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Glyndŵr’s Way National Trails

Glyndŵr’s Way Day 6 – Llanidloes to Dylife

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife
Bridge across the Severn in Llanidloes

I felt a second stretch of the Way was feasible this week while the weather was good and my legs were walking fit. We celebrated Eirys’s 87th with a lovely lunch at the Nags Head in Garthmyl and so feeling well fed and refreshed, Heather and I drove to Llanidloes the following day for me to pick up the trail again.

Heather dropped me off near the market hall and I popped into the Spar for lunch and chocolates. With around 1.5 litres of water onboard as it was a warmer day, my day pack felt a little heavier than normal. Maybe it was the Haribos and Mars bars…

Two other walkers were also preparing for a long day by stocking up at the shop and I wasn’t concentrating looking at my phone as I went round the corner over the bridge across the Severn when a mature lady on her mobility scooter screeched to a halt in front of me, giggling as she did so.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

As promised by the guide book, every day of this trail starts with an uphill, this time through attractive woodland with bird nesting boxes aplenty on either side of the path. “Another lovely day in paradise!”, a pug walker opined.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

I drank my twisted strawberry diet coke slightly out of breath and did a bit of videoing, noting the smart woodland toilet and picnic table area ahead.  

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

I was alongside the golf club now – I only played there once with Heather’s Uncle Clive, but remember it, and him, fondly. A small dog ran back to check on me and safeguard it’s owners surprisingly for the first time both the gpx tracks I had downloaded proved to be inaccurate. I guess I or they had lost the gps signal in the same way that one of the golfers couldd be heard to bemoan his lost two golf balls as he searched in vain in the thick bushes the other side from my position on the path.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

Thinking perhaps I should’ve worn shorts I set off across a newly cut field with lovely views downhill to Y Fan in the distance.

TPS52-2021-26 Glyndwŷr's Way Cut Through

I had already learned this week to follow sheep trails diagonally across fields and I did so eventually coming across a number of sheep sheltering in the shade on the side of the path – not bothered to move when I walked right past them.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

My first encounter with horseflies on the day! It was also getting quite hot – 27 degrees I saw later – not something I was expecting. I toiled uphill around a tor shaped hill and enjoyed a long metalled cooler stretch with more shady sheep resting alongside it.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife
Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife
Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife
Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife
Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife
Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife
Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife
Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife
Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

I arrived at Bryntail and the ruins there beneath the wall of the Clywedog Dam.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife
Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

I walked over the bridge and up the steep road – arriving a bit too hot and sweaty to stop at the convenient ceffi with views down to the dam. I walked along the stone walkway for a stretch. then took a 100 metre section of ascent to reach some good views.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife
Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

Downhill again I passed a picnic spot with its views blocked by a high hedge and the owner of the B&B there mowing his front lawn. It was one of only two places I saw all day that offered accommodation on the trail itself. Mower man gestured to me that I was right to take the path alongside his property down to the lake edge.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

What a torrid time I was now having  being beset by horseflies, spoiling what would have been a most picturesque stretch of this leg. I noted the yachts moored in the calm waters at the edge of the lake and like a whirling dervish threshed away at the horseflies, not daring to stop for more than a few seconds. Perhaps just as well I didn’t have my shorts on as there would have been more bare flesh to protect. I did think once one tried to bite my face that this was getting completely unacceptable and I must have killed around 30 on the day, my turquoise icebreaker top looking more and more blood-splattered like an insect infested war-zone.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife
Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife
Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

At the end of the lake I went down through a farm where the sheep seemed strangely assertive, not giving way as normal but staring me down instead. The only place I got any respite from the horseflies was in the fields with sheep in – I guess the flies go for them instead. Brushing a tick from my trousers I was pleased to enter the Hafren forest to enjoy some shade and stop briefly for my egg and cress sandwich.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

My first cow diversion was ahead with a number of cows and their claves completely blocking the gate across the path. I walked around and then through the farm, hoping not to see either the farmer or one of his many barking sheepdogs. I stopped to ask the builders working on the house nearby if they thought I could cut across field to rejoin the path, but they weren’t sure, only confirming that they had seen walkers on the path at other times. As it happened, a continuation of the roadway I was on rejoined the way without any need for fence climbing or hedge jumping.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

The way took a strange loop circuit around the next farm and then a 130 meter assent accent up a grassy slope which was challenging to say the least at the end of what had been a tiring stretch.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

I thought I might run out of puff, but sustained by Haribos I made it to the top where I was rewarded with 360 degree views at 425 metres altitude.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

I was ready for the downhill stretch from 430 metres to the sadly closed Star Inn visible clearly in the Dylife valley below, with half a rusty broken sign saying sadly “Under new management” which must have been erected 5 years ago when the new owners took over.

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

The windows were open of the pub, so someone is still living there, but as I observe in the video, it must be devilishly hard to make a commercial success of somewhere so remote, even though for walkers like me it is in a brilliant spot. 

Glyndwyr's Way Llanidloes to Dylife

Heather and Eirys arrived ten minutes early to pick me up at 14.50 and with no prospect of a beer until we got back to Newtown I made do with a litre of slightly flat diet coke I found in the back of the car. I had drunk all my water.

This is a cracking leg of the Way although it reaffirmed how difficult it must be to do this as a through walk without wild camping, as accommodation options appear pretty limited.

And Heather looked up later what attracts horseflies and confirmed that wearing blue, sweating and having type O positive blood all contribute to one’s attractiveness to the beasties. I’ll know to wear green next time….

For my video thoughts on the day please visit https://youtu.be/emVaPfK5hGs

Categories
Glyndŵr’s Way National Trails

Glyndŵr’s Way Day 5 – Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

We started this long distance trail 8 years ago in 2013 and have only managed 30 miles of it so far, spread over 4 legs and with the last leg ending in Abbeycwmhir in September 2015. So it was well overdue to tackle another section now that we were in Wales again visiting Eirys for her 87th birthday.

