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

Day 10 – Mental Cruelty, Going Interstella, Land of Iron, The Oasis, The Pig Whisperer, Third Bog, Baa.

Post 232: The Inn Way, 29 January 2018. The Top of The George Gap Cause (lane) to Sheriff’s Pit.

After last Mondays exhilarating but tiring walk in snowbound Rosedale we decided that we could resume The Inn Way on the North York Moors as we expected the worst of the melting snow to have gone. As an aside, I had in the meantime been reading, in the last few days, The Wainwright Letters.  I was intrigued to discover that, whilst  honeymooning in York in 1970 with his second wife Betty Wainwright, Alfred Wainwright went on the North York Moors for the first time.


Wainwright’s first marriage to Ruth ended with divorce on 24 June 1968. He was found guilty of mental cruelty and had to pay a lump sum of £4,000 and £500 a year to Ruth during his lifetime. It is not within the realm of this blog to go further into the reasons for the mental cruelty, but he did spend all his spare time going on the fells and writing his guide books. They did have a son.

Whilst on the North York Moors,  Wainwright got the idea to devise his now famous Coast to Coast Walk and in 1973 this was published. By coincidence it was the year I got married and, despite my wife Celia having grounds for mental cruelty as I spend a fair amount of time on walks, planning walks, writing blogs and the occasional book and looking at maps, we have now been married for 44 years! I must be doing something right. In 1991 I walked Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk and am now on my 54th and 55th long distance walks!

We parked near the Farndale turning car park, just before the Lion Inn, Blakey. For night owls there is an opportunity to go interstellar.

P1090826We soon dropped down to the Rosedale valley bottom as we had to pick up The Inn Way route again from where we last left off.

P1090828 What was noticeable this week was the increased sound of birds, clearly enjoying the spring like weather with temperatures much higher at 8-12 degrees. What a difference a week makes with last weeks snow all gone!!!


P1090829We passed the Rosdal (Rosedale) and Whitby signpost to reach the lane at the top of The George Causeway Gap to then rejoin The Inn Way and head back down to Rosedale (known as an out and back in the trade!). It had started to rain and so we donned our waterproofs.


P1090838P1090834We came across a recently cleaned out culvert, which had probably been there since the railway (now dismantled)  had been built.

The place would have looked very different in the 1800s with trains crossing this embankment to service the Ironstone Industry.

P1090864There is now a £3.8 million Land of Iron Project fund by the Heritage Lottery Fund, David Ross Foundation and many other partners. It has a vision:

History: Record, conserve and safeguard the legacy of our industrial past as it slowly melts back into the landscape.

Environment:  Nurture and protect the natural world around us, helping it to flourish for many years to come.

People: Tell the stories of the people, industry and landscape that made the Land of Iron.

However, something else beckoned us.

P1090836The rain was getting heavier and this little oasis emerged. There is even cosy overnight accommodation.

We had homemade flapjacks and Yorkshire brack cake using the self service system. The rain got really heavy and we were delighted to be kept warm and dry. Just as we were leaving the owner came out and apologised for not providing milk. However, we had our own flasks. Well worth a visit and the rain now stopped!

We followed the Daleside Road to Thorgill and Rosedale Abbey. 

Sid the Yorkshireman used to be a pig farmer and using his pig whispering skills was  able to get this beauty into the perfect pose for a photograph.

P1090853On the opposite side of the valley were the old ironstone kilns. P1090850

P1090865We arrived at the church of St Mary and St Lawrence in Rosedale Abbey. The only remains of the priory is the  staircase below right.




P1090862The sun was out and it was time for lunch on a bench in the churchyard.

P1090857We could ponder on the artwork of children in the church, relating their memories of the Tour de Yorkshire. Bicycles still adorn buildings in the village.

P1090860We then had to climb out of Rosedale Abbey towards Thorgill Bank with ever changing images of Rosedale, one of my favourite valleys, brought alive by afternoon winter sun.

