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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Like Here Only Different ~ Day 14 Osmotherley to Clay Bank Top/ Chop Gate

Osmotherley to Clay Bank Top / Chop Gate  11-13 miles 5 hours ~ Osmotherley - North York Moors NP- Arncliffe Woods- Carlton Moor - Cringle Moor - Chop Gate  Tonight I stay at Buck Inn Hotel in Chop Gate.  www.buck-inn.co.uk  The menu promises some serious eating

Todays walk takes us into new territory, the open moors.  It is said the North York Moors are the largest expanse of heather in the world.  It is wide vistas and rolling hills.  It can also be winds and mists.  With new territory come new plants to see and birds to spy.  This is upland hunting country so game birds might tease.

I got an early start.  It is a sunny day which promises to get quite warm.

I headed up a long track out of the village and soon came to a gate marking the start of Scarth Wood Moor.  Prior to getting to the gate I noticed that the soil had change from the other side of the hill, which I came up yesterday.

This soil is sandy, sparkling just like a beach.  Heather in several different type, almost none in bloom.  It is strangely quiet, no flying Swallows, no singing Skylark.  It is wonderful to see such wild open hills, you can really see where you are going.  Google Maps will give you a feel for this country.  You can see the heather on the land view.

I met a gentleman and we had a chat.  He is a local man and has a special interest in ancient sites; burial grounds / mounds, stone circles.  He was very excited having just confirmed a mound near by and how it lines up with a local hill and another mound on a distant moor.  He must have been up very early for the sunrise, for it is these events which point out the sacred line up.  The moon also plays a role.  He said that stone circles that are white stone are usually based on moon movements.

Here is a shot of the valley to the north.  The hill with the tree cap is Whorl Hill and it is the sacred site (known) which lines up with the burial mound he was working on.

While we were chatting we heard feet.  Hundreds of feet, here come the racers from the Osmotherly Games.  These are tough folk, the ground is paved with flat(ish) paving stones.  These help preserve the soft soil.  You know by now how I feel about this stone.

I though there would be a small hand full of runners, but there were over 400 entrants.  Running or walking 5 , 10 or 23 Km.  I  kept to the right and at times had to pull over.

We went through some fine woods on real dirt trails.  I didn't see anything of note except the remains of the spring Bluebells.  Thousands of stems with seed pods.  It must be glorious.

So it was an up and down day.  Up one side of a moor, then down, steeply down on stone steps and pavers.  OSHA did not supervise the placement of the stepping stones.  You pick your way through.  I much rather climb up than go down..

This is called a staircase.  There were five of them, some longer and steeper.

Here is the last big up.  The Wain Stones are a major landmark before Clay Bank Top.  The large boulders on the ground either fell from the ledge, or were leftovers from mining.  Evidence exists for both.  Today they are a favorite rock climbing venue.

All day we had glorious views to the north.  Today it is quite hazy on the horizon, on a clear day you can see the North Sea.  We are almost done!

Around the Wain Stones and along the sheer cliff edge then down one more staircase to Clay Bank Top.  I found race monitors for the Osmotherly race.  Ten miles out,  but I am not done.  My booking is down the road, 2Km.  I quickly saw that it is much further ( easily 5 Km) and the road does not have a wide shoulder.  Everyone out racing up and down this twisty road.  I felt very frustrated, both by the misreported distance and the dangerous road.  I could have called for a lift, though with no phone, not an option.  I tried to get one in London but it turned into a technophobes nightmare.  Plus I thought it was just 2km, 20 minutes turned into a hour.

Chaffing is not my friend right now.  Tomorrow I get a lift back up to Clay Bank Top and the way promises to be a bit easier.  A 250m climb up to Round Hill, the a long slow passage along an old railbed to The Lion Inn.  Lion Inn is famous for the snowing in that happened a few years ago.  I hope to be able to get out in the dark and open the lens on my camera.

1 comment:

  1. What a fabulous area. I can hardly sit still when I see these pictures and wish I was there now.