Wet Weather Dilemmas

Sunday 13 October 2019. I don’t know many walkers who enjoy walking in the rain. Some, including me, often abandon a walk if it is raining at the outset. Others, again me included, don’t mind if it rains in the middle of a walk. Afterall, there aren’t many winter Sundays when it will be dry all day.

Wet weather presents something of a dilemma for our walks leaders who commit themselves, often months in advance, to leading walks for our group. A forecast of rain a few days ahead of a scheduled walk isn’t really reason enough to call it off in advance and a poor forecast on the morning of the walk is too late to communicate a cancellation to potential walkers. They are left with little option but to go to the start of their walk knowing that they could well be the only one to turn up. That is the lot of a walks leader and we should be appreciative to the few that we have for their efforts on our behalf.

Thankfully, there have been relatively few instances of really bad weather on the day of our walks, but I’ll recall a few for you. A good few years ago I was due to lead a walk from Barrowden. It was a 60-mile round trip for me, but I got there to find only 2 walkers from the Leicester area had bothered to turn out. Had there been someone from the Fenland Group then I might have adopted a different approach, but I certainly wasn’t going to get a soaking to walk with two people whom I hadn’t met before. I asked them if they really wanted to do the walk? They were keen so I gave them a map of the route, a few verbal instructions and let them get on with it. I can’t have upset them too much as they came on a subsequent walk from Bradshaw Country Park with Linda S and me.

Last year, it had been pouring with rain on the morning of a walk that I was leading from Duddington. The roads were almost flooded, and Moira & Betty turned back when the driving became too dangerous. I was stood all alone at the meeting point sheltering under my umbrella. At 10 o’clock no one else had turned up and I was thinking good, I can go home. But then who should show her face? None other than Linda S. Being a scot, she wasn’t going to be put off by a bit of rain and was determined to do the walk. As we both had good wet weather gear, there wasn’t a good enough reason not to walk so I joined her for a soggy outing.

Coming more up to date, in July this year Sue was due to lead a walk at Marsham Heath. It was a long drive, for many, and the weather forecast wasn’t very good. Needless to say, none of the group turned out. Sue and Cavin were joined by a more local ramblers member and they had an enjoyable walk in better than forecast conditions.

The Hillington walk two weeks ago, led by Josephine, was blighted by bad weather. She had driven Michael and Linda W to the start, thinking that no one else would bother. She was correct and the three of them decided against doing the walk, calling in instead for coffee at Worzals on the way home.

Today, I had a fruitless if eventful drive to Alwalton. On the way there a swan waddled out into the road in front of me and sat down. I think that it must