Day 15 – Powered by Gloopy Jam, Knights Templars, The Finest View in England, Heroes and Wasters.

Post 237: 22 February 2018, The Inn Way, Hamilton Drove Road to Cold Kirby. 

It was some relief that one of my blog readers, who makes home-made jam, was able to re-supply me. It is made to a ‘strict specification’ that it is not too runny and does not ‘soak’ into my home-made roll. Gloopy jam is ideal.

Now you may wonder what is so important about jam. Well when you get to my ‘bus pass age’ you need all the help you can get on these walks and jam is great at providing fairly immediate energy after lunch. Cheese, bacon, ham, chicken etc etc tend to take too long to digest and do not give energy when it is most needed.

IMG_3178We arrived at Cold Kirby at about 9.00am and it was a balmy 1 degrees. Cold Kirby is often much colder, hence the name, due its exposed location.

St Michael’s Church dates from the twelve century and was rebuilt in 1841. it was originally ministered by the Order of the Knights Templars, a religious group that supported pilgrims and knights during the Holy Land Crusades in the 12th-14th centuries.

Leaving Cold Kirby we soon came across some majestic restored stone walls.

P1100176After passing Murton Heights fine views emerged


P1100178The Easterside Hills near Hawnby and beyond, from where we had walked in previous weeks, could be seen.

P1100179After a coffee and banana break below Noodle East we ascended to what remains of it, with great views back.

Noodle East 

P1100185P1100186We reached the Hamilton Drove Road to rejoin The Inn Way. We then joined the Cleveland Way to follow it to High Paradise Farm (see previous blog for opening times for refreshments etc). We were now on the Mosaic Walk where one of the many mosaics along the 36 miles route was in evidence. This is a circular route from Sutton Bank.

P1100187Just beyond a special gate Sid the Yorkshireman and Alf posed where James Herriot was photographed for the front of his biography. With no dog, Alf just made dog noises.


P1100190Near High Barn lunch was beckoning, but due to a cold easterly which was being sucked over and down the ridge we carried onto the nearby quarry for some shelter.

P1100191P1100192Rejoining the Cleveland Way along the escarpment the expansive views were stunning.

P1100193P1100195It was a bit further along from here at Sutton Bank where Alf Wight (James Herriot) said ‘The Finest View in England’ was. On a foggy day you have to make do with me as a German walking friend once found out. Not quite the same!

P1070771We reached Whitestone Cliff and with rays of light the views were pretty impressive.

William Wordsworth and his new wife Mary Hutchinson watched the sunset from the escarpment on their wedding night.

“Every day is different up here  and often the far hills are dreamlike with distance, but there are other times, on the frosty mornings or after a night’s wind, when you can almost reach out and touch the flat top of Penhill, when you can look down Wensleydale and peep into the entrance of Coverdale with the long summit of Great Whernside rearing above its neighbours. On those days the mighty plain seems like a narrow valley between the two ranges of hills. (J. Herriot ‘James Herriot’s Yorkshire 1979).

I converted todays view to black and white.

P1100204Gormire Lake was far below us.

P1100203Alf below was rightly proud to announce that he, with a colleague, had carried the oak bench from Sutton Bank (nearly a mile) and fixed it in position (as below) above Garbutt Wood. We decided to give Alf an honorary hero award.

P1100197There is a tiny memorial plaque on the bench. P1100200It is said that from here, when steam trains were in use, you could follow a train all the way from York to Darlington. 

P1100202The Inn Way leaves the escarpment at this point to head towards Dialstone Farm. Sid the Yorkshireman got quite pedantic as to which gate we should go through even though they were only about 100 yards apart. By the time he had finished pontificating on the matter we were ready to throw him off Whitestone Cliff,  just where a knight on horseback was reputedly lured over the cliff on his white horse, by the Devil dressed as the Abbott of Rievaulx. 

We passed Dialstone Farm, which was once an inn on the drover’s road. From the 17th century The Hambleton Races used to take place here and were bigger than York or Newmarket races. It is still a training area for horses.

