Beauty on the Moors

From Osmotherley to Chop Gate: The Buck Inn
21.89 km
821 metres up, 813 metres down
8:30 AM to 3:20 PM, 1hr 6 minutes stopped time
Sunday, June 5, 2016
Alex’s 12th birthday

Happy Birthday, Alex! To celebrate your birthday, we climbed up and down four moors today. If it had been cloudy, rainy, foggy or misty, we would probably have been sad Heathcliffs, but instead the sun shone brilliantly, the sky was blue and we were Mary Poppins happy.

The moors are blanketed in heather and boxwood. The heather is still brown. The flowering does not happen as early as it did in Spain. I assume the other bright green leaves shrubbery is boxwood. That is what it looked like to me. Common sorrel painted the moors red in patches.

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We did have some forest today, mostly on the lower banks of the moors. The lower parts of the forest were deciduous, mostly sycamore while higher up large pine and tamarack grew. We first crossed Scarth Wood Moor and as we descended this we saw that Dave and Barbara had followed the road thus avoiding ascending and descending, but they missed our beautiful views of fields of canola, flax, hay and nearby villages. One of the interesting aspects today is that we could see for a long time where we came from and the long path ahead.

Next was Live Moor where we sat on the windless side of a cairn to change our socks and have a snack. When we descended Carlton Moor we came upon a stone building that housed Lord Stones Cafe. This is a busy hub in the middle of the moors with no less than three parking lots. The Sunday walkers were out in throngs, walking the moors and spending their quids at the cafe.

We saw more people with dogs than children. We saw working trials on Cringle Moor for dogs such as German Shorthhairs, black Labs and Golden retrievers. Further along parasailors were having a grand time floating off the moors. Naturally the wind died by the time I got close enough to ask one for a lift along the Coast to Coast. I have thought of you a lot today, Brilynn, remembering your walking donkeys up to their summer pasture and seeing that every time you thought you were at the top, there was another summit to climb. I also remember that you tried parasailing. It must have been a beautiful day like this one. Those experiences n France were only a few short years ago, weren’t they? Time is so elusive!

When we were just half an hour from Clay Bank Top we came to the Wain Stones, a giant pile of stones that resemble enormous cake decorations rising from Hasty Bank. I am sure Alex and Julie would have loved these and I would have had heart failure watching them. Two young men were rappelling down one of the large rocks. The narrow path along these stones was one place where I focussed on looking up more than down.

The Buck Inn proprietors advertise that they will pick us up at Clay Bank Top but Sunday is their busiest restaurant day ; so they said they could not pick us up until at least 4:30 PM. Fresh from walking over four moors, we walked the extra five kilometres to the inn, it was all downhill. Unfortunately three and a half kilometres of it was on a busy road where motorcyclists were testing their speed and handling skills up and down this curvy road. We were glad to find a walkway for the last bit.

We have a double bed with a delightful red and white flowered quilt. Our washing is hanging outside, almost all dry. The shower stall is the smallest yet but the water was hot. All is good.

Here it is 4:30 PM and we are sitting at a picnic table in sunshine wearing t-shirts. Fabulous! We wore t-shirts most of today. What a delightful change!

It was definitely not flat today, but very different climbing compared to the Lake District, more gradual slopes and paths made of flat stones, not rocky rubble.  Much of today’s trail was on the Cleveland Way a recognized national trail. The signage was excellent, no need to consult the GPS.

We wondered how anyone made this amazing stone trail. Some of the rock slabs were more than three foot square. Some had chiseled markings or remnants of iron bars in them. We think they may have come from ruins such as the amount Grace Priory. We learned from two locals at the pub that this stone path was laid about fifteen years ago. The stone was helicoptered in. It must have been quite the construction project. The stones also help people stay dry when the moors are wet and boggy. Since it has been dry these past two weeks, the moors are quite dry.

We have heard grouse for a few days but never seen one. Back on the trail near Keld there were grouse butts. These are semi round stone walls behind which hunters would wait with their guns while beaters would walk through the heather moving the grouse in the direction of the hunters. This is a rich man’s sport. A person would pay eight hundred pounds a day to shoot grouse. Brian only shot grouse with his camera today, but I think he got some pretty good shots. The grouse are peat brown in colour not beige like our ruffed grouse.

Our friend, Jim Cross, used to live in or near Osmotherley. He made the walk a few times when his kids were in school from Osmotherley to Robin Hood’s Bay. It was a school fundraiser. They walked all night on the longest day of the year. I hope they had full moon clear nights. I sure would not have wanted to do this walk at night. It was known as the Lyke Wake Walk. Apparently at one time it was a tradition to carry a coffin from Osmotherley to drop it in the North Sea for burial.

Brian was in awe of all the expensive cars we saw in Osmotherley yesterday. There were also some pretty large homes in town and estates out of town. We are not sure where the money is coming from. Walking the Coast to Coast you do not get an idea of where people work who live in these small villages. There used to be a large chemical plant nearby but it has been replaced with smaller companies. In Osmotherley we saw Alpha Romeos, BMWs, Mercedes, Jaguars, Porsches, Jeeps, lots of Minis. Of course here salt is not used on the roads and even older models look brand new.

Last night Brian had ribs with chips and salad while I had melt in your mouth venison casserole with potatoes, carrots and cabbage. We had to share a delicious sticky toffee pudding even though we were stuffed after the main course.

There is a variety of German dishes on tonight’s menu. Our hosts are German/ English. We are going to try the beef lasagna made with local beef. I know that is not German!

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