Day 6 – Get your Coffin Badge, John O’Groats is in Yorkshire, Stopped for Speeding, A Quick Shower under the Spout.

Post 222: 28 December 2017, The Inn Way Wardle Rigg to Beck Hole

We parked at Goathland near the Mallyn Spout Hotel.  We had the now routine debate as to whether to wear microspikes and Carol and myself opted for them and Sid the Yorkshireman didn’t. He  nearly regretted this later on. We ascended the moor above the Hunt House RoadP1090474There were fine clear views from the Moors, but with little wildlife other than the sheep and grouse. P1090476There was certainly a biting wind and we were pleased when the sun came up above the ridge.  We descended to Hunt HouseP1090478Shortly afterwards we passed Wheeldale Lodge, which was formerly a shooting lodge and then in 1948 became a youth hostel. It sadly closed in 1999.

P1090479Our path crossed the route of the Lyke Wake Walk, which marches 42 miles from Scarth Wood Moor, Osmotherley to Ravenscar on the East Coast.  Since it was first walked on 1 October 1955 over 160,000 people have walked it. Anyone who completes the walk can purchase an official coffin badge. That’s assuming you don’t end up in a coffin trying to do the walk in less than 24 hours.

P1090480Now I always thought John O’Groats was in Scotland. However, it is here in Yorkshire and marked on the map as such. So all those people who say they have walked/cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats in Scotland have got it wrong. They should have come to Yorkshire. To celebrate we stopped here for our banana and coffee break in the bright warming sunshine, sheltered from the wind. It was hard to get going again.

P1090481Emerging from the forest at Wardle Green, we had to do a short out and back to rejoin The Inn Way at Wardle Rigg, from where we had left off on the previous walk.

This proved problematic as trees mud, ice and water blocked our path. Carol who is much lighter than me was nearly catapulted into the mud by the trees as she tried to push them back. See the video on Facebook: The Secret Diaries of a Long-distance Walker for a good laugh. I couldn’t stop giggling!

And of course we had to do it twice!

Emerging from the trees there was a fine prospect of an ascent to Simon Howe.

P1090485 At Simon howe there was a good photograph opportunity.

However, it was too cool to linger and, after some naughty motor-cross bikes passed us illegally and Sid the Yorkshireman fell on the ice again, we descended to Goathland.

Sid the Yorkshireman thought about an early bath but decided the weather was so good we would do an extension to Beck Hole. P1090497We passed the Mallyn Spout Hotel, which was quite busy. P1090498Sid the Yorkshireman was stopped for speeding by PC Nick Rowan from Heartbeat. My first car was a Ford Anglia, which indicates I am no longer 21.

P1090499Being The Inn Way I took the obligatory photographs of the hotel/inns of Goathland or is it Aidensfield in the 1960s Heartbeat TV series. You can take your choice. 

We hurried on as lunch at the station was in prospect. We had a sheltered bench in the sun and were able to watch the trains.  P1090503After lunch we carried on to Darnholme and then got a great video (see Facebook: The Secret Diaries of a Long-distance Walker) of a steam train in the valley far below us. The sound of the train resonated in the valley below as it worked so hard to ascend the incline. A living machine! P1090506After Beck Hole we left The Inn Way to ascend and then descend, somewhat tired, to Mallyn Spout (Waterfall).

P1090507I have never seen it with quite so much water.

IMG_2942IMG_2944P1090516P1090509A final ascent up the many steps to the hotel brought us back to the car and the end of another great days winter walking. We saw few other walkers all day, except around Goathland.

Miles Walked 13.2

Steps taken 30,000.

Calories Burnt 3,500

Maximum Pulse Rate from 52 resting – 132, which is my maximum since getting my fit-bit. 

386 ‘stairs’



Day 5 – Wing Mirrors Frozen, Two Falls and a Knockout, Ooh Kahtoola, Santa Special, Ice,Ice,Ice, DANGEROUS ROCKS, Pulpit Rock.

Post 221: 18 December 2017: The Inn Way, Newton -on-Rawcliffe to Wardle Rigg

The forecast was for warmer weather. A good job as Carol had fallen on the ice in the road the day before in town! No damage caused as a car stopped rather than running over her! It is more dangerous in town Christmas shopping than being on the Moors. Well that’s my excuse.

