The Workweek Hustle, The Black Death Comes to Yorkshire. The End of the 1,000 Mile Challenge?

Post 208: 31  October 2017

This has been a rather strange few days. I attended my mother-in-laws 95th birthday party in the Midlands at the weekend. The cake even tasted as good as it looks. Superb.


I also attended to my 94 year old mother for a couple of days as she suffered from the dreaded sickness bug. My two grandsons and son-in-law also had it.  There were also six other residents in my Mom’s supported accommodation who had it and one had been taken to hospital.

So arriving home on Sunday night it was not good to find that Celia had got the bug. However, Celia went the extra mile over the others and also fainted.

As I write tonight everyone is on the mend. I am hoping I will have escaped its clutches? It is a nasty bug.

The response of Sid the Yorkshireman was to put me into quarantine, not just for a few days, but for the whole week – no walks! He is even leaving Yorkshire at the end of the week. Now does he think the Black Death has returned to Yorkshire?

The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the death of an estimated 75 to 200 million people in Eurasia and peaking in Europe in the years 1346-1353. It consisted of several forms of plague, including bubonic plague.

Having been quarantined I felt as though I might be thought to have the plague by Sid the Yorkshireman and others.

Sunday night I then got a Workweek Hustle Challenge from some fit-bit group members.  For some crazy reason I accepted the invite having not done one before. I soon realised what this entailed when people on the list had suddenly completed up to about 30,000 steps.

So it was matter of getting the boots on and going for local walks, even if it was raining.


Now most of my challengers are a lot younger and were booking into gyms in the evening. However, it’s a bit like the hare and the tortoise and being retired I can play the tortoise and set the hares running. So over 2 days I managed to crawl to the top of the table.


This has set the hares running tonight – literally I think on the running machines at the gym so I have now dropped down to third place. However, there are still 3 days left and I have one to two things I can try yet – watch this space.

So no ‘proper’ walks and blogs this week but I should be back to normal next week and on the COT COMBO WALK with only two more sections to do. It would be great if  I could finish my 1,000 mile 2017 challenge at the end at Scarborough, but I am not sure it will all work out. I am up to 970 miles and only have 30 to go.

Mapmywalk (Boots only walks):

Miles Walked last two days 19.3.

Calories Burnt 2555

Steps 32,600




THE COT COMBO – Day 8 – The Forecasters get it wrong again, Raptor’s View, The COT COMBO team replace the A-Team, Coptic Christianity, Heavy Breathing

Post 207: 30 October 2017, the COT COMBO WALK. Croscliff viewpoint to Langdale End. 

Earlier in the week BBC Look North weather forecaster Paul Hudson got the forecast wrong and now it was the turn of  Owain Wyn Evans who forecast good weather and it rained most of the day. Bring back Keeley Donovan I say. We suspect the rain is why Alf cried off through illness and we are still waiting for the medical note to arrive to explain his absence.

Afte parking at the remote Highwood Brow Viewpoint and walking along the Tabular Hills route westwards we had a diversion to the Raptor Viewpoint. We half expected dinosaur birds to come swooping down, but were disappointed on this occasion.


Sid the Yorkshireman on the look out for raptors.


We continued along the Tabular Hills walk and were repeatedly passed by a mountain biker covered in mud. There must be stunning views on a clear day!


It continued to rain and it was rather dreary most of the time.


Near Cockmoor Plantation we descended to Keeper’s Cottage to find a carpet delivery van stuck after taking a wrong turning (sat nav problems?).


The COT COMBO team of Sid the Yorkshireman and myself then leapt into action (we have replaced both the AA and the A-Team). We managed to push it out with superhuman strength and, as can be seen, they were very pleased.


Heading up from there we came across Broad Head Farm, which sells beef and lamb.


Further on along New Road we came across some fungi.

For the second time this week we stopped at Crosscliff Viewpoint for lunch and some cyclists again passed us. We were now back on my North of England Way. 

Just a little further along heading eastwards we had fine views where the trees had been cleared, including of Red House, which used to be a youth hostel.




We passed some slugs in the slow lane of life.


After passing a bridleway it became apparent, when we reached a bench on a sharp bend, that the Forestry Commission have closed a path that was previously used by the North of England Way and the Cleveland Way Missing Link. Therefore, it was necessary to backtrack to the very muddy bridleway and use that to descend to Noodle Farm.


