Monday 11th July Broughton to Blakey

Before we get any further, mention must be made here of the sandwiches we were equipped with at The Wainstones Hotel. In spite of the association with the name ‘Wainstones’, an outcrop I would rather forget, the Hotel deserves remembering for their superlative sarnies. The combination of Swaledale Blue Cheese and Plum Chutney, though perhaps sounding a tad unlikely, was FAB, and if I ever get another chance to have them I will.

We were not to know the treat that awaited us, though, as we set off back up to Clay Top to rejoin the trail. Not for us the lift back up in the hotel car. Having said that, the morning was good, the walk through Broughton fresh and quiet, and the ascent through the woods entirely trouble free.

Back at Clay top we rejoined The Cleveland Way, and so of course immediately headed up steeply until we got to the heather clad top of Urra Moor.


There a broad track awaited us, winding gently along through heather which will be spectacular sometime soon when it turns purple, but is presently a rather boring grey brown green sort of thing. The Moors are open and empty. The walk continues along ridges with views to one side or the other, towards Middlesboro and its smoking chimneys (we do still make something in Britain then), or down into rural Farndale. We pass two ancient looking stones, one with a face the other with hands, both allegedly boundary markers. We join the track of the disused Rosedale Ironstone Railway, another ex industrial installation.

At this point the skies become grey, and I decide that there is something more boring than walking through farmland. Try moors. Flat ones. In fact I would go so far as to say that this section, either side of Blakey, was MY least pleasing section of the walk. So stick that in your pipe Wainwright.


Even the Cleveland Way slunk off in disgust, to find some more ups and downs.

Of course, there were one or two ameliorating instances of interest.

  1. A large signboard warning all passers-by of the dangers of the Moor.

Namely, Adders lurking in the heather.

Ticks and your imminent danger of getting Lyme Disease if you get one on you, not that there’s much chance of doing anything to avoid it once you are up here. (Unless you were thinking of having close personal contact with a sheep. Don’t do it mate.)

Lastly Fires. Not much chance of starting one, its so damp.

Cheerful then. Welcome to The North York Moors.

  1. Grice, being the plural of grouse… possibly. There are a few of them up here. Their heads stick up suddenly from the heather, singly and then a few together, where they hide unaware of the dangers pointed out by the sign board. Though I suppose, on balance, their greater danger lies in the calendar edging inexorably towards the ‘Glorious Twelfth’.


  1. The lunchtime stop involving sandwich of previous mention.
  1. A couple of Charity Walkers who overtake us like formula one walkers, as they attempt to complete the walk in some overly fast time ‘for charitee’.

But really that is about it for the walking. I am therefore quite glad to see The Lion Inn on the horizon.

The Lion Inn Blakey. Built 1553. The 4th highest pub in Britain. Huge. Old dark and quirky inside. It stands on the side of a busy B road over the moors, and judging by the size of the car park, is a very popular stop indeed for day trippers. The sunshine has returned, and we are soon drinking beer with some of our fellow walkers.


In our room a SHOCK awaits. A note from Mickeldore tells us that our accommodation for tomorrow night has been rearranged. No longer may we stop in The Horse Shoes in Egton Bridge, but must continue instead to Grosmont House. It is no longer ‘up to the expected standard’!!! What can have happened to The Horse Shoes? It is a topic of wonder later in the evening, as others have had their stay there cancelled too.

As this will be our last evening together in the same place we all eat together. Those two from day one turn up too, and much sheep is consumed in the form of ‘Barnsley Chops’, the special of the day. John and Trish have a mega day tomorrow as they have to go the full distance to Littlebeck (2 days for us), and so will be starting unfeasibly early.


Sunday 10th July Ingleby Cross to Broughton

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.

And Up.

And Down.


(To the left here can be seen an undulating low level path. Not ours)

And up.


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.



Saturday 9th July Danby Wiske to Ingleby Cross

“Danby Wiske... At 110 feet above the sea,… is the lowest point between the coastal extremities of the walk.” Poor old Wainwright really didn’t enjoy this section at all. He adds, “To walkers whose liking is for rough places and high terrain, this will seem the dullest part of the whole walk; those who believe the earth is flat will be mightily encouraged on this section.”

Its not so bad… really. We set off through the village up another lane and then through more farmland. In no time at all we cross over the East Coast Mainline, and as we walk on away from it the roar of the trains indicates that it is akin to the runway in Heathrow as regards frequency of use. There seems to be a high speed train shooting up it at two minute intervals. I am lead to remember something I heard on the radio about some rail lines already running to capacity.

