles.





Yorkshire’s Klondike, £3.5 million, Viking Country, Whaling in the Past.

Post 131: 13 March 2017, Cleveland Circles 21

Having walked through’Yorkshire’s Klondike’ on many of our recent walks and ‘bathed’ in the historic remains of the industrial revolution, which helped to make the United Kingdom prosperous, we were now a different sort of area; lovely sandy beaches, ice creams, fish and chips and tourist hotspots!

One of the overriding impressions I have had on this walk is the incredibly hard manual work that many of the workers in this area must have experienced between the mid 19th and 20th centuries, hence many early deaths recorded in some of the graveyards we have been in.  It was with some joy that I had just learnt that there is to be a £3.8 million Land of Iron project (supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Park Authority, David Ross foundation and numerous other organisations, including a small army of local historians whose knowledge of the area’s past is unrivalled) over the next five years to revisit the period of industrial growth and exploitation, mainly of ironstone and alum, to record and conserve the various monuments and structures and protect the flora and fauna which went on to reclaim the moorland. It is a fitting tribute to the workers who helped to put the ‘Great’ in Great Britain through sheer hard work and ingenuity.

It was only appropriate that, after leaving York at 7.30am, we started walking at Sandsend at 8.45am with the sun shining. This was after all a proper seaside area.

As this was a figure of eight walk, we were able to leave some food and drinks in the car to reduce our rucksack weight.




Climbing out of Sandsend along the A174 to Lythe and St Oswald’s Church the reduction in rucksack weight was a bonus. The view back to our eventual destination, Whitby, was lovely.


We arrived at the church and were surprised to find it open.

There was also a sad gravestone from the 1700s, where four children, two aged 2, and two aged 13 and 19 had all passed before their parents.


However, the inside of the church was a revelation with information and historical artefacts worthy of a small museum. There was a lot of Viking history with in the past a Viking graveyard being nearby.



After some muddy but enjoyable inland walking across Overdale, our anticipation grew as we neared the coast. We were not to be disappointed on reaching The Cleveland Way on the coast.


The tunnel and ledge originally proposed for the railway line to Sandsend can just be spotted in the far distance above the gorse.


Another section of the railway line tunnel emerged further along the coast towards Sandsend.


Continuing along the dismantled railway line we came across remains of alum workings, which looked like a moon landscape.


With changing light there were again beautiful views of Sandsend Beach




Until we eventually reached the beach and the opportunity for our coffee and banana break.



We had completed a rather exhilarating 4.5  miles of walking, but still had 8 to do. It was at this point that cloud started to appear and a chill to the air. There were some impressively built sea defences on the beach, reminding us of the strong storms that batter the east coast from time to time. P1060618

We eventually reached Whitby and the Captain Cook monument, with him looking towards the sea, church and abbey. The seagulls showed little respect for the great explorer! He came to Whitby in 1746 as an apprentice to John Walker, the ship owner.


The earliest record of Whitby as permanent settlement was as Stereancehealh in 657 where Oswy the Christian King of Northumbria founded the first abbey, under abbess Hilda. In 867 the monastery was destroyed by Vikings. Whitby was reported at one time as being the sixth largest port in Britain. In 1828 it was the fifth biggest shipbuilding centre in the country. Cook’s first round the world trip was on Endeavour. Cook made his second and third voyages to the Pacific on Resolution.


Nearby were whale bones commemorating whaling and brought from Alaska in 2002. At the height of whaling (1753-1833) a total of 2,761 whales were landed here.


We had lunch on the harbour and watched the ships and visitors pass by.


After lunch we passed the famous Magpie Cafe which even has signs to tell customers where to queue!

There are a number of excellent fish and chip cafes in Whitby.

After some hard ascending road walking we headed to countryside towards Newholm


Finally, we passed Dunsley Hall, which is strongly recommended by Sid the Yorkshireman  when it has special winter/spring offers of dinner, bed and breakfast for two for £89. It is an excellent location for getting to Sandsend, Whitby and coastal walks in the area.