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

We took the narrow roads to the start, fortunately not busy this early, as I ideally wanted to get walking by 8am, so that I could be back in plenty of time for the U3A photography group meeting at 4pm. Heather caught the school run on her way back however and had some tricky encounters with school buses playing chicken with her on the lanes.

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

I had popped into Evans the bakers in Newtown and stocked up on food just after it opened at 7am – lovely fresh rolls and sausage rolls to take with me.

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

We managed to avoid running over the black cat on our arrival at Abbeycwmhir and after a quick detour to the entrance to the ruins were pleased to see that the Union pub, closed last time we were here, had reopened for the local community from 7pm to 11pm each evening.

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes
Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

I said farewell to Heather and took the path which started next to the church and right by the green petrol pump – strictly for show only. 

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

After a short climb uphill I had my breakfast roll and started to wend downwards through the shady forest. It was a bit mizzly but if it stayed largely dry all day (which it did) I counted myself as very fortunate.

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

I crossed my first stream of the day over a ford bridge and came out on the roadside by the Foresters’ Cottage, taking the road to the right. For some reason I lost confidence in my direction and doubled back, thinking I was going wrong but I actually wasn’t. It would be simple enough if I just looked for the signposts, which were very well placed along the way.

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

I went further along the road past Fishpool farm and it started to rain gently. Not enough to put the raingear on and I enjoyed the cooling in the soft rain, observing the sheepdog guarding farm by coming out on to the road to investigate if he thought I was any threat, which I wasn’t he soon established. 

Glyndwyr's Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

I had to jump off the road as a car whizzed by at high speed – everyone seems in a rush these days, or maybe I’m becoming a dawdler.

After a steep climb I ended up in deep wet grass where I should have followed a sheep trail, but didn’t, noting that in future I should take these trails as the sheep know the quickest route across their fields from side to side.

Glyndwyr's Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

I saw the first cows of the day with their young calves but after waving at them assertively, they backed off – phew.

Glyndwyr's Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

I could see and hear the sheep herding going on well below me down in the valley, before failing the first of my two different gate initiative tests – eventually managing to get both open, luckily no one watching my embarrassed fumbling.

Glyndwyr's Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes
Glyndwyr's Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

In Bylch-y-Sarnau I saw the community centre, but no sign of the community. In fact apart from the driver and the distant drover, I hadn’t seen anyone. So while the defibrillator in the phone box was a really good idea in principle, if anyone did need resuscitating there wasn’t anyone about to operate the equipment.

Glyndwyr's Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes
Glyndwyr's Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

The high unmistakeable sound of a buzzard was answered by the bellow of a distant bull, animals and birds being my only signs of life this trip.

Glyndwyr's Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes
Glyndwyr's Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

I imagined there would be woozles in the thick forest running alongside the path and enjoyed this nice flat woodland section with birdsong to listen to as I went along at a good pace.

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

Inevitably the flat section ran out and I started climbing up towards Waun, putting the buzzard on the telephone pole into flight as I tried to photograph it.

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes
Glyndwyr's Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

The sudden arrival of a phone signal and accompanying data, had my phone pinging with new emails and what’s apps.

Gradually the early morning mist was lifting and as a result some far reaching views were appearing. Sheep farm after sheep farm after sheep farm and I arrived at one just before a big sheep movement was about to start with excited barking sheep dogs, some out rounding them up, some waiting to help in the backs on landrovers – I got past just in time, remembering that time in New Zealand when the flock went on for over half an hour…. 

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

I reached the 1/2 way mark and at 400m I rewarded myself with a sausage roll after a short diversion due to a lack of signposting – the first such instance.

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

Shortly thereafter I met a couple from west country, out walking from their nearby rented cottage. I remarked that they were first people I had seen today, and the lady said I was first person other than her husband she had seen for two weeks!

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

A very steep downhill section had me thinking about whether I should be carrying poles, but I wasn’t so that’s that. I just was very careful not to slip. 

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes
Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

The bank of windvanes above me looked a little undervalued today as they were hardly turning at all – I expect they are calibrated for some very strong winds on occasions…

glyndwyr way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes
Windvanes are not for turning round here
Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes
Signs of quarrying
Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

I then got to the bottom of the valley and the next section was very steep so steep the next steep bit felt quite shallow!  I had to slalom my way uphill diagonally as it was too steep to go straight up.

glyndwyr way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes
glyndwyr way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes
glyndwyr way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes

It was a very tough, very sweaty section and I was pleased when the trail levelled out a bit.

glyndwyr way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes
Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

I had a very one sided conversation with the farmer, whose monosyllabic grunts didn’t encourage me at all, and I wasn’t all that surprised when this section of the trail across his land but with a right of way, sent me needlessly to the end of his fields and back and then through a boggy section which I’m sure he could sort out.

Glyndwyr Way Abbeycwmhir to Llanidloes

There is a perfectly good gravel road that one could take which would cut all that out, but I rather think he has been deliberately obtuse. Hey ho – I see that european funding has been made available to buy some nearby land and maybe the National Trails are considering a re-route.

glyndwyr way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes

I emerged at pug avenue, where a cacophony of barking sent me swiftly on my way, especially when I saw the very large bull mastiff, who looked capable of escaping from it’s pen and was being very vocal too.

glyndwyr way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes

I passed the Welsh Mountain Cider site – not open today, but I must book for our visit.

glyndwyr way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes

A few more ups and downs to streams followed, I had my sandwich lunch and watched as two buzzards circled ahead – presumably eyeing up my cheese and pickle.

glyndwyr way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes

On my way towards the outskirts of Llanidloes, I met one other walker coming the other way, breaking my duck for the day.

glyndwyr's way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes

It was now lovely full sunshine and it was with a sense of relief I read that it was mostly downhill all the way for the last 2km, which passed quickly as with tired legs I was looking to meet Heather and Eirys in a local pub – and got the text to say they were in the Red Lion just as I crossed the bridge over the bypass into town. I had ordered two pints of shandy as I knew the first would be gone in seconds – which it was!

glyndwyr way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes

We were in plenty of time as it was only 2.30pm and I had completed the 15.5 miles in 6.5 hours – pretty good going considering the volatility of the terrain.

glyndwyr's way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes
glyndwyr way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes

I was pleased to have completed this section, which although slightly samey, with sheep a-plenty all along the way, was nevertheless attractive in its own way and certainly easy for social distancing!

glyndwyr's way abbeycwmhir to llanidloes

For the 5 minute video of the day – see https://youtu.be/7ejC4JZYK4U

Categories
Cleveland Way

Cleveland Way Day 8 – Hayburn Wyke to Scarborough

Day 8 started with an emergency phone call when my iphone locked up completely and I couldn’t get it to do anything.

