The Cleveland Way 1999

Author: George Tod

This walk is illustrated with photographs. Click on small photo to enlarge in situ, or click caption to enlarge into new window.
Part 2 - Boltby to Kildale


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Day 2 - Monday 28th June - 17.5 miles - Dinner, B&B 21

Low Paradise Farm, Boltby to Beak Hill Farm near Cold Moor via Osmotherley

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Osmotherley
Osmotherley
British Telecom's contribution to the scenic beauty of Beacon Hill
BT station on Beacon Hill

I set off at 8.35 a.m. after an 8 o'clock full English breakfast. Most of my things had dried out as the radiator in my room had kindly been put on for me. A short walk and an ascent of about 70 metres up the farm road, on the route I should have taken yesterday, brought me back onto the Cleveland Way. How much easier it was than the route I took before. The next couple of miles were of level moorland with some forest walking. There were views of distant moors towards Bilsdale to the east and the hills of the Yorkshire Dales to the west. The bird's eye views were no longer to be seen, as the path is some distance from the edge of the moor in this part.

I realised after I had set off that I had forgotten to fill up my water bottles, but with Osmotherley only about seven miles away and the weather not too hot, I didn't think I would have any problem managing without. The walking was very easy along a green carpet of grass cropped short by the sheep. I stopped for a short rest after the gentle rise to White Gill Head. The sky was a mixture of dark and light clouds and a few patches of blue with a cool breeze blowing but still warm enough for walking in shorts and tee shirt. The route soon starts to drop down off the moors, moderately at first and then steeper down a stepped path down to the Oak Dale reservoirs. The last mile into Osmotherley involves a couple of ups and downs - not very much if you are reasonably fresh, but they can be if you are coming this way tired at the end of a long walk. The weather was deteriorating as I reached Osmotherly with the church bell chiming twelve, so I hastily took refuge from the rain in The Three Tuns for lunch of a toasted bacon and salad sandwich (4.25) and a couple of pints of Theakston's bitter. The food prices were rather expensive, with main courses generally over 7, as they in a lot of the good food guides and obviously have a good chef to support.

I am a little wary of having too much to drink when there is still quite a bit of strenuous walking to do, but a couple of pints of a reasonably light beer with food seems to be OK. Whilst I had been inside the pub, the weather had improved greatly and the sun was shining, although, looking into the distance from the top of the hill, a number of heavy downpours could be seen. There is a steady climb up Scarth Wood, where the Coast to Coast joins the Cleveland Way, and then a steeper climb through the woods to the top of Beacon Hill, past BT's contribution to the beauty of the National Park - an ugly transmitter mast with lots of microwave dishes.

Beacon Hill is the start of the Lyke Wake Walk, which is a forty-mile challenge walk across the moors to the coast at Ravenscar. To meet the challenge and join the club, the walk is supposed to be done in 24 hours, or you can go for a double crossing in 48 hours if you wish! I managed a time of 15 hours 15 minutes when I did the walk with some friends a few years ago and could have probably achieved a shorter time if I had wanted to. The walk itself follows the same route as the Coast to Coast walk for about 20 miles and this part is very interesting, but the remainder of the walk traverses large tracts of open moorland with only occasional features to break the monotony.

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Route over Scarth Wood Moor
Route over Scarth Wood Moor
Beak Hill Farm B&B and Raisdale
Beak Hill Farm and Raisdale

Coming down from Scarth Wood Moor, I stopped for a rest with a lovely view of Roseberry Topping, Whorl Hill, Carlton Bank and Easby Moor with Captain Cook's monument. For the first time in the walk, I was able to sit in pleasant sunshine with only a few spots of rain. As I set off again, I met up with a Canadian who was doing the Coast to Coast walk in 11 days. He was backpacking, but managed to keep the weight of his pack down to 18lbs by carrying only a lightweight sleeping bag, a bivvy bag and stove and a minimal amount of spare clothing. I walked along with him for several miles until we parted just before Cold Moor, where I went off to Beak Hill Farm for the night, and he was looking for somewhere to camp. This part of the walk is one of the best walks in the North Yorkshire Moors, with several steep climbs up and down the moors along the way, always with fine bird's eye views of the villages at the bottom of the moors. Across the plain below to the north east, Roseberry Topping, Yorkshire's 'Little Matterhorn', gradually got a little closer, and ships on the North Sea beyond could be seen clearly. The large industrial area of Middlesborough and Stockton-on-Tees lies about ten miles north, but is far enough distant not to spoil the view. Over to the West, the high Northern Pennines could clearly be seen, the highest point being Cross Fell on the Pennine Way, almost sixty miles away.

