Roseberry Round!

There are many areas around the North East where you can travel relatively few miles to find somewhere to have a nice, scenic walk.  One of these is the Cleveland/North Yorkshire Moors.  The area around Great Ayton, Stokesley and surrounding villages is one part of the NE where you can find a variety of surroundings in which to walk.


There is a well-known place, Roseberry Topping is visited by school parties, families and just about everyone who wants the feeling of climbing a fairly big hill and taking in the views at the top.  To be fair, it is a bit like Catbells in the Lake District, as in gets a bit crowded and if you like a nice quiet walk out it probably isn’t my first choice, but we thought we’d have a look out but use the surrounding area to ‘beef’ up the walk a bit.

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I plotted a route which starts on a small lane called Dikes Lane, which you can get onto by going to Great Ayton and following the sign to Great Ayton Train Station then staying on that small road up into the hills and a carpark that conveniently has a picnic site.

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We arrived about 11am and there were a few cars already parked up.  This is a well-used car park as it is also an ideal starting point to visit Captain Cook’s monument.  It was just me, the missus and Alfie the Springer Spaniel walking today and apart from a very strong (annoying) breeze, the sun was making an appearance every now and again and no rain was forecast, which was good.


I had planned this route so we could get our hill fitness back as we had been neglecting mountainous areas of late and the old leg muscles were getting a bit unworked, apart from the allotment that is.  I saw by the map, the route I’d marked out would have 3 short but steep climbs to work our hearts and legs, and one of these was at the very start.  The path is clear, it sets off north up the steep steps up onto Great Ayton Moor, hugging the wall/fence to the left.  This takes you up onto the top, the views in all directions are stunning, as long as you can block out Middlesbrough (just kidding, it’s a lovely place).  For about 2 km keep to the right hand side of the wall until you reach the junction in the wall which goes of in a number of directions.  We decided, even though we’ve summited it a few times, to go up Roseberry Topping.  It is quite obvious which path to take now, it drops down the hill into a dip with Roseberry straight in front of you.  At the bottom of the dip we turned left through a gate and stayed on the path until we saw the gate at the SE of the hill.  Through the gate and up a zig zagged path to the top and loads of people!

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The council have tried their hardest to sand blast the etched in graffiti which pretty much dominates the summit, to be fair they’ve done a good job as it doesn’t look half as bad as I used to.

Whilst on the top, we noticed a bit of a drama taking place.  We heard a lot of shouting coming from the start of the easterly decent down.  On further inspection, a bloke was shouting at a youth, about 15 years old, who was on his hands and knees gripping tightly to the rock surface.  Listening in, the young lad was scared the wind was going to blow him off the top, I mean it was a bit breezy but it wouldn’t have blown the dog off, near mind this lad.  Anyway, the lad clawed his way to shelter near some rocks and he eventually stood up.  It reminded me of one of our trips up Helvellyn and a young lass crawling the whole way across Striding Edge because she thought she might be blown off, it was about 25c and no wind (for once).  I didn’t know whether to piss myself laughing or feel sorry for the poor lass…I generally don’t feel sorry for people!

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Now, this is one of the things I try not to bang on about but it is one of my pet hates, OK, Roseberry Topping is very popular tourist spot.  It’s a hill or mountain which ever you want to call it or which ever way you define it.  For the purpose of this rant, I’m going to call it a big hill.  This hill is clearly pathed, nice stone steps in places but still places where you can fall and snap bones.  It stands 320 m above sea level, but even the 200m ascent from the car park in Newton Under Roseberry it still needs to be climbed.  Even looking at the map, the contour lines are canny close so you should expect a steep climb.  There are still people wandering up and down in shoes and trainers, unsuitable footwear!  A fall, even at this relatively small hill will need the emergency services to come to you, unless you have a day sack with a good first aid kit.  A good pair of walking boots will give you the extra support and stability you may need during a slip.

