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Saturday, 28 January 2012

North Yorkshire Moors- a walk on the mud slide,  January 27th

   I was born in Yorkshire. Had I stayed there I would be walking round saying things like
"There's nobbut thee an' me" or"Reet oh lad tha can only blame thissen" or even "Sitha", but in the last case only to my equals or inferiors. But I didn't stay so I don't.
  Today's walk however,  is in Yorkshire, as the title suggests It starts in a pretty village called Chop Gate and takes in the Bilsdale Moor and Bransdale.  My book of every place name in the British Isles seems to have missed out on Chop Gate but at a guess I think it means "trading place by the path." (Chop meaning trading place {CF shop} and gate meaning path)
 Directions from Newcastle are straightforward; take the A19 through the Tyne Tunnel  (toll £1.40), at Acklam take the A1032 and B1365 to Stokesly and the B1257 to Chop Gate.  Just beyond the village, still on the B1257 is a car park (free!), picnic site and toilet, and some very friendly robins.
  A map is advisable for this walk, I used a photocopied section of OL26 and the car park  is at GR 558995. (A little of the Yorkshireman lingering, too mean to buy a map)
  Today there are seven gadgies, Harry the routemeister, Ray the DandDmeister, Dave the vogelmeister, Brian the punmeister, Ben the halfmarathonmeister,  guest Cornish Johnny the musicmeister and me the blogpiemeister.
 Leave the car park and turn right on the road, almost directly opposite a rather discreet signpost points you across  muddy fields in the direction of Wilham Beck farm. (Another indication that we are in God's county, using the word beck for a small stream)  through the farm  yard and up a muddy track. Today a flock of sheep were being driven by a cheery farmer on his quadbike, assisted by a collie. The routemeister got quite excited as the sheep approached, and not through fear. After about half a mile the track joins another, more substantial track, turn right and follow it. This track, well built to assist shooters on their journey to the Grouse Butts, descends into a pretty, wooded valley called Tripsdale. At the bottom it begins an immediate and quite steep ascent until it reaches the flatter Slape Wath Moor. A small team of men were bailing heather on the moor, possibly clearing the land to encourage new shoots of ling to grow to feed the grouse to give the shooters something to aim at.  Keep on the track, after about a mile there are the remains of an old stump cross (Spotted of course by vogel/archaemeister Dave).  At this point it is essential to spot a path leading off to the left. A narrow path, scarcely visible in the heather which also acts as a cover for the mud,  is at GR606982.( Got an iphone? get Apps Outdoors and Grid Reference, brilliant unless you are a grump who won't  get owt newfangled)
  This path  descends quite steeply, is a bit slippy in places on wet days, crosses a road and continues to another road at Colt House Farm. Almost immediately across the road the footpath leads over fields, past an old sundial, to Bransdale Mill, elected Herbiespot.
 A man introduced himself to Brian and I at the mill. He explained that in summer it was used to give  young refugees a break from  the hell that is called London, a sort of Youth Hostel for young people who could not return to their own countries for whatever reason. Had we been there in summer, we would have been offered refreshment, as it was we settled down to pies and pasties, sandwiches and flapjacks.  Ben had brought home made ginger biscuits, Dave, not to be outdone had chocolate chip cookies to hand round. No wonder we are sometimes called "Wobbly Bellies".

 The house at Bransdale Mill. Above the lower window, cut into the lintel, it says "Rebuilt 1842". Round the back of the building on the right is an inscription, possibly in Hebrew, certainly in Greek. Beneath these is the name of one of the Strickland family who attended Cambridge in the 1830s.




I think these are the remains of the old mill at Bransdale, the stream being diverted to power the wheel, undershot of course.





Herbie time at Bransdale Mill. From the left: Cornish Johhny,Harry, Brian, Ray, Dave. Ben was doing a quick halfmarathon.








 As usual over lunch, wit and repartee flowed, as did conversation of a slightly higher order. Vogel/archaemeister had been out birding again, although he is not a twitcher. Washington Wetlands was overflowing with water birds.
 Brian, a literary gent, said he had just picked up an old volume in a second hand book shop. The dusty tome, written in the 19th century,  was the adventures of a duck that flew constantly between London and Paris. It was "The Teal of Two Cities" by Charles Duckens.
 This reminded me that the first time I ever took a girl to see a FILM  was to see "A Tale of Two Cities", starring Dirk Bogard. Asked if we had sat on the back row and snogged, I had to admit that the pair of us were too frightened. How times have changed.
 Leaving the mill ascend a flight of steps, cross a few (muddy) fields to the road at Cow Syke . Turn left and walk along the road for about 100 yards. On the right a footpath climbs steadily, with a wood on the left until it reaches a well made track. Turn left and walk a couple of miles to Bloworth Crossing where it meets a dismantled railway. A sign post proclaims that either fork is on the Cleveland Way. The way back to Chop Gate is by taking the left hander, along the dismantled railway line. After a few hundred yards  take the footpath on the left. It is well paved for a while, but with irregular stones, not the ones from redundant wool and cotton mills. After little more than a mile  there is a trig point on the right and a footpath on the left. Take the footpath on the left which crosses moorland before descending through fields to Bilsdale Hall. The lane here has thousands of snowdrops growing in the verges, putting to shame the couple of dozen in my garden. I should have brought a trowel and plastic bag and taken a few home! At the end of the lane turn left and follow the road back to the car park.
 This was the first time I had ever walked on the North Yorkshire Moors, but hope it isn't the last. It is full of contrasts, the moors, which seem to go on for ever, the green valleys and the lovely stone houses with their red pantile rooves.
Sadly the village pub, the Buck, was closed, little trade on a Friday afternoon at 3.30 I expect.

Two ped Dave claimed 11.8 and 12.7 miles, an average of 12.25.
Higear was generous at 12.99 miles, Ben's bragometer claimed 12.5 miles and the Outdoors App said 12.2.  Measuring said 12.2 and Ray had told us at the start it was 12.1.
12.2 seems fine by me.
Height gained 3491 feet and height lost 3523, getting closer!
 On the way home the roadside taverns were closed but we stopped at a large pub near Middlesbrough and consumed varying quantities of Black Sheep, or tea.

It were a grand day out,  even if it were mucky, cad, but no need for t' topcoit. Good neet.