If we didn’t find the Devil today on the escarpment, we did find he or his friends work on the final mile road section back to Cold Kirby. We managed to fill a bag of rubbish to take for recycling that had been thrown mainly out of cars, as well as an abandoned road sign and kitchen fan. Unbelievable.


A sign in the village summed it all up!

P1100208Apart from the last mile it was a fine walk. Somewhat flatter and easier than many of our previous winter walks on The Inn Way 

Miles Walked 10.2

Steps 23,000

Calories Burnt 3,300






Day 14 – The Hawnby Inn is Closed- Aaagh! The Winter Olympics came to Yorkshire, Far Away from the World, Paradise is Closed, Beware Adders, Sid the Yorkshireman Cleans his Car in the River

Post 236: The Inn Way, 12 February 2018, High Banniscue to Hambleton Drove Road

Carol had succumbed to a cold virus so there was only Sid the Yorkshireman and myself when we arrived at the recently closed Hawnby Inn. A sad sight indeed. However, the post lady informed us later that there were plans to re-open it, but it could be up to two years. Many of the residents of this upper part of Hawnby worked at the inn and so it was now very quiet there as they looked for work elsewhere.


Hawnby is named after a Scandinavian farmer called Halmi and has a lower half and an upper half. Historically, it has been a strong Methodist village and John Wesley came to the village in 1757.

We headed east along the lane from the pub car park and then headed north-east then north on a delightful footpath and bridleway past Little Banniscue and Low Banniscue. The snowdrops were a delight.

P1100126P1100124P1100125There was much woodland clearing taking place.

We reached Crows Nest and then headed south-east to High Banniscue to resume The Inn Way. With the sun out there were lovely views towards Nova Scotia Farm and Hawnby Hill.

P1100129P1100130At this point I came across what would make a fine emblem for the North York Moors Winter Olympics. You can see the ‘Yorkshire Olympian’ if you look closely. The ‘sport’ would be Winter Cross Country Walking.  

P1100131Our winter walking on The Inn Way has at times felt like a Winter Olympics and we had encountered much ice, snow, mud and winds on our walks. Indeed J.S Fletcher in his book The Enchanting North 1908 said about this area:

“The dales that stretch away in various directions from Rievaulx are as lonely as they are picturesque. In summer they are solitary; in winter, almost impossible to traverse. One may follow such roads or paths as there are along them for considerable distances without encountering a human being or seeing more than an occasional farmstead, far away from the world. But their beauty no one will doubt who cares to explore their recesses”

Even 110 years later in 2018 there are many walks where we have not met anyone else. There are also some days in winter when the moors become almost impossible to traverse!

Further along there were some other interesting ‘puddle ice creations’. Can you see the womb like animal figures in the middle?

P1100132Back to reality we had some lane walking back to Hawnby.

P1100133Where we stopped in what was probably the best coffee and banana stop of the whole Inn Way walk. Built in 1909, presumably as a horse stop, it was very sheltered, warm and sunny.

P1100123P1100134Leaving the village we soon crossed Hawnby Bridge over the River Rye.

P1100137We then climbed around Coombe Hill with fabulous retrospective views.

P1100139Before descending towards Arden Hall, situated in the beautiful Thorodale wooded valley.  The building dates from the 17th century although it sits on a Benedictine nunnery which dates from the 12th century. Some remnants remain in the hall including a medieval fireplace. A pond known as Nun’s Well can sometimes be spotted through the trees.


P1100141P1100142A steep long ascent followed to join the Dale Town Common bridleway, with superb views back towards Hawnby and the moors beyond.

P1100144A little snow remainedP1100145It was cooler and breezier on the tops and the sheep huddled together near their food. We started looking for a sheltered lunch spot. P1100148After nearly missing our bridleway at a fork we reached the Hamilton Drove Road and as Paradise was closed we settled for lunch in the shelter of a wall.

P1100151We saw a few casual walkers without rucksacks who had just walked from the nearby car park for a breath of fresh air.

The Hamilton Drove Road, along which marches the Cleveland Way National Trail, was an important drover’s road between Edinburgh and York, Malton and other market towns in the South of England. This mainly occurred between the 17th and early 19th centuries when livestock were moved to the south. The road was previously used by Roman legions.

