Saturday, 17 March 2012

On the Moors again ............ ....  March 16th
is almost a Willie Nelson song.
Today's walk was to be up the Schill from Hethpool but a last minute change of plan was caused by a weather forecast suggesting the Cheviots would be wet. Blame Hannah Beyman, weathergirl for the BBC North East, pin up girl for gadgies dependent on  reliable weather info for Fridays.
So a septgadgie* is setting off for a walk on the North Yorkshire Moors, the usual gang of six plus a welcome guest Cornish Johnny, music meister.
As in "A Walk on the Mudslide" today's ramble starts from the car park just south of Chop Gate in God's county, so for directions from Newcastle see that blog. A map would be quite useful for this walk, more reliable than GPS systems and the one to use is OL 26 North Yorks Moors, western area. The only problems with these maps is that they are large, printed on both sides and the walk you want to do is always on the edge, necessitating furling sails in the wind. The alternative, if you can ignore the jeers of your offspring is to photocopy and laminate.
When you have finished watching the birds, and, because of the number of feeders, there are many birds, take the footpath that leads from the  car park in a South Westerly direction and start climbing the fairly steep hillside on the clearly marked path. I am not too keen on walks that start with a climb immediately, Grisedale Pike on the Coldale Round, in the Lake District is a killer, this one is shorter, but steep.
The path continues in pretty much the same direction to  Cook Howe and then turns North West over Green Howe and along Barker's Ridge.
On the left hand side of the path is a small pool called Brian's Pond. Some people get whole mountains, think of George Everest and President McKinley, some people get airports, think JFK and John Lennon** but our own punmeister Brian gets a small pond!

Queen Victoria got waterfalls, railway stations and halls and Australian states, but Brian the punmeister has a pond.

The path continues in a northerly direction, passing the Carlton Gliding Club headquarters. Immediately beyond the club the path turns west and soon joins the Cleveland Way, a long distance footpath shared with the Coast to Coast Walk. Turn right. The path is on the very edge of the moors for the next few miles, giving, on a less hazy day than this, excellent views. To the north is the beauty of industrial Teeside, to the other three points of the compass almost endless moors, and below a flat agricultural area with a scattering of villages and small towns.
For the next few miles the Cleveland Way follows the moors edge or goes down into farmed valleys. The escarpments are quite steep, as are the paths up and down so that the on the whole walk the total ascent is approximately 3000 feet.
A sunny spot overlooking Raisdale was chosen as a Herbiespot. After pies and much merry banter we moved on in an easterly direction.

A small section of the Cleveland Way on the edge of the moors which in places are very steep.

Climbing out of Bilsdale the walk goes through the Wain Stones, an outcrop of Millstone Grit and the nearest thing to a scamble on the ramble.

Wain Stones. Look carefully, Ray is visible on the left hand side.

Beyond the Wain Stones the path dips down again, crosses the B1257 and then climbs towards the last moorland section. A signpost by the road points to Bloworth Crossing  but about half a mile from the road take the path (GR 579031) through the heather on the right hand side of the Cleveland Way and follow it in a southerly direction across Urra Moor. A series of notices tells walkers that Urras Dyke, an ancient earthwork, is being improved. Urras Dyke is the much shorter northern answer to Offa's Dyke, built to keep the English out of Wales. It failed. The footpath crosses the moor and several fields to Bilsdale Hall. At the end of the road turn left and walk back to the Chop Gate car park.
On this occasion the Buck Inn at Chop Gate was open, and what a find. A cosy pub, serving food and several real ales, run by an enthusiastic landlord more than willing to discuss his supplies and the micro breweries in the area. I chose a pint of Golden Dragon  from the Skipton Brewery, not exactly local but a very refreshing light coloured beer. Also on offer was a pint from the Whin Stone Brewery, equally tasty.

Biped Dave's two pedometers gave an average of 13.1 miles but disaster struck my measuring devices. Hi gear opened unnoticed at the beginning of the walk and remained open for the first five miles. When we stopped for a mini Herbiespot just before turning on to Urra Moor the previouslyb reliable Outdoors App shot off to some place near Darlington, giving a distance for the walk of 37.1 miles.
Measured with the highly accurate German map measurer I got 12.3 and throwing in the ups and downs, wandering around a bit, will settle for 13. A great walk, highly recommended, and no puns. Is Brian slipping or am I going deaf?

* Hint for young and enthusiastic maths teachers. Ask your class why the ninth month is called September and the tenth October and.....
** For very young people John Lennon was one of the Beatles, Liverpool Airport has been renamed after him.