However, I found out at 7.00am that rain the previous day had frozen solid all over my car and my wing mirrors wouldn’t open. I sprayed them with defroster to no avail.  I drove down to Sid the Yorkshireman’s at 7.30am hoping they would free up or we could use his garaged car only to find he had no diesel in it. He doesn’t like spending money on fuel. No joy with the wing mirrors either so he boiled a kettle – I thought walk cancelled and a cup of tea was on its way! No such luck he just poured boiling water over the wing mirrors and that did the trick.

Arriving at Newton-on-Rawcliffe we saw the gritter arrive, just before the school bus left. Must have been a cold night there too.

We had our usual debate as to whether to wear our Kahtoola microspikes. Carol and myself opted to wear them whilst Sid the Yorkshireman thought he would conserve them as long as possible to save spending another £50 during his lifetime.  Carol put hers on the wrong way but I was soon able to sort that one out. By the end of the day Carol and myself had come to the conclusion it was the best £50 we had ever spent as it saved us having to spend Christmas in hospital………

It was The Inn Way so we started outside an Inn, The White Swan

P1090406 It soon became obvious that our route down to Levisham Station was both very steep and icy. The ground was solid.  Sid the Yorkshireman had two falls. P1090408P1090410After some awkward route finding we arrived at Levisham Station where Sid the Yorkshireman decided it would possibly be the ‘knockout’ if he fell again and decided to put his microspikes on. The road was an ice rink.

P1090411We had hoped a Santa special on the North York Moors Railway might come along but a Monday was the wrong day. Santa has a day off.

P1090413A climb up to Levisham followed with fine views back to where we had descended and ascended and Levisham Station. It must have been hell of a walk from the station with your luggage to the village!

P1090417P1090419At Levisham we found a table for our banana and coffee break and found a good use for our banana protectors. I reverted back to my Viking DNA with horns!

P1090421P1090423The delightful Horseshoe Inn was passed.

P1090420Sid the Yorkshireman suddenly got excited and insisted I get my camera out, just as my hands had warmed up again.  It was some sort of loader on the road and he informed me it was rare to see one on the road – he is the ‘twitcher’ of tractors and agricultural equipment. Hmmm… takes all sorts.

P1090424We emerged onto Levisham Moors, which is part of the Levisham Estate and stretches for several miles over 3,350 acres.

P1090425There was packed ice again.

IMG_2874We had fabulous views in the now bright sunshine towards Skelton Tower

P1090428P1090429Again the path was ice.

P1090431Skelton Tower was built in 1850 by the Reverend Robert Skelton, as a folly to free up his mind amongst its peace and tranquillity.

The views along Newton Dale Gorge are magnificent, especially if a steam train comes along. It is the finest glacial meltwater channel in England, having been formed some 10,000 years ago.

P1090434P1090435We continued along the edge of the escarpment with views down to Kidstye Farm from Huggate’s Scar.

P1090437The views back, below and ahead were delightful with mists and frozen trees giving it an ‘ethereal quality’.  I was on photography overtime, at the same time trying to keep my hands warm; I have mittens without fingers to help plus, when the cameras away, another pair of gloves to go on top.

P1090438P1090439P1090440The Fylingdales early warning system could be just seen on the horizon.


P1090443Across the other side of the gorge was my named Pulpit Rock, our lunch-time destination but still some way to go.

P1090444Just after Yewtree Scar and Pifelhead Wood we had to descend another tricky steep and icy path, high above a stream.

P1090445 Crossing the railway line again we then had a steep ascent to Needle Point. Half-way up Carol suddenly realised she had dropped her hat (easily done – I could run a second hand clothes shop with the hats and gloves we find on walks) and had to go back for it.

There followed a level walk along the escarpment (don’t be put off by the signs saying DANGEROUS ROCKS). I think it is aimed at naughty bikers and cyclists who occasionally, illegally, churn up the path. However, I wouldn’t recommend it for children or dogs as you might loose them over the edge.

We finally arrived at Pulpit Rock, which I named after having visited the Norwegian Pulpit Rock (Preikstolen), the last occasion in July. 