Having had our lunch in a cool spot, we left The Inn Way to find a route back to the car along the tops, where ice puddles were clinging on, making delightful patterns.

P1100152P1100153At least the adders would be hibernating.

P1100156The Bilsdale mast could be seen in the far distance and the views were 360 degrees. P1100159We descended to Sunny Bank Farm where our destination Hawnby could be seen in the distance, below Hawnby Hill and Easterside Hill. P1100161A little further on there was a fine view of Hawnby Bridge and its surrounds. It was designed by the famous architect John Carr.P1100162We crossed over the River Rye again at Dalicar Bridge where, whilst I was taking this photograph, Sid the Yorkshireman saw a kingfisher.

P1100163We made a small diversion to the 12th Century All Saints Church decorated all around with snowdrops.

One of the stained glassed windows commemorates those who were lost in the Great Way 1914-18 and the numbers were high as the local vicar, known as the fighting parson of Hawnby, encouraged local men to join up.

It had indeed been a fine walk in good weather, but we mustn’t tell Carol as she will feel she has missed out! 

Sid the Yorkshireman decided on a ‘country drive’ back to York taking in Caydale Mill Ford. It was more like a river running down the road!

Last week he cleaned his boots in the river, this time it was his car! 

A video is available on You Tube by searching under david maughan and looking for my photograph. Alternatively it is on Facebook.


Miles Walked 10.5

Steps 22,000

Calories Burnt 3,100








Day 13 – The Sun Shines in Bilsdale or Does It? The Oldest House on the North York Moors? In Search of Grouse Butt 3 and 7, A Place to Grow!

Post 235: The Inn Way,  8 February 2018, Black Holes to High Banniscue

On the B1257, car parking for where we wanted to start the walk was a bit limited. There was a pull in near Spout House and as it seemed unoccupied we decided to park there. It was only when we got back we realised that it was occupied.

P1100091 The present Sun Inn next door was opened in 1914.

P1100092To the right of the pub is the gravestone of Bobbie Dowson, a famous local huntsman as well as cricketer of the Scout House team, who died in 1902. The local vicar refused to have the headstone in the graveyard because of the hunting motifs carved into it.


There is a much older Sun Inn to left of the current Sun Inn. This cruck-framed cottage was built in 1550 and is reputedly the oldest house in the North York Moors. It was originally a farm tenant’s dwelling, before becoming a licensed inn in 1714. For 200 years it provided refreshments to locals and travellers before closing in 1914 when the new and current Sun Inn opened.   In the 1970s the National Park Committee restored the old Sun Inn as it was falling down. Many of the original features, fixtures and fittings remain.P1100095We soon started following a route to grouse butt 3 and 7, which is where we finished on The Inn Way on Sunday. We passed by Hollin Bower Farm and above Low Crosset Farm, it getting cooler and more misty as we ascended.  P1100096An ascent onto the open moorland followed where the route finding got very tricky to say the least. The bridleway we were following soon disappeared and Sid the Yorkshireman headed off across the heather after leaving a track which was not on my older map.

P1100097Confusing or what?

This got worse when we found a triangle of tracks, which was on Sid the Yorkshireman’s newer map but not mine.

In such a situation and with the mist coming down I got my compass out to try and determine where we were. The grouse butts should have been in sight but not only are they hidden from the grouse they were also hidden from us.

Just as we were about to give up and head back along the track we came across grouse butt 4 and 6. More confusion as to why there were two numbers? We worked out that the number used depends on which way you are shooting.  I vaguely remembered the one we wanted just after Carol had fallen was 3 and ?

P1100098We headed along the line of the grouse butts and found 3 and 7 and the faint path nearby on which Carol had fallen (see previous post 234). It was time to regroup for the second time in this butt and have a banana and coffee break.

Eventually we resumed on The Inn Way route  before it disappeared again and so we took the clear track instead which ran parallel with it. We soon dropped below the mist with fine views along Bilsdale. Our next destination was Easterside Hill in the very far distance in the second photograph! P1100099P1100100After a long muddy descent and ascent and lunch, we reached Low Ewe Cote farm which, instead of ewes, had a herd of cows in the yard.

