Total of 47km (29.2 miles) walked with a height gain of 1320m (4331 feet)
Route taken Saturday 24th September Laskill Bridge- Woolhouse Croft-Low Ewe Cote-Crow Nest-Moor Gate-Round Hill-Sour Milk Hills- Bilsdale Mast-Meggy Mire-Noon Hill-Stoney Wicks-Carlton Banks-Cringle Moor-Cold Moor – 26km (16.5 miles) – 6.5 hours
Route Taken Sunday 25th September Cold Moor-Wainstones-Hasty Bank-Clay Bank-Urra Moor-Cockayne Ridge-Stump Cross-Bonfield Gill-Old Kiln-Collis Ridge-Roppa Wood-Little Roppa-Laskill Bridge – 21 km (12.7 miles) – 7 hours
This is an area I have visited but not walked before with a great deal of variety of landscape from Grouse moors to steep hillsides and wooded streams – something for every one.
I parked at Laskill Grange, who very kindly let me park there in safety. There is a Forest Enterprise car park about a mile or so from here, but the locals I asked suggested that there can be break ins at this parking area.
I headed up the narrow country lane towards Low Ewe Cote and having arrived, I cut across some fields and followed a tiny path through the heather down towards Crow Nest.
Here I discovered a ruin nestled in a beautiful hidden valley with a small gill running through it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to rebuild this property!
Crossing the gill,I headed up a short steep bank, where the path disappeared from view, but I kept on my bearing and eventually came out into a small parking area beside a minor road.
Passing a solidary large tree in the landscape I headed north over a broad track making my way towards Bilsdale Mast in the far distance. The walking was easy on this backpacker’s equivalent of a motorway as in cut through the purple heather as far as the eye could see.
On and on the track went. For awhile I walked along the path running not far from this track, where I should have actually walked. The track served the grouse moors and walkers seemed to follow this rather the narrow path winding its way between cairns which disappeared completely through lack of use. Near to the mast I stopped for lunch and rest up. No-one had been seen and the only sound was the strange call of the grouse as they flew their low sorties across the monoculture of heather.
I made my way to the right of this barrier and headed down an incline, before rising up again to walk the path which passed the Gliding Club on my left.
The path dropped down to meet a minor road at Carlton Bank and here I turned right onto the Cleveland Way, a National Trail.
Within a few minutes I was climbing steeply up the side of Crinkle Moor and at the top surveyed the view from the comfort of a stone bench at the top. My right knee was starting to hurt, an ongoing problem which I am hoping quad exercises and orthoses will help.
There was a memorial to a fellow walker which had a map showing the fells and hills from this view point. To the right in the distance was the distinctive outline of Roseberry Topping and straight ahead the smoke stacks and industrial towers of Teesside, and if I squinted and concentrated I could see to the left, in the far distance Cross Fell.
I had to get on, darkness comes so early now compared to the splendid long summer evenings of June and July and I had to find water. I had spied a small spring on the map crossing the Way and once I was down from the top of the Moor, rather gingerly at times because my knee, I was able to replenish my Travel Tap bottle and Platypus.
Now I had read on Geoff’s excellent Backpacking in Britain blog that when he was walking the Cleveland Way, he had camped on Cold Moor. I decided against a further ascent to the top of this, but instead I found a flattish bit of ground near a rocky out crop, where I could tuck myself away for the night and enjoy the views over the surrounding countryside.
Having set up camp and phoned Mary, I boiled water for dinner. Just as I zipped up the tent to shelter my stove from the increasing wind, it started to rain. Perfect timing! I read for a while and listened to one of Bob’s podcasts I had stored on my iPod and drifted off to sleep.
Nature called around 6 the next morning, the darkness still with me. I crawled back into my sleeping bag, got a brew going and with tent door now opened watched the dawn arrive and the lights of Teesside disappear. The morning was pretty claggy and not that inviting. Breakfast eaten and kit packed, I left my camping spot at 7.30 to scramble up the hillside above to meet the Cleveland Way at the top of Cold Moor.
The cloud was right down and the views disappointing, so it was head down against the drizzle as I walked up to the Wain Stones ( not the ones in the Peak district!) at the top of the next hill. I took a few photos and moved swiftly, I saw little value in surveying the view – there wasn’t one, hoping that the cloud would lift around the corner. Unfortunately it was not to lift for many miles.
I crossed the road at Clay Bank headed up Carr ridge, following the National Trail until I reached the trig point on Urra Moor, the highest point of the North York Moors National Park and my walk. I carried on the track along the Cockayne Ridge towards the head of Tripsdale.
The cloud enveloped everything around me, there was little point in taking photographs or stopping, so I made fast progress reaching a road running over the top of Bransdale Moor.
I walked along this for 3 km(1.8 miles), I nicknamed this “the road of death”. I have never seen so many dead animals on such a short stretch of road and so many different species. Rabbits, grouse, pheasants,hedgehogs and field mice and some squashed so flat, recognition was impossible. Maybe it was some hideous “pastime” that locals participate in these parts.
Leaving the road, for a footpath, I walked across the heather, along tiny paths just visible to me down to the gill at Old Kiln.
I had noticed in a number of places during this walk, paths just disappearing and making it difficult to navigate. As the path was completely lost to me I just made my way using my Garmin as best I could to the stream crossing. Through a wooden gate and then up a narrow path along a conifer plantation.
The path made its way steeply down hill through chest high bracken and I lost the path a number of times. Again the path disappeared completely and I vaulted a number of gates separating the sheep fields, eventually arriving close to the start of the walk near Laskill. A short stretch of road brought me back to my car.