Its muddier than yesterday, after the overnight rain. Expect the crops like it. At Oaktree farm we go through the farmyard carefully trying to avoid some quite impressive mud baths. Nevertheless there is a basket of goodies for walkers by one of the gates. I am faraway in thoughts when crossing a stile I get a nasty shock. RATS!!! But on closer inspection they are plastic after all.

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More farms, more gates and stiles, more mud. We even get to go across a railway line on foot. Luckily much less busy than the previous line! (According to the Rail Atlas it’s a freight line going to Stockton on Tees).

The Cleveland Hills are definitely getting closer, and in no time at all we are at Exelby Services on the side of the A19. A chance for a late coffee break is seized upon. The service station is a rather ramshackle/low key affair reminiscent of the Little Chefs by the A40 around Ross on Wye. The cheerful rather underemployed fellow serving the coffee engages us in conversation about the Coast to Coast. Are we going to Park House tonight? We are. His auntie works there.

The next bit, the crossing of the dual carriageway A19, is by far the most worrying thing of the day for me. Perhaps because we have been off the beaten track for so long. Whatever. Lorries and cars are doing the full 70 up here, on their way towards Newcastle. Its scary!!! Eventually Ray gets me to the central reservation, and then over altogether, into another very quiet little road, which leads us into Ingleby Arncliffe and on into Ingleby Cross.

There is something strange going on here. Quite a few of the gardens have witches in them, and other lifelike mannequins. Up in the church tower Rapunzel is letting down her long hair.


Down around the village green there is a collection of old cars, and someone is busy fixing one. It is only when we get right up next to it we realise that the mechanic is a mannequin too.


It is slightly spooky. All too quiet. It feels as though we have strayed into one of those weird villages they used to have in The Avengers circa 1964. We only need Steed and Emma to come running out of the Post Office to confirm it.

We are not at our overnight stop yet, anyway, so we press on towards Park House, leaving the village and starting upwards along a Forestry Commission Trail. Park House is obvious, so now for project two. We have plenty of time to walk on to Mount Grace Priory, we just need to find the path. It is clearly shown in the book as a spur leading off the main trail, but the only path we find is signposted ‘ No Public Right of Way. Site of Special Scientific Interest.’. Hmmm

We have a good scout about, and there is no other path. At one point we come down through the trees on a minor path, and scale down over a bank, only to find ourselves back on the apparently closed path. That’s the Forestry Commission for you. Never walker friendly.

There’s no other option, so we proceed along the rutted muddy track. There has obviously been a vehicle along here recently anyway. So much for SSSI. The track takes us into Mount Grace Priory by a back route. Once in, we have to get to the front ticket office. Its English Heritage AGAIN. The man at the desk asks how we got in, and we are both a bit defensive. He just wants to give us directions to Osmotherly, though, and doesn’t seem to be remotely concerned about our trespass. Apart from that they are welcoming, and don’t seem to mind the big boots tramping around their upstairs history exhibition.

Lunch is a civilised affair in the Priory grounds.


The place is HUGE, although ruined. The monks were Carthusians, and lived alone in individual cells where they seem to have had penthouse suits by the standards of the time. Meals were provided. They had several rooms, an upstairs, a garden, a toilet and running water. Not bad. Come and join us brothers!!


Later, on our second trespass of the day, the weather starts to close in. We arrive at Park House just in time to avoid squally thunder showers. Big rain.

The landlady has gone to pick up a group of walkers from our next days destination, well Clay Bank Top. Her husband, a deeply apologetic Bristolian, makes us a cup of tea which we enjoy whilst watching the rain hammer against the windows. When ‘Auntie’ turns up we are ushered again into one of ‘Julia’s’ rooms!! That’s twice now. Wahay! Apparently Julia stayed here with her film crew for several day’s filming, involving body doubles and helicopters. Illusions shattered then. 2Well she never did what you have done!” the landlady told us later. “She never walked the Coast to Coast”. People all along the route still love her though, for stimulating all the extra interest and bringing more business their way. Even the Australians have watched her programmes.


Park House is an ‘evening meal included’ place. The other group of walkers having arrived, we are regaled with tales of how bad the next days walk will be for us. They got caught out in the rain though. They look older than us too. It won’t be too bad surely. It will be an early start at any rate.