The farmer kindly came out to escort us through the yard. We got talking and he explained how he was making the holiday accommodation below which would be placed on his son’s farm further down the valley, in the process saving himself thousands of pounds. He promised to let me have further details when it was finished. In the meantime you can find it on Facebook under Lockton Shepherd Huts. Should be a great place to stay!

P1100104We continued to High Banniscue Farm where we turned off The Inn Way to find a route back to my car.  We passed Easterside Hill.

P1100105P1100106Eventually we reached Crow Nest surrounded by snowdrops.

P1100108Then a descent and ascent along a B.O.A.T, with Bumper Castle below us, led to a grouse deciding which route to follow at the junction of the B.O.A.T and bridleway! P1100113The B.O.A.T descended to Malkin Bower.

P1100114With fine views along Bilsdale

P1100116We then entered Hambleton, which is a place to grow! Being over 6 foot 2 inches do I really want to grow any more?

P1100117Does the sun shine in Bilsdale – well there are two Sun Inns. But no the sun didn’t shine today. It was claggy all day. 

Miles Walked 13.1

Steps 28,000

Calories Burnt 3,700

Day 12, Kitchen Flood, Spilt Milk, Slipping and a Sliding, Trapped, The Cavalry Arrived, Time and Life Move Swiftly, Vikings, A Fall, The First Archimedean Screw.

Post 234: 4 February 2018: The Inn Way, Rudland Rigg to Black Holes

At 7am (too early for a Sunday) I filled my Camel Pack with water, not realising I hadn’t screwed the cap on properly. Just after breakfast I noticed the kitchen floor was covered in water, which delayed me considerably whilst mopping up. Rushing to catch up as Sid the Yorkshireman would be banging on the door at 8am I then knocked a bottle of milk over. Sometimes you get a feeling it’s going to be one of those days!  

The forecast had been for early snow at about 8am and then brightening up as we arrived at the car park, just after Ousegill Bridge, above Bransdale, at 9.00am. I could just see the location of my adopted trig pillar in the far distance on top of the escarpment. I will end up there one day with a Canadian walking friend who passed away far too young and asked to be placed there. I was not planning to go there soon but when we suddenly found Sid the Yorkshireman’s car sliding uncontrolled down a hill towards Spout House I began to wonder. P1090982Just as we were about to get our gear on a snow storm arrived. P1090972It was so bad and went on so long we thought we would have to abandon the walk and take a few photographs and go for a coffee somewhere. There are not many cafes in this wilderness! The roads deteriorated quickly but we decided to leave the car park. P1090971


P1090974When we reached a hill Sid the Yorkshireman drove very slowly and we thought with 4 wheel drive we would be okay.  That was until the car started slipping and sliding down the hill towards Spout House. We were about to be spouted into a wall! I grabbed a car handle and braced myself for a crash as the car’s speed increased out of control and I could see some pretty hard stone walls directly ahead.

Sid the Yorkshireman managed to get control of the car again as it somehow came to a halt. It was time for a re-think again. We decided we couldn’t carry on ahead as there were more steep hills and so turned round and went back, The four wheel drive worked on the ascent of the hill and we headed back towards the car park. We decided that we couldn’t go further after the car park due to another steep descent and were in effect trapped.

At this point the Cavalry arrived over the hill as though it was a was a movie in the far west and we cheered!


P1090977P1090979Some locals then appeared in their cars so they must know what time the gritter comes round the North York Moors remotest valley on a Sunday!

Not only that, there was also some improvement in the weather such that, with an improving forecast, we decided the walk was back on. It was now 10.00am and so we had lost an hour, but at least the car and us were intact! P1090983Normal business resumed and we headed off walking along improving roads. Spikes were compulsory even for Sid the Yorkshireman.

