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Apr 19 2014

Walk 81 – The Moors The Merrier

The Moors The Merrier

route: whorlton moor & arncliffe wood from cod beck reservoir
Date: 19th april 2014
distance: 14.3 miles
ascent: 2644 feet
time: 7 hrs
walkers: chris, dave, jane, karen, luis, marc, roger, ryan & simon

Today we would finally get some answers as to what to expect when 15 of us tackle the 40 mile Lyke Wake Walk in June. After the relatively relaxing walk yesterday I was sure today would be much tougher and a walk that would push me given the steep section yesterday, coupled with the fact I had carried Abigail, meant my legs were already a tad stiff before we started. With the little car park opposite the Lyke Wake stone full, we used the larger one a stone’s throw away to park up and get ready. Of the nine in attendance, all bar Ryan would be back in June to attempt to walk across the North Yorkshire Moors from this point to Ravenscar. Each of us was no doubt trying to learn a little bit about the route, especially as this would be the section we would cover in darkness.81st Walk 181st Walk 2The first thing we had to do was decide which route we were going to take on the big day. I have bought a guide book and also a DVD of the route, both by Brian Smailes and the start is different on each. One goes from the Lyke Wake stone up to the Cleveland Way and the other follows the road to a cattle grid before it joins the same long distance path. We took the view that at night and with limited visibility it would be the safer option to follow the road and as such we chose to do the same today as there seemed little point in doing a route we wouldn’t take on the day in question. We reached the cattle grid and joined the Cleveland Way as it entered Coalmire Plantation.81st Walk 381st Walk 4The path through the trees was flat and wide and perfect for the early stages of a long walk when in the dark. Without trying to sound complacent it was nice to know that the early sections wouldn’t be filled with uneven terrain which could be dangerous. The other plus side will be that even in the dark we would be able to maintain a reasonable pace which may help later in the day when things get really tough. A few hundred yards later the path forked and we went left and past a stone with the initials LWW carved into it. From here the path headed downhill via some large steps before snaking through the trees once more.81st Walk 581st Walk 681st Walk 7Apart from a couple of protruding tree roots the underfoot conditions seemed to be good up to this point, this continued as we went through a gate and crossed a lush green field as our path dropped down towards a ford across Scugdale Beck. Jane and Karen chose to cross the wooden bridge to keep their boots dry, but the rest of us picked a route through the shallow trickle and didn’t break stride. Once over/through the beck we followed the road up to Huthwaite Green where we had the first of what would be numerous re-groups throughout the day. It wasn’t that we already had stragglers but more to do with the fact that Marc was busy taking pictures and had become somewhat distant.81st Walk 881st Walk 981st Walk 10As we waited for Marc, Beaky mentioned to me that the wooden hut a few yards away was used in the guide book as a reference point. Out came the book and sure enough our view was exactly the same as the picture on page 19 of the guide. I tucked the book safely in my rucksack and we carried on as the path climbed gently and skirted Live Moor Plantation. The sun was shining and the day was going to be a lovely one 🙂81st Walk 1181st Walk 12We soon reached a gate and went through it into the plantation to find some stone steps that rose steeply, catching me out to the extent I paused for a breather. The climb, although steep was thankfully short and we soon emerged from the trees only to find the path continued upwards. This part of the climb was less severe and I slowed a little and shortened my stride to grind it out like a big old diesel engine.81st Walk 1381st Walk 14Once over this lip things were a lot easier with the path continuing to rise but only just to the point you could hardly notice it. I cracked open my big bag of Jelly Babies and offered them to Marc and Jane who along with myself had become slightly detached whilst taking pictures. In the distance we could see Roseberry Topping which would be our destination for tomorrow, the third and final walk of our Easter trilogy. There was still over 10 miles left to negotiate today before we began to think of tomorrow and whatever challenges that would bring. As the path levelled off we could see that everybody else had waited by a large cairn and were taking on various refreshments. As I reached them I took out an apple and munched away, using the fact we weren’t moving to gaze at the view.81st Walk 1581st Walk 1681st Walk 17After a few minutes stood still I