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While I’m at it, if you see me in the hills, you’ll know who I am, tall dark Yorkshire man with a North East twang.  I have what would appear to the average person a large day sack on my back.  I’ve been out with people who say, “You carry too much for a day out”, but I carry a good set of emergency equipment.  The reason I carry this is because unlike others, I realise that mountain rescue organisations are funded by charity, nothing else.  And I would be mortified if I had to call them if one of my party sustained an injury.  As a Leader I would expect to give first aid and evacuate a casualty, unless in extreme circumstances.  You see people up on hills with inadequate equipment who expect if anything goes wrong, mountain rescue have a right to retrieve them! It’s wrong, wrong, wrong!!

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Anyway, back to the route.  We decided to drop off the hill in a NE direction and take the clearly marked out path into Hutton Lowcross Woods.  This is a lovely forest area and the wildlife was teeming.  We followed the path to the open ground at the end where it joined a small minor road that goes SE into Hutton Village.  We took this route then joined a path just before the village on the right and started the climb up back onto the moorland through the woods.

As we emerged out of the wood-land we recognised the spot as part of the Cleveland Way, which we completed a few years ago.  Again, the views were incredible and with the path being wide enough to see it from the moon, I could concentrate on the view momentarily instead of reading the map.

RANT No 2 coming up!!

Roughly about 500m down this path there is what appears to be an old air defence bunker built from brick and the building itself is in good condition.  Being very interested in anything military I had a quick look inside.  It was littered with plastic and glass bottles!  Now this is what I can’t get my head around, people that would come across this building would generally be walkers or shooters, both kinds of people who look after the countryside and would not (I would hope) leave so much crap around, for god’s sake there was an old car seat in amongst the bottles!  Dirty, dirty gits!!

We carried on down the path until coming to an obvious junction with a track heading south down into Nab End Woods.  This is a steepish path downwards which is clearly been made for heavy plant machinery.  The countryside opens up on the right-hand side and a view into the farmland of Oak Tree Farm.  Halfway down this track my wife Kel, let’s out a god-awful scream as the dog picks something up in his mouth.  Both me and the dog jump out of our skin and he drops what he had put in his mouth.  The missus shouts, “it’s a giant caterpillar!”, prompting me and Alfie to look down at a Pine Cone lying between his front paws.  With my heart pounding out of my chest I painted the North York air with blue language before both Kel and me crying with laughter at her over dramatisation.

We plodded on down to the main road and turned right up towards the farm.  The last leg went up through the farm buildings and up to the car park.

Just over 7 miles of gorgeous moorland, woodland and farmland, all the boxes ticked!

I feel I need to take more advantage of this area, it’s 30 mins from my doorstep and there are some great routes waiting to be hiked!


Lowland Leader Course!

As I storm into retirement, I have slightly more spare time on my hands, well, after I’ve finished all the housework and hack away at the never-ending list of jobs given to me by the other half and my mother in law.


I decided to book myself onto a Lowland Leader Course which are conveniently ran by one of my old mates.  I had to join the Mountain Training Association first to get on the course and register onto the website and commence a Digital Log Book (DLOG).  My mate told me to get a few quality Lowland walks onto the log to put me in good stead for the course.  This wasn’t too difficult as I have numerous walks under my belt so it was just a case of filling in all the drop-down boxes on the DLOG and adding a brief description of the walk.

The course, if I’m successful, would allow me to take small groups out in Lowland areas for walks and also allows me to take out bronze award Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) candidates.


I turned up on the first day of the two-day course early Saturday morning at a local (ish) cricket club.  The instructor was there to greet me and it was great to catch up with my old friend.  There were only 3 (including me) candidates for the course, but this is better for us and it means the instructor can focus more individually.

The first half of the first day was taken up by kit, weather, walking group dynamics and checking the candidate’s navigation knowledge.  This is a very full couple of days as you could imagine so bait was eaten at the table to get everything covered,  which to be fair is fine by me as I’m not one for standing around gossiping, which I find is the norm in one hour’s meal breaks on these sort of things.


Then it was out into the area with a pretty good route to navigate.  The route was broken down into sections which we took turns in leading.  We used 1:25 for this section of the course and we had some pretty tricky routes to lead.  The afternoon went very quick and we returned back to the base in dusk, mentally knackered.  A couple of glasses of wine were needed back at home and an early night.