On the bridleway we passed a blue man sign which marks a 16 mile walk developed by the Forestry Commission  from Broxa to Allerston.


After Noodle Farm we passed Blackwood Bungalow and headed to Bickley Rigg Farm.  I was glad these rather boisterous cows were on the other side of the fence.


At Bickley Rigg Farm we passed some unusual accommodation

There were fine views towards Langdale End and Hackness.



We passed a building still under construction. It is the Uk’s first Coptic Monastery. It is a Worldwide Christian Church, whose heartland is Egypt.

The monks follow a strict life of fasting and prayer, which begins at 5am. It is an austere and celibate life of prayer, contemplation and self sufficiency.  I can’t really see Steve the Yorkshireman and myself signing up. We have too much walking to do. Also I think we would have trouble with the other abstinences.


We arrived at the Moorcock Inn, Langdale End  to find two fine cars parked up.


The delightful church was passed.


We left the North of England Way at Bridge Farm and ascended steeply.

On arrival at a gate I pulled on the handle sharply to find it was faulty and the metal top banged sharply into my head, just above my eye. I let out a few expletives before digging in my rucksack for the first aid kit to put a plaster on a bleeding wound.




We then reached a cycle path called the Moor Road, which ascends steeply from a height of 70 metres (230 feet) to 208 metres (682 feet). There was soon some heavy breathing as we had decided to attack our last hill (see video in Facebook comments).


After Sid the Yorkshireman had issued the immortal words:

‘It’s almost as if they have had cars down here’

I said:

‘Into the dark’

We came across this!


If that wasn’t bad enough I then thought i had lost my fit-bit before remembering by mistake I had left it at home on charge. That’s 30,300 steps not recorded on it!

My Mapmywalk recorded the following:

Miles Walked 14.90

Calories Burnt 1,700

Steps 30,300

Average Pace 18.22 Minutes per mile 

Maximum Pace 7.02 mInutes per Mile 

Elevation Gain 1267.9 Feet 

Minimum Elevation 193.9 Feet

Maximum Elevation 839.9 Feet 









THE COT COMBO – Day 7 – Weather Forecasts, The Wetwang Forecaster, Hobbit Land, A Flasher, The Red Light District, Badger Meets, 900 miles passed, Three Times Around the World, Trump and North Korea, A High Court Injunction, Dykes.

Post 206: 28 October 2017, the COT COMBO WALK. Cockmoor plantation to Crosscliff Viewpoint 

After the recent storms related to the after effects of hurricane Ophelia, it was a bit strange to be leaving York at dawn in relative calm. P1080873

We arrived at the remote car park at Cockmoor Plantation. There were some alternative car parks which were less remote, but that would have cost us £8 on the Dalby Forest toll road. Sid the Yorkshireman  and myself think that’s a bit steep for a day out walking. The price does go down to £4 from November, which seems a bit more reasonable.

We started walking at about 8.30am with some concern that our local BBC Look North Paul Hudson had forecast rain all morning. Now Paul does come in for quite a bit of stick from his TV colleagues Harry Gration and Keeley Donovan, in particular about some of his forecasts. I have to question the credentials and authority of any forecaster who is I believe ‘the Mayor’ of a village called Wetwang. On a previous walk through Wetwang we had one of the wettest, and most miserable packed lunches ever on a bench in Wetwang. 

Now surely any reliable weather forecaster would  called Wetwang? The clue is in the name. Surely a good forecaster is more likely to be the Mayor Scarborough, which is usually called Scarbados by the locals, where the sun always shines?

We followed the Tabular Hills Walk to Givendale Head Farm, first along a muddy path and then a quiet lane . With a name like that it sounds like somewhere out of the Hobbit.


Our next hamlet was Jingleby Thorn. With a name like that we were definitely in Hobbit Land.


However, we didn’t see any hobbits but we did see a large deer flash across in front of us on a road section. There was no time to get my camera out. I had been cycling in this area not so long ago and had seen three deer on that occasion.

There are many cycling trails in this area with names such as the Ellerburn multi-user, Jubilee blue, Newclose Rigg, Adderstone, Jerry Noodle, Riggs and Dale, Red Route (does this take you to the red light district?) and the World Cup Route so that if you don’t see deer you will almost certainly see cyclists covered head to foot in mud. It must give the same enjoyment as going back to childhood in the outdoors where you could go out and get covered in mud and you just had to hope your Mom had seen the Daz advert on TV and she could get your clothes back to ‘Whiter than White’.

