Day 1 – The Inn Way – Yorkshire Dales – 55th Long-distance Walk, Sid the Yorkshireman is Certified as a Grumpy Old man, A Nervous Breakdown, Snow Angels.

Post 241: 19 March 2018, The Inn Way – Yorkshire Dales – Grassington to Conistone

It was with some anticipation that we embarked on our second Inn Way, but this time instead of the North York Moors it was the Yorkshire Dales.


In view of the forecast of icy roads early on we delayed our departure until 8.00am. Our intended route was blocked first by a road accident and then cars coming off the A64. We therefore carried onto the A1 and followed the sat nav to Wetherby. Big mistake as it then took us towards Harrogate and a huge jam. We turned round and went through Knaresborough to get onto the Pateley Bridge road B6265. Sat navs have their limitations and we often find our local knowledge is better at avoiding jams.

Now Sid the Yorkshireman has allergies to traffic jams and this was a disaster given that we were going to the Yorkshire Dales, which he regarded as the far side of the World. He became, to put it mildly, somewhat negative. He was losing walking time. At this point it was decided to certify him as a grumpy old man.

I was overjoyed with the views before us and stopped the car to take some photographs – more delays.P1100375P1100376P1100377P1100378By this time I needed a comfort break and we followed a sign for toilets to I think Dacre Banks. It took a while to find the toilets as they were not very well signed – more delays. P1100372They served my purpose, but Carol and Steve thought they were some of the worst toilets they had come across. They looked okay from the outside once you have found them!

By this time Sid the Yorkshireman was having a nervous breakdown, but all was not lost as outside the toilets there was a pump and sign!

Speeding onto Grassington, with roads free of ice, we arrived at just after 10.00am – over two hours of travelling, twice the norm. Fortunately, we got the last free car parking space in Grassington as otherwise we would have had to get the men in white coats for Sid the Yorkshireman to take him away – he doesn’t like paying for parking. Most people spend over £700 a year on car parking. Sid the Yorkshireman probably pays about £7 per annum. It was unheard of to have our banana and coffee break in the car but we did. It was then onto the start of the walk further down the main street.

Now as you can see Sid the Yorkshireman  has a ‘new’ hat on, which he thought he had lost but found it again (there is theme here). He brought this on the walk in case the Russians invade and so with that hat on they will think he is on their side.

P1100381Fortunately, I had my infamous ‘1991’ hat on which will go down well when the Americans come to rescue us. This has been lost and found more times than I have had hot dinners, such is life when you are of bus pass age. P1100382The great thing about walking in winter in the Dales is that it is very quiet. In summer the main street would be packed.

Leaving Grassington there was still some ice about.

P1100386The buds on the trees were still being held back by first The Beast from the East and then the Mini Beast. Now it is not for me to put forward conspiracy theories, but I have read that it is possible to control climates and is it a coincidence that the bad weather comes from the East? Now Russia just happens to also be in the East. Hmm….

P1100387Near Town End Farm there was some confusion as, since the guide book has been published, the farm has expanded and the path redirected. However, our route was quite picturesque being snow lined.P1100389

P1100390P1100391We joined the correct path along the edge of Grass Wood. 

We then emerged onto a clearer track with superb views of Kilnsey Crag.

 We dropped down to Conistone and found benches in the centre for lunch in the warm sun. Lovely.

At this point we left The Inn Way to find our way back to the car. We followed he path to Bell Scar and Dib. This was quite dramatic with snow coming down on top of us and big icicles and narrow passageways.

We eventually emerged to more open ground P1100418P1100419Before being confined again as we joined The Dales Way 

The Dales Way was my first proper long-distance walk, which I completed in 1990 and now I was on it again 28 years later not feeling a day older!

P1100427P1100428  This was proved when we went into ‘snow play’ and became snow angels.





Eventually, we got a grip and continued our walk.P1100433The RAF had received reports of strange folks in the area and buzzed us. P1100443 Some of the stiles were interesting. P1100445And there were some stunning expansive views. P1100447P1100448We arrived back in Grassington, which even if you are not religious had a poignant message in God’s own County of Yorkshire.


P1100449It took only an hour and 15 minutes to get back home and Sid the Yorkshireman was a lot happier and you never know, on this walk, he may come to love the Dales as I do, not just  the North York Moors? 