Miles Walked 12.5

Calories Burnt 14,000

25,414 Steps

Average Pace 18.13 Minutes per Mile

Fastest Split at over 12 miles 15.59 Minutes per Mile.








Training for Hadrian’s Wall, Walking in New Boots, Walking on the NHS, Managing Arthritis, The World’s Greatest Living Explorer, Book Publication.

Post 130 On Foot from Settle to Hadrian’s Wall. 

6 January 1997

At last my new boots seem to be loosening up after a 3-mile walk everyday for a week. Always walk new boots in before doing any serious walking.

7 January 1997

Help, my new boots are crippling me – so much for loosening up. They have even bruised my foot. Mind you with feet that have toes shaped like the Pepsi Max in Blackpool it’s not surprising that the boots are causing a few problems. I think it’s another inherited trait.

I often seem to have some sort of ache or pain after Christmas; it seems to be part of the challenge of trying to get fit for my annual Easter long-distance walk. It could be the body rebelling against an increased fitness regime after the Christmas indulgence or it could be psychosomatic – a worry in the subconscious about the prospect of walking 130 miles. Whatever the cause, the spring weather soon heals any aches and pains and, after increasing my pack weight to 30lbs, whilst taking the dog in the morning, at Easter I’m raring to go.

25 January 1997

The Department of Health are spending £9 million on promoting activities to get people fit and healthy, of which walking seems to be the main activity. It has been suggested that Doctors be issued with walking guides of up to 3 miles to issue to patients who might benefit from walking exercise. I wonder if we could get long-distance walks on the National Health? My Doctor will be delighted, as if you go to him with a bad leg or foot and ask if it alright to walk 200-miles, he says ‘yes, nothing better.’ He then goes on to tell you about the time he was horizontal in the Cairngorms due to high winds, only progressing by crawling with the aid of an ice-axe.

Fast forward to 9th March 2017

I read the following poem on Facebook, written by a walking acquaintance and Facebook friend :

Out there I feel so free
Out there I can be me
One day I wont make it here
That`s the day I will so fear
I will dream of the beauty of the fells
Smelling the grass and wind whistling around my ears
Thinking…where have they gone these wonderful years
One day I wont make it here……………………..E B Kaye

Towards the Norht Pole 2014_3045_edited-1


Norway 2010_1427_edited-1

This focussed my mind as I now have a bus pass and have one or two creaks.

So I am well aware that despite the Department of Health’s expenditure in 1997, I may one day not be able to get out for my long walks.

According to the world’s greatest living explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes in his book Fit for Life, published in 1998, arthritis has been around for over 50,000 years, as evidence has been found in the bones of old Neanderthal cave dwellers. It is also the most common disease and is caused by inflation of the joints due to a surplus of uric acid in the body.

Now I haven’t been around quite that long but I have been diagnosed with early arthritis in a hip and in my hands. I first noticed it in 2011, just before I was due to walk the Peddar’s Way with a mileage of 19/20 on a number of the days.

One friend of mine had it so bad she had to have morphine until a hip replacement operation could take place. Indeed on odd occasions whilst relaxed in bed I have had sharp pains that if it continued would have me crying out for morphine.

So what to do?  The worst thing is to reduce mobility. If you don’t use it you loose it. When arthritis was first diagnosed I went to see the Muscular Skeletal Scope Practitioner and when I told him I regularly walk over 10 miles, swim and go to the gym and do mobility exercises he was very pleased and said I was doing his job for him. Carry on. 

Sir Ranulph Fiennes had arthritis at the ‘uncomfortable stage’, partly due to SAS and expedition injuries, and suggested, among a number of things, taking black molasses, dark honey and cider vinegar. His arthritis cleared up.