Only Siri was working and despite me being fairly forceful she was understandably reluctant to turn herself off.

In desperation I held the two buttons down which I thought would reset it only to have an alarm go off and a voice could be heard saying “Emergency – which service please caller?”

I had no idea what to do but in a faint and feeble voice said “So sorry – something had gone wrong with my phone and I can’t put it down” . If I hadn’t been so embarrassed by wasting their time I might have had the presence of mind to say “phone please” when asked which emergency I wanted….

Shortly afterwards the phone reset itself, so maybe something worked although I don’t recommend this as a remedial approach.

The weather was surprisingly bright leaving the Inn after a pleasant breakfast despite the neighbouring table old ladies coughing their stories at each other. I found a much quicker route back to the trail which I would have enjoyed the previous day. I suggest you ignore the earlier sign that says “Inn 1/4 mile ( I made it 3/4) and wait for the sign that says Inn 5 minutes before turning off the trail as the second sign is more accurate.

This is the signpost I recommend you follow

After a short sharp climb I saw a sign that said 5.5 miles to go to Scarborough. That isn’t right as I ended up doing 10 miles in total and saw another sign later that said 3 miles to Scarborough and I reckoned I had already done 3.5-4 miles by then.

Someone has taken the trouble to plant bedding flowers around the base of a bench commemorating the life of the Chair of the Scarborough ramblers – a lovely monument quite a long way out of the town. I spotted some common spotted orchids – lots of them in violet blue.

I exchanged greetings with a couple and the inevitable discussion about weather. “There’s rain coming by 2pm,” they forecast gloomily. “Ill be finished by then”, I replied sunnily.

Heavy rain imminent!

But would I be finished by then?The distant outline of the castle to the left of what looked like Russian apartment blocks was set against an increasingly dark sky. I used the app of the same name and that told me I had 15 minutes before the light rain (although it kept changing it’s mind) and I still had an hour to go at least before reaching the Central hotel.

I hadn’t appreciated how big Scarborough is, split geographically and geologically into two large bays. I reached the first where the suggested pub was next to the aquarium and crazy golf, but wanted to press on to avoid getting too wet. I walked all along the front, past the brightly coloured bathing huts and the curious special brew quaffing locals.

Eventually once past the area where the breakers come ashore and just under the nesting birds below the castle, I felt the need to put the rain shell on.

It rained lightly all the way into the other more Southerly bay, home to the harbour of fishing boats, fish and chip shops and arcades.

I tried to call in at the lookout by the pier cafe but it was rammed full. The central hotel it was then, even though I knew that arriving at 1pm I would be two hours early for check in, but maybe I could have lunch.

No, yes, then no again was the answer to that enquiry, spread over a twenty minute period including the new recruit (she must be) temptingly showing me a newly printed menu.

Only available from 4pm it turned out, so I drank beer on the veranda, ate a packet of yesterday’s biscuits and tried not to get hypothermia. At 2.30 I gave up and went to see if I could check in which the kind man on reception confirmed once he had spoken to housekeeping about room 105 being ready, which it was. And what a nice room with large windows overlooking Debenhams and just above the ice cold veranda.

And joy of joys a bath! My first of the trip. Squeals of delight came out of me and the airlock bound hot tap, and with a cup of tea and another packet of biscuits the early afternoon was taken care of.

I headed for the Scarborough Arms at about 4.30pm but it was still raining and so I took my Sketchers into the Mucky Duck or Black Swan, which was closer to the hotel and only a few doors down from the Royal Tandoori where I had a 5.30 booking.

After a very pleasant chat to the landlord and the couple from Cleveland washed down with two very different but tasty pints, I sauntered down the road to start. curry night. They didn’t seem to have my booking (I later got an email to say my booking hadn’t been accepted) but as the only table for a while before the Phal fat eater and his chip guzzling female companion arrived, I was given prompt and excellent service.

Quite a tough place this. A couple walk into the Royal Tandoori – “Would you like a menu?” they are asked. “No need, we know what we want,” they reply and order.

Not sure exactly what but maybe a couple of curries and a Nan bread. “We aren’t paying that, the man says when the bill arrives, “much too expensive for a takeaway”

Now I don’t know how much the bill was, but my curry was £8 eating at a table. After some discussion a lower bill is presented saying “we have started cooking, but here’s a reduction in the price”

The couple still walk out. And it’s only 6pm – imagine what it’s like later! Tough town….

I enjoyed my meal and go back to the hotel to watch England Vs Scotland in the football, which was disappointing on several counts. Firstly that the fans on either side don’t have the necessary respect for each other’s national anthems, but boo throughout. Secondly that the game was so dull, with only 4 exciting incidents in the whole 90 minutes, none of that which lead to a goal. oh well, at least I had a bag of Haribos to console myself with.

So day 8 ended with a whimper having started with a jolt. I slept well in the comfortable bed until the creaking springs in the room occupied above by the rampant couple awoke me.

Categories
Cleveland Way

Cleveland Way Day 7 – Whitby to Hayburn Wyke

Dry in the hotel…

The day started with light rain, so I togged up accordingly and put the backpack cover on. Stupidly heavy after my wine purchase, I popped into Boots to stock up on Compeed for the feet and Piriteze for the hayfever.

The hooting should have alerted the elderly male driver that he was going the wrong way up a one way street, but he was either deaf or stubborn. I left Whitby at 10, admiring the characterful streets and snickleways reminiscent of York.

The 199 steps up to St Marys and the Abbey were marked every ten steps in roman numerals, so you didn’t need to count. I wandered around the grounds outside the abbey, not sure if I needed to buy a ticket but I was obscured from view from the ticket office by a large van so the issue never arose.