was ready to get moving once again. It looked as if there was a bit of a climb up to the trig point on Whorlton Moor and conscious that I am often near the back (depending on the strength of walkers in the group) I didn’t want to make the walk much longer than it had to be. I had a quick word with Chris who was stood within earshot and we decided to set off, leaving the others to catch us up. I told Beaky of our plan and the three of us set off for the trig as the others finished their break then set off a couple of minutes after us.81st Walk 1881st Walk 19I reached the trig a minute or so after the other two, which was more to do with a couple of quick photographs than a failure to keep up. In truth the pull to the trig hadn’t been as bad as it looked from the cairn where we had our rest. From here we had fabulous views of the surrounding area as well as the distant views of the industrial North East. We had a look at the map and decided that instead of heading back from here we would continue on for a little while longer, descending towards the café then climbing once again to the viewing spot on Cringle Moor. The path to the road was steep and uneven and I made a mental note that we would have to be extremely careful in darkness when we reached this point. Once down we made our way to the café and stopped…81st Walk 2081st Walk 21There were toilets there and they used the honesty box system where-by you place some money in a collection box and use the facilities. There is no guarantee that people will but it is taken on trust and as such we always contribute. Luis placed some money in the box as Karen searched her bag for some money of her own. He checked the door to find it was locked and informed us all that he had been had. Karen stood up clutching her money, strolled over to the box, dropped her coin in and found the door was locked. We all laughed as she clearly had paid no attention to Luis and could have saved herself a bob or two. Somebody spotted a sign saying the café had toilets and it was agreed those who wanted to go would head in to powder their noses. Again Chris, Beaky and I headed off to start the climb.81st Walk 2281st Walk 23I stopped a couple of times on the way up and was caught by the faster members of the team a few yards short of the top. From here we had more fantastic views of the surrounding area and we spent fifteen minutes chatting and generally enjoying the moment. The Lyke Wake guide book mentions that there is a path the skirts around Cringle Moor and we could see that below us, while away to our right we could see the path we were on continue to climb before dropping to meet the one that went around. I shared my view that we would be silly not to go around rather than use more effort to climb to the summit only to descend back to the other path. I got the impression that some shared my view whilst others would want to go the hard route. It would still be dark so we wouldn’t have any view and we could all keep moving together on the lower path, but we all agreed that discussing was for another day as we retraced our steps back down the hill to the café.81st Walk 2481st Walk 2581st Walk 26Near the café I nipped into the trees to offload a little of the liquid I had taken on earlier in the walk before catching Beaky once again. We crossed the road and headed back up the path to Whorlton Moor for a few dozen yards then joined a bridle way that headed due south as it angled up the hillside. Once again I slowed my pace a little but maintained that speed losing little ground on the others. I have found that sometimes it is better for me to slow slightly and be able to keep going than to keep up with the others but have to stop for a little while to give my legs chance to recover. As the track turned to head for the glider club we took a few minutes out once again before joining the clear footpath that seemed to be heading further into the wilderness.81st Walk 2781st Walk 2881st Walk 29By now the terrain had levelled off and normal speed had been resumed. All around us we could hear the call of grouse as they no doubt enjoyed the glorious day as much as we were. As nice as today was I couldn’t help think how miserable this place could be if the weather was different. It was totally exposed and I only hoped that the weather will be kind to us in June.81st Walk 3081st Walk 31We reached a junction of paths and checked the map to see which way we needed to go, but as we did a guy walking a dog approached us. He asked where we were heading and pointed out the path we needed which may have been a blessing. I wasn’t too involved with the decision making but I got the impression we were about to head off down a different path. Sometimes when paths are only separated by a few yards it is difficult to work out the one you need and by the time it is obvious you can be miles away from where you want to be. Soon after we reached Barker’s Crags