P1090870P1090871P1090872P1090881Some farms on higher ground have fallen into disuse.


P1090884The path became boggy and for the second time this winter (third time ever), due to lack of concentration and tiredness, I ended up going into a bog up to one knee. Fortunately the other leg was on firm ground.

We were pleased to get on the higher drier heather. P1090886We arrived at the remains of Sheriff’s Pit, where the pithead operated from near the mine managers house and pit shaft.

P1090866The shaft was excavated in 1857 to provide a quick and easy way of transporting ironstone from the West Mines up to the railway line on the side of Blakey Ridge. It descends 270 feet to link up with a 1500 foot long level that was cut into the West Mines to the north of Thorgill. 

P1090890All that remained now was to walk a couple of miles back to the car along the dismantled railway line and enjoy the fabulous mid afternoon views as the sun dropped low in the sky to give great photographic conditions. Relax – sit back and enjoy the slideshow.

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Now where was that Dale Head Cafe when you are ready for a cup of tea? Oh damn its there on the other side of the valley below the trees!!!


Finally, I imagine the conversation of the sheep below us went something like this:

“Hey Ewe, get in the queue!”

“That’s better”


Miles Walked 12.9

Steps 30,219

Calories Burnt 4193. 







Day 1 Wolds Wanderings, Am I over the Hill? A Vineyard, A Beacon, Snowdrops, Ice Store, 90,000 Killed.

Post 231: 25th January 2018, Walk 3 South Cave Circular. 

Having recently reached my 66th birthday and received some ‘cheeky’ walking birthday cards (see previous post 230), I then got this card from a much younger (about 20 years) female friend. The funny thing was that it arrived 3 days late –  so I was able to tell her that she was over the hill and that the mind goes first and then the body!! He,he,he…

P1090822P1090823With the The North York Moors under melting snow we decided to postpone The Inn Way and head to the drier chalk lands of the Yorkshire Wolds. However, having already completed The Wolds Way, we decided on an alternative project, 38 mostly circular walks which collectively total 353 miles from the book Walking in the Wolds, published in 1993. It would be my 55th long distance walk. No doubt after 25 years there would be a few changes to the route!

After leaving the Fox And Coney pub at South Cave just before 9am, we had a good start arriving at Little Wold Vineyard. This must be a sign of global warming when there are vineyards in Yorkshire. Note to self – order some wine!

The Humber Estuary can just be viewed in the distance.

P1090787We soon entered typical rolling, green Wolds country.

P1090788With some delightful copses. P1090789We passed boundary stones for Hunsley.

Then passed a  Yorkshire Wolds Way sign, indicating the end of that walk, 64 miles away at Filey. P1090792High Hunsley Beacon was passed by us and also by an aeroplane way above in the sky (see white streak left of wire beacon). P1090795Trees provided some interesting shadow patterns on the fields, with a wind farm in the distance. It reminded me of David Hockney’s paintings. P1090797A descent into Swin Dale followed, which is a classic dry Wolds valley.

P1090798We arrived at North Newbald which is one of two Danish settlements, the other being South Newbald.  We had an early lunch break on a bench in the warming sun.

A little further on we came across St Nicholas’s Church, which is the most complete Norman building in the East Riding. It is one of finest Norman churches in England. It was built mainly in the second half of the twelve century.

P1090800-1My first 2018 siting of snowdrops were in the church grounds.

P1090802After passing through South Newbald we arrived at Hotham Church which has a distinctive tower. A plaque on a wall outside the church was placed there to celebrate 900 years of Norman heritage. Many  of the village buildings are of local limestone.

P1090807The pub, the Hotham Arms is quite unique in appearance.

P1090808Further along is what we believe was an ice store.

P1090809It may have belonged to nearby Hotham HallP1090810Its lodge has a powerful sign – a reminder of the sacrifices so many paid for our freedom.

At North Cave there is a fine Grade 1 listed medieval church, All Saints,  built and modified from the 13th century onwards, with a few remaining Norman features.

