Post 238: 5 March 2018, The Inn Way, Cold Kirby to Rievaulx Bridge.
As for most people in this country, last week had been very strange indeed as Britain was hit by weather unlike anything I or others had known in this country before. It was the coldest weather on record in March. Then the Beast from the East polar weather met Storm Emma with Atlantic blizzards to dump even more snow on the country. ‘A Weather Bomb’ and a ‘Perfect Freeze. Much of the snow has been different to the norm in Britain in that it was powdery ‘ski snow’ which, when the winds came, moved about and formed huge drifts blocking roads and paths.
It must have been bad as we hadn’t done any proper walks on the North York Moors since the 22 February – a week and a half before. I had tried to stop myself from ‘seizing up’ by going on walks around my village, but even on those short flat walks the biting cold and strong winds were unlike anything I had experienced, except for being on board the deck of a ship off Norway at night in the middle of Winter, waiting for the Northern Lights to appear. It is the sort of cold that ‘hurts’ and drains energy after about 30 minutes. On the Moors it could have been fatal so we wisely avoided going there. Doctors had said that anyone aged over 55 shouldn’t do snow clearance as breating in the extreme cold could affect their lungs and during activities cause a fatality. This advice came too late for me as I had already cleared snow from my drive and paths! I was not sure what they would have said about walking up and down over hills in the cold.
As soon as the temperatures increased and the thaw began we decided to head out to the appropriately named Cold Kirby to continue on The Inn Way.
We knew the roads around the Cold Kirby area had been closed for a few days and when we left the main road at Sutton Bank, we immediately came across a ROAD CLOSED sign. However, the road seemed mostly clear, albeit with snow piled up either side. A tractor was removing the last vestiges of snow off the road and we asked the driver if the road was now passable to Cold Kirby. He thought it was.
So continuing our journey we came across some interesting views!
We arrived at Cold Kirby to have an impromptu ‘Kia Meet’After slipping and sliding a few weeks ago on the Moors, Sid the Yorkshireman had decided to splash out on winter tyres and wheels to add to his 4 wheel drive Kia. He did this just before The Beast from the East arrived and so there is no doubt that he is to blame for the bad weather.
He had travelled half way round Yorkshire to pick up wheels and tyres. His winter tyres are the ones on the left and the other Kia’s tyres are the ones on the right – quite a difference in tread, not to mention that the winter tyre compound gives more grip in cold weather.
Carol posed in front of the Church of St Michael (see previous blog) and the mist that entombed the Moors.
We had an interesting start to our walk and thought that if the next 9 miles were going to be like this it could be a really tough day!We then had a tricky steep descent into Flassen Dale at which point Carol decided to put her spikes on. I already had mine on and Sid the Yorkshireman didn’t.
Here we encountered some forest workers who, incredibly, informed us they had worked through all the bad weather the previous week!!! Snow Heroes.
We thought the Euro Forest sign was amusing and wondered what it would be called after BREXIT.We ascended the other side of the valley. Much of the tree clearing was related to pheasant shooting, which is widespread in this area and brings a lot of income to it. We arrived at Pond Farm, Scawton where the sheep were very ‘friendly’ or more likely very hungry. After a coffee and banana break we visited the unique Norman Church of St Mary which is little changed since it was built by the monks of Byland Abbey in 1146.In the porch there is a memorial to five crew members of a Halifax bomber that crashed nearby in 1945. There are also the remains of a carving. The font cover is unusual. We descended to Nettle Dale where The Cleveland Way crossed our path. It is the spaghetti junction of a number of paths.
Small springs emerged in the area. There are some rare ducks.And delightful treesShortly afterwards we reached Reins Farm where there were free range children We descended to Bow Bridge over the River Rye, which leads to Rievaulx Abbey. In the mist it was very atmospheric as we walked towards the Abbey for a lunch stop.
This imposing Cistercian abbey was established in 1132 by twelve French monks and named after the valley Rievaulx, meaning valley of the Rye. St Aelred, the third Abbot, developed the abbey into being largest monastic establishment in England, with over 500 lay brothers and 140 choir boys.
After lunch we continued along the road past the Abbey.
We then came across a resting place of a good Canadian walking friend of mine Penny, who will be forever missed, will forever be young and will not grow old like the rest of us. It would have given her great pleasure to see the snowdrops and celandine that were growing in the vicinity, topped off by the snow. At Rievaulx Bridge we left The Inn Way to follow The Cleveland Way and The North of England Way back towards the car. The nearby house was built in 1885. We then entered Nettle Dale again as, at long last, the sun appeared. We then had a long and gradual, but tiring ascent along the secluded and snowy Blind Side and Tanker Dales, with springs appearing.
At the top we came across a desolate field and some unusual sheep with delightful faces. The snow created some delightful effects. Arriving at Cold Kirby there some unusual sights. Whatever is a Penny Farthing doing there? Also the cow is not real.
At least back in Cold Kirby the fog had cleared.Finally, after the walk, I couldn’t resist stopping off at Sutton Bank to admire the views.
A fine end to the day.
Miles Walked 9.4
Calories Burnt 3,200