Apr 20 2014

Walk 82 – Over The Top

Over The Top

route: roseberry topping from great Ayton
Date: 20th april 2014
distance: 5 miles
ascent: 1225 feet
time: 3 hrs
walkers: abigail, dave, karen, leanne, pam, Sandra, simon & steve

After a couple of different but equally enjoyable walks over the previous two days we had the final walk of our Easter walking weekend. Today it would be Roseberry Topping that would be the focus of attention, and we would also visit Captain Cook’s monument on a lovely five mile circular route. We were joined for the third day running by people travelling to meet the six of us staying in the log cabin, and once ready we posed for the obligatory team photo.
82nd Walk 182nd Walk 2My legs were feeling ok after yesterday but I knew it wouldn’t take much to test them out, and that came about twenty yards into the walk. Immediately upon leaving the car park we were confronted by some steps that took us up a short incline which I took nice and steady. As ever, there was no prize for being the first to the top so I was content to take things nice and easy at the back with Wu Tang, who was in also in no rush being five months pregnant. With the climb being short it took no time at all but the difference in temperature was noticeable due to the strong wind that we were no longer sheltered from. Abigail was already intent with taking her gloves off and at one point I turned to speak to Wu, to find she had disappeared. She had noticed Abigail throw her glove which was carried by the wind and fortunately caught on the fence a few yards further back down the hill. It was as I watch the glove being retrieved that I noticed the monument could be seen in the distance, but it would be a while before we reached it.82nd Walk 382nd Walk 4We now had a nice easy walk for the next half an hour with the path doing nothing more than undulating gently. Away to our left we had a view of “Yorkshire’s Matterhorn” and I was looking forward to climbing it in the very near future. I had first seen it in one of my walking magazines a couple of years ago and had been waiting for an excuse to plan a visit since then. As soon as we had selected the location of our lodge for this Easter break and I knew it was close enough, Roseberry Topping was always going to be the final walk of this weekend.82nd Walk 582nd Walk 6As we continued along at a reasonable speed the chuntering behind me became intermittent and the gaps in between chatter started to grow longer. After a prolonged period of silence I managed to get an over the shoulder shot and expected to see Abigail asleep, but no, she was awake… just. Ahead I could see Beaky holding open a gate as he often does being the first to get to them. A very short distance further on we reached the corner of a plantation and I got my first close up view of the peak.82nd Walk 782nd Walk 882nd Walk 9After a small pause in proceedings we began a small descent and again all was silent behind me. This time it was safe to say that Abigail was asleep, in a somewhat slightly uncomfortable looking position. My eyes focused ahead at a climb that didn’t look all that daunting if I am honest. We have done much bigger climbs so although my legs were definitely going to feel it, I wasn’t too put out as we approached the base of the climb.82nd Walk 1082nd Walk 1182nd Walk 12The slow steady climb up the steps began and myself and Wu soon found ourselves falling behind the others. I think both of us were going steady to not push the other one and the result was a speed slow enough we both found it comfortable. Personally, I just wanted to make sure Wu Tang looked after herself and “Badger Junior” on the more strenuous parts of the walk. The gradient soon levelled off and we made our way over to the trig at the summit of Roseberry Topping.82nd Walk 12a82nd Walk 1382nd Walk 14It was very blustery on top and we each tried to find a little shelter to spend five minutes admiring the view. Most of the land around here is flat and so it is possible to see for miles on a clear day. I don’t know if it was for that reason that dozens of people seemed to be arrive at the summit in the five or possibly ten minutes we spent there. I waited patiently to get a team picture at the trig as a couple sat with their backs against it eating their sandwiches. I could have asked them to move for a minute but felt they had as much right to be there as us. We were then soon swamped by a junior football team who all huddled in front of the trig (and the people eating), next up came a large family who looked dressed for a pub lunch not a walk in the countryside. In the end I gave up hoping for a gap and just got people to stand close to the trig before taking a picture. With those done, the last thing we did before leaving the top was to check the map and work out our route to Captain Cook’s monument which we could see in distance, and with the route planned, we set off.82nd Walk 1582nd Walk 16There was a choice of paths down from the trig and we chose the easiest one. This may not always have been the case on previous walks but we weren’t out to prove any points today. The path soon levelled and I made my way down in a leisurely fashion. It was at this point