P1090984P1090986We soon turned off the road to begin climbing to Rudland Rigg where we would rejoin The Inn Way from earlier in the week. There were fine views towards  BransdaleP1090989P1090990

IMG_3144We then walked into low mist and all became grey again as we arrived at Rudland Rigg

As we descended the weather improved and according to the forecast there was less than a 10% chance of more snow. The views were fabulous as we descended towards the bottom of Bransdale. We discussed whether 4 wheel drive or winter tyres (I have the latter) are better on ice and snow. The problem is it is difficult to know until your in the situation where they are needed. Clearly both are best, but that is not always possible. P1100007P1100009P1100012P1100013P1100014P1100016P1100018Bransdale Mill came into view. This and much of the land hereabouts is owned and managed by the National Trust.  P1100019This was to be an early lunch stop at just after 11.30am as there was a bench and shelter from the slight wind. The old water wheel and other artefacts are still there. The mill is one of the oldest in the North York Moors dating back to the 13th century. It was used to ground corn and oatmeal. William Strickland restored the mill in 1842. Whilst sitting having our lunch we could imagine the activities that must have gone on there.  It is like stepping back in time and full of interest.

Climbing out of valley bottom after lunch, we passed a sundial with various inscriptions, my favourite being:

Time and life move swiftly. 

How true as you get older!

The imposing Bransdale Lodge could be seen further up the valley.

P1100035Bransdale was named after the Viking settler Brand and is the most remote valley on the North York Moors. Perhaps some of my relatives lived here?! With narrow lanes and few car parks and tourist attractions, such as cafes and information centres, it has a uniqueness and remoteness of its own. On the whole of the walk we only saw one other person on foot, and that was a runner from a remote farm. My sort of place! 

We soon ascended out of the valley bottom heading toward the ridge towards Bilsdale. P1100039There was now a long undulating ascent towards our next destination Black Holes. The name is enough to put you off!

The path through the heather was difficult to find and very tiring. There was an awkward stream and wet area to cross. It was not for the faint hearted or inexperienced walker.

Despite the starkness there was colour and occasional signs of spring low to the ground.

P1100049There was suddenly a scream and I looked back and Carol had taken a tumble. Not the best place as if she was seriously injured it would have been a helicopter air ambulance job!

However, fortunately as she had fallen she had a spasm of cramp and so there was no permanent damage.  We stopped for a breather and a regroup in a nearby grouse butt. There is no A&E out here! I gave some body mineral supplement to Carol, which would reduce the likelihood of cramp. We still had a lot of walking to do! P1100051At nearby Black Holes  it was now important to find our bridleway/track back towards the car.

Fortunately, the track was obvious but where it split I did take a compass reading to check the one we took was heading in the correct direction, easterly. It was now time for a bit of fun photographing tracks. As well as grouse, a mountain biker had left his tracks!

We headed towards Bonfield Ghyll

Where we were delighted to find a working Archimedian screw supplying hydro-electro power to the local 18th century farm, which has never had mains electricity. Owned by the National Trust it was the first of its kind being installed in 2007 to replace a noisy diesel generator.

P1100060We then continued to the ruins of Stork House with expansive views of Bransdale.


P1100070It was with some sadness that we viewed the ruins. There is an inscription on a stone nearby dated 1815!

Carol was in need of a tree hug. P1100081

P1100082Sid the Yorkshireman felt in need of a boot and spikes clean.

P1100084And I felt in a need of a pheasant. P1100087We just needed to find the transport home now. This seemed suitable.

Well it could be four wheeled drive and have winter tyres?! 


A challenging and thoroughly enjoyable day!

Miles Walked 12.1

Calories Burnt 3,800

Steps 28,000





Day 11- Supermoonlighting, Paul Hudson the Weatherman Gets it Wrong, 4 Hat Day, Don’t be a Duffin, Alfred Hitchcock’s Sheep, Ice Patterns.

Post 233: The Inn Way, 1 February 2018, Sheriff’s Pit to Rudland Rigg.

With the alarm clock due to go off at 6.30am, what better way to prepare for a tough walk than spend half the night Supermoonlighting. By Supermoonlighting I mean looking at and photographing a Supermoon. 

It started at 5-6pm the night before when Sid the Yorkshireman telephoned me to ask if I had seen the Supermoon that would not occur for about another 175 years! I think that is not quite right as I have arranged for another one on my next birthday on 21 January 2019. However, there will not be another record Supermoon until 25 November 2034, by which time I will be watching it from heaven I reckon.

