Apr 18 2015

Walk 92 – Ebor Way 1 – Helmsley to Hovingham

Ebor Way 1

route: Helmsley to hovingham
Date: 18th apr 2015
distance: 9.1 miles
ascent: 462 feet
time: 3 hrs 20 mins
walkers: dave, jane, sandra, sarah & simon

The early part of 2015 had been quiet for lots of reasons, the main one being that with two junior Badger’s at home it was hard to justify leaving them all week to work and then vanish on a Saturday too. It wouldn’t be too bad for Freddie as at only 8 months he is happy to go in a carrier and in fact loves it as Abigail did at that age and up to the age of 20 months. It was then she wanted to get down more and more, which whilst understandable does restrict where you can go. Once down she didn’t want to go back in to the carrier but got to a point where she doesn’t want to walk either. What she wants is to be held in my arms and that is only ok for a bit then she starts to get really heavy. The compromise was shorter, more local walks that allowed her to complete most of it and not leave much to muddle through once she had had enough. The problem with all that is my urge to get out and tackle something a little more meaty wasn’t being satisfied. After a chat with Leanne it was decided that the Badgers would tackle the Ebor Way and Leanne, Abigail and Freddie would come along to meet us at the finish line and join us for the pub. As the rest of the Badgers drifted away we would stay for some lunch and make the afternoon family orientated, which was a perfect solution. With all that in place a small selection of Badgers gathered in Helmsley for the first section of the 70 mile route.92nd Walk 192nd Walk 2As we were about to begin the day Sarah spotted a bakery and shot through the door to check out the goods on offer leaving us to wait near the church. It was about 10 minutes later when she returned with a few team goodies and our Ebor Way adventure officially got underway. We started by crossing a feature common to many towns in North Yorkshire, the market square, which was reasonably quiet to say it was just after half nine on a Saturday morning. We then turned down a street and picked up the first of many finger posts directing us along the route. This led us to a water treatment works where we would take a stile to a path that ran between the water plant and the river to our right.92nd Walk 392nd Walk 492nd Walk 5After being under the cover of trees for a while we went through a gate and suddenly found ourselves following the river as it twisted and turned through the open countryside. The day was turning into a fine one and the fleece I had started the day in was now tied around my waist. The low lying land meant we could see for miles around and it was certainly a sight worth seeing after a week in the office. I’ve said it before and will say it again but for me the point of these walks is to mentally cleanse and just to get away from city life whether it be good or bad. I can’t ever recall having a care in the world whilst out walking. Well, maybe the sight of G semi naked on walk number 12 was a bit disturbing 😉92nd Walk 692nd Walk 7Near Rye House Farm we followed an embankment with the river to our right and we came across some purpose built tanks containing fish which we presumed were trout. There were about five or six and they were sunk down to ground level, each with six foot high netting around all sides then netting across the top to keep out would be predators. The first few had worked as planned but the a little further along the line we saw a heron trapped inside a net. When I say trapped it wasn’t physically entangled but it was being prevented from flying off by the net. We could see a farmer only a few yards away and we had no way of leaving the embankment even if we wanted to help, I only hope the farmer decided to value the life of that heron and not see it as a unwanted intruder. Not long after this we crossed a small bridge over the river and skirted some trees before our first climb of the day. Well, I say climb but in truth it was a mere bump and one we got over with ease, even if Ramblo did some “double tea-potting”92nd Walk 892nd Walk 9A little further on we came across another finger post which revealed we have so far covered 2.5 miles in our first hour. Not exactly world record pace but then again we were in no rush, or so I thought. In any case Oswaldkirk was the next on our list of places we were heading as we made our way towards Hovingham and the return bus to the cars parked at Helmsley. We didn’t know it yet but the pace of the day was about to get a little faster.92nd Walk 1092nd Walk 1192nd Walk 12After following the clearly defined track for a short distance we reached the end of the plantation to our right, where we spotted a finger post informing us to turn at right angles to keep the same bunch of trees on our right as we descend into a small valley. Oswaldkirk (although we wouldn’t go into the village) was sat just on top of the ridge on the other side of the valley. As we continued to descend ever so slightly we reached an area of overgrown bushes with a narrow route through them. We entered and spotted a way out after a not more than 20 yards. Fortunately as the others were about to exit I lifted my head from my GPS and spotted a finger post almost obscured by twigs. Upon closer inspection we spotted the sign for the Ebor Way and headed off in the