The Yorkshire Pulpit Rock is not quite so dramatic as the Norwegian Pulpit Rock , but has gorgeous views, steam trains that pass below and a bench for lunch! It is also much less busy.

P1090447P1090450P1090452P1090455The bench is a memorial to Professor Frederick Allin Goldsworthy, the father of the famous landscape sculptor, photographer and environmentalist, Andy Goldsworthy OBE. Andy now lives and works in Scotland.

P1090453P1090456Energies restored it was back to icy paths through the forests.

P1090460P1090461We did see a fruit picker, but we didn’t see another walker (apart from the odd dog walker) all day!

P1090462After leaving The Inn Way at Wardle Rigg, we descend back to the railway line and the Platelayers’ Cottage.

P1090463Alongside is the former location of Raindale Mill, which was built in 1712 and has now been moved to alongside the River Foss in York near the Castle Museum!

P1090464Arriving back at Newton-on-Rawcliffe at 3pm (we had started at 8.45am) I had to finish with a photograph of ice.


Miles Walked 14

Steps 31,598

Calories Burnt 3777.

I lost 2lbs on the walk! 

Resting Heart Rate 52 – Maximum on day 118










Day 4 – Memorial Benches, Deer, The Bug Hotel, 53 miles at the age of 61.

Post 220 –  14 December 2017, The Inn Way – Appleton Mill Farm to Newton-on-Rawcliffe. 

Parking in Cropton in very cold frosty conditions, we did a short circular walk down to Appleton Mill Farm, which we had reached on Monday. Before leaving Cropton, we had the usual debate about whether we should wear microspikes. Again I decided to wear them.

Leaving Cropton, we passed the first of 4 memorial benches in the area. We will remember them.


We passed the first and last of the days inns. These days it is a delight to find ones that haven’t closed!


There ground was still frozen from the overnight frost.


Just before Appleton Mill Farm a deer appeared.


Returning to Cropton we passed the old well and Church of St Gregory, a Grade II listed building. It was rebuilt in 1844 following a fire.


A second memorial bench was passed.


We passed the Roman camp of Cawthorne, which was a temporary marching fort en route from York and Malton. Away from the camp were expansive views which the Romans would have appreciated to keep an eye out for the Brigante tribes in the area. It must have been a harsh life to be posted here.


At Keldy Banks Farm there was an interesting selection of buildings!

P1090385Peat Road (Track), being a bit higher, had sections of sheet and broken ice  and I was glad I had my microspikes on.


After some uneven, tiring, muddy, icy, and slippy paths we eventually reached Newton-on-Rawcliffe for our lunch and the end of that section of The Inn Way. We had walked over 8 miles and now had to do the return journey. On finishing lunch it started to rain, which we thought was forecast for much later. It meant taking gaiters off, microspikes off and putting waterproof trousers on, then gaiters and microspikes back on, all of course covered in mud. At least we had a bench to perch on, which was a memorial to Kenneth and Patrick Evans who ‘enjoyed the freedom of moors’ as boys but tragically were killed at the age of 21 during the second world war.


We left Newton-on-Rawcliffe on the Rawcliffe Road and left the tarmac at Rawcliffe House Farm where there was an interesting collection of signs.


We passed a dilapidated building ripe for renovation before reaching Thornsby House.


After heading north and then south-west along tracks,


we reached Keldy Castle, which is not a castle. It is a Forest Holidays complex with a number of log cabins, a shop, cafe and reception. The car park area would have been good for ice skating.


There is a bug hotel.


Sid the Yorkshireman ventured into the archery area and came off worse.


We continued through sections of Cropton Forest, which were very dark. Parts of our route were used in The Crosses Walk. This was a walk of 53 miles first thought of in 1971.  It was meant to be completed in one go and one group finished it in 22 hours 55 minutes. The oldest member of the party was 61. There were 180 entrants for the first organised walk! They were fit in those days!


There were two more memorial benches  and as with the others they were in excellent condition and care. We will remember them. 


Miles Walked 14.5

Steps taken 32,830

Calories Burnt 3,820. 