The forecasted rain had still not appeared and we were able to stop at Stain Dale lake with the sun creeping up behind the trees.


We then came across a place that we thought must be for badger meets.



Now when I talk about badger meets I am referring to the Country Walking Magazine 1,000 mile 2017 Walk Challenge. Many of the participants refer to themselves as badgers and meet up at ‘badger meets’. Yes I agree a bit strange. Have I missed something? No doubt when they read this the 17,000 or more ‘badger’ participants will write to me and let me know.

Participating in the challenge, which aims to get you to do more walking, I have now passed 900 ‘boots only’ miles for the year and have to complete 1,000 miles by the end of the year. Watch this space. Having walked the equivalent of more than three times (over 45,000 miles) round the world in my lifetime, you would think at my bus pass age I could be given some time off?

On further inspection the building turned out to be the toilets so maybe is not for badger meets.

Continuing past the National Trust Bridestones Nature Reserve we reached Crosscliff Brow and joined my North of England Way coast to coast walk.   The Fylingdales early warning  building in a sandcastle shape could just be seen in the distance beyond Blakey Topping. Now if Trump and North Korea start firing missiles at each other this place would probably be the first to know. That is a sobering thought.

Legend has it that the hill Blakey Topping was formed when Giant Wade picked up some soil to throw at his wife, Bell, missed and so created the Hole of Horcum and Blakey Topping. Things were so much simpler before nuclear weapons as if Trump and North Korea lose their tempers the world will be destroyed, not just a hollow and hill created.


Walking a bit further on we did wonder if the missiles had already gone off and no one had told us. This looks a bit like how the world might look.


We eventually arrived at Crosscliff Viewpoint for lunch. Still no rain!




The forecast had been for rain in the morning and then clearing late afternoon. However, with no rain we began to hope that if we ‘yomped’ to the end of the walk we might just escape it. We rejoined the Tabular Hills walk along New Road and kept up a fast pace.

I suddenly had a ‘deja view’ moment having realised that, having not been in this area for years, within the space of a couple of weeks or so, I had passed this spot twice now, once walking and once on my bike.



Somewhat further on and, after being overtaken by quite a few cyclists, we reached a path and were suddenly faced by a high court injunction, not something you come across often in the countryside. We think this relates to likely fracking in the area. It doesn’t actually say that, but reading between the lines that is how we interpreted it.


We continued walking, but maybe next time we pass this way there will be a big drilling hole with fracking protesters chained to trees and anything else they can attach themselves to?


One thing we had noticed was the large number of dykes (or dikes) and earthworks in the area, for example Red Dyke, Givendale Dike, Westmoor Dyke, Snainton Dyke and Dargate Dykes. We were a little unsure as to why? I decided to google it and discovered that dyke is a slang word for describing things associated with lesbianism. It’s amazing what you learn on walks! I searched again. Up came:

  1. An embankment of earth or rock built to prevent floods
  2. Chiefly British, a low wall, often sod, dividing or enclosing lands
  3. A barrier blocking a passage, especially for protection
  4. A ditch; a channel
  5. To protect, enclose, or provide with dyke
  6.  To drain with dikes or ditches.

It still doesn’t explain why this particular area has so many or when they were put there, so further research is needed…………………….

We finished walking at about 2pm and still there was no rain. Mr Wetwang had got it wrong!

Miles Walked 12

Steps 23,900

Calories burnt 1,400

Average Pace 17.4 Minutes Per Mile

Elevation Gain 644 Feet 

Minimum Elevation 476 Feet

Maximum Elevation 828 Feet. 





I Chose not to Climb.

Post 205: 1969 to 19 October 2017

I was hanging on the end of a rope at the age of 17 on Idwal Slabs (Cwm Idwal) near Snowdon in Wales.  My legs started to shake. I looked down and thought this was an early death that I had not intended. How had I got in this ridiculous and dangerous situation?

Some of the names on the climbing routes were enough to put fear into me; Suicide Wall Route 1, Hope, Game Set and Match, Y Grug, Heather Weakness, East Wall Girdle, Suspended Sentence, Last Rites, Penal Servitude, Death Row, Solitary Confinement, Teenage Menopause, Faith West Finish, Last Exit, White Hope and Clang Clang. The latter was presumably the sound I would make when I fell off.