P1090815Continuing to Everthorpe we wondered what the significance of the village sign was? We think it is related to the two prisons, HMP Everthorpe and HMP Wolds.

P1090817Even the kissing gates are much larger than the norm!

P1090818At South Cave outside the entrance to Cave Castle is a war memorial which says:

“Is it nothing to you, ye that pass by?

Well, is it nothing to you? Because if it isn’t, it should be.” 

P1090819Eight centuries ago a castle stood where a hotel and restaurant is now located.


Well if I am over the hill, I still managed to walk:

12½ Miles !!!!!!  


Birthday Hints? The Inn Way is Postponed due to the ‘Wrong Sort of Snow’ – Too Deep, Sun Tan and Snow, Snow Miles.

Post 230: 22 January 2018: Not The Inn Way! Revised walk around the head of Rosedale. 

Having reached my 66th birthday yesterday so that I am now 66 living on route 66 (cycle route through my village), I received a number of birthday cards which appeared to hint that maybe it was time to ease up on serious walking and retire to easier walking involving wine, tea shops, pubs and even a wheelbarrow?

A couple of days earlier Carol and Sid the Yorkshireman had struggled in deep snow up to Carol’s knees and, when avoiding a car on an icy road, she had jumped into the hedge only to find a twig poke into her eye and removed her contact lens. After a trip to the optician at Boots her eye was given the all clear.

The forecast was for good weather, but we thought the snow might still be deep on the North York Moors making continuing the next uneven and hilly section of The Inn Way difficult. We therefore had a plan B (always a good idea) to walk on the Rosedale old railway trackbed, which at least should be flat. The line was opened opened on 27th March 1871 to service the ironstone mining. During a severe winter of 1916/17 the line was blocked for five weeks by snow. Because of increased costs and a falling price in the value of iron, the mines were closed in 1925, but operations continued for a few years extracting valuable calcine dust from the slag heaps. Goods traffic on the line finally ceased in 1929.

We passed through Hutton le Hole and the side roads were not brilliant, such that without winter tyres we would have got stuck in the toilet car park! That would not have been a good start.

P1090718We continued on the main road to pass Farndale, which confirmed there was still a lot of snow about. The views were gorgeous.

P1090720P1090721P1090722P1090723We arrived at our starting point for the revised walk at the car park at the Lion Inn, Blakey, which was a little snowed under.

P1090727I decided to put sun tan on as, even in winter, protection against the sun is advised (e.g. NHS Direct). There weren’t many coast to coast campers, despite this being on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route!  There was no accommodation at the pub when his book was first published in 1972, but coast to coasters have since contributed to the success of the pub in more recent years.

P1090724We dropped steeply down to the dismantled railway in quite deep snow.

P1090728P1090729The sheep thought us a little eccentric, but then they just followed each other like sheep. P1090732P1090730


We then picked up the railway trackbed.

P1090733P1090734The wind had created some wonderful snow effects.

There are few buildings in the area!


Sections of the route were not as flat as we anticipated as some of the track bed is silted up and now bog and marshland.

P1090741P1090742It was like entering a Winter Wonderland.

I tended to drop well behind Carol and Sid the Yorkshireman as there were so many photographic opportunities. You can just see them in the distance! The bend of the former railway track is evident too.

P1090748The bonus for me was that I could use their footprints in the snow to lessen my efforts.

P1090749The sun was out and with our efforts we didn’t feel cold.

P1090750We started to think about a banana and coffee break.

P1090752P1090753P1090754P1090756At last we found a coffee break location with a fantastic view along the valley.

P1090757Clouds were starting to appear and we were finding ‘Snow Miles’ were about twice as tiring as walking ‘Ordinary Miles’. We decided to return the way we had come back to the pub as it meant we could use our tracks to ease our efforts. It would have been dangerous and almost impossible to try and find paths to descend and ascend the valley back to the pub. They were covered in snow.