Miles Walked 7.3

Steps 18,000

Calories Burnt 3,300

PS We are on The Inn Way and forgot to take photographs of the Inns.  Oops!




A Day off from Long Distance Walks with The Launch of the Alternative Grand Tour – The Last of the Summer Gear. 

Post 240: 15 March 2017

The previous day I had gone to collect my car in the Midlands following its replacement clutch being fitted. The previous clutch had ‘exploded’, which as I explained in my previous blog is the first clutch replacement in any of my Volvos for over 30 years. Rumour has it that it might have been the Russians in retaliation for the expulsion of their Ambassadors.

Having left York at 6.00am it had taken over 5 hours to get to Wolverhampton in my courtesy car, a BMW Series 2, but only just over 2 hours to get back in my Volvo V40. By no means would I like you to jump to the conclusion that Volvo are better than BMWs. I even got a creme egg and dime bar courtesy of Volvo as well as all expenses paid.

It always seems easier getting back into Yorkshire than leaving it.


I had done enough driving in the last few days and so Alf brought out the emergency reserve transport (his main car was not available due to grandchildren duties). Now we might have done better using the bicycles outside the Lockton Youth Hostel.

P1100364What was worrying is that the wire in the boot was in case the exhaust came even more loose than it was already.  The rubbish (milk bottle and Sainsbury’s bag) in the back were what we collected at the end of the walk. The ‘other bits’ are another story. P1100369However, we had nothing to worry about as there was a decent first aid kit, especially if there were lots of insects about. P1100367

All we had to do now was find the CD player and CDs. This proved impossible as there were only tapes and a tape player. Alf’s children must have had a strange taste in music  as I didn’t recognise any of them. P1100366

Having completed The Inn Way, North York Moors, we had planned to start The Inn Way, Yorkshire Dales, starting from Grassington. However, the forecast was for heavy rain all day so we decided to find a short walk somewhere else, hopefully a bit drier. We thought about the coast but high winds were forecast and in the end we decided on a 7 mile walk around the Hole of Horcum on the North York Moors, which we should finish before the rains came. Coincidently an almost exact replica of our planned walk was in this months Country Walking Magazine.



We were due to start walking from Levisham, but there is a very steep descent and ascent for about a mile to get to the village and Alf wasn’t sure the engine would cope with it. He decided to risk it, despite noticing a gap in the road barrier where presumably a car had gone off the road in the bad weather at a bend to plunge to the valley bottom below.

We started walking at about 8.30am and put waterproofs on from the start. I decided not to take many photographs as it was dank and misty. However, I had to take one entering the Hole of Horcum. P1100360

At the bottom of the hole we had a very early lunch.

We climbed out of the valley up Dundale Griff to Dundale Pond and back to Levisham. We finished walking at 12.30pm and with some spare time decided to audition for Top Gear given that we understood the Top Gear Grand Tour series was due to finish.

Ours would be the Alternative Grand Tour – The Last of the Summer Gear. 

We started by demonstrating the safety features of Alf’s Toyota Corolla GS. We were not sure what the GS stood for but it was possibly, Gone to Seed, but then we weren’t sure whether it referred to the car or the car owner? Or it could stand for ‘Great Scot’.

It certainly did not refer to the chap on the bonnet testing if the pedestrian air bags were as good as on his Volvo V40. No airbags were found. Such bravery and athleticism for someone with a bus pass. We had set up special lighting effects (yes the car lights still worked) for filming, which basically made my legs look supernatural. There are rumours.

IMG_1404 (1)

Unlike with a Volvo V40, the bonnet did bend under my weight!

Our next task was to compare the BMW Series 2, the Volvo V40 and the Toyota Corolla.

The BMW costs in excess of £25,000 and comes with a decent boot of 390 litres, can do 0-62 in 8.8 seconds, maximum speed of 130 mph, is supplied with alloys and had Drive Performance Control Eco, Pro and Comfort and Sport Suspension

The Volvo V40 is about £20,000 and comes with Sensus Connect Navigation, Cruise Control, Alloys, Rear Park Assist, LED lights, the first ever Pedestrian Airbags on a car, three point safety belts and side impact airbags, Drive E-power trains (engines) balancing responsive power with class leading efficiency, IntelliSafe innovations to support you while your driving, helping to protect you against accidents and protecting you if if one occurs. 120 hp, 89 CO2 (so no road tax), twin exhaust pipes with chrome sleeves, roof spoiler, an Information Centre, heated front and rear windows, City Safety, Speed Limiter, SIPs, WHIPS ABS, DSTC (Dynamic Stability and traction Control), Automatic Headlight levelling system, Home Safe and Approach Lighting, IDIS (Intelligent Driver Information System), Bluetooth, High Performance Sound System with radio, CD and DVD (only when not driving!), 1969cc engine, top speed 118 mph, 0-60 in 9.2 seconds, extra urban mpg 62.8.