Carlton Bank hosts another gliding club, not as popular as the one on Sutton Bank, but still in use from time to time. There has been extensive mining and quarrying along these moors in previous times, and many scars have consequently been left, although many have been masked somewhat by vegetation. On the northern slopes of Carlton Bank, a project is underway to reclaim a large area of the spoiled hillside and it is now at the stage of seeding the soil, which has been stabilised with matting. It is yet to be seen how effective this work has been, but it should become apparent over the next year or two. Further along, on Cringle Moor, there is a stone seat with an orientation table, which is useful for identifying some of the distant landmarks and for sitting to admire the view.

I arrived at Beak Hill Farm just before 6 p.m. This is a down to earth, working sheep farm, run by a couple with a boy and girl of primary school age. I was the only person staying that night, but sometimes they have several. It is only half a mile from the Cleveland Way and Coast to Coast walk with little descent, whereas most accommodation in this area is anything up to two miles away and way down near sea level. I had a dinner of pork chops, sausage, burger, mushrooms and potatoes followed by rhubarb pie and a can of beer, in with the family. As I was eating, the local policeman arrived by car. He had called to see about an application for a clay pigeon shoot, which was being arranged to raise money for the village school three miles away. He kept on professing how much he liked sausages, so was invited to some burger and sausage. Not being troubled with a great deal of crime in the area, this was obviously a nice little place off the beaten track to come out to on a pleasant summer's evening and while away a bit of time, whilst at the same time keeping up good public relations.

The evening weather was very pleasant, having gradually improved throughout the afternoon, so I took a stroll to the head of the dale and then up onto Cold Moor with similar good views to those in the afternoon. As it started getting cooler, I came back down off the top of Cold Moor and watched the sunset before returning to the farmhouse and bed. My feet were a little bit sore after a couple of days' walking, but not enough to cause me any real problems. Most minor foot pains are numbed after ten minutes of walking and only make themselves felt again after each rest stop.


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Day 3 - Tuesday 29th June - 12.5 miles - Dinner, B&B 27

Beak Hill Farm to Kildale via Wain Stones and Round Hill

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Hasty Bank from Cold Moor
Hasty Bank from Cold Moor
The Wain Stones looking towards Cold Moor
The Wain Stones

I got down to a hearty farmhouse breakfast at 8:30 a.m. - the children were waiting for the school bus to pick them up. The school at Chop Gate has only 27 pupils and, at this level, schools are often deemed uneconomical. However, in this case, the difficulty of winter travel to Stokesley has meant that Chop Gate school has been kept open.

It was a beautiful sunny morning with a gentle breeze and quite a bit of warmth in the sun as I set off at 9:10 a.m. with only twelve and a half miles to my next night's accommodation. In the good weather, I could have a leisurely walk with plenty of stops to admire the views. I set off up the lane to the sounds of a lone curlew, swooping overhead, a lone peewit and lambs in the fields bleating. Some of the lambs were quite well grown and almost as big as their mothers, but some were very small and no more than one or two weeks old.

On Cold Moor, I could see across to my destination on the hillside above Kildale, only about six miles as the crow flies, but double that by the route along the moors, which does two sides of the triangle. The visibility was not quite as good as on the previous night, with some distant haze restricting it to about twenty miles. After a couple of days' walking, I was now a little sluggish up steep hills, but with one or two short rests, I got there without any problem. At this stage of the walk, the initial fatigue starts to show, whereas a few days later the body gets more used to the weight of the rucksack and the work it is required to perform, so the walking gets easier. For this reason, it is best not to have high daily mileage in the first few days. However, with only twelve and a half miles to do it didn't matter about being a bit slow.