where after a few minutes exploration we headed down towards Scugdale Hall.81st Walk 3281st Walk 3381st Walk 35Upon reaching the hall we joined a round that we would follow for the next half an hour, possibly more. I wasn’t really clock watching and it is easy to miscalculate how long you have been walking, especially if you are chatting to others. It was at this point that we began to spread out a little more than we usually would. I was walking with Chris and Beaky and there were times when we couldn’t see anyone else behind us. This has never been a problem as long as those leading the way stop every so often or when there is a crucial direction change required.81st Walk 3681st Walk 37Beaky opened the gate for us to leave the road and waited to hold it open for the others as me and Chris continued on. We slowed our pace a bit to ensure we were going to be caught eventually, but we will still covering ground until that point. Shortly after the others caught us we came across wire fence that had a gate attached, but only on one side. Roger went through and held the gate open, but only Beaky and myself went through it. I ribbed the others that I would have to scratch this walk from their records due to them taking the incorrect course, not that any of them believed me 🙂81st Walk 38By this point we were over 10 miles and well on the way to completing our journey, even though there were a couple more climbs to contend with. We re-joined the path through Coalmire Plantation and with it came some welcome relief from the blazing sun. I am not the best person when spending long periods in the sun no matter how much protection I take so I was glad for the drop in temperature. The relief was short lived though as we reached the steps we had descended earlier and began the torturous climb back up them. After a long walk today and the slight stiffness from yesterday my legs were finding this hard and I stopped numerous times to give them chance to rest.81st Walk 3981st Walk 4081st Walk 41By the time I reached the top I was glad to find a nice shaded spot and sit down for a sandwich and some cool water. I discussed with Beaky the possibility of leaving the second trig point for another day and heading straight back to the car and then the lodge. I didn’t want to turn an enjoyable walk into something I would end up having bad memories of, but at the same time it wasn’t just me I had to consider. Beaky agreed with my urgings that the other trig wouldn’t go anywhere and we could always come back another day to get that. It wasn’t quite decision made, but I had the backing of my wing-man should the call be made. We set off once again and soon arrived at the cattle grid and the road that led to the car park.81st Walk 4281st Walk 43As we stood laughing at the car park a few yards beyond the no parking sign my mind was made up. “Let’s just get it done” I said to Beaks and waved my arm towards the steps of the Cleveland Way. The others just set off as if ordered by a high ranking military officer. For me it was just do it before my mind had chance to try and talk me out of it. I knew it was going to be difficult but I also knew it could be done.81st Walk 44It wasn’t long before I was slightly detached as my legs screamed at me for mercy. I just kept plodding on, step by step, yard by yard until the path levelled off a little. At this point I joined Marc and Jane and we kept moving, chatting whilst at the same time eating my remaining Jelly Babies. Fifty yards in front of us was Karen and a similar distance in front of her was Chris. The rest who I would consider to be the stronger walkers were all waiting by a gate right up ahead near a wall. Once we reached them we had a minute or two walking and we had reached Arncliffe Wood trig point.81st Walk 45The trig was over the wall and only Beaky, Roger and myself made the effort to go over to touch it. In a way this told me about how much I had left in the tank as I wouldn’t have considered it had I truly been tired. From here we made the short journey back to the gate and then followed the wall for a while back towards the cars which soon came into view.81st Walk 4681st Walk 47We reached the Lyke Wake stone and some had a picture with it before we strolled back to the car. Today had been about answers as to what to expect when we return in June and it had been a valuable experience. I have to say though, I left with more questions than answers and I don’t know how confident that makes me feel. I know for sure it is going to be an almighty challenge, and if I am being totally honest I don’t know if I am up to it. One thing is for sure though, I won’t be shying away from it and I will give it my best on the day and I don’t suppose there is much more that anyone can do. Leanne and Abigail will be proud of me no matter how far I get, and that is the only answer I need. 🙂

Sir Edmund

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