BDWW Wales 2012 + extension_5337
Idwal Slabs
BDWW Wales 2012 + extension_5349
The Cottage under Snowdon and near the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel where merry nights were spent. The walk back across the bogs and streams in the dark was fun

It all started when I was busy studying intensely for my A-levels. My brother who was a member of the Midlands based 99 Climbing Club said I ought to take a break and go to their climbers cottage (The Cottage as it was known) near the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel.

This seemed a good idea until I found out that the only person going to the Cottage that weekend had a reputation as a somewhat daredevil, risk taking, some would say foolish driver and climber. He had a tendency to write off cars and take climbing risks and drink a lot of alcohol. The complete opposite of me at 17 or for that matter any age.

However, arrangements were in place and I couldn’t back out.

So a little restful walk in the countryside for him was not on the cards and he suggested we go and climb Idwal Slabs. I tried to make excuses such as I had no proper climbing boots and no proper clothes. In those days this was not uncommon. As far as he was concerned I had a pair of tennis shoes and they would give good grip on rock. Neither did he accept that I had, not so long ago torn a crucial ligament, playing tennis and therefore was not that fit.

Now you may ask why I am bringing this up some 48 years later. I had in fact erased most of the terror from my memory.

It was brought back when I went to the ‘Yorkshire Post literary Lunch with Sir Chris Bonington’, in my view probably one of the best UK climbers and expedition leaders ever and certainly one of the most famous.


I enjoyed his talk immensely as now in his 80s he looked back over his incredible life, having climbed some of the hardest and most dangerous ascents in the world such as the North Face of the Eiger, the Central Pillar of Freney (first ascent), the Old Man of Hoy (first ascent), the South West face of Everest and even climbed the Old Man of Hoy again at 80.

Why do climbers take such risks and accept sometimes very poor odds on the most dangerous mountains? I have been fascinated by the dangerous situations they put themselves into; sometimes losing their climbing partners and friends to the mountains. They can suffer frostbite, broken limbs, economic uncertainty, long periods in unimaginable cold, narrow and lucky escapes from death, long periods away from loved ones as well as competitive and difficult disputes within the climbing teams.

I think it is the wrong question to ask. The question is that given their enthusiasm and love of climbing, how can they not climb? Also given that many are driven and ambitious individuals it is inevitable they will live on the edge and push themselves to take risks.  

Even after many years of climbing Sir Chris Bonington says in his new autobiography ‘I can offer no justification for the risks’.  

At the lunch I was of course delighted to meet Chris, whose climbing career I have followed for years, and purchase a signed copy of his new book Ascent. I noticed there was another older book of his on sale, I Chose to Climb. 

A bit like Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (in some ways the best book I have ever read)  I knew Ascent would be a book I would find difficult to put down.

I was somewhat surprised on page 34 to read that in the New Year of 1952, the year I was born and when Chris must have been about 17 and a novice climber (he was born 6 August 1934), he set out to the shores of Lyn Idwal where he stopped to examine the Idwal Slabs. He felt is was a relatively easy-angled sweep of rocks that was obviously climbed as there were lines of scratched footholds snaking up the cliff, made by boot-nails. He scrambled/climbed up solo hardly noticing the drop below him, until he reached a ledge stretching across the top of the slab.

He says ‘he felt a moment of elation and then wondered how the hell he was going to get down.’ 

There was no obvious way off up or down. That was exactly how I felt but at least I had an experienced climber above me who I was attached to by a rope.

The re-assuring thing I find after 48 years is that, like me, Chris experienced fear.  

In the end he decided to retreat down the way he had come up and was much more aware of the drop below. When he reached the bottom he said ‘I felt the weight of fear lift with a huge sense of relief.’

However, that did not deter him from climbing back up with an experienced climber the same day to link three routes Faith, Hope and Charity. His climbing career had truly begun and the rest is history as they say.

Meanwhile, I was still stuck on a little ledge and felt I couldn’t move. My legs were shaking and I was getting more and more tired. My climbing companion above me was shouting instructions to lift one of my legs up high to a foothold. I think I eventually shouted ‘climbing’ after deciding I couldn’t stay there forever and there was a tug on the rope and I think I was pulled up rather than climbed up. Either way we reached the top and the escape route from the face. So I could argue that I had conquered a route that Chris Bonington hadn’t but, given there are a lot of different routes, this was not the case.