There were some interesting animal or bird marks in the snow. We had only seen a rabbit and grouse and the feathers of a bird that had been the prey of something.

P1090758P1090762P1090763P1090764We had brought our packed lunch and so as to admire the fantastic views further we stopped again at the only building on the route. It clouded over further, the wind got up and there was a definite change and chill in the air. We did not linger having had the best of the day.

We continued along the short climb to the pub for a coffee for me (the driver), tea for Carol and a whisky for Sid the Yorkshireman.

We arrived at the pub to a warming fire.

As for taking it easier as friends had hinted on my birthday, we did at least go to the pub, whereas normally on our walks we don’t have time!

Snow Miles Walked 5.6

Steps 15,000

Calories Burnt (3,500) reflecting the extra effort required to walk in snow. 



Day 9: The Lyke Wake Walk Bogs, The Death of the Bottle Cork Seller, Zeppelins, The Door to Nowhere, A Bog within a Bog, Three Hats.

Post 229: 16 Janary 2017, The Inn Way, Hart’s Leap to the Top of George Gap Causeway.

This section of The Inn Way was one of the trickiest to plan as it was on some of the remotest, exposed and boggiest sections of the North York Moors and the forecast was was for ice, high winds and snow later on.  Some weather warnings had been issued for later on.

We decided that the snow was unlikely to arrive until after 2pm and with an early start we had a 10-11 mile route planned, which should enable us to get round before the worst of the weather arrived. We would make a final decision as to whether to walk depending on how we found the weather on arrival

After passing the Lion Inn, Blakey we turned right along an icy road to the car park with the Millennium Stone, which is shown on later ordnance survey maps.

It was sunny but very cold when we arrived at the car park. However, there were no snow clouds in sight. So the walk was on.

Our first section was on part of the Lyke Wake Walk, which can be difficult and tiring walking even in summer. In winter it not recommend and should only be taken by experienced walkers who know the area and challenges ahead.  In this photograph it seems to prove the planet is round as the circumference of the planet seems apparent in the distance, or is it the shape of the Moors? We could have been on a different planet compared to when we left home. P1090645


In his book Some Reminiscences and Folk Lore of Danby Parish and District (first published in 1953 and again in 1990) Joseph Ford says:

In travelling over our moorlands, one must keep in mind the danger of walking unsuspectedly into one of the many bogs, for, like quicksands, once a traveller gets too far in there is no retracing, and if there is no one to reach out a rescuing hand he is likely to share the fate of many poor sheep and other animals that have been submerged in the bog and never seen or heard of again. The horror of the thought is sufficiently strong in the minds of our Dalesfolk to cause them to give these bogs a wide birth. 

Many of the boggy areas were iced over, but of course I found the one bog that cracked under my weight (despite having lost 10lbs since October in training for the Bavarian Alps!). My front leg immediately sunk into an abyss up to my knee. However, experience told me to immediately and without hesitation to sit down to even out the weight. This stopped the descent to oblivion and with the other leg still on firm ground I managed to pull my forward leg out, although with considerable suction resisting me.

Sid the Yorkshireman’s reaction was “…quick where’s the camera. And that is even with microspikes on”. I suspect the weight of microspikes would have quickened my descent into oblivion and a helping hand would have been more useful than a camera!

Somewhat distracted by this, my 1991 hat on top of my balaclava came off without me noticing. About a mile on I realised I had lost it then Sid the Yorkshireman revealed he had luckily found it and held onto it!

A tricky tiring 3 miles or so followed of dodging water, ice, bogs and overgrown heather. At times we could have been on a different planet.

P1090647P1090648P1090649We eventually arrived at Shunner Howe, a likely tumulus, where we stopped for a banana and coffee break whilst trying to keep out of the keen, cold wind. We were smiling again!

P1090650P1090651Reminder to myself: if Sid the Yorkshireman suggests again using the Lyke Wake Walk in winter for any walk, ignore him.