I said to Sid the Yorkshireman that it was too cloudy to see the Supermoon. However, he lives at the posh end of the village and they have direct access to Supermoons as he pays higher council tax, despite being a Yorkshireman. So I donned my cold weather gear and got my camera equipment and drove down to the other end of the village just in time to see this big moon rising up into the clouds.

It was not until about 11.00pm, just as I was going to bed, I saw from my bedroom window some breaks in the clouds and the Supermoon appear. My camera and tripod were ready and I snapped my first photo through an opened window. I then got further photographs at just after 3am (through the opened landing window). I woke up at 6.00am and looked out of the front door to see the Supermoon at its best. Here are the results. An awesome sight.


Leaving home at 8.00am we arrived at the very windy Farndale turning car park just before the Lion Inn, Blakey and commenced walking along the Rosedale dismantled railway line to Sheriff’s Pit, to resume The Inn Way.

P1090912After some tricky route finding through overgrown heather, we resumed descending into Farndale with fine views.

P1090913P1090914Then light snow started and we thought that wasn’t forecast by Paul Hudson our weatherman. We hurried onto Church Houses for our coffee and banana break, alongside the closed Feversham Arms.P1090915P1090916We ascended steeply towards Rudland Rigg, with fine retrospective views back to Farndale. 

P1090917P1090920P1090921It was a bleak area in low cloud, not the bright sunshine forecast.

However, in better weather one can appreciate James Herriot’s view of Rudland Rigg that:

‘Oh, the feeling of freshness and freedom up there, with the air keen and the wind sharp, but carrying with it, in the season, the scent of heather. I often feel that the soul of the North York Moors lies in and around Rudland Rigg because of the motif of the whole area is distance and heather,’

P1090924We then left the Rigg and The Inn Way on a quickly disappearing path to descend back towards Farndale.

P1090925It was very tiring through overgrown heather. Eventually we picked up a path and stopped for lunch in a sheltered spot out of the wind. There were great views along Farndale. Until………

To our great surprise a snowstorm arrived! Paul Hudson was not the most popular weather forecaster at this time, but fortunately we had our full winter gear. In my case this includes 4 hats (removed for photographs above!).

P1090933We kept saying that this wasn’t forecast. It was only when I watched Look North News that Paul Hudson admitted that things didn’t go according to plan and it was the first time since 2003! Not sure we would agree with that.

At the bottom of the valley we reached the Duffin Stone. It is one of the stones referred to as a boundary marker by Walter Espec in the documents relating to to his grant of land to Rievaulx Abbey in the twelve century. The name of the stone in those days was Duvanasthwaite. Duvan, or Duffin (on the Ordnance maps). Thwaite refers to a clearing that would have been near the stone.

P1090936We then had to cross the River Dove, which fortunately had a new bridge.

We then spotted three deer cross our path. You can just see their white rears. P1090940At Esk House we came across a lovely Shire Horse, looking miserable with the poor weather.

P1090943We then climbed the final hill of the day only for Sid the Yorkshireman to realise that he had dropped a glove about half a mile back. You can just see him (blue spot!) heading back down the hill to retrieve it! P1090946P1090947After some delay we arrived at the dismantled railway, which is a section of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk. The Rosedale Ironstone Railway was constructed in 1861, a considerable engineering achievement.

Now you will know of Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds. Well we were suddenly surrounded by sheep running hither and thither. Could be an inspiration for a horror movie based on sheep.

Surviving the onslaught we then had a level walk along the railway line, with fine views down the very tranquil Farndale. It is hard to believe that as Wainwright put it in 1973:

‘there are men with souls so dead, with visions so clouded, with appreciation of natural beauty so withered, that they actually scheme to flood the valley with water permanently. You simply can’t credit, can you? ‘

Fortunately, its beauty remains for current and future generations.

P1090959P1090960 I then started looking at the ice patches and the varying patterns they formed. Nature up here can be so creative.

There was a final look down Farndale before reaching the car. P1090969

Miles Walked 12.6 

Steps 27,000

Calories Burnt 3,700