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 






Day 1 – My 54th Long-distance Walk, 17,600 Pints of Beer a Day. A Bridge Too Far (Dangerous). A Buddha.

Post 217: 23 November 2017, The Inn Way, Hemsley to Wombleton. 

I eventually got my car back after the pothole saga (see previous blogs) and fortunately only a new tyre was required, not a new wheel.

After a week off from long-distance walk projects, Sid the Yorkshireman and myself finally decided on our next long-distance walk and my 54th.

With my booked trip to the Bavarian Alps in Germany next year and a visit to Munich’s greatest tourist attraction planned, the Inn Way seemed the obvious suitable training walk to do over the winter.



You may ask why?

Munich’s greatest tourist attraction is Hofbrauhaus. This is described in tourist books as the epitome of the Bavarian lifestyle. An inn, it formed part of the Royal Brewery that was founded by Wilhelm V in 1589. It is highly recommended by walking friend Dan who attends the opera in Munich from time to time. My German friend and guide to my trip next year has said we can pop in there. It holds about 2,300 drinkers and every day 10,000 litres (17,600 pints) of beer are consumed!

Now we don’t plan to consume much beer on The Inn Way as it tends affect the walking, but I may and try and photograph every pub en-route. We will certainly have to have a pint or two at the end.

We started walking at Helmsley at 9.00am

We passed three of the pubs, The Feathers, Black Swan and Royal Oak  and the fourth, The Crown Inn, had been converted to a clothes shop, The Fatface.

The Castle peeped at us from above the house roofs.


After some tricky walking alongside the River Rye, in which it would have been easy to slide into the river on the mud and leaves, we reached flatter ground with swans alongside on the river.


There were some unusual concrete ‘barriers’ near what used to be a ford.


Arriving at Harome we had to climb over some fencing on the right of way to access a bridge. We stopped for a coffee and banana break.


Having crossed the bridge, we discovered there were signs saying the bridge was dangerous.


When we surmised that there were no signs at the start of the footpath to point out the path was closed, Alf said:

‘There was a sign but I hadn’t got my glasses on so didn’t read it!’

We then visited the Star Inn passing a Buddha on the way and the church.

Shortly after migrating geese passed us above in formation – a wonderful sight.

The final pub on the Inn Way section of the walk was the Plough at Wombleton.


Here we had our packed lunches in a bus stop. It was sheltered and dry. When the rain arrived Sid the Yorkshireman suggesting catching a bus back to Helmsley and has been put on report by the Ethics Committee. Carol says it is because he likes using his bus pass. Sid the Yorkshireman likes using anything that is free!

This is not allowed and we had to walk the five miles back through rain, mud and wind, with some sun at the end.  Character building.

Miles Walked 12.8 

Steps 31,246

Calories burnt 4,072. 






The Pothole Saga Continues. Mud Everywhere.

Post 216: 16 November 2017, A Walk on the Yorkshire Wolds 

After hitting a large pothole in heaven rain on the Yorkshire Wolds (see previous blog) my car had to go back to the garage for the second time to find out why a tyre had gone down for a second time overnight.

IMG_2715 (1)

Sid the Yorkshireman and myself decided to go to the Wolds to see if we could find the offending pothole in preparation for a compensation claim against the North Yorkshire County Council, especially if I might need a new wheel and tyre at over £350.

We soon found the offending pothole, which was 5 inches deep and over 2 foot long! It was on a narrow single track road so even if it had been visible (it wasn’t because of the heavy rain) it would be difficult to avoid.

Job done the next day we decided to do a walk on the Yorkshire Wolds with Alf from nearby Thixendale.

We initially followed the Wolds Way and then the Centenary Way to Toisland Farm and Birdsall Brow where there were expansive views.


We then descended to Birdsall. The Manor House could be seen in the distance. P1090202

The trees were still clinging on to their Autumn colours.

We passed the imposing church.


After a coffee and banana break we found a danger pothole sign!! However, this would not have helped me to avoid the offending pothole as we had approached it from a different direction.


We left the lane to pass through some very wet and muddy fields near Mill Beck, but managed to overtake 3 other walkers. We passed under the old dismantled railway line at North Grimston.


We found a new bench in memory of a local farmer, which had excellent views for a lunch stop, but was a bit exposed to the winds.


We had a look at one of Alf’s Yorkshire Wildlife Trust sites.


Before having a brief stop at the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy.


A muddy path led back towards Thixendale.


Miles Walked 12.7 

Calories Burnt 1,900

Average Pace 13.11 Minutes per Mile (Alf sets as fast pace!)

Maximum 10 Minutes per Mile

Steps 31,000




Day 10 – 53rd Long-distance Walk Completed, Still Pot-holed, No Spare, Kate Humble.

Post 215: 14 November 2017, The COT COMBO WALK, Scalby to Scarborough

As we only had 5 miles to walk today we decided to leave home late at 9.30am with the aim of finishing my 53rd long-distance walk at around lunch time for celebratory fish and chips at the Plough in Scalby. It had excellent reports on trip advisor.