We eventually arrived at an the icy lane and what used to be the site of Hamer House, which use to be a pub

Joseph Ford recalls ‘how old people – natives of the dales- could relate how a neighbour’s sheepdog found, after a severe snowstorm, the decaying body of this or that old man, who had perished in the snow at Wintergill (where we were heading to!); or the finding of an old man’s bleached bones near to Bluewath Beck, not far from an ancient sheepfold, where sheep were washed in hot days in summer.

This old man used to travel these moors from one place to another to sell bottle corks, which he disposed of to the farmer’s wives, and his chief customers, the wayside innkeepers. Often he would call at Hamer, where he was unusually sure of a small business transaction with Joseph’s mother, which is how Joseph came to know him. His skeleton body was identified by the scattered bottle corks lying nearby, and the basket in which he carried them, which was beginning to decay. It is just possible he was on his way to make this small transaction – as Hamer was not far away – when the snowstorm overtook him. 

Then there is the story of a man in his prime, travelling from Glaisdale to Hamer who – soon after he left the precincts of the dale to cross the moor by way of Wintergill – was caught in a blinding snowstorm. He could not see his way before him, and very soon the moorland track was hidden beneath the snow. What could he do? Amid the seething, hissing whirlwind of blinding snow? He took his hazardous bearings from the fury of the wind beating upon his face and set a course and steered by it accordingly. 

…all but defeated he reached the old Wayside Inn, HAMER…they had to melt the clogged icicles from the snow-mans’s face.  

His children at the pub hadn’t recognised him!

Not wanting to risk waiting for the snow to arrive, we pressed on along the icy lane, passing a bridge that had clearly had a car slide into it on the ice. P1090653Turning off the lane at Wintergill there was surreal moment as I answered a call of nature just as a jet buzzed over us, no doubt to record on some RAF camera my indisposed situation! I still managed a one handed photograph or two!

P1090654P1090655Zeppelins were reported as flying over the Moors before 1917. In 1916 high explosive bombs were dropped by the Germans, resulting in 40 or so basin-shaped holes in the ridge dividing Fryup Dale from Danby Dale. 

There are some signs of previous habitation at Wintergill.

We soon began our descent into Glaisdale and what a fabulous descent with fabulous views it was, making all the hard work and encounter of the bogs of the Lyke Wake Walk worthwhile. The area reminds me very much of the Yorkshire Dales.

P1090661P1090663P1090664P1090665We passed the door to nowhere!

P1090666Then we stopped for an early lunch at about midday on a 2016 bench in excellent condition and location in the sun.

Starting our next ascent I noticed how even in winter there are lovely colours to be found and seen.

P1090667P1090668And we found carvings on a rock from 1609!

P1090669Next stop were the remains of a building, which suggested folks were a bit shorter than me in the past.

P1090673Carol had to hug this lovely tree.

P1090677There was the final big ascent of the day to Hart’s Leap, where we got to on our previous walk and where a stag was recorded as having leapt over 40 feet! (see previous blog) P1090678We were now on Glaisdale Rigg and a section of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk.

Great Fryup Dale was to our right. Note the clouds forming, which made us press on due to the risk of snow.

P1090680To our left were fine views along Glaisdale to the sea.

P1090681P1090682We left the tarmac lane continuing along the coast to coast route towards the George Gap Causeway. 


P1090685At the head of Great Fryup Dale there were ‘lunar’ looking remains of what I think are glacial deposits known as Drumlins and some subsidence. Boulder-clay may have been deposited as swarms of rounded hummocks. Clay is found in the area as roof tiles on some of the houses were made of clay and there is more than one Red House in the area. One of my favourite books of all time is Principles of Physical Geography by F.J. Monkhouse. I selected it as an O-level prize ready for when I did A-level Geography. It worked as I got an A at A-level. I think I was a school swot but loved Geography and still use the book. There may also be evidence of ironstone mine workings that took place in this area many years ago.