The next day we met at Hutton Rudby in North Yorkshire for day 2, the weather Gods were our friends today as rain had been forecast but we were met with broken cloud and sun.


Today was a full day of navigation, risk assessing, first aid scenarios, timed pacing and step counting.  We were using a 1:50 map for this day and route, I don’t like 1:50’s!  The first half of the day was using the ‘5 D’s’.  Distance, Direction, Duration, Description and Dangers.  The instructor showed us individually the section of the route he wanted us to lead.  We then had to study and give a full brief of the 5 D’s we expected to encounter.  Stopping mid walk if we wanted to change anything we had predicted.  Mentally draining, plus we had to described features, wildlife and any other points of interest as if we were out with a group, to make it more interesting.


The second half was ‘blind leading’.  This is where the instructor gives you a section of the walk in private, not telling the others in the group.  Making the rest of the candidates navigate (which they should be doing anywhere to be honest) and show the instructor at the end of the section where they believed they were.  Throw in first aid scenario’s again, ending the day in dusk and individual briefings in the pub.

A great couple of days with top lads and a good few laughs.

Next, assessment day in April!

Another look up Roseberry Topping!

I have a few friends from work who like the outdoors, we go on small dog walks and generally get together about once every two months (if we’re lucky) and take Alfie out for a leg stretch.  We have a ‘What’s App’ chat group where we basically chat about anything and take the piss every chance we get too.

During one of these chats my friend Shiv stated she had never been up Roseberry Topping, which is situated in the hills in North Yorkshire, or Cleveland if you want.  So, we decided to meet up and have a walk up the tiny hill.



Seeing as we all work shifts finding a date would be hard but managed to find a day we were all off, and would you believe it, the weather was even nice to us.

I’ve blogged about Roseberry before but it’s always nice to revisit and share different experiences.  We all meet at ours and drive down the A19 and head for the hills.  In the lovely little village of Great Ayton a quick left turn up Dikes Lane and before we knew it we were at the car park putting our boots on.  We started walking up the path which heads north up onto the heather and the awesome views that stretch across for miles and miles.





We walked next the dry-stone wall which is an easy way of knowing you’re going in the right direction as it keeps with you the whole way.  Once we all got our breath back it was time to start taking the micky out of each other.  As anyone who knows

and does the work we do, getting the piss ripped out of you is a sign of affection.  With a mixture of food chat and light hearted insults, the junction in the wall where we turned left was up on us before we knew it.  From here you can see the path up Roseberry, which to be fair looks quite steep from this distance, but at least the drop down to the start of the path gave us a chance to build up the enough steam to march to the top which we did quite quick.

The night before, Kel had knocked up some Millionaire Shortbread and Lemon Drizzle Cake for the top after our sarnies, well to be honest, she had only made the Shortbread but she was guilt tripped into making the Lemon Drizzle by Lou so she knocked one up just for her.  The top was busy and we settled down to stuff our faces and take in the view.

The top is covered in graffiti, or rather ‘etchings’ with ‘art’ stretching back to 1881 which, I can quite imagine the Victorians spending the day on the top taking in the view of the mines and the smog.  After half an hour of munching and being robbed of any remaining lemon Cake by Lou we made our way down the way we came.

The journey back was filled with the workings of a ‘She Wee’ and the appearance of a football on the route which wasn’t there on the way in.  Lou couldn’t get her head round the shape and the ‘fittings’ of the female urination equipment.  Kel didn’t make the conversation any better by saying the last time she used it, “It squirted out the back!”  And the football, well that’s still a mystery, although if it was a youngster who brought it with him and left it there to collect after he’d summited Roseberry, Alfie didn’t help by hiding it in the heather. 

Towards the end of the route the talk turned to a conversation that is well ploughed during any of these walks: my accent!  I’ve lived in the north-east for nearly 20 years now and have known people for the best apart of that, but my accent is still a source of amusement.  I don’t mind to be fair and find it funny!

Back at the cars the talk turned to the pub and where to go, we found a nice little place in the village where of all places we started talking to a chap from Easington who had been in Yorkshire for 30 years.

Great day and lovely weather to boot, back to Casa De La Hyde for Toad in’t Hole!