In any event this was the first and last time I was to climb with a rope and the nearest I got to real danger in the many years since of fell walking and long-distance walking.  My highest risk was going over Striding Edge with a large pack after snow and after someone had died up there the previous week.

So as with Chris Bonington, for me the rest is history but either way Idwal Slabs was to have a profound effect on both of our lives and the directions we went in.  ‘I Chose not to Climb’ and you can read what I did instead in these Secret Diaries of a Long-distance Walker.

When I said to Chris that I was pleased to hear that he had taken up and was enjoying walking, he did say that climbers do walk. I agreed but said that many walkers, including myself, don’t climb. However, I remain fascinated as to the challenges climbers undertake and the risks they are prepared to accept. 

His new book is an excellent and gripping read.








THE COT COMBO WALK – Day 6 – The Calm before the Storm, A Deja Vu Moment, Giant Wade, The Bridestones, Carol’s Tree Day.

Post 204: 17 October 2017, the COT COMBO WALK Levisham to the Bridestones. 

We started walking from Levisham at about 8.15am against a forecast of strong gales in Ireland and the west caused by the hurricane Ophelia. What would happen if the gales changed their course and came east? It was somewhat strange to walk towards the Hole of Horcum in completely calm weather.


The weather was a bit eerie in the bottom of the hole and quite humid and warm. Presumably it was the warm front of the low pressure on its way. By coincidence, back in 1997 in my book, On Foot from Coast to Coast: the North of England Way, I then described the hole as dramatic and atmospheric and that in autumn mist can make it grey and eerie.  It was a deja vu moment.


The moor falls away 400 feet into a huge hollow. According to legend, the hollow was created by a giant who scooped up a handful of moor and threw it at his wife: he missed and the handful of moor formed Blakey Topping. However, the real reason for the formation of the hollow is that springs between the lower calcareous grit and the Oxford clay eroded away the hillside. The Oxford clay eroded more quickly and undermined the layers of rock which collapsed and enlarged the hollow to its present size. All the soil and clay from the valley has been washed down by the small stream.

Climbing down into the hole and up out at the end saps the energy and so we had our banana and coffee break at the top.


We passed a strange stone just off the A169 with 1975 on it, but we do not know its history.


We then turned left along the Old Wife’s Way. As it is a bridleway I decided this would make a good cycling route in the spring but do behave as you could be on camera.


We shortly turned off the Old Wife’s Way towards the Bridestones. 


Again there was some eerie light.


The Bridestones.

We decided to stop for lunch at the Pepperpot Bridestone but Sid the Yorkshire Man and Carol were a little nervous about my chosen location under the overhang and came up with stories about rocks collapsing on people. I explained that I had once had lunch there with my friend Penny many years ago and we had survived. She had even brought me a piece of fruit cake and and no doubt they had done the same? No!

To prove my point I posed to show my immense strength, should it collapse. Nothing like tempting fate!  Oooh I didn’t notice that big crack!


After a delightful lunch with some sun, we descended to Stain Dale where Carol had quite a few tree moments.


It was a delightful walk along the valley bottom and again humid and warm, with no wind.


Carol had another tree moment when we climbed out of the valley, just after Staindale Lodge. Fortunately, the tree hadn’t fallen on her head.


After passing the Fox and Rabbit pub and steeply dropping down Cross Dale, we followed the Sleights Track and then the very steep road back to the car at Levisham and the Horseshoe Inn.

Bizarrely, for the middle of October,  people were having lunch outside the pub in warmth and calm, whilst in Ireland, Cornwall and the West people were being killed or seriously affected and property damaged by the gales.

What a strange world we lived in.

Miles Walked 12.7

Steps 26,600

Calories Burnt 1,500

Average pace 19.16 Minutes per Mile 

Maximum Pace 14.42 Minutes per Mile 

Elevation Gain 1,530 Feet (now I know why I was so tired at the end) 

Maximum Elevation 929 Feet. 







Post 203: An Undercover Operation and Walk to find the MK2 Spitfire. 

I had been tasked with trying to find a Mk2 Spitfire, which the resistance on the North York Moors had reported may have landed in the area of the North York Moors Railway.

