Today was so varied. We started in the forest on the edge of the Cleveland Hills which are supposed to have the most famous 12 Miles on the North York Moors. The escarpment that we cross has amazing views over the lowlands below but also across the moors. We could even see to the North Sea! To the left of the plain a pall of smoke hung over the countryside from a fire near Leeds/ Manchester. It was extensive and apparently is a huge fire fuelled by the extreme heat. (31C)
It is a roller coaster today up 1000ft to Beacon Hill, down to 500 feet then up again to 1250 then up and down four times! We are crossing moors but close to the edge of the escarpment so the views are great. Our track is visible ahead most of the way. The area has prehistoric burial mounds and was mined for jet and alum.
We descended to a cafe at Carlton Bank and enjoyed cold drinks amongst a huge crowd of day walkers and their dogs! We filled up with cold water. It is here our party splits. Paul is still unwell from the food poisoning and is unable to continue. Moyra and Stuart don’t want to walk the 32 kms and this is the only spot they can exit as Paul has asked Mal from Ingleby Cross (our hosts from last night) to come and collect them and drive them all to the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge. Kathy ( Turner) wanted to continue to the Wainstones but would then be stranded so she has to miss that part of the walk. Paul was anxious about the heat and us getting sunstroke.
Paul getting ill has highlighted some shortcomings in the organisation. There doesn’t seem to be any back up for him (though his boss did say he would come and continue the walk apparently. Paul said we were competent to continue unguided because we had Sarah and Dennis who know the area and we were strong walkers.)
Dennis , Sarah, Kingsley, Debra, Colin and I decided from the beginning we would do the whole walk. Debra has been raising money for the hospice she works in so she felt she couldn’t shirk any part. I wanted to support her and I am committed to doing the whole walk. Dennis and Sarah have done a stirling job as our guides and we have all worked as a team. I have found the last few days most enjoyable because we were able to spread out more and the path signs have been better this side of the walk.
The climb up to the Wainstones, a group of huge boulders sitting on the edge of the escarpment that stand out on the moors like a castle, was very steep and hard. They are often used by climbers fo training and when we arrived we prevailed on a young climber to take a group photo.
After a rest we pushed on across the Cold and Hasty moors looking for a train track. This old track now a road was used for the mines. We had been told it was the hardest part of the walk and it was. It was 12 kms of endless winding track bordered by beautiful moors where we saw, sheep( of course), grouse and shooters hides. The game keepers spread food for the grouse and pheasants to assist them and ensure plenty for the shooting season!
Towards the end we were all over the track, sore of foot and tired but we kept on( no alternative!) until we saw the turn off to the Lion Inn on the hill. Bruce and Paul were waiting for us so we wouldn’t miss the turn off and clapped us in. We were very relieved. We arrived at 6.30, a nine hour walk of endurance!
These are the hills we walked up and over from left of picture to right. It looks flat but between each was a deep descent and ascent. Tough but rewarding.
Debra and I were so pleased to see we had a bath in our room even though there was no time for one right then. We enjoyed it later. After a quick shower we felt revived and went to dinner.