Cleveland Way Stone Marker near the abbey

I passed through a large static and mobile caravan site reflecting on how the weather would effect such a holiday experience. A damp spaniel rushed past revelling in the long grass and covered with seeds, perhaps looking for the small shop selling ice cream for dogs just up ahead. I didn’t stop although I would have liked to support them in their initiative.

I came to the house with the big hooters and the associated lighthouse which was available to to rent in a spectacular setting. Nearby cliffs housed hundreds of nesting seabirds.

The rain started to ease. I completed a tricky stream crossing with slippery rocks creating a balance challenge. I was by this time completely sopping inside my top, which I opened both the sleeve vents and front zip of, in order to try and get sone drying air circulation. A small bird startled me by jumped out at me from under the step in front of my feet.

I wreaked my revenge by startling some sheep in return.

The sun came out, brilliant! I decided I was just too well dressed and stripped off the sodden rain gear and the backpack cover and pressed on cap in hand.

At Robin Hood Bay I searched in vain for somewhere I could sit outside for a bowl of soup but settled instead for a diet coke and a snickers bar. The tide was still quite low and enabled me to take the route across the beach saving me a number of inclines, although one stretch was quite a challenge as I made my way carefully jumping from weed covered rock to rock across an otherwise quite deep rockpool area.

I looked briefly for fossils in the shale at the bottom of the cliffs and then thought better of it ad with no helmet I was vulnerable to falling rock and found nothing in my short search.

The steep climb out of the bay brought access to the alum works ruins which were an interesting diversion.

Ravenscar beckoned along their brick road to 185 metres of altitude and just before the top I treated myself to a national trust rasberry ripple ice cream and a cup of earl gray tea.

As I left Ravenscar having completed 17.6 km I saw a demotivating sign saying 4 miles still to go…I had underestimated the length of this leg.

The sun was shining though and I enjoyed a nice long flat section with deer, alpine cows and good views particularly from Petard point, as I passed through the second rocket post field of the day, both containing tall millennium torches. I also dallied briefly at the abandoned Ravenscar radar station.

After passing some marestail as tall as I was, the steps led all the way down to the Hayburn waterfall, after which the sign said 1/4 mile to the inn off the main way trail.

I made it much more than that, probably taking the wrong route, but collapsed happily into a seat in the sunshine outside this oasis of a country inn, where two pints of shandy didn’t touch the sides. 15 miles of stunning coastal scenery and weather that really treated me kindly.

A prawn cocktail and seabass on mash washed down with a pint of Black Sheep ale later and I was ready for a glass of wine carted all the way from Whitby enjoyed in my room watching football before bed. What a lovely day!

Categories
Cleveland Way General

Cleveland Way Day 6 – Staithes to Whitby

The three minute video summary of the day

After escaping the claws of the blue lobster outside the Captain Cook Inn I headed across to meet the way outside the village as I had explored it thoroughly the day before.

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I need to add 500 metres to my watch account as I forgot to switch it on.

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The smell of kippers from the smokery I passed had attracted a scruffy looking collie who seemed on the lookout for scraps. The footpaths converged neatly with an uphill climb to a good view. I had the backpack on again today and that was noticeable straight away on the first steep climb.

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An oil rig bobbed and a sailing boat bustled along in the stiff sea breeze.

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I arrived in Port Mulgrave despite the strong prevailing wind disconcerting pushing me toward the sheer cliff edges.

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I missed the signs for the gentler path taking the very steep downhill road instead into Runswick Bay. The hotel of that name was closed and the bakery was closed.

The Royal Hotel was also closed although there were loads of people about and the tyre squeal inducing car park was full.

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Luckily the cafe was open for a coffee and a sausage roll. No phone signal means visitors cant pay for their parking I overheard a couple say, with the cafe having no internet either. The big Northumberland dog looked unconcerned as it enjoyed a swim.

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Was the state of tide ok? It was and I passed the hob holes looking hard to try and find the easy to miss turning, which I recognised from watching all those You Tube videos.

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What a beautiful sunny day – I must try not swallow any insects as I puffed and huffed up the steep section out of the bay.

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I spotted my first flat cap of the trip cutting his lawn. At Sandsend the tide was right for a lovely walk across the beach after a quick diet coke.

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I eventually walked all the way on the beach to Whitby, almost right up to the pier where I cut up the hill into the outskirts of the town and rested a bit on a bench near yet another Cook memorial across the valley from the Abbey.

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I enjoyed the sunshine, but thirst took me to a pub with an outdoor area before getting smoked out, quickly finishing my three brothers bitter ex and then checking in at the nearby very central George Hotel, where apparently the risk of Covid diminishes at 3pm, hence that is their earliest check-in.

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After a shower and change of clothes, having done my daily clothes wash, I went down to watch Wales beat Turkey 2-0 in the European Championships.

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I had a table booking at 6.30 at the very nearby Kam Thai restaurant inside the station building that I could see from my room number 4. After an excellent meal I foolishly bought not just one bottle of wine, but two as they were on special offer. Falling asleep after just one mouthful I’ll be carrying them tomorrow – what a ninny.

The George was comfortable although the decor was as shouty as its staff and inhabitants. There does seem to be a correlation between the volume of someone’s body and the volume of their voice, and I reckon the rowdy mob outside my window at 1.30am must be very large framed indeed. At least they drowned out the sound of the thunderstorm…

Categories
Cleveland Way National Trails

Cleveland Way Day 5 – Slapewath to Staithes

Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes

I set off from the Fox and Hounds at 8.30 as there was no point in waiting for the cafe to open at 9 but had a sandwich breakfast at Skelton Co-op instead. The day started quick climb through the quarry, with a verdant forest and yellow gorse standing out against a blue sky.

Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes

It was a lovely sunny day and I soon enjoyed good views to the coast. I was appreciative of the kind local farmer who slowed to avoid dusting me on the gravel road, and when I admired the position and setting of his farmhouse, he agreed. “But not so nice in winter, mind” he added. The sentinel of a single wind vane loomed in the distance as if beckoning me towards the sea.

Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes

I wonder if runners are the new cyclists? Cyclists used to be rude on the trails and take no prisoners but I had found them polite compared to the runners who barrel up the path towards you with no consideration of your presence chatting, breathing heavily and forcing me to observe social distance by getting out of their way with no acknowledgement either. I sometimes wondered if I was invisible? Rant over.

Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes

After avoiding a nasty incident with the killer Skelton Daschunds I passed the impressive viaduct and saw a train ferrying freight over its scaffolding clad strucure before continuing through a woodland park on the outskirts of Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes
Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes
Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes
Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes

The Victorian and gothic looking buildings were an impressive introduction and the sea was a sudden strange contrast to the windswept moors of the previous day.

Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes

Sadly the cliff lift was a victim of Covid, but I walked out to the end of the pier instead to watch the surfers and a few brave souls swimming without wetsuits – brrr!!

Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes
Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes
Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes
Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes
Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes
Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes

Further along the beach I passed the Ship Inn which would have been good for lunch had I been a little later and noted the small mortuary underlining the perils of fishing in these parts.

Cleveland Way Day 5 - Slapewath to Staithes
CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards

Steep cliffs obviously attracted suicides as there were a lot of guardian angels tiles with supportive encouragement not to take the wrong decision at various jump off spots.

CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards

There were a lot of pairs walking this section and at times it was hard to pass safely as the trail was so close to the crumbing edge of the cliffs on the one side and stone walls or fences on the other.

CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards
CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards

I remembered the trick when coastal walking of looking backwards regularly to enjoy views as spectacular behind me as there were ahead.

CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards
CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards

I mused in a bittersweet moment that I was now over half way along the trail, enjoying it and not wanting it to end too soon. A nautical statue and charm bracelet statue punctuated the path.

CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards
CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards
CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards

The fan house for the alum mining of the 18th century is a striking monument to those times.

CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards

More narrow encounters reinforced that the cliff path is receding quite rapidly in places and to continue its presence it will need land to be appropriated from neighbouring farmers and stonewalls resited. Green weed accentuated the colours of the water and cliffs and I spotted a golf course nearby that looked challenging in the sea breeze.

CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards
CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards

It was strange to be walking above the flight path of the gulls who would unexpectedly appear right next to you at times.

CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards
CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards
CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards
CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards
CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards

I came to a lovely house which was apparently used for filming Dads army and was owned or used by Katherine Zeta Jones. Either way it was a beautiful location and a lovely farmhouse.

Suddenly one section of purple flowering heather had me taking repeat photos to remember the moment. I had hang on to my hat as I climbed up to Boultby cliffs, at 230 metres the highest cliffs on the east coast of England.

CW Day 5 Slapewath onwards

There I saw a poignant poem to Pauline from 69 year old Ted which took him 64 days to carve into the rock in 2015 after his partner of 15 years died following a two year serious illness in 2010.

Pauline

In spring I saw you

Your eyes shone like dew

In summer we shared

A love we had so true

In autumn they told us

There is nothing we can do

It became winter when you left

Ted

I pressed on misty eyed (from the wind?) and kept my wits about me as grass-covered ankle twisting holes in the path threatened to unsettle me.

I passed a new sculpture bench on the outskirts of Staithes. Some lovely houses here – obviously a bit of money about…

I dropped down into Staithes, resisting the urge to take too many photos as I knew I’d be back later, and plodded up the final steep hill towards the Captain Cook Inn, my resting point for the night. 14 miles successfully completed at a snails pace of 3.5 km an hour meant it was about 3.30 that I enjoyed a shandy at the extraordinary competitive price of £2.30 on the hotel lawn.

Like many others I welcomed the sun but tried to find shelter from the cold wind, which I did when others moved on and I found a table where I could warm up and chat to a couple from Fife holidaying here. He had caught 10 cod on a fishing trip the day before so I was hoping my 8.15 dinner at the Cod and Lobster would have no shortage of either ingredient.

I watched a turgid Portugal vs Hungary football game in the Europeans and stepped downhill to the town for a bit of photography.

I then sat outside the Cod watching the next door Great Dane and then being entertained by the same couple that owned it and their elderly friend bale and the woman row him in a decrepit wooden dingy out into the harbour, while the man watched and the Great Dane barked from the shore. Luckily the lifeboat crew were practicing nearby as they weren’t displaying much seamanship.

I never saw how it ended as my table was ready and I went inside for the most disappointing meal of my trip. The signature dish of cod and lobster was a forgery. The only saving grace was it was quite cheap.

I should have been home an hour ago.....

I found a short cut back through the town which emphasised the grip the gulls have on the place – guano everywhere and unpleasant squawking being two trademarks of their dominance.

I had half an eye on the Germany France game before an uncomfortable bed and a bad case of hayfever gave me a grumpy night’s rest.

For my video thoughts on the day please visit https://youtu.be/Wd0awSS09vU

Categories
Cleveland Way National Trails

Cleveland Way Day 4 – Clay Bank to Slapewath

Cleveland Way Day 4

After breakfast Lindsey and I were both keen to get started so we bid farewell to the others and got a politically charged conversation or rather a chance to listen to our German host’s right wing thoughts up to Clay Bank, where we set off uphill at around 8.30am. Lindsey looked shattered, hobbling along at a snail’s pace but I stayed patiently behind her, knowing I had the whole day to do my 19 miles.

Cleveland Way Day 4

We had a good chat and after a while she started to walk a little easier but I did hope this whole experience would encourage rather than discourage her future long distance walking.

Cleveland Way Day 4

At Bloworth Crossing we bid each other our second and final farewell as I had taken the wrong path a few minutes earlier. I increased the pace and strode off across the moors admiring the grouse butts (small dugouts for shooters) and standing stone memorials against the dramatic escarpment backdrop of yesterday’s walking.

Cleveland Way Day 4

I had experimented with silicon pads under the balls of my feet as I knew they would take some bashing today but took them off at this point and felt more comfortable as a result, noting that my feet were quite hot.