P1090686P1090687At this point Sid the Yorkshireman was powering on along the clear track, but suddenly ‘turned off’ it and seemed to fall quickly. He didn’t appear for some time and I assumed he had suffered a bad fall. Indeed he had!

He had turned off the track to go to the bog (sorry, slang for toilet) and had landed into a bog! I was just a little late in getting the camera out to capture him emerging with wet trousers. We are not sure whether he had aimed badly or whether his trousers were wet due to the bog!

A bog within a bog! 

P1090689Joseph says in his book: During recent years the late Lord Downe has done a great deal to lessen these dangers (of bogs) by cutting trenches to drain away the water which feeds the bogs, but there are some of such vast dimensions that they defy ordinary measures, and George Gap Spa is one of them. 

It has been responsible for the death of innumerable sheep that have strayed too far over the edge, or been frightened and chased over the edge by stray dogs. Many a lost traveller on these lonely moorlands will have found his burial place in this bog, in company with other ill-fated men of the Stone and Bronze ages, whose bones have long mingled with the antler of the stag, the tusk of the wild boar and the bones of sheep and cattle, to lie rotting in the maw of of the great bog of Fryup. 

The good news is that despite having my 3 hats somewhat misaligned, I didn’t end up in Sid’s bog. The moral of the story is that you should choose carefully where you go to the bog! 

Great Fryup Dale

IMG_3026All that remained now was to progress another mile or two over more boggy land and then follow the lane for a mile or so back to the car.

P1090696Rosedale Topping can just be spotted in the far distance to the left of the Millennium Stone. The snow clouds were gathering and it was time to head off home

P1090698A challenging, fabulous walk and possibly the hardest circular section of The Inn Way completed, although we had only actually walked about 3 miles of The Inn Way!

Miles Walked 11.2

Steps 25,000

Calories burnt 3500








Day 8 – Wing Mirrors Frozen (again!), Cars Skid off the Road, The Railway to Nowhere, Sid the Yorkshireman makes a Donation, A Sense of the Sublime, Jumping over 40 feet! A Lunch with a View.

Post 224:  8 January 2018, The Inn Way, Glaisdale Station to Hart Leap

The forecast was for high pressure to dominate with clear skies and a heavy overnight frost.

It came as a bit of a surprise when I went to the car at 7.00am to find the wing mirrors frozen stuck for the second time this year. My wife has now agreed to provide some ‘wadding gloves’ for them which I can put on overnight, before the early walk day starts.  I can’t have walk days delayed due to freeze ups!

Eventually we got to the main Pickering to Whitby road, where a couple of car drivers had experienced much worse problems, having skidded off into a ditch and a tree.

Given that we would soon leave the main road and be driving along narrow, little used, steep, un-gritted lanes in Heartbeat Country, we had to decide whether we stop at a nearby Hole of Horcum car park and do a revised walk or continue to the next stage of The Inn Way. Having winter tyres on my car and seen how in Norway with such tyres they drive in much worse conditions, we decided to continue on our original plans and walk on The Inn Way. Without winter tyres I would not have left home!

I took it very steadily especially on the big icy downhills and didn’t encounter any problems, apart from a couple of brief wheel spins on a steep ascent.

We parked in the Glaisdale Station car park as there was a train strike on.  It was a bright sunny morning and there was a prospect of fine walking ahead. Two of us decided to put microspikes on and two didn’t.

We were heading to what Mark Reid describes in his guide to The Inn Way:

‘………the central high moors above Rosedale are wild and desolate… two or three hundred years ago trains of packhorses carrying fish from Staithes to or coal from moorland pits came this way across a moorland scene similar as today ‘. 

We ascended to The Arncliffe Arms where I had stayed on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast in 1991 – on karaoke night! As you can see I haven’t changed a bit, slightly less hair, a pound or two added (weight not money) and due to the time of year some extra winter clothing on. The hat is the original 1991 one and I have the photographs to prove it! I am of the ‘make do generation’ and not a follower of fashion – its suitability for the outdoors being my prime criteria in choosing clothing.