However, the 17 year old Toyota will appeal to the more prudent driver and offers of over £50 are invited to purchase it. It has aerodynamic sleek lines and turquoise colouring.




Registered in 2001 its CO2 emissions are 162 and presumably the road tax is quite high and it is not eco friendly. It would make an excellent car for any scrap exchange scheme.

It comes with wheels, lights, a steering wheel, a glove box, tape player and chairs. It offers a vibration service for all parts of the body. It has a top speed of 55 mph with the wind behind it.

The exhaust could drop off at anytime and at the present time Sid the Yorkshireman says it sounds like a rally car. Not only does he need to go to Specsavers he also needs a hearing test (they do both).

However, the good news is that it has a working clutch.

On the way home the rain came………


Miles Walked 7.1

Steps 17,000

Calories Burned 25,000




Day 17- My 54th Long-distance Walk Completed, Car Broken Down, The Angel of the North, An Emergency, The Tour de France, Supermoons and Super Snow and Cold, Age Shall Not Weary Them, 211 Miles Walked. Who Reads the Secret Diaries?

Post 239: The Inn Way, 13 March 2018, Rievaulx Bridge to Helmsley

“The cars broken down” Celia, my wife, said on the telephone on Saturday when we were in the Midlands visiting our two 95 year old mothers for mother’s day. “The clutch is not working”.

“Well telephone Volvo Assistance”, I said from some two miles away at my mothers.

“What’s the number?”, she said. “I am in an awkward position at the Co-op.”

“Well put the hazard warners on if its dangerous.”

“There is a card with the number under the CD box and one in the glove box (for belt and braces). I will get a taxi and come to meet you. ”

By the time I got to Celia and the mother-in-law, the car (not the mother in law) was about to go on the lorry loader to be taken to the nearest Volvo garage in Wolverhampton.

We then got a taxi to the mother-in-laws a couple of miles where we were staying.

It was the first time in about 17 years that a Volvo had let me down. The last time was after dropping my daughter off at Northumbria University when my old Volvo 440 ground to a halt under the Angel of the North, due to an alternator problem. The AA had no problem finding us and took us home with the car on his lorry loader.

This was somewhat different as my car was only 15 months old and not meant to break down and I had planned to finish the Inn Way in Yorkshire on Tuesday. We had already postponed once due to the Beast from the East. This was an EMERGENCY.

I got onto Volvo Assistance and on Monday they had a courtesy car at the door. BMW 2 series automatic sport. Not a Volvo V40, but I could make do.


We travelled back to Yorkshire in pouring rain all the way, but I knew the forecast was good for Tuesday and the Inn Way. I also knew by now that a new clutch was required for my car and parts had to be ordered by the garage. I had not needed a new clutch since an old Volvo 340 had needed one about 30 years ago!

So we arrived at Helmsley at about 9.30am to start the last walk on The Inn Way.

This walk, which we had started on the 23rd November last year had been one of the most challenging I had done as we had walked throughout the winter over and through the North York Moors. I had fallen in two bogs, having only fallen in one other bog in the rest of my life. We had encountered deep snow, ice, cold winds, overflowing streams to cross, hills, fog, mist, paths that weren’t there, Carol and Sid the Yorkshireman had both had falls, we had found new routes and paths we hadn’t done before in order to get back to the cars, deep puddles blocking paths, mud and more mud. It had tested our outdoor gear (e.g. waterproofs, insulation, my 4 hats on once occasion, and spikes), knowledge, energy levels, map reading and experience to the maximum. During this time nature has revealed itself with great beauty and power with Supermoons and Super Snow and Cold.

I had loved it!

Today was to be, as in the Tour de France’s last day, our celebration. We knew we would finish the walk and this was a day to really enjoy ourselves.

The forecast was good and much warmer and sunnier than previous walks. Spring had arrived although perhaps briefly. We soon passed Helmsley Castle just after the entrance to Duncombe Park.

P1100315Sir Charles Duncombe, a wealthy London banker and Lord Mayor of London, bought Helmsley Castle and its estate in 1689 on the death of the Duke of Buckingham.

P1100316P1100317We passed the Ionic Temple.P1100318Ascending there were good views back towards Helmsley and the walled gardens of the castle, which are well worth a visit.  P1100320P1100321Carol had her first tree hug of the day. P1100322

We reached Duncombe House, which was built in 1713 by Thomas Browne who later adopted the Duncombe name. The house is occupied by Lord Feversham and is open to members of the public.

P1100323After passing a tree felling area we reached Griff Lodge and The Cleveland Way and The North of England Way. P1100324A helicopter flew over us just as in the Tour de France! Were they filming us?! P1100325Rievualx Abbey could then be seen in its magnificent valley sitting. The monks were not stupid in picking this sheltered, picturesque location.

P1100328 We then reached Rievaulx Bridge, which was where we needed to resume The Inn Way. Repairs were being carried out to presumably where cars and lorries had skidded into it during the bad weather.P1100329We carried on past Ashberry Farm to have our coffee and banana break at a bench with wonderful views in energising spring like weather.

P1100338P1100335P1100336P1100337All that remained was to walk back three miles along The Cleveland Way and The North of England Way to Helmsley for our celebratory lunch at Mannions. 

P1100340Carol and Sid the Yorkshireman were very happy with the delicious food. P1100343Helmsley is a delightful market town to visit out of season, but in the summer can suffer from its popularity with many people visiting.

P1100342All that remained was to have a final photo call in the market place to finish a fine challenging walk.P1100352

Now where did I put my 1991 hat? 

We couldn’t find it anywhere so we drove back along parts of the route, but with no luck.

However, when we got home I found it deep in one of the many Rohan pockets I have. “Age shall not weary them”.

Any typos or other mistakes are not due to gin!!!!

Miles Walked 8.1

Steps 18,000

Calories Burned 3,300

Daily Mileage

Day 1 – 12.8

Day 2 – 13.4

Day 3 – 14

Day 4 – 14.5

Day 5 – 14

Day 6 – 13.2

Day 7 – 11.8

Day 8 – 10.2

Day 9 – 11.2

Day 10 – 12.9

Day 11 – 12.6

Day 12 – 12.1

Day 13 – 13.1

Day 14 – 10.5

Day 15 – 10.2

Day 16 – 9.4

Day 17 – 8.1

Total Miles Walked 211

It is possible to walk The Inn Way as a linear walk and reduce the total mileage to an 89 mile walk. 

Who Reads the Secret Diaries?

65% of readers are women

34% of readers are men

1% are ?

The biggest age group reading are aged 45-54 – 19% women.










Day 16 – The Beast from East, Storm Emma, A Weather Bomb, Kia Meet, Snow Heroes, Free Range Children, Rievaulx Delights, Penny and the Penny Farthing.

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!


P1100222We arrived at Cold Kirby to have an impromptu ‘Kia Meet’P1100226After 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.

P1100227We 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!P1100228P1100229P1100231P1100232We 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.

P1100233Here 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.P1100237We 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. P1100238P1100239We arrived at Pond Farm, Scawton where the sheep were very ‘friendly’ or more likely very hungry. P1100242After 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.P1100245In the porch there is a memorial to five crew members of a Halifax bomber that crashed nearby in 1945. P1100243P1100244There are also the remains of a carving. P1100247The font cover is unusual. P1100246We 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. P1100251There are some rare ducks.P1100252And delightful treesP1100254Shortly afterwards we reached Reins Farm where there were free range childrenP1100255 We descended to Bow Bridge over the River Rye, which leads to Rievaulx Abbey. P1100257In the mist it was very atmospheric as we walked towards the Abbey for a lunch stop. P1100258


P1100264This 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. P1100274At 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. P1100275We then entered Nettle Dale again as, at long last, the sun appeared. P1100276P1100277P1100279P1100281We 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. P1100289P1100292The snow created some delightful effects. P1100293Arriving 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.P1100296Finally, after the walk, I couldn’t resist stopping off at Sutton Bank to admire the views.

P1100301P1100302P1100304P1100308A fine end to the day.

Miles Walked 9.4

Steps 21,000

Calories Burnt 3,200






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