the cargo I was carrying awoke and was soon munching on a banana which any good walker knows produces slow burning energy. It is normally better if the person doing the walking eats it but I didn’t have that luxury. Ahead of us was some lush green grass and while my feet weren’t tender, it is always nice to walk on something soft rather than hard dried up mud with bits of stone poking though.82nd Walk 1782nd Walk 1882nd Walk 19With us now back on nice spongy grass we made our way over to a folly that was built in the middle of nowhere. We had a little inspection and Karen took a shot of the rest of us before I got all arty and took a picture of Roseberry Topping though the window. It is safe to safe photography may not be my strong point but I don’t really care. I am nearly 40 years old now and I am yet to discover if my strong point exists 🙂82nd Walk 2082nd Walk 2182nd Walk 22As we left the folly behind that seemed to conclude the first part of the walk, the Roseberry Topping section was now behind us, it was time to focus on the monument. We followed a clearly walked strip of land across one field the after passing a hedgerow on our right climbed gradually up to a gate. From here we turned left met a junction of paths where we opted to not follow the one to Aireyholme Farm, instead we took the path off to the right and followed it down the side of a plantation. All the time I had one eye on a nice place Wu Tang could powder her nose…82nd Walk 2382nd Walk 2482nd Walk 25With a nice spot safely located with eased our pace sufficiently for the others to walk away from us and I stood on guard to ensure nobody appeared over the ridge. It wasn’t until after we were walking again that anybody noticed we were missing, which, thinking about it probably isn’t a good reflection on us. Anyhow, we followed the rest of the gang through a kissing gate and down a path through a wood where it was noticeably warmer than before. There hadn’t seemed to be much breeze but you certainly noticed that it was gone in the shelter of the trees. Shortly after entering the woods the path turned back on itself and levelled off before climbing gently over some rolling hills. The light breeze reappeared and things seemed that little bit nicer again as we joined a small road that took us to a crossroads. We went straight over Dikes Lane and the climb to Captain Cook’s Monument began.82nd Walk 2682nd Walk 2782nd Walk 28The path up ahead narrowed as we caught an older couple who were enjoying the sunshine and a pleasant stroll. Suddenly we were met by two mountain bikers flying down in the opposite direction. We quickly stepped to one side to avoid an accident and they were gone. There was no acknowledgement or thanks which I find rude, as it turns out the older guy did as I heard him mutter “tossers” before setting off once again. Again myself and Wu were in no rush and we made steady progress as the path continued to gain height gradually.82nd Walk 2982nd Walk 30We reached the edge of Ayton Banks Wood and things began to get a little more difficult. The path to the edge of the wood wasn’t too bad, but once we entered the wood itself things got very steep. I am not talking about needing three points of contact but it was steep nevertheless and it wasn’t long before my legs were screaming at me to stop. I did 10 yards then stopped, 10 more yards then had another 15 second breather. Behind me Wu was accompanied by Ramblo and I made sure I was never too far away, taking a longer rest if needed. Underfoot conditions were a little slippery due to thousands of pine needles that had fallen from the trees and covered the ground and all in all I wondered if Wu Tang should be doing this when 5 months pregnant. Eventually, as always, we got to the point where it was easier to go forward rather than back so onwards and upwards we went.82nd Walk 3182nd Walk 32Ramblo and Beaky had done this exact walk last year so she informed us we would soon be able to see the monument and she was right. After what seemed like an awfully long time the tree line thinned out and as the path began to ease slightly I caught a glimpse of the top it. I can’t deny it was a nice feeling to know we were nearly there and with that knowledge our pace quickened and we soon joined the others.82nd Walk 3382nd Walk 3482nd Walk 35It was extremely windy now we were exposed so we didn’t spend more than five minutes before heading off Easby Moor via the Cleveland Way. As we descended we must have been passed by nearly 100 people going in the opposite direction. There were people in the proper gear, people in shorts and trainers, children, OAP’s, basically every kind of mix you could ever wish to see. It is obviously a very popular circular walk as we noticed a dozen or more people we had crossed with earlier in the day. It was certainly easier on the way down than it had been on the way up and we were soon back at the cars.82nd Walk 3682nd Walk 37As we climbed into the car I realised that would be the end of our Easter walking weekend. All that was left to do for us was to have a relaxing afternoon back at the ranch, where the only walking I would be doing would be to the fridge and back 🙂

Sir Edmund


Leave a comment