For the last two days we’ve been having a laugh. We’ve been strolling along , on holiday. Not today my fine friends. No. Its back to striding over the empty moors etc, as we join The Cleveland Way!!
After breakfast we enjoy a lengthy send off, when it transpires that our hosts from last night once lived in the very street of the very town that Uncle Walt lived in. (Namely St. Ann’s Drive, Coalpit Heath, Bristol). What are the odds eh.
Full of the coincidences of life we start and continue in an upwards direction, as we scale the side of that mighty escarpment we have been walking towards for two days past. Churlishly we again spurn the chance to go to Osmotherly. When we get to the top of Arncliffe wood we are on The Cleveland Way. The sky is blue, the air fresh, and the views great. The path alternates between trees and brackeny moor land. Lines of hills proceed into the distance. Far away is Roseberry Topping, a hill which sounds like a desert.
For a short distance after the village of Huthwaite Green we join a bridleway, replete with its own supply of multitudes of flies. Jesus they were annoying. More annoying to the encrusted horse which passed us, no doubt, but even so most unpleasant.
The path plunged upwards at this point, at a ridiculous gradient. At least, by the time we panted our way out onto the paved path across Live Moor, the flies had given up.
On the top was ‘a local’ gathering whinberries with a large plastic scoop. He seemed to be happy to chat, but by the time we were ready to move on someone else was coming up the track, and I guess his whinberrying would be set back again. (Or should it be winberries?) The hazards of gathering beside the Coast to Coast path!
The path continues to switchback, down then up over the next Moor. The next one is Carlton Moor. That’s the one with the now defunct gliding club right up on the top. The planes have gone, but the buildings remain. Down in the valley the rain has set in, but so far up here we are dry.
There is a trig point at the top of Carlton Moor from which, it is truly said, you can see the North Sea and Middlesborough (smoking chimneys thereof). You can also see that the charm keeping rain elsewhere is about to wear off. Don the waterproofs and man the lifeboats!!
Down below there is reputed to be a café. The steep descent is therefore accomplished quickly, The Lordstones Café located, and a cup of tea and a scone purchased, just before the skies again open into an apocalyptic downpour. We are sat next to a window outside of which a walker and his dog sit together, well, doggedly, getting soaked to the skin, but unable to forsake each other or come into the café, Health and Safety being what it is these days.
By the time we have consumed our snack, the rain has stopped. Did that just really happen? Summer in Yorkshire.
It is after this stop that the full beauties of The Cleveland Way become apparent. Not a footpath for taking the easy way, this one. If there’s a large block of moor or rock, well, why not just go straight over it, they thought, those walk planners. We’re not going ROUND anything. No. What people want is the chance to go steeply up, and then come even more steeply down. And then when we’ve got them down, we are sure as eggs they’ll want to go up again. The Cleveland Way. Planned by a sadist. That’s what the sign should say.
In the words of Ray’s song, penned in homage,
Oh The Cleveland Way, The Cleveland Way,
Let’s all hear it for the Cleveland Way (rpt)
It goes up up up,
It goes down, down, down
It goes up and down, up and down …
You get the picture. The ‘more adventurous of the party’ enjoyed it.
Up over Cringle Moor.
Down Kirky Bank.
(To the left here can be seen an undulating low level path. Not ours)
And so on, until the final assault on the Wainstones.
Ah the Wainstones. …
”the outcrops, (a favourite of Wainwright’s), resembling cake decorations atop Hasty Bank.” Is all THE BOOK has to say.
Wainwright comments “This is an enjoyable section, a change from heather, and there is no difficulty in scrambling between the buttresses to the easy ground above. You will like the Wainstones.”
Well, no offence, but this is SUPPOSED to be a walk. Not a flaming climb up over slippery rocks with little indication of the right route. No, Wainwright, I did NOT like The Wainstones. You can keep them. My patience with you was sorely tried at this point.
Of course, Ray loved them, and would have stayed to play had he received some encouragement.
At this point the weather started to close in again, so we made our way along the plateau behind the stones, then steeply steeply down towards Clay Bank Top.
By the time we got near the road it was pouring down, but we still had a way to go, as unlike others on the walk, Ray felt, and I’m not saying that I disagree exactly, that calling the Wainstone’s Hotel for a lift would be somehow WRONG. Even though its what everyone does.
Therefore we had another 3½ miles to go. But, hey, the rain stopped, and we were going down, and although we nearly got lost at one point, Ray saved us and we didn’t. And we got to walk through the entire village of Broughton, past The Bay Horse (which for some reason I so wanted to be The Prancing Pony. Delerium had set in).
The hotel was fine. It had a bath. Great Day.