After the steep descent of Cold Moor to the next climb is up to Hasty Bank and the Wain Stones, which is an outcrop of distinctively shaped rocks up towards the top of the hillside. The view from there was, again very good, albeit similar to that from Cold Moor. Another steep descent leads to Clay Bank Top, where the route crosses the B1257 road from Bilsdale. There is a very popular car park here for those who want to sample the views without having to get out of their cars, or for those who wish to have just a short walk up onto Hasty Bank or Carr Ridge.

Along Carr Ridge, the route strays away from the edge of the moor so, as it was almost time for lunch, I decided to detour over to the edge and take a peaceful break. There were very few people on the path anyway, but over by the edge, I would definitely have the whole place to myself. I had an early lunch at 11:45 in the pleasant sunshine overlooking Roseberry Topping, Easby Moor and the incline on the old Rosedale railway, where empty trucks were hauled up the 220 metre ascent using the gravity of the full trucks going down. I could see a paraglider circling around over Easby Moor and a farmer on his tractor in the fields, way below, but otherwise there was nobody else in sight.

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Hasty Bank from Carr Ridge
Hasty Bank from Carr Ridge
Cringle Moor, Cold Moor and Hasty Bank from Urra Moor
West from Urra Moor

There was an enormous amount of food in the 2 packed lunch from Beak Hill Farm; more than I could eat in one go, so I made a good start and saved some for an afternoon snack. At 1 p.m., I set off again up to Round Hill, which is the highest point in the North Yorkshire Moors at 454 metres. It is not very high compared with many other places, nor is it a prominent peak; just a rounded bump on the moorland, which is a little bit higher than the surrounding area. However, it does give a panoramic view of the great expanse of moors, with a view back along the series of ridges that have been traversed in the past ten miles. Shortly after Round Hill, the Cleveland Way parts company with the Coast to Coast and Lyke Wake walks and heads off north.

A short detour from the route leads to the top of the incline from the old Rosedale railway, so I called by there to have a look and noticed a couple of walkers with rucksacks just leaving. A little further along I met up with the couple, Ken and Jan, who were from Whitley Bay. They were doing the Cleveland Way as far as Whitby, having started the day before me. They were walking between ten and twelve miles a day and taking plenty of time to stop and look around. It turned out that they were staying at the same place as me that night, so I would be seeing them later. The weather clouded over slightly, but the visibility improved again so that the Northern Pennines were again visible. I had another stop on Battersby Moor looking out across the plain, with Carlton Moor on the left and Easby Moor and the Captain Cook monument on the right. Ken and Jan went past as I rested, but I was in no hurry as I only had three miles more to walk at 4 p.m.

Some of the heather was just starting to flower by the side of the track, although this was not evident over most of the higher moorland, where it would probably be another few weeks before they came alive with colour. For a few weeks in the year, the whole of the moors turn reddish pink, but for the rest of the year the heather gives the moors a very dark, sombre appearance.

The last stretch of the walk into Kildale is along the road, so I took a little detour over Warren Moor, which gives a good view over the village and up to Bankside Cottage, where I was staying for the night. Dropping back down to the road again, I headed into Kildale and half a mile further on up to Bankside Cottage, passing a lone walker who had gone into the Post Office. It looked as if he was doing the Cleveland Way, but I didn't come across him again.

I arrived at Bankside Cottage at the same time as Ken and Jan and we received a very warm welcome from the couple who owned it. It is in a beautiful setting overlooking the moors to the south, with a lovely, well kept garden. The four-course dinner was beautifully presented with many of the ingredients home grown. It consisted of carrot and coriander soup, chicken breast with vegetables, strawberries and ice cream and cheese and biscuits followed by coffee. Ken and Jan had pre-arranged for a bottle of Jacob's Creek white wine to be purchased for them, and they kindly invited me to share it with them.

I was quite surprised to find the Kildale village has no pub, as I had assumed that I would be able to go out for a drink after dinner for the first time of the walk. Instead, I stayed in and chatted with Ken and Jan, then watched TV.


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