I have been taking these ghastly tasting products for a number of years now and with regular exercise it has enabled me to continue walking and managing the arthritis. In addition, I take Cod Liver Oil, OptiMSM and Glucosamine and Chondroitin tablets everyday. I have managed to avoid morphine so far!

As well as numerous expeditions, Sir Ranulph Fiennes was the first person to visit the North and South Pole by surface means and the first to cross Antartica on foot. In 2007 he climbed the North Face of the Eiger. In May 2009 he climbed Everest at the age 65. He recently climbed the highest peak in Antartica at the age of 72.

Of course now I am aware as per the poem that I have a sell by date or use by date it (we all have). However, this enhances the appreciation and joy of each walk I now do.  It is no longer taken for granted. One advantage of retirement is that I can even choose sunny quiet days to walk, when many others are at work! Guess what I am doing tomorrow on a forecasted sunny warm March day?!

Back to 2 February 1997

When the going gets tough you find out who you can rely on.

On mentioning I wanted to paint my Ordnance Survey column (trig pillar) ready for the grand opening on 6 March of my walk On Foot from Coast to Coast: The North of England Way, Gary and Alf suddenly found they had other commitments.

Penelope tried to use the excuse that she had her laundry to do but, to a ‘New Man’, who does nearly all the laundry, such an excuse was unacceptable.

It was a gorgeous, sunny, but fresh day when we arrived at the trig pillar. After wire brushing the dirty pillar to get the lichen and other deposits off, we then set about painting my adopted lump of concrete, with one of the finest views in England in the background – much better than painting the house. It took about three-quarters of an hour and used up much less paint than I imagined. On completion, it shone like a white beacon in the bright sunshine, then, after a photo call,

Penny painting David's trigwe went to Rievaulx Abbey (photograph taken later),

Rievaulx Abbey-1

and finally Sutton Bank and the White Horse of Kilburn for stupendous views of the sun setting over the Yorkshire Dales and York, the latter over 40 miles away. This was a memorable day.

7 February 1997

At last I received my first copies of my book On Foot from Coast to Coast – The North of England Way. I gave a signed one to Dick and he said in great excitement.

‘It’s the first time I’ve had my name in a book’

‘It’s the first time I’ve had my name in a book!’ I replied.

14 February 1997

The day of my first press interview. Fortunately, the interviewer was a delightful young lady who put me at ease. She was impressed with the book, saying she would go walking tomorrow! Not sure if she did, but I did!

28 February 1997

I have just had a list of Radio interviews for 6 March , Merseyside, York, Jersey, Stoke, and Cumbria, as well as a list of magazines doing interviews articles or reviews.

27 March 1997

Interviewed by Radios Lancashire and Cleveland.

Cold War Bunker, James Herriot’s Holiday Home, Battle of the Crabs, The Train Tunnel to Nowhere.

Post 129: 11 March 2017 Cleveland Circles 20. 

The forecast was for rain arriving at 1pm and so with an hours drive to the start of our 9 mile walk we decided to leave at 7.ooam. Donning our boots at the car park can you guess which boots belong to Sid the Yorkshireman? Not only do his boots leak they are never cleaned properly, the treads wouldn’t pass an MOT and he insists they will not be replaced until walk 30 of this walk. To say he doesn’t like spending money is an understatement!


Little did we expect on arriving at Goldsborough at just after 8.00am we would see the remains of a Cold War underground bunker. The guard house was badly damaged by fire in 2007.

The mound behind the guard house holds a two storey ROTOR R2 bunker built in 1951, and destroyed by fire in 1958.

Apparently the male occupants used to bus females there from Whitby, so it couldn’t have been that cold!

We then passed Wade’s Stone, which may be linked to the Giant Wade and Saxon Duke Wada who lived at nearby Lythe.


We could just see our destination Runswick in the distance.


As we stopped for coffee above Runswick Bay daffodils welcomed us.


The views of the bay, despite the overcast day, were delightful.


We walked around the village, which reminded me of parts of St Ives in Cornwall.