Spring 1991

The big 50_6697_edited-1

Winter 2018

P1090554With the sun coming up behind the hill, we passed the former Glaisdale ironstone mine powder store, which would have been in use from 1862 to 1876 when the mine was in  operation.


P1090555Passing through Miller’s Wood we reached the old corn mill with its waterwheel.

P1090557Following the River Esk we arrived at Rake Farm,

P1090560P1090561and the Paddy Waddell Railway, the railway to nowhere.  This was known as the Cleveland Mineral Extension Railway, which was intended to take a branch line from the Esk Valley Railway over the moors to connect with railway lines near Lingdale over ten miles to the north.

P1090558In 1872 John Waddell, a famous Victorian Engineer began work on the line.

P1090559The project ceased in 1889 but a flooded cutting and bridge remain. John was nicknamed Paddy due the many Irish navvies he employed.

Rake Farm makes a fine house, but was formerly a pub during the construction years.

Arriving at Leaholm, which has been described as the perfect English village, we stopped for a coffee and banana break on the well provided for benches. There are also toilets which need donations to keep them going so give generously! Even Sid the Yorkshireman made a donation!

P1090563After passing The Board Inn,

P1090564the real climbing on iced roads towards the open moors of GlaisdalMoor and Low Moor began.

P1090565We followed The Inn Way sign, but there is no inn until Rosedale is reached many miles ahead. P1090566Having got someway behind my walking friends due to taking photographs, I had what I can only call a Sublime Moment, which climbers and walkers in remote areas experience as described in Robert McFarlane’s book Mountains of the Mind, which I have just finished reading. I think the moment was related to the sudden sense of changing nature, the icy sparse vegetation, the lone tree, the far distance views, the increased biting cold wind, all which overwhelmed my senses. It crossed my mind that if you had to spend a long time out here you would struggle to survive. It is essential to carry emergency bags and have good clothing. You go suddenly from a cosseted secure world to one of fragility.

How did that tree survive when all other perished? What qualities had it that others didn’t? How is that some climbers and explorers seem to survive when others perish?

P1090568P1090569P1090570Catching up with my friends at Glaisdale Rigg, I then did a small diversion to see wonderful vistas in the next valley of Glaisdale, where the frost lingered well into the day.

P1090571P1090572P1090573There was no time for us to linger as we continued along the icy track towards Hart Leap.

P1090574Great Fryup Dale looked remote and beautiful below us to the north-west.

P1090575Finally, we arrived at Hart Leap where it is said that a large stag made its last leap in a vain attempt to escape the huntsman and their hounds; one stone marks where the stag took off and the other where it landed, the distance being 40ft 6 inches. The men’s world record long jump is 29 feet 4inches.

P1090576P1090578This was our location to drop off the Rigg and leave The Inn Way to find a route back to the car and find a lunch spot out of the cold wind. There followed a few obstacles, a steep descent and a near fall for Sid the Yorkshireman (note without spikes!).



P1090589We found a sheltered spot between walls with a view to savour. With homemade bread rolls, jam and fruit cake it was better than any restaurant lunch in York – well sort of!

P1090590P1090591P1090592P1090595There was even a sculptured stone in the wall, which could be removed to let the sheep through! Not surprisingly it is known as a sheep hole.

P1090594After lunch we followed the road to Glaisdale Mehodist Chapel near Postgate Farm. Built in 1821 it is very small and intimate and the graveyard has far reaching views up the valley of Glaisdale. A fine place for a final resting place.

After a climb back onto the Glaisdale Moor, a descent through Glaisdale Village noted for its history of ironstone mining and the Glaisdale and Lealholme Association for the Prosecution of Felon’s, the powder store looked quite different in different light.


A superb walk justifying the purchase of winter tyres!

Miles walked 10.2

Steps 23,000

Calories Burnt 3,300