Cleveland Way Day 4

A narrow section of road followed a long downhill into Kildale, where disappointingly I discovered the Glebe House tearoom was now permanently closed, a victim of the pandemic perhaps?

Cleveland Way Day 4

I missed my turning here as the sign was buried in nettles and tall grass and got about 500 metres further before I realised. Cursing, I retraced my steps and cleared the sign as best I could without being stung. I had a bad feeling about Kildale, whether it was the lack of welcome from the locals, the absence of facilities or the patently very hungry lambs bleating angrily at me as I wound up the steep hill past Bankside Farm I wasn’t sure.

Cleveland Way Day 4

Pleased this wasn’t my terminus for the day, I sweated up to the Captain Cook memorial where I enjoyed shelter from the breeze and lunch of three ginger nut biscuits, guarding them from the greedy jaws of a suddenly appearing ambush of a retriever.

Cleveland Way Day 4

After admiring the views as I dropped down into Gribdale car park, spotting several Southern Marsh orchids on the way. They were neither in the South or in a marsh, but very attractive nonetheless.

I had decided before the start that I wouldn’t be tempted by Roseberry Topping, which seemed to me to be a 320metre high conspiracy dreamed up by the Grand Old Duke of York for no good reason. I expect the advertised views from there are splendid but I had been higher recently and looking over the same vista, so I ignored the detour and protected my starting to feel sore feet instead.

I spotted the two halves of the mystery stone on the border of Highcliffe Farm and had my rucksack in hand ready to swing it at the aggressive tern who was clearly protecting its nest near the path, which was a silly place to put it.

Cleveland Way Day 4

Hoping the dead lamb in the corner wasn’t a victim of a dog attack, I headed up to Highcliff Nab and the extensive views over Guisborough and the wide expanse of the North Sea. I was back in a heavily populated area without much warning.

Cleveland Way Day 4

I had been thinking that the previous day had been more challenging with its rollercoaster of undulating climbs, but as I reached about mile 16, always my ideal daily limit I started to think again, as my feet ached and I could feel the hotspot of an impending blister on the inside of my left heel.

Cleveland Way Day 4

I gritted my teeth and tried to maintain a good walking shape. I passed by and chatted to an older man doing the 14 mile stretch from Kildale to Saltburn where his wife would pick him up. We agreed not having to carry our full packs was a big advantage.

The last three miles through woodland were more about endurance than enjoyment, so it was with relief that I found a short gap in the traffic on the busy A171 to arrive at the Fox and Hounds. The pub is run separately to the attached hotel and I enjoyed a pint of John Smiths outside while waiting for someone to attend reception, having pressed the bell repeatedly as requested and phoned the mobiles suggested without success.

I dashed off an angry reply to Waites suggestion that we had received a full delivery of garden border already and brought my dinner booking forward an hour to 6.30.

The steak and ale pie with lashings of mash and gravy, followed by a stick toffee pudding and ice cream were an ample reward for the days exertions and I hardly got any strange looks from the hard swearing football watching politically incorrect slightly sozzled locals as I gingerly cradled my gin and tonic before going into the sanctuary of the empty dining room.

Cleveland Way Day 4

I realised in the time since I’d arrived in this part of Yorkshire I hadn’t seen a single black or asian person. Unless you counted the Thai waitress at the Buck Inn. Was this the heart of Brexit Britain?

A successful day when I pushed to the limit, reminding myself why I liked to do no more than 16 miles, although I could if I needed to. Now where’s that Compeed?

For the short video on the day please visit https://youtu.be/oVaeTC8bF64

Categories
Cleveland Way National Trails

Cleveland Way Day 3 – Osmotherley to Clay Bank

I was up early and ready for an 8.45 departure after scrambled eggs on toast at the Queen Catherine. A pleasant stay although I failed to discover what was “Deluxe” about my single room – maybe it was because I had an en suite. The quarterly chimes from the church bells just outside my window hadn’t disturbed my sleep and I felt refreshed in the early morning warmth.

I soon unzipped the leggings and turned my longs into shorts for the day. I met an walker who looked older than me who was doing 20 miles in my direction carrying his full pack and camping – brave! I met lots of dogs on the trail today and runners – why is everyone in such a hurry? I enjoyed regular snatches of birdsong which distracted me into taking a wrong turn due to a lack of concentration. Luckily I soon spotted my mistake and it only cost me ten minutes or so.

A cyclist barrelled past in a whirl of wintergreen and soon thereafter I was in a field of very tame and photogenic highland cows and calves.

Today was a day of plenty of sharp climbs and steep descents. I was prepared for them but found them increasingly tiring, as I ascended 815 metres in 5 significant uphill stretches. I rested by a stone age burial site and overheard a passing walker say “I find it easy dealing with women at work, I just say put another pie on that and three sugars in my tea love.” I think he may have been teasing his female companion but she looked as shocked as I felt!

I stopped for a flapjack at the Iron Age burial site before tackling the third of the big climbs. I had a feeling this might be a two flapjack day….

There were quite a few areas where fire damage was apparent in the heather, whether planned or accidental it wasn’t clear. I wondered if the patch of purple heather I’d seen the previous day was in fact fire damage.

On the second to last climb I met a charming kiwi lady walking the coast to coast and we had a good chat, agreeing that both our countries had a lot to offer scenically.

I got to the Wainstones at about 12.45 and decided to wait until 2.30 to call the Buck Inn rather than disturb their lunch service. I lazed on the grass in a sheltered spot and watched football on iplayer under the sun, occasionally being snuffled at by rogue hounds. Probably after my second flapjack – too late!

I called Helen at the Buck and 40 minutes later she picked me up in the lay-by at Clay Bank and ferried me to the inn. No sign of my rucksack, but Helen called Sherpa and the Wainstones to discover it was on it’s way. Sherpa had 600 Coast to Coast bags that day, so were running a bit behind. I had a Theakstons Peculiar on arrival and then first Chris and his daughter Debbie appeared, followed by Wendy and John (both couples walking the Coast to Coast – Wendy and John had previously walked to Killy and EBC) and John and Angela who were doing the CW too.