Day 3 – A Witch, Two Children Drown, The Duke of Wellington, A Lost Soul, Dicing with Death

Post 219:  11 December 2017, The Inn Way – Gillamoor to Appleton Mill Farm 

Although technically we were restarting The Inn Way at Gillamoor, where we finished last week, for ease of car travel in icy conditions I decided to start at Hutton-le-Hole as part of the circular route. There isn’t any free parking there so I paid my £4.50 at the car park. The first of only two cars to use it. Sid the Yorkshireman doesn’t get his name for nothing and was horrified that I paid for parking. At least it makes a donation to some quite good toilets! You can always tell a place by the standard of its toilets and Hutton-le-Hole’s are top class!

It was minus 5 degrees. A cold start.

There was some debate as to whether microspikes were needed and I opted for them but Carol and Sid didn’t.

P1090347We passed the Crown Inn, one of the pubs on The Inn Way.


There is story of an old woman from nearby Farndale who used to transpose into a black dog, which would terrify farmers and result in their animals becoming ill. The dog was shot one night by a farmer, who later went round to the old lady to see if she was the black dog as was rumoured. She did indeed have gunshot wounds.

Shortly before arriving at the distinctive Blacksmiths Arms pub, we passed Camomile Farm. In 1900 two small children were playing on a grassy slope above a pond at the farm and fell down the bank and drowned.

P1090350There was not time to enter the St Mary’s Church noted for its 1,000 year old underground crypt, where cock fighting used to take place.

P1090351As well as three Holy Wells dedicated to St Cedd, St Chad and St Ovin, there is a plaque in the village to John Jackson RA who was born in the village and lived from 31 May 1778 to 1 June 1831. He became a notable portrait painter, even painting the Duke of Wellington and the explorer John Franklin.

P1090352Here is Carol half expecting a famous painter to come along to paint her portrait. I took a photograph – what more could she expect in this cold!


After walking through a large field full of game, which we in-advertly shunted to one end of the field, we noticed a game hunt was not far from us. Fortunately, they were not shooting until later. However, when we heard the gunfire later from a distance, it sounded like the Somme.

P1090354At Appleton Mill Farm we crossed the bridge which is designed to take horses.

P1090355We now left The Inn Way on a circuitous route back to the car.  Winter offers new opportunities for photography.

P1090357After Appleton-le-Moors we came across the large disused Spaunton Limestone Quarry, which may be developed as a holiday complex. It is certainly well situated, relatively hidden and would re-vitalise the nearby village.

P1090358P1090359We found an al-fresco lunch stop alongside an old barn, Lingmoor. It was in the sun and provided shelter from the wind. It was a bit like a storage heater as some warmth from the sun reflected back off the building. Carol and Steve chose the floor and I chose a stone trough to sit on. Such luxuries. A helper for the shoot, which seemed to be following us around, was surprised to walk to the back of the barn and see us there.

After crossing the main road to Hutton-le-hole, which sheep wander along unfenced, we descended to the ford and footbridge at Trout Farm. 


P1090361A steep climb to Cockshot Plantation, Back of Parks Road , a B.O.A.T (Byway open to all traffic) and footpath led to Gillamoor, where we felt we had earned a 5 minute break on an icy bench.  A bench, even if icy, is a real luxury on such walks. The view was splendid.

P1090362P1090363Descending from Gillamoor we came across the only other walker ‘mad’ (as some people would think)  enough to be out in the cold. Whereas we weren’t mad as our winter gear kept us as warm as toast and we had maps with us, he didn’t appear to have a map and seemed unsure of his route and whereabouts. Sid pointed him in the right direction back to Kirbymoorside, from whence he had walked.

P1090366It was not a day not to know where you were going. A bit nippy.

P1090369In the evening I went to the cinema with my my wife Celia to see a preview of the new documentary film Mountain. Simply breathtaking filming, journeys, scenery, adrenaline pumping activities, and hair raising adventures.

A question and answer session followed with Robert Macfarlane, which was thought provoking on why thousands now go to the mountains, often risking life and limb. Not least the free climbers who don’t use ropes and one slip or mistake and they fall to their death.