It is believed that James Herriot used to stay at this cottage for his holidaysP1060562

What a splendid view it has and ideal for his children to play on the beach. No jetting off abroad for him. Times were so different in the late 1960s.


Descending to the beach we came across what appeared to be the aftermath of a battle of crabs.


Continuing along the beach we looked back to Runswick.


There were some interesting and colourful cliffs. The ‘Hob Holes’ are the remains of some jet mining.

We left the beach along a slippy gulley.


After many steps to the cliff top we had a final view back of Runswick.


We arrived at Kettleness for lunch, where a local farmer had made his intentions quite clear.


The former railway station is now a house.


Further along the cliffs there are the remains of a tunnel and ledge along which it was intended the railway line would go. However, it was soon discovered that this cliff edge route would not work due to cliff collapses.


A couple of tunnels further inland were therefore built to enable progress to Sandsend.


We finally got back got to the car after 12.30, before any rain.

Miles Walked 9.3

Calories Burnt 1,300

Steps 18,949. 

Average Pace 18.34 Minutes per Mile

Fastest Split at 9 Miles, 16.45 Minutes per Mile.



Route Checking, Off to the Gallows, Having a Baby,The Special Properties of Guinness, The Boxing Day Walk on Apricots.

Post 128 

April 1996

A year off from long-distance walks, the reason being that some final checks had to be done to the route outlined in my soon to be published book, On Foot from Coast to Coast: The North of England Way. The checking involved a few days of walking in excellent weather in the Lake District.

28 September 1996 (Saturday)

My North of England Way proofs arrived today.

I remembered AW saying that publishing a book was like going to the gallows. Someone else said it was like having a baby. This one has been a long confinement – over 5 years.

I know what AW meant and I nervously looked through the text and maps for any errors. Of course there were some, Day 4 had mysteriously disappeared and if left uncorrected walkers would be stranded at Windermere YH – there are worse places to be stranded en route. With work due on Monday I started reading the proofs at 9.00am and finished at 10.45pm.

29 September 1996.

I went and posted the corrections at 9.00am on a bright Sunday morning, having woken up at 5.00am with text spinning through my mind. As I left the Post Office, York Minster bells could be heard, as though in celebration of the proofs being completed. I looked at the Minster without the crowds around and was enthralled at the splendour of the sight before me (photographs taken later).


York 080110_0513_edited-4

November 1996

A work colleague and friend of my wife turned up for supper with us, wearing Merrill walking boots and a goretex jacket which impressed me. In addition, she had walked extensively in the wilds of Canada spotting bears and had been to the top of Mount Fuji in Japan. When later we went walking on the North York Moors she talked to sheep; this was ‘Talks with Sheep’, Penelope.

29 November 1996

I received a letter from my publisher. A few hundred books sold, even though not yet in print. Exciting, I wanted to tell the world!

1 December 1996

At last science has proved what I suspected – Guinness does have properties that are conducive to long-distance walking. Two Professors studying molecules discovered the following:

‘One evening we were drinking Guinness and realised that the reason the bubbles sank was similar to some of the other problems we were trying to solve. From general experiments we see that bubbles go up in lager. Although we have not tested all possible beers, we think there is something very special about stouts like Guinness that makes bubbles sink.

It is the relation of the different fluid dynamics of the liquid and the gas that determines whether bubbles rise or fall.’

Celia tasting the Guinness at Powerscourt.

I am able to drink Guinness when walking, but not beer or lager. It must be due to the bubbles sinking to the bottom rather than rising to the top! Of course you still get a head.

18 December 1996

Visit to my publishers Michael Joseph (part of the Penguin Group) in London with my daughter.

This was very exciting as, until my interest in long-distance walking had begun, I had never dreamt of writing a book. As I walked into my Editor’s (Jenny Dereham) office I was very impressed with the posters of distinguished authors she had worked with, including Alfred Wainwright, Dick Francis and James Herriot. What was I doing there?

I was then taken to a room to meet the marketing team, four very friendly and attractive young ladies; surely I was unmarketable? However, they seemed impressed with my ideas saying that they wished all authors were as well prepared. My view is that you sometimes only get one chance in life and so you must try and take it. Clearly I live in a different world to one member of the marketing team who did not know what a trig pillar was. We then went to see the book designer who was skilfully scanning the maps into the text.

All good things come to an end and I then had to honour my promise to take my fourteen year old daughter to the shops of London. I hate general shopping, but fortunately she soon agreed to go to the planetarium, so finishing off a very enjoyable but tiring day.

26 December 1996

Christmas Day was now over. As ever, despite excessive ‘restraint’, I had stuffed myself with porridge, toast, turkey, potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, sherry, wine, whisky, chocolates, satsumas, trifle, ham rolls, and pork pie. My cholesterol level had reached danger levels – there was only one solution, the annual village ‘Boxing Day’ walk. It would either kill or cure me. However, this year there was an ‘edge.’

For a number of years I had been the quickest to do the 5-mile walk , but I had missed the last two years due to colds. Both years, the activities of getting ready for Christmas took their toll and by Boxing Day I had developed a cold virus. Unable to keep up with Wainwright who, apparently, never had a day off work, I had been off for one day in the last two years.

This year was going to be different so that I gritted my teeth and consumed neat cod liver oil during the week before Christmas. Needless to say it worked. My son and friends (aged 16) had decided I should be knocked off my ‘walking perch’ and wagered a bet of a drink that they would beat me around the 5-mile course. My handicap was that I was nearly thirty-years older than them, but I still had one or two secret weapons.

One of weapons was that Gary acted as pacemaker for the first 3 miles, enabling me to follow in his slipstream. For some reason he can walk faster than me for the first mile or so, in the same way as a cheetah can beat a gazelle over the first 100 yards. After that, my longer legs get into a rhythm and I am able to stride ahead.

My second secret weapon was that Penelope had bought me some dried apricots for Christmas, Wensleydale cheese with apricots and Wensleydale cheese with cranberries – absolutely delicious – what else could a long-distance walker want for Christmas? After 3 miles the dried apricots were consumed and I was in effect on turbo-charge. My competitors were left standing and I arrived at the finish in a ‘world record’ time of 59 minutes and 51 seconds, with plenty of time to have a Guinness before the other 100 or so walkers appeared. Don’t forget the dried apricots when on a walk.

 27 December 1996

It was now Christmas sale time. I am desperate for a new pair of walking boots. The present pair had been purchased in 1986 and had already been resoled. They had walked an estimated 829 miles on ‘official’ long-distance routes, 500 miles on other ‘holiday’ walks and 2,550 miles on day walks making a grand total of nearly 4,000 miles of walking. They deserved retirement and this was to be the year. Buying a new pair of boots is more stressful than getting married, moving house or getting divorced (I have no experience of the latter).

If given an MOT, the boots would have failed badly due to insufficient tread. They were Berghaus/Scarpa boots, an ideal partnership, but apparently the two companies had separated and this had left me in a quandary as to which boot to replace them with. I went for Scarpa and will let you know in 10 years whether I had made the right decision. Take great care in choosing your boots in the same way you would your wife (or husband). Also allow room for foot expansion as, after 200 miles of walking, your feet will be half-a-size larger.

Spring has Sprung, Shaun the Sheep on Holiday, Moonings, The Road to Nowhere.

Post 127: 7 March 2017, Cleveland Circles 19

We left York at 7.30am with the prospect of fine weather and, on reaching the coast at Sandsend, I couldn’t resist a quick photograph. There was a warmth in the air we had not had since the autumn.


Meteorological spring started on 1 March. This coincides with our Gregorian calendar making it easier to compare seasonal and monthly statistics. Spring consists of March, April and May, Summer consists of June, July and August and Autumn consists of September, October and November and Winter consists of December, January and February. However, after the weather we had this day, we decided that this was the first real spring day.

We arrived at Runswick Bay top and started walking at about 9.00am. Our route would take us inland and then return us to the start via the coast. We soon passed an unusual garden at Hinderwell,P1060458

followed by a Wesleyan Chapel built in 1873 and no doubt, due to its success, a Sunday School built in 1886.


Arrival at St Hilda’s Church reminded us that this was the start of 40 mile St Hilda’s Way, which we completed in 2015. A guide book of the route from Hinderwell to Whitby was written by John Eckersley and can be purchased from his website All proceeds, after costs have been paid, go to Christian Aid and the Whitby Churches’ Mission.


The ‘well’ in the churchyard, which is a spring not a well, was reputably discovered by St Hilda on a journey along the coast, when she and her companions became tired.

St Hilda lived from 614 to 680 and she developed centres of prayer, work, study and art and founded a monastery north of the River Wear and the double monastery of women and men at Whitby. P1060461

Walking inland we went through some delightful woodlands, including a nature reserve at Oakrigg Wood with its many oaks. It is quite shocking that people leave litter in these areas, even right next to a litter bin.



The settlement of Dalehouse, nestled below Boulby Mine, came into view.


It was a surprise to come across Shaun the Sheep who must have popped over from the Yorkshire Dales for a holiday on the nearby caravan site.


It was quite a gathering as the Moonins were here too.


And owls.


Entering Mines Wood we came across a lot of industrial archaeology, relating to Grinkle ironstone mine. Mining has been dangerous in the past and remains dangerous to this day.

A by-product of ironstone mining was shale and this used to be deposited locally. It is believed that this culvert on Easington Beck blocked (the mine was open between the late 1800s and early 1900s) as a result of shale deposits and flooded Grinkle Mine, killing a deputy.


In April 2016, at nearby Boultby potash mine, miners were caught up in an underground fire and 11 workers were injured. As recently as June 2016, a 56 year old miner from Easington was killed by a gas blow out (an unexpected sudden and powerful release of gas). In December 2016 there was some flooding of the mine and pumps had to be used. The mine is the second deepest in Europe.

This information board, which we came across later at Port Mulgrave, shows a train tunnel (middle picture) related to the former Grinkle Mine. Port Mulgrave is 3 miles away from Grinkle Mine and the trains ran until 1917, carrying ironstone to the port.


Look carefully and you can see a speck of light showing the exit from the train tunnel.


Building remains, relating to the ironstone mining, are being excavated.


Tunnel entrance.


One of the fans for the mine.


It is unusual to find stepping stones with, on this occasion, no water under them. The tarmac below is an outflow from a field near Boultby Mine, which presumably floods from time to time.


We left the mining area to head for the coast passing some very noisy and nosey cattle.


We soon passed the platform investigating potash deposits in the area


The views ahead towards Staithes were attractive and we started looking for a lunch stop.


It didn’t take long and I had an excellent high view ahead and a foot rest. There were one or two dog walkers passing and the dogs not on leads tended to head straight for our lunches. They had no chance with mine.



The platform was now much nearer to my left. P1060491

Continuing after lunch, spray rose from the sea.


A delightfully situated cottage was passed.


It is a good idea to take note of the signs.


Looking back we could see the outfall of waste water from the mines. P1060497P1060496

The road to nowhere was soon passed.

Our next port of call was delightful Staithes, which dates from the seventeenth century  and was based on smuggling, fishing and mining.


After some years of decline, Staithes seems to have improved considerably as a centre for artists, tourists and photographers.

The lovely spring weather was a good excuse for our first outdoors ice-cream.


The young James Cook arrived in Staithes in 1744, aged 16, to be apprenticed to William Sanderson, a haberdasher and general store keeper. After 18 months he moved to Whitby. William Sanderson’s shop was dismantled after a storm in 1812 and the materials were used to build the existing buildings in Church Street as below. It never was Captain Cook’s Cottage, despite the plaque.


We ascended out of Staithes to fine views looking back.


A £3.5 million harbour reinforcing scheme was carried out some years ago to prevent storm damage. Like Runswick Bay, Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay and Scarborough, boulders of ancient gneiss rock from Norway were shipped over to reinforce the harbour walls.

A view of Old Nab


Rock slips have closed access to the beach at Port Mulgrave. In the 19th century there used to be a wooden jetty here to enable ironstone to be brought on the narrow gauge railway from Grinkle Mine to then be shipped north to Jarrow.


Care needs to be taken here to follow the correct coastal path! Some of the older ones are disappearing over the cliff edge.


We arrived back at Runswick Bay top at about 3pm.


With superb spring weather, fine woodland walking, dramatic coastal scenery, scenic ports and interesting industrial archaeology this was one of, if not the best, walks so far on Cleveland Circles.

Spring had Sprung! 

Miles Walked 12.3 

Steps 26,506

Calories Burnt 1,400

Average Pace 17.5





The End of the Underpant Trail, The Full Monty – Nearly, Mini Skirts, Book Publication.

Post 126:  13 April 1995: Day 6 – Eskdale Youth Hostel to Foxfield – 16 miles – The Underpant Trail.    

All good things must come to an end and this was our last day. The first part of the walk took us past Penny Hill Farm to the foot of Harter Fell from where the head of Eskdale, the best view of the day, looked superb in bright blue skies. Leaving Eskdale over Grassguards Pass, we descended to the Duddon Valley, then ascended the Dunnerdale Fells, having lunch at the top, including cheese pasties that were so bad we donated them to the local bird life. By this time it was extremely warm, we were down to T-shirts and water supplies were running short. A clear track led down to the village of Hoses, but there were no hoses there to cool off with.

The path to Broughton Mills was easy to follow and, with relief, we found a tiny pub called the Blacksmiths Arms. Is this the smallest pub in England? The bar seems to be a room in someone’s house and another room contained an old kitchen range. However, it was our saving grace, as by this time we were suffering from dehydration. Well that was our excuse for an extended stop as we sat outside in hot sunshine gulping pints of orange squash and beer, watching farmers move lambs from one field to another. The sounds of Whiter Shade of Pale came from inside the pub, reminding us of our youth, in this somewhat idylic sun-soaked setting. Birds sang and flowers were in bloom. Had we gone to heaven or were we hallucinating due to exhaustion and dehydration? (Update – the pub now does food and gets rave reviews on trip advisor).

We then followed the River Lickle to cross the park of Broughton Tower to Broughton town. In the attractive square we stopped for an icecream. Continuing to journey’s end, Foxfield station, we arrived at 4.30pm. There was no one on the station and so we changed our sweaty T-shirts and trousers, not quite the Full Monty, but close.

On my return journey I had to leave the others at Carnforth station in order to get my connection. After a tremendous walk this brought me back to reality as it was not manned, had secluded underpasses making it a mugger’s paradise, and was in a state of disrepair. There was only one other person waiting for a train here and we both agreed it was not British Rail’s showcase.

When I arrived back at York it was late and youngsters were queuing to get into the nightclubs in mini skirts and t-shirts; a very different world to the one I had just returned from!

13 September 1995

Success, the icing on the cake! My book, On Foot from Coast to Coast: The North of England Way, has been accepted for publication by a major London publisher, Michael Joseph Ltd, part of the Penquin group. I always believed the route and book were worthy of publication but, from time to time, doubts creep in. It was a ‘dream’ that took over five years to realise; trust your instincts and your dream will come true. Now I could share the enjoyment and pleasure I received from the walk with other enthusiasts. A bonus was that my Editor was previously Wainwright’s and I was Michael Joseph’s first ‘new’ author of a walking guide. Other authors, including Wainwright, had already had books published, before being accepted by Michael Joseph.