Walking the Cleveland Way has some advantages over other linear walks, because the path is so well used and maintained to a high standard it’s virtually map free, leaving more time to enjoy the views. Anyway the views were quite breathe taking on our second leg of the CW from Sutton bank to Osmotherley.
I crisp morning met us as we prepared for this long leg of our winter walk. We packed ‘MY’ daysack into Kel’s new (ish) Aygo and took to the road expecting a nice long wait on the A19 but were pleasantly surprised by the lack of cars as we followed a solo Dicko heading for our first car drop off point at the quaint little village of Osmotherley. As we pulled into the village square to park up, the pub was in spitting distance which made Kel and Dicko’s day, I however wasn’t so impressed as I was going onto night shift so a post walk pint wasn’t in the mix for me grrrrr! We hopped into Dicko’s Passat and Capital radio and its minging music. You’d have thought a gentleman of his years would enjoy Radio 2 like me; however I had to endure chart chaff while Kel and Dicko chatted away. We pulled into the car park at the top of Sutton Bank and it was Dicko’s turn to get turned over by the parking meter. Boots on, me and Dicko put our daysacks on and Kel skipped off laden free back onto the most well-kept route I’ve ever seen.
Within a few metres we were back on the top of the cliffs that make up a good part of the CW. Looking west Sutton Brow gave way to Garbutt Wood revealing Gormire Lake secretly nestled in its trees. Even on a fairly overcast morning in the North Yorkshire moors the view stretched across to the Pennines that had a cloudy cap. The route was completely, with us as an exception, hiker free at this point with only a dog walker at the top of South Woods to pass. The breeze was fresh but not too cold but certainly not t-shirt weather, I was comfortable in a base layer and my trusty Rab jacket. Kel skipped along in her base layer, fleece and a light body warmer, again all sponsored by Rab. Sneck Yate Bank was soon up on us as the pace was brisk and with a clear path and no maps we were storming north. I had to keep looking at the map as I like to know ‘exactly’ where we were, looking at features and fencelines, keeping my mind active as well as looking at the cracking views. As we approached Sneck I was looking to see the road that crossed the route. We had stopped as the path forked off and decided what direction to take; a few Jelly Babies had appeared from Dicko’s bottomless Osprey so I was happy. Sue had passed on her apologies the day before as she could not get time off work to join us, however she had furnished Dicko with a bag of those liquorice sweets with sprinkles on them, Kel calls them ‘Spogs’ for some reason, it’s probably another ‘Pit Yacker’ expression that no one else has ever heard of. Then, just as we’d decided on the correct path, this wonderful old bloke came walking passed and began to speak to us. You could tell by his gear he was seasoned, saying he was local he began to explain, step by step our route to Osmotherley. He knew ever blade of grass, every twist and turn and every incline we’d encounter in the next 9 miles. He then further impressed me by mentioning AW himself, I’d have thought a born and bred Yorkshireman hardened in the heather, git stoned fells would probably dismiss the Lancashire legend, but the famous 214 were discussed which made me smile.
As we watched the t’old lad bimble off in the direction we had come, I had a second smile at his canvas gaiters and his ‘lightweight olive green trousers’. I have spent many years in those trousers, not his, in my first few years in the army. High Paradise Farm brought a couple of treats for us, well Kel in particular, it had a couple of Saddlebacks nuzzling around in their pen. They paid us some attention before getting stuck back into the undergrowth, the king size bacon butties gave us a last glance as we walked through the farm yard. To be fair, the farmer did come out to have a bit of craic, apparently the pair of porky pets had knocked out 21 piglets a few days before, of course Kel wanted one but we ushered her away before any deal was sealed. We carried on towards and knuckled down into Boltby Forest and a considerable drop in temperature. The festive mood was set alight by the sight of Christmas trees growing and the thought that Kel still won’t allow me to put the tree up back at Hyde Mansions. Time was getting on and the familiar sound of Tubs’ (Kel, it’s a family nick name nothing to do with her size) tummy rumbling had started to erupt in the grand Yorkshire Moors. To be fair she’d been dropping hints to stop for food for about a mile but Dicko wasn’t having any on it. The wind had picked up as we came out of the forest with Little Moor to the east of us, the pace was still good as we followed a path that came surly be seen from the moon it’s so wide and distinctive. At this point there was a competition looming between Kel’s rumbling stomach and the army Lynx helicopter buzzing the fells on exercise. Finally we stopped near the disused quarry and the path cross behind a dry stone wall and had lunch. The only hikers of the day so far came over the moors to the east and bimbled off the way we had come. Dicko phoned Sue at the office and gloated; she took it well and managed not to swear to much at his attempts to make her jealous.
Sarnies gone and back on track we headed towards the left bend in the route at White Gill Head and along Hambleton Street and a cracking view south west at the route we’d come, quite a distance in a short space of time. The route drops down quite a bit going passed the forest on Nether Stilton Moor and passed some Grouse Butts to the right, the closest approximately about 50 metres from this well used route, glad they weren’t shooting today! At Square Corner the route turns left and drops further passed two disused reservoirs and daft question time from my wife. “Why’s it disused?” she enquires. “Cos there’s no water in it!” Dicko replied. I go walking with some sharp tacks I’ll tell ya!
We’ve encountered some inclines in the past which, yeah, we all have ‘view stops’ to catch breath. But today we had not really climbed much but I saw my friend Dicko looking decidedly hot and bothered, too much wine I thought the night before. We crossed a tarmac road and pushed towards Whitehouse farm and another cheeky little incline making the old boy puff a bit more. I was shocked cos for his age he’s still a fit lad and generally can keep up if not storm ahead. We sneaked across the farm land and down into a small wooded area over a stream then up a few steps. Kel ran to the top, I trudged up thinking Dicko was hot on my heals. I turned to check and he’d stopped, face red as a baboons backside and a face that said “I’m goosed!” We got to the top and sat on a bench which sported a sign saying ‘Paul’s steps’, Dicko looked rough. The end was in sight as we passed almost through the back gardens of the cottages in Osmotherley, sometimes passing front doors with signs saying ‘Don’t stamp your boots on our drive’. Ha, obviously the residents have in the past taken exception to muddy ramblers stamping some of the finest Yorkshire soil over their nice clean driveways. Through one last ‘gennel’ and we were out into the village square of Osmotherley, it was a bit like coming out of the cinema into the daylight. We dumped out kit into the Aygo and went into the Queen Catherine Hotel for a post walk pint, or diet coke in my case.
As we settled down and ‘de-layed’ it became apparently why Dicko was struggling on the inclines, he took off the best part of ‘Cotswolds’ stock. Layer after layer of top quality outdoor clothing was thrown across a wooden chair, body warmer, Rab jacket, fleece and then not one base layer but two! Oh how we laughed, I had a base layer on and my trusty Rab jacket and I was comfortable, he must have been roasting daft bugger.
Another stage completed and another few miles under the belt, plus another head full of stunning views and lessons learnt. Hopefully the next leg will have a dusting of snow to add to the views, although I don’t think Dicko’s got anymore clothing to wear if it gets colder!