The interviewer, who has climbed Everest, for his next adventure intends to climb one of the world’s highest mountains at over 8,000 metres and then intends to jump off with a small paraglider and skis to bounce off snow promontories. He has done a ‘risk assessment’ in the sense that he thinks descents are the most dangerous part of climbing the big mountains (statistics confirm this). Also it takes a long time to descend on foot increasing the risk. Jumping off is much quicker and therefore less risky! Hmmm………….I am not convinced.

I think I will stick to walking on the North York Moors – which incidentally in winter has to be done with care and due regard to prevailing weather conditions. In the wrong conditions or with the wrong clothing the Moors can be dangerous too.

The documentary is out on general release on the 15th.

A great walk and film to finish off the day.

Miles Walked 14

Steps taken 32,000

Average pace 26 Minutes per Mile

Calories Burnt 3,600.  





Day 2 – Sundial dated 1050, Hyenas Cave, Impassable Fords, Black Rod Technique, Rickets, Winkle Up.

Post 218: 5 December 2017, The Inn Way, Wombleton to Gillamoor. 

We started walking on day 2 of The Inn Way from Wombleton with a fine sunrise in the distance.


Just after Welburn we came across the old dismantled railway line from Helmsley to Kirbymoorside. We don’t think this will be one to be re-opened under government plans.


We arrived at the delightful St Gregory’s Minster. A church has been here since the 7th century, although the current one was built in the 11th century with some additions since.


Above the entrance door is a sundial dating from 1050.


A plaque inside the church reads:

Orm son of Gamel bought St Gregory’s when it was completely broken and fallen down and he had made it anew from the ground to Christ and to St Gregory, in the days of King Edward and in the days of Earl Tostig. Hawarth made me: and Brand was the priest. This is the day’s sun-marker at every hour. 

It is significant because it confirms after a century and a half of Viking settlement here that the settler’s descendants were now using English, not Danish or Norwegian, as the appropriate language for monumental inscriptions.


There are also ancient stone crosses in the porch.

Across from the church just off the road beside the ford is a cave which in 1821 was found to have bones belonging to lion, elephant, tiger, bear, hippopotamus (most northerly remains in the world), mammoth, rhinoceros, wolf plus hundreds of hyenas. It was a hyenas den.

The route of The Inn Way then crosses a ford, which on this occasion was not crossable. This meant a half mile diversion back to the road.


Here there was another impassable ford but fortunately it had a footbridge alongside.

We arrived at Hold Caldron, which looks to be a former mill.


Clearing the trees, the impressive Sleightholme Dale Lodge came into view and a first glimpse of the Moors.


We arrived at the village of Fadmoor and, bearing in mind this was The Inn Way, Sid the Yorkshireman thought he could open the pub using the black rod technique.


Shortly afterwards we arrived at Gillamoor, passing someone who was preparing the Christmas decorations for the Royal Oak Inn.


In the village a sundial was erected in 1800 by public subscription. It has four faces, on top of which is a fifth circular sundial, making it the most elaborate sundial in the country.


We passed St Aidan’s Church, a place of worship since the 12th century. Due to the high, winds situated as it is on the escarpment, it has no windows on the north and east sides.


It was time for lunch with a fabulous view towards Farndale and LownaP1090277


Here we left The Inn Way to find a circular route back to the car.

Feeling sorry for an ancient ash tree we sent Carol ahead to give it a hug.


At Kirbymoorside we came across a noticeboard which highlighted that children in the 1900s suffered from various diseases including rickets, poliomyelitis and bacterial TB.


We then encountered the Hemlsey Winkle Club. This was formed in the 1980s and has donated thousands of pounds for local charities. The first Winkle Club was formed in Hastings in the 1900 by fishermen. Each Winkle Club member carries a winkle shell which they must produce when challenged to ‘winkle up’. Winston Churchill was a member of the club.


We arrived back at the impressive Welburn Hall, now a school. Two ‘potential students’ were trying to escape through the gate. This was a Jacobean Hall from 1603 but was largely destroyed by fire two fires. It was rebuilt in 1891.


Miles Walked 13.4

Steps 28,000 

Calories Burnt 3100

Elevation Gained 695 feet

Mininum Elevation 117 Feet

Maximum Elevation 564 Feet