I showered after a second pint and came back to the party with a large G&T. Lovely and sunny and chatty outside with everyone in good spirits. John shared the bad news of his bowel cancer with me, I hope that ICR may be able to help him.

We went into dinner, another lively affair with herring and goulash and Lindsay pitching up with tired legs but plenty of conversation.

I stayed up talking to the German owner Wolfgang who was entertainingly politically incorrect to a turn.

A good day – would my washing dry I wondered?

For the short video of the day, please click https://youtu.be/4abvdoUbEB0

Categories
Cleveland Way National Trails

Cleveland Way Day 2 – High Paradise Farm to Osmotherley

Cleveland Way Day 2

Breakfast was self catering, so after a vaguely healthy yoghurt I peeled off two large rashers of bacon and fried them with two eggs on toast and lashings of Yorkshire tea. No ketchup sadly. Half a scone to follow.

Cleveland Way Day 2

I left my rucksack with them under the arch and headed off at around 9am, right through the farmyard to exit onto the edge of the moors. What a lovely day. Sunny and breezy and I kept my gillet on, tried the cap for a while, and savoured the conditions. And the view.

Cleveland Way Day 2

What a pleasure to only have the daypack on, no waterproofs and only a litre of water. I wore the light cap and soon put that back in the bag as the breeze was enough to keep cool.

Cleveland Way Day 2

I saw a curlew early on, although didn’t know what it was until later. My bird identifier app was playing up again suggesting all sorts of inappropriate ones, but I guess it was quite windy.

Cleveland Way Day 2

Dry stone walling, a large patch of flowering heather, and a variety of green vegetation under blue patchy clouded skies made for dramatic scenery. A smile on my face, this was what long distance walking was about and I was relishing the moment.

Cleveland Way Day 2

A white fluffy hound tried unsuccessfully to bite me as its owners kept it on a short lead.

A loon (probably not, but thats what the app thought it was) squawked angrily and flapped its wings at me as I put my head over the wall into its space. I think it may have been a lapwing rather than a crazy loon.

Signs commemorated the disappearance of droving inns long gone. Every now and again trail runners, cyclists and other walkers would either overtake or annoyingly come towards me without any concession to social distancing. I would normally step off the well made path, sometimes just to make the point, which I’m not sure was picked up on anyhow.

Cleveland Way Day 2

I felt engaged and enthralled by the surroundings and slightly disappointed that the sign saying “Osmotherley 5 miles” had arrived so soon.

Cleveland Way Day 2

All too quickly I was skirting the limestone quarry and at Black Hambledon where the viewpoint framed Osmotherly in the distance and I started the descent to Oakdale. Stone slabs made the walking easier and soon I could hear the excited shouts of bathers ignoring the “cold water kills” signs and enjoying the reservoir.

Cleveland Way Day 2

I learned to look down when passing through the gates as one cracked my shin a nasty blow with a fixed bar below I hadn’t thought would be there on opening it.

Cleveland Way Day 2

I met Max the collie and his equally friendly lady owner on the outskirts of the village after a quick u-bend down to the river and back. His coat glistening in the sunlight after he had shared the bath with grandchildren and a strawberry bomb the day before.

Cleveland Way Day 2

I experienced my first squeeze stile near the White House and greeted the successful gardening owner of the nearby house with conifers framing their lovely stone house on an incline just off the trail.

Cleveland Way Day 2

I was ejected off the trail into the heart of the village by the memorial right on time to enjoy an excellent Striding the Riding Helmsley Beer (the official beer of the trail) at the Golden Lion along with a gruyere and red onion ciabatta which I lingered over in the sunshine. I had completed the 13km in 3 and a quarter hours.

Cleveland Way Day 2

I checked in at the Queen Catherine to my deluxe single room and couldn’t get the TV to work, so read and rested instead. Not sure what the definition of deluxe was around here but I had a fine view of the church and could hear the 15 minute bells very clearly. The room was comfortable enough and all I needed.

I went down to enjoy a Wainwright beer on the pavement outside the hotel before dinner at 6pm. The whole town was packed with people sutting outside enjoying the sun, lovely to see and it created a cheery atmosphere.

At 6pm I wandered over to the third in the triumvirate of pubs, the Three Tuns, for dinner and I was pleased there was space outside in the charming walled garden.

My neighbour Sarah at the next table was also dining alone on the sea bream so we joined forces and had a good chat until just before 8 when her taxi was due to take her back to Thirsk. Sarah is also walking the way over a series of weekends. A very interesting person and I enjoyed our meeting.

I was still capable of a glass of wine back at the Queen Catherine while the sun was out and after 9 it started to get a little chilly so I retired for a good sleep despite the clock bells chiming every 16 minutes after what had been a very happy day on the trail.

Cleveland Way Day 2

The five minute video of the day is here https://youtu.be/_wRI0nUNKiE

Categories
Cleveland Way National Trails

Cleveland Way Day 1 – Home to Helmsley to High Paradise Farm

Cleveland Way Day 1

The LED lights on the alarm clock display a row of 2s. My brain is obviously anxious about missing my train and jolts me awake, much earlier than the planned 4.30am start.

After doing my horizontal whirling dervish impressions for a couple of hours I rise and gleam dimly. Showered and shaved and having feebly pumped up the bicycle tyres ahead of its collection next week, I search in vain for my icebreaker gillet, hoping to give my favourite faded fabric one more outing.

Heather, now up too, knows where it is, and with 9.5kg of backpack and gillet proudly in place, we set off to Redhill station.

On arrival, the first ticket machine fails to play ball, and I have to make my way to the main entrance where I do get my travel documents spat out at me on the second attempt – result!

Quite a few commuters and we are all masked and there is plenty of space on the 5.59 to Peterborough to stay socially distanced. Black is obviously the fashionable colour, I guess it doesn’t show the dirt, although I prefer my snow white ICR mask. Well it is snow white at the moment…

Lovely to go into London again and the short walk to Kings Cross from St Pancras gives me a chance to breathe mask free for a bit. Costa coffee and a toasted sandwich in hand, I settle into my seat on the 7.06 Azuma to York – what brilliant trains!