correct direction. It wouldn’t have been long before we realised we had gone wrong and were heading for Grange Wood, but it is always nice to know you spot the mistake before or as it is happening rather than 5 or 10 minutes later.92nd Walk 1392nd Walk 14As we continued on and began to make our way out of the valley I was asked about the timings and the fact that I was a little optimistic about our finish time. The bus back to Hovingham left at 1.10pm and we set off at 9.40am which meant we had three and a half hours to cover the 7 miles. We normally average about 2.5 miles an hour so we should have somewhere in the region of 30-40 minutes spare in which to grab a quick drink. That would all have worked fine if the walk had been 7 miles and not the 9 and a bit miles it was. Everybody told me I had listed 9 miles on the event invite so why I thought it was 7 I have no idea, it did mean we needed to speed up a bit in order to catch the bus because they only came every two hours! After a few expletives and a quick calculation of time we realised we were ok but the usual number of drinks breaks would have to be reduced. With a new more hectic plan in place we powered up the tarmac road up to Oswaldkirk92nd Walk 1592nd Walk 1692nd Walk 17Once at the top we had a short stretch along the B1257 and with the girls a hundred yards or so behind Beaky and I decided we would rack on for a bit before choosing a more scenic stopping place to allow them to catch up. Conversation was kept to a minimum as we strode purposefully along the grass verge at the side of the road until we reached the farm track off to the right and began to follow it. Immediately on our right hand side we spotted a new farmhouse that neared completion which looked gorgeous and almost simultaneous we both muttered “obviously there’s no money in farming” which made us both chuckle. Onwards we went with the three members of the fairer sex a little further behind with every passing minute. If one thing was certain it was the me and Beaks would be on the bus when it came 🙂 Eventually we approached a small oblong plantation and reached a bridge over a tiny beck nearby. This was the spot we had been waiting for and we hit the brakes and waited for the other to join us where we shared a joke and spent five minutes just stood taking in our surroundings. Sarah decided this was the moment for the treats she had bought earlier and divided them up into Badger sized portions.92nd Walk 1892nd Walk 1992nd Walk 20As we moved on once again we had a time check and realised that without any disasters we would be fine to catch the bus, not that we took things too easy. Within ten minutes we had reached Cawton and we were well on the way to finishing our first nine miles of the Ebor Way. Cawton didn’t seem to have much in the way of nightclubs or kebab shops (obviously) but it did have a fancy wire cock (ooh err) and a tower block of bird boxes which I thought was a fab idea. One facing in each direction in case they want something south facing. I did say I wanted to get one of these for garden but no doubt I never will.92nd Walk 2192nd Walk 22With Cawton disappearing behind us we passed a sign post indicating we had one and a half miles to go to Hovingham, which wouldn’t take more than half an hour to do. The route was easy to follow and pan flat so we were more than a little surprised to round a corner and see the route blocked by a tractor and a tree felling crew. After a crack of timber, the rustle of leaves then the thud as a large branch hit the ground we were spotted by a guy in a hard hat and waved through safely. A quick shimmy around the tractor and a little twig hoping and we were up to speed once again.92nd Walk 2392nd Walk 2492nd Walk 25Fifteen quick minutes later we reached the outskirts of Hovingham on a path that ran past a little park in which a couple of young children played as their parents watched smiling. It reminded me that my own little Badgers were at home waiting for me as we had cancelled plans to meet me due to the uncertainty over us making the bus! A quick glance at my phone confirmed we had made it with 20 minutes to spare and we took our time to take a pictures on a lovely little bridge and then as we splashed through a ford as we made our way to the pub for a very swift one.92nd Walk 2692nd Walk 27We didn’t get chance to have that cheeky beer as we couldn’t find the bus stop for a good ten minutes. Fortunately we decided to locate that before we sat down for a cold one as we would have missed the bus which would have been ridiculous given the effort to get there. Luckily a very helpful local drove up and down the main street and returned to tell us where we could find the bus stop and we headed off towards it. Roughly five minutes later the bus pulled up and we were en route to Helmsley, and a journey that took us over three hours here would only be twenty minutes back. We jumped off the bus in the market square that was now bristling with life and found a pub we could sit outside and enjoy a drink. Three diet cokes and two teas were the chosen refreshments and we chatted about what the rest of the Ebor Way may have in store. If it was anything like today then it will be great to walk and I am looking forward to finding out. Until next time…Ebor Way 1 mapEbor Way 1 profile

Sir Edmund

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