I looked out of the window at about 7.30am to see that the tyre on my car, which had hit a pot-hole on Sunday, had gone down again despite the garage checking it the day before and unable to find any fault. I suspect it could be wheel damage that is causing a slow leak. Expensive if it is! A quick phone call to the garage and it is booked in for tomorrow again and Volvo Assistance will pick it up. It was much easier when car manufacturers provided a spare wheel with the car! Whoever thought up it was alright to not have a spare wheel needs their head examining. It is not uncommon for us to be parked on the Moors with no telephone reception. What happens in the middle of winter if we have a flat then?

When Sid the Yorkshireman picked me up he was non too happy to have picked up a speeding fine for doing 35 in a 30mph area a few days earlier, which was not in a built up or particularly residential area. The little white police vans pop up all over the place around York in the most unexpected and quiet places imaginable. The locations seem to be identified more as likely places where drivers will err over the speed limit, rather than based on safety considerations. Certainly major cash injection for the Police.

We parked outside the Plough in Scalby and walked the couple or so miles to the coast and Scarborough Castle soon came into view near Scalby Beck.


A rainbow appeared over the sea as though welcoming us to the end of the walk.


There was a final descent to the promenade past the Sea Life Centre.



At the end of the promenade we had a coffee and banana break and recalled completion of another long-distance walk from Helmsley in 10 circular walks, combining The North of England Walk, The Tabular Hills Walk and the Missing Link. 

It had been a fine walk with lots of interest and some new discoveries. Mostly the weather had been kind.

All that remained was to walk back to the Plough, eat our fish and chips and be surprised to see Kate Humble there! She was filming lobsters in the area for Springwatch.

You never know who or what you might come across on a long-distance walk……

Now where will be my 54th long-distance walk?

Miles Walked 5.5. 

Calories Burnt 620

Steps Taken 10,900

Average Pace 17.58 Minutes per Mile 

Maximum Pace 13.52 Minutes per Mile

Elevation Gain 257 Feet 

Minimum Elevation 9.7 Feet

Maximum Elevation 167 Feet 






A Walk from Rievaulx Abbey to Helmsley. Pot-holed! The First and only Briton to climb the World’s Highest Mountains.

Post 214: 12 November 2017

On the second day our visitors were with us from the Lake District, the ladies again decided on a shopping morning, this time in Helmsley. I decided to take John on a short walk near Rievaulx Abbey and then to Helmsley to then meet the ladies for lunch.

We were greeted at the Abbey by a somewhat aggressive pheasant, which pursued us for food.


We eventually escaped from the persistent bird to pass Rievaulx Abbey.

The Cistercian Abbey was founded by Walter L’Espec in 1132. Its importance can be judged by the fact that thirty-five years after it was founded there were 140 monks, 249 lay brothers and 260 hired laymen, a large community. The Abbey nestles in a tree-covered valley whose narrowness accounts for the fact that the church is aligned from north to south instead of from the usual east to west. The monks created great wealth, from sheep farming (at one time they owned 14,000 sheep), iron working, fishing and salt production on the coast. Canals were used for floating blocks of stone on rafts from the River Rye to the Abbey for carving. Around the time of the Dissolution, however, the abbey declined and fell into debt and by 1536 only twenty-two monks remained. After 400 years of life, the site was eventually stripped for building stone and, in due course passed to the Duncombe family. It was acquired by the state in 1918, and is now superbly looked after by English Heritage.


We crossed the River Rye at a bridge and then ascended the hillside on the opposite side of the river from the Abbey.  There were delightful views in bright sunshine.


A temple on Rievaulx Terrace high above peeped out through the trees.



We eventually reached the quiet lane leading over Rievaulx Bridge to join The North of England Way and Cleveland Way leading to Helmsley.

We then reached a ‘traffic jam’ of horses.


Before a final look back towards Rievaulx Abbey.


Afte passing through Blackdale Howl Wood we made the final descent to Helmsley with a fine view of the castle.

Helmsley lies under the southern edge of the North York Moors and is a typical small market town, with a large market place surrounded by old inns and interesting shops. Its ruined castle stands high on a mound overlooking the town. It was built in about 1200 and was later besieged by Parliamentary forces after the battle of Marston Moor and The fall of York during the Civil War. The castle was finally surrendered on 22 November 1644 after a three-month siege. Between 1646 and 1647 the castle was made unfit for war with parts of the keep and the walls being destroyed. It is now in the hands of English Heritage.

We went to Mannion’s for lunch and I had the best pork belly I had ever had in a sandwich.


We then drove to the Robert Fuller Gallery in Thixendale ( but on the way the heavens opened and on a very narrow lane we hit, with an big bump, an enormous pothole which was hidden by the rain. The next day a tyre was deflated but after air was pumped into it the garage checked it but couldn’t find a leak. A bit of a mystery.

The next morning a new DVD, which I had pre-ordered, arrived. It is well worth purchasing from as it relates the life of Alan Hinkes who remains the first and only Briton to climb the 14 highest mountains in the World over 8,000 metres. An incredible feat.


Miles Walked 5