The forecast looks fabulous for walking – will I be lucky?

The train looks about 10% occupied and surely can’t be economically viable to run, especially as my fare was £40 to York. I’m not sure if I have to wear my mask all the time, not while I’m eating of course. Some are, some aren’t- so it’s not entirely clear. The Jamaican lilt announced the opening of the food bar, as well as a delivery to your seat if required. If I had known I would have waited to eat on board.

After an anxious wait in Newark on Trent with a lot of whistle blowing and train manager calling, we did depart roughly on time and arrived promptly in York at 9.30, and then I dashed across the five platforms to pick up the Trans Pennine for the one stop trip to Thrisk. I was booked in coach B, but there seemed to be two Es and no B, but it wasn’t busy so it didn’t matter that I was in the wrong coach.

There was a clear view from the train of the white horse in the trail, which confirmed to me that I didn’t need to do the two mile additional detour to go and look at it on the trail, especially as you couldn’t see much of it from the ground.

Having confirmed by email to Martin Chapman taxis that I was on time, he sent his best man Buzz, larger than life to meet me in his people carrier at the station, which is a good mile or two outside the pretty little town.

Buzz pointed out some of the points of interest along the first day’s trail as we took the one in four incline up and over the ridge I would be walking later. Handy to get a good view of where I was heading. Buzz was good company and I hope he will get the final all clear on his liver cancer in September.

Cleveland Way Day 1

Market day in Helmsley and it started to drizzle after I had bought lunch in the Co-op. I wasn’t too long in the town, just having a quick wander round the collection of attractive buildings before heading back to the Feversham memorial by Sir George Gilbert Scott, former resident (1869-1872) of Rooks Nest Farm Godstone, and architect of St Nicholas’s church, St Mary’s Almshouses, St Pancras Station and Albert Memorial.

Cleveland Way Day 1

Here I had lunch watching the townsfolk and visitors putting their umbrellas up and down indecisively.

Cleveland Way Day 1

I set off on the left of the town hall at around 11, passing the stone memorial to the way across the other side of the castle car park and onto the well defined gently rising path, saying to the couple pushing their dog in a pram that I could do with such kindness.

Cleveland Way Day 1

A gentle start to the trail as it winds uphill along farmland and woodland with one short descent and ascent through a dry valley. There were no others on this part of the track. My pack was feeling ok and although I definitely wasn’t as fit as I would like, luckily the first climbs were fairly gentle.

Cleveland Way Day 1

I did rest just outside Cold Kirby, just getting started again when a marathon man trail runner cane alongside and we had a chat about the local area, the marathon route he was marking, and the benefits or otherwise of sparklers in pubs for putting a frothy head on the beer, a yorkshire thing that divides the beer loving nation. “See you in the Golden Lion tomorrow then” he said. Friendly in these parts…

I could hear nearby shooting and hoped I was clearly distinguishable from a grouse as the hunters seemed to have a glut of ammunition and enthusiasm.

Cleveland Way Day 1

Cold Kirby released two flapjacks into my possession for a pound, a good investment as the price doubled a few miles down the trail.

I stopped at Sutton Bank, having ignored the turning to the White Horse, but having tea outside at the visitor centre instead, gradually being covered with small green flies which crawled all over the table, my clothes and rucksack, and tried to swim in my tea and eat my shortbread too. I wasn’t sure how many of these green monsters I ingested but decided to move on, later discovering a few of them had journeyed all the way with me by hiding in various folds of my pack.

TPS52-2021-23 Cleveland Way

The walk along the ridge after Sutton Bank is spectacular with far reaching views and gurn inducing strong gusty winds. Luckily the prevailing wind pushes you back from, rather than towards the crumbling cliffs, which drop off sharply in ways that would have health and safety officials spluttering into their strong brews of yorkshire tea.

Several windswept miles later I shoed sheep off the trail at the abandoned High Barn, with my eventual goal of High Paradise Farm a final short testing descent and then climb in the near distance.

Cleveland Way Day 1

“You aren’t native then?”, the nutty-but-nice motorist from nearby Naisborough asked me through his passenger window as we both stopped in our different directions to admire the views, and in my case catch my breath

And then I was there, 20 km completed in 5 hours at an easy to calculate average speed. The farm couldn’t be more on the trail as the Way goes right through the middle of it.

Ginni the friendly manager, 32 year old daughter of her parents the previous owners who had apparently conceived her in a tent on the lawn outside, offered me an extra toilet roll from the recent delivery and a choice of three brewdog beers (I had all three) while digging me out a couple of kilos of dried pasta to go with my self catering spag bog for my evening meal.

I was in the kitchen cottage, floors wet from the recent mopping and following the spraying of anticovid stuff, which was costing £10 a time but deemed necessary to keep us all safe.

“Oh its mostly walkers at the moment,” said Ginni, “which means changing all four rooms every day but I’m not complaining as walkers are nicer to have stay than some of those people that stay three or four nights and expect the earth. We are a sixteenth century farmhouse in the middle of nowhere after all,” she added. “And just caretakers of the property”

Property which was quite charming, with a log burning lounge, kitchenette, sofa and large tv, separated from the bedroom by a small shelf which I kept stubbing my slightly sore toes on until I put my sketchers there to remind me not too.

Cleveland Way Day 1

Guava and grapefruit pilsner was an acquired taste which I quickly acquired, followed by a nice hot shower and a change of clothes.

Feeling less tired (20km was just enough for the first day) I tucked into a mango and pineapple pilsner, hand washed my clothes, and then microwaved my mince to have with the salad and dressing while watching the governess losing the Chase – a rare sight.

I saved my grapefruit IPA for after dinner and a chat with Heather and decided the giant scone would be good for breakfast.

I made my bed and after a short spell collating the video and reading some Paul Theroux I was ready for a snooze. An excellent enjoyable first day, one which introduced me fairly gently to the trail, during which I stayed dry and then drank Brewdog.

For the video of the first day please click this link https://youtu.be/qy5WHRaUxvo