Leaving York just after dawn with Sid the Yorkshireman and Carol the plan was that they would parachute me into Pickering Station from their Kia Sportage (they have a high frame) before anyone was properly awake. They would then go and do a walk around Lastingham as a decoy and then pick me up at the end of the day after the operation. It was felt that a sole agent would stand a better chance of getting through enemy lines, particularly around the occupied French village of Le Visham. 

Waiting for the train there were one or two distractions. This is a common tactic used by the enemy and wouldn’t work on me.


There were also an increasing number of soldiers appearing.

I had no trouble getting my ticket for the train and no identity papers were asked for, but I did have trouble catching the first train missing it by 2 seconds. As I bought the ticket the whistle to leave went. All top agents, even James Bond have mishaps and so, although a set back, it wasn’t a disaster.

It gave me chance to check out some of the vehicles in the area. There were many.

It was definitely the 1940s.

Eventually my steam train left, although soldiers were everywhere. It was so full I couldn’t get a seat so stood up looking out of the window.


There were special sniffer dogs that even sniffed out of the window of the train!


However, I had showered in the morning and so wasn’t caught by them.

I successfully passed through the enemy occupied territory of Le Visham,

without being stopped, although some passengers had to produce identity papers.

It was getting a bit hot (summer in October), so I decided to get off the train at Goathland and walk the few miles through the North York Moors to Grosmont where the Spitfire was last reported. This would decrease the chance of being identified as an agent.

However, I felt the entertainer may have been a spy as he had his eyes on me.

P1030772Goathland seemed to be friendly territory. There were even one or two Russians about who were now on our side and the lady with the mangle would put fear into anybody.

I began to relax when I found the Home Guard were around. We all know how Dad’s Army would win any battle for us. Also a car the same as the only car my Grandad ever had was in the garage – it must be friendly territory!

I followed the old railway incline to Beck Hole and took a path up to the current railway line to have lunch, in what is normally a secluded and quiet spot. However, for some reason a few walkers and a Ranger looking for Thomason Waterfall came along. The Ranger in particular wanted me to encourage people to go to the Whitby Museum as it is struggling financially. So do go or it will close! 


I watched some trains pass.


The scenery hereabouts was stunning and there were plenty of trees I could hide in should I be detected. There was even a horse for quick getaway. Not that I have ever ridden one.


After passing the goods yard, with trains awaiting renovation, I descended to Grosmont after helping some ladies out who were lost.


The were many, many people about, but there were rumours that a Spitfire was in the car park. I wandered over and sure enough one was there in excellent condition. Mission accomplished. Had my mobile had reception, I could have phoned Sid the Yorkshireman and my task would have been completed.

No doubt I would then be given an award for bravery by Winston Churchill


The only alternative now was to return to the pre-arranged pick up point of Pickering where they would make contact when they had finished their walk – the emergency rendezvous.

Before leaving I couldn’t help but admire another car like the only car my Grandad ever had – we called it a Stuffy Duffy.


I managed to get a seat on the train, which was absolutely packed.

Pickering was also packed and there were so many distractions with music and dancing (see videos posted separately!) that I didn’t hear Carol phone to say they were near Pickering. By the time I picked up a message from them they were in Malton.



Even one of the sniffer dogs found it all too much.


Folks were waiting for the night safe to be blown.


Or just relaxed.


Or acted suspiciously.


Carol had already told me what a delicious meal they had eaten in Lastingham, but it was rations for me now. A pasty and a cake.

I came across a car that I think was the bigger version of my Dad’s car when I was a child. His was a Triumph Mayflower. Like my Dad’s car, the gear change was on the steering wheel.


There were still military vehicles about, so I was still not safe.


How to get home?  There was only one way – the Coastliner.


I got a seat but was then tortured, presumably by the enemy, to try and get some information as to what I had been up to. A lady on the bus talked with a high shrill voice non stop for nearly two hours!

Only when I got to York and caught my second bus with 2 minutes to spare did I escape the torture.

I now know what it must be like for soldiers who arrive home after, torture, danger, rationing and distractions to find there is no welcome home and the wife is not due back until the next day. It’s tough being an agent.

Miles Walked 6.7. 













THE COT COMBO – Day 5 – Autumn Colours, A Big Horned Bull, Lots of Mud, Sweat, Slipping and Steam, A Bravery Award? The War Weekend, A Couple Drop Lucky, The Mouseman.

Post 202: 10 October 2017,  THE COT COMBO WALK continued, Snape to Levisham. 

We arrived at Snape village hall and parked up at about 9.00am. We were following my North of England Way to Lockton and then would largely follow the Tabular Hills Walk back to Snape.

We soon passed a wind chime bell and wondered what it was doing in such a remote place.


It was soon clear that there had been a lot of rain in the past few days and it was very wet underfoot, making it quite slippy and muddy. However, we had our ‘winter treads’ on. The path to and past Middle Farm was meant to be on the Moor to Sea cycle route but you would need to be a pretty good and fit mountain biker to follow it! It was hard enough walking over it.


We came across tinder fungi. They were some of the largest I had ever seen.


We crossed over the stream of Raygate Slack and eventually emerged above Newtondale. The Newtondale Gorge was was created by a glacier draining from the Esk Valley some 10,000 years ago.


There were fine views all around.


We descended to Levisham Railway Station and stopped for a rest, banana and coffee break, whilst videoing a steam train coming into the station. On the 13/14/15 October this will become Le Visham a French station for the North York Moors War Weekend, when many people dress up in 1939-40s outfits and drive vehicles of the period. Celia is away with the car, so I have 2/3 buses to catch and then a steam train in order to attend, so it will be a bit like the 1940s for me.

A steep ascent followed and a close encounter with a herd of Highland Cattle, which were coming in the opposite direction on the lane and then our right of way path. Can’t they read? However, being friendly Yorkshire and, despite their big horns, they were quite friendly.

There was a mountain rescue sign and we did wonder about calling them!



As we ascended the narrow grassy path, avoiding the cattle wherever possible, there were fine views back. Note the comment in one of the videos by Sid the Yorkshireman that he didn’t fancy driving the bull past Carol and myself. I was left to film the big bull with huge horns and calves, whilst it tried to stare me out (see videos on Facebook Page comments). I may yet get a bravery award from the Queen for dedication to walk filming.

The steam from a train can just be seen amongst the green and brown tree mosaic.


We continued to Levisham Village, which is over a mile from the station and passed the Horseshoe Inn, which does good food!


And popped into the church

There was then a very steep descent and ascent to Lockton, past the Mill


There were fine views in the direction of the Hole of Horcum as we ascended the steep lane


We found an ornate bench opposite an information board and had lunch.


A fox, the youth hostel and the church were then passed to where we again descended a steep and muddy hill.

As we crossed Levisham Beck and ascended the hill on the other side of the valley, we came across Byrony and Rory Hancock from Guilford, who were on holiday. Their walk guide was a bit confusing and had led them to descend the valley too early, whereas to get to the Hole of Horcum, where they were walking to, they needed to stay high for another mile or so. It so happened that we had finished my North of England Way section and so I was able to give them my book with very detailed guidance so they could complete their walk. By an even stranger coincidence the Hole of Horcum is featured on the front of the book! What a small world. Hope they enjoyed the rest of their walk.


Our route took us in the opposite direction to pick up the Tabular Hills route and go past the old and redundant church.


Again this was muddy, slippy and tiring but beautiful.


Arriving at Farwath we crossed the railway line and did some more train filming – 2 for the price of one – a steam and a diesel train (see Facebook Page Comments for videos)


After another steep ascent we passed some a Free range area for children.


Just before Newton-upon-Rawcliffe we came across a memorial bench carved presumably by the descendants of Robert Thompson.  He was the famous mouseman of Kilburn (born 7 May 1876- died 8 December 1955) and carved a featured mouse on almost all the furniture he made. It is claimed that the mouse motif came about accidentally in 1919 following a conversation about “being as poor as a mouse”, which took place between Thompson and one of his colleagues during making of the cornice for a screen.


From the bench we watched and filmed two more trains!

After that there was some fairly routine track and lane walking back to the car.


Miles Walked 12.70

Steps 27,100

Calories Burnt 1500

Average Pace 19.54 (quite slow due to the conditions!) 

Maximum Pace 13.08 Minutes per Mile

Fastest Split 0-2 Miles 19.47 Miinutes Per Mile 

Elevation Minimum 186.3 Feet 

Maximum 680.4 Feet.