Inn Way to the North York Moors
Inn Way To the North York Moors
“The walk of broken dreams”
After much careful thought i.e. dithering, we finally decided on a third Inn Way for this year’s trip. The route is some 89 miles starting and finishing in the market town of Helmsley. Hilary has friends in the Irregulars who live nearby and they kindly offered to let us park a car on their drive for the week. Not only that but took us to the start by Land Rover as well.
Hilary drove us there and back, June marked the maps, I booked the accommodation and Ian supplied a guidebook and maps for a completely different walk.
After a delayed start on Saturday due to a landslip near Skipton we were on our way at about 11.30 with 14 miles to Hutton-le-Hole.
A pleasant start along a riverbank, filled with wild garlic, to a fish farm teeming with hungry fish, through the hamlet of Harome and on to Wombleton where the local sports ground had seats for our first lunch stop. The first detour came just after lunch when we found the promised bridge near St Gregory’s Minster had been washed away in 2005, back on track, a long trek through a wood following the river brought us to the outskirts of Fadmore. Black clouds were gathering as we took a quick break but they soon blew over. We had a view of the moors for the first time at Surprise View in Gillamoor before a short section across a moor to a very muddy decent into our stop for the night, a B&B run by a nice couple who provided tea and cake on arrival.
Sunday was dry but a cool wind was much in evidence, after a superb breakfast we left Hutton-le-Hole for Levisham. We had morning coffee in The New Inn at Cropton, it boasts its own brewery, well worth a re visit I think. The Roman Camps at Cawthorne were off route but worth the visit, it is off route because there is only one way in and out, ask us how we know. Back on track we had a hot and sticky section of forest before a hot and sticky climb up Newton Banks, the path then dropped very steeply to Levisham station where we saw two steam locos passing through. Tea and cakes on the platform refreshed us before yet another steep climb to Levisham village and The Horseshoe Inn.
At breakfast next morning we told mine host we were staying at another Horseshoe that night in Egton Bridge. “Which one” he asked, there are two. Alarm bells didn’t ring but they should have. The weather had turned cold, sun hats were replaced with woolly ones, gloves and windproofs were also needed. A fantastic stretch along a cliff top overlooking the North York railway with several steam trains during the morning lifted the spirits. The next leg across Two Howes Rigg was open and very windy. Goathland, with its twee nick knack shops was not Ian’s favourite place but the cakes were good. The highlight of the afternoon was the pub at Beck Hole. The Birch Hall Inn is totally unspoilt, it has a strong claim for the world’s smallest bar and half of the pub serves as the village shop. The fact that the sun came out while we were sampling the beer did influence things rather. We then followed the line of an old railway to find our pub for the night was not The Horseshoe Hotel in Egton Bridge but The Horseshoe Inn in Egton, oops. However the gentle stroll to Egton was, for me the best part of the whole walk, it really was delightful.
On Tuesday morning the delightful stroll back to Egton Bridge was completed in driving rain, as was most of the walk to Lealhom. This is not a pleasant section, lots of muddy fields with twists and turns not forgetting the ups and downs. Coffee and toasted teacakes in Lealholm cheered us up, especially as Ian donated half of his second teacake to me, what a nice chap. Rosedale Abbey was still over 10 miles away; we removed our waterproof trousers but retained our coats due to the cold wind. It was into the Moors proper now where for a short section above Great Fryup Dale we joined the Coast-to-Coast path before crossing the route of the Lyke Wake Walk. The sun came out and the freezing wind dropped for our arrival in Rosedale. There are reminders of a large industrial past in this valley; the ironstone kilns are impressive, it is hard to imagine thousands of people living in this now very quiet valley. The White Horse Farm Inn proved to be the best stop of the week, good rooms, good food and very nice welcoming people as well as superb views across the valley, again, well worth a return visit.
Wednesday morning was bright and clear which was just as well as this promised to be the toughest day, 16 miles and five ridges to climb and cross. A short section back through Rosedale was the warm up for some serious heather bashing up and over Blakey Ridge, before dropping down into Farndale, a valley that promised much but disappointed with its closed café and pub. Oh well, there is another source of refreshment 8 miles further on. A long, hot, steady climb out of Farndale was worth it for the stunning panoramic views from the top. I was in danger of running out of water before an outside tap in a farmyard saved the day. Another climb brought us to Bleasedale where a lunch stop was taken just below the ridge to get out of the wind. More heather bashing brought Bilsdale into view and the last chance of refreshment. Another blow, this too was closed and it certainly looked as if wasn’t going to open any time soon.
Some vague heather bashing following small cairns, that seemed nothing more than random piles of rocks led us over what was supposed to be the final climb of the day. However, after dropping steeply down to cross a ford another even steeper climb led us to Hawnby and our beds for the night. It had been a tough but enjoyable day; if the promised hostelries had been available it would have been perfect.
Thursday was the final leg, 16 miles back to Helsmley. We started however by walking down to the village shop, for supplies, and back again. This shop is about half a mile down a 1in3 hill. Suitably warmed up we were off towards Sutton Bank on the Cleveland Way. The drizzle was unpleasant so we took our morning break in a ruined but dry barn. After which we chatted to students on a dig in a hill fort. Cold Kirby provided an unexpected bonus by way of homemade chocolate flapjacks on offer, payment by honesty box. Delicious.
A quick lunch was taken on the village green in Scawton during a break in the drizzle. Rievalux Abbey came into view in Nettledale, it is only 3 miles from the finish but Coffee & Walnut cake was just too much temptation, even at this late stage. The last three miles had a gentle climb that brought superb views of Helmsley and its castle, more complete than we thought the week before. A night in the Feathers was made even more enjoyable by the visit of David and Alma who were staying locally.
All in all, a cracking week’s walk, we do all get on very well together and I think this has made the annual trips what they are. Long may they continue.
My thanks to Hilary, June and Ian for their friendship and happy memories.