DAY 1 of the COT COMBO WALK, My 53rd Long Distance Walk, William Tell, Had I gone to Paradise Early?

Post 195: 12 September 2017, Helmsley to my adopted Trig Point at Rollgate Bank 

After the intense Best of 31 years of Walking in Yorkshire Condensed into 8 days visit by Victoria, you would have thought I would have been given a few days off to recover. This was not to be the case and I was only given a day off before starting a new Long-distance Walk.

This was to be the COT COMBO WALK.

We had decided to combine three walks along the Southern area of the North York Moors from Helmsley to Scarborough.

C = The Cleveland Way Missing Link

O  = On Foot from Coast to Coast: The North of England Way

T = The Tabular Hills Walk 

We then combined them to make a COMBO. Brilliant.

Sid the Yorkshireman, Carol and myself began walking at 10.30am from the market cross in Helmsley.


Helmsley lies under the southern edge of the North York Moors and is a typical small market town, with a large market place surrounded by old inns and interesting shops.

Its ruined castle stands high on a mound overlooking the town. It was built in about 1200 and was later besieged by Parliamentary forces after the battle of Marston Moor and the fall of York during the Civil War. The castle was finally surrendered on 22 November 1644 after a three-month siege. Between 1646 and 1647 the castle was made unfit for war with parts of the keep and the walls being destroyed. It is now in the hands of English Heritage.

To emphasise why I prefer my activities on the ‘trail’ in places such as Helmsley rather than a large town or city, a few statistics may prove useful. One can compare crime figures say in Helmsley, Colchester and Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1997, Helmsley had three assaults, three indecent assaults, twenty-two burglaries of buildings which were not houses (a number of these were sheds and garages), one aggravated taking of a vehicle, two thefts from a dwelling, three stolen pedal cycles, seventeen thefts from parked cars, six recorded shoplifting incidents, six stolen cars, four cases of fraud, one case of handling stolen goods, and ten cases of criminal damage. The average crime per year in Colchester is one murder, eight stolen cars a week, more than one thousand two hundred thefts from vehicles, four hundred and thirty one bicycle thefts, thirteen rapes, five hundred and seventy assaults, one thousand six hundred and eighty-seven criminal damage offences and eight hundred and ninety nine shoplifting offences. In 1996, crime in Albuquerque was seventy-two murders, seven thousand one hundred and twenty stolen cars, one thousand five hundred and twenty reported rapes, three thousand one hundred and twenty eight assaults, twenty-three thousand six hundred and sixty eight thefts and robberies, one hundred and sixteen arson cases, three hundred and fifty eight kidnappings and one thousand seven hundred and thirty-two complaints of intimidation. It has been said that Helmsley is one of those towns that makes you feel you don’t want to be anywhere else in the world. This morning it certainly felt like that in warm sunshine and the prospect of a new walk.

It came across as a bit of a surprise therefore that we came across a hate report sign! 20 years on have things in Helmsley changed?


Another reason I like Helmsley is that it is Volvo country – you see lots of shiny Volvos so I feel at home.


I had one of the first ever Volvo C30s followed by a second one.

Hartington YH VolvoC30

When our ageing mothers could no longer cope with a two door car, Volvo kindly brought out the 4 door V40 to replace it.

As a Brompton Cyclist we saw a poster that certainly appealed to me – cycling to Lidos! Now with a Brompton I could pop it in the back of the car and drive from Lido to Lido.


We eventually started walking leaving the delightful Helmsley, with its decorative shops, behind.

However, noting a Mannion’s cafe had recently opened, I would be back before too long.

We were first following the North of England Way and soon came across warnings


and noted that near Reagarth Farm there was a permanent diversion around the farm.

We descended to the bottom of the delightful Riccal Dale


to come upon the Ponderosa, from the 1960s (yes I am old enough to remember it!) TV series Bonanza.


Well actually it is a Scout Camp.


Sid the Yorkshireman quickly volunteered to be William Tell’s son and had I been able to find a crossbow I would have shot the apple off his head as with the legendary William Tell.  Yes he is balancing that apple on his head not on the wood. However, it fell off a few times, so I ended up with a bruised apple for lunch.


We stopped for a coffee but weren’t too impressed with the shopping list apart from the chablis – for Scouts?! We weren’t too sure what a fanny pack was either! The Scouts has changed from our day.


Now Sid the Yorkshireman is known for his generosity, hence the name.  So when there is an opportunity to give Carol FREE flowers left there he jumps at the chance. They were better than from a florist and freshly cut – by whom?


We climbed out of the valley at Hasty Bank Farm. In heavy rain the water has been known to flow down the track through the kitchen.


We came to farming country. We had planned to stop here and return to Helmsley, but the weather was so good I persuaded Sid and Carol to continue ‘a few more miles’ to my adopted trig point for lunch.


We then hit the very straight quiet lane past Middle Farm and High Farm.

There were big skies looking back into the sun.


Ahead we reached a wood, followed by a heather enclosed track


Before we reached ‘Paradise’ and my adopted trig point. I have never seen it on a better day.


We posed at my adopted trig, remembered Penny who is hereabouts, and then went for lunch on the ‘secret’ bench dedicated to DEE (who was Dee?) along from the trig.


Our lunch time view couldn’t be bettered. The best view of the North York Moors. Sssshhhh….. don’t tell anyone it might get busy. These are Secret Diaries.


We then carried on our walk along the escarpment of Rollgate Bank, with ever changing views, each one worthy of a painting by Turner. Unfortunately, I don’t think he found this place – most people don’t.


We then did a short circular walk back to Hasty Bank Farm, ascended a very steep hill through woods and then walked through Ashdale back to Helmsley.

Walking doesn’t get much better than this. 

Miles Walked 16

Steps taken 30,900

Calories Burnt 19,000

Average Pace 16.47 minutes per mile

Max Pace 11.10 minutes per mile

Fastest Split 16.03 minutes per miles 

Elevation Gain 1,358 feet

Minimium Elevation 181 Feet 

Maximum Elevcation 954 Feet. 

With a first day like this on the COT COMBO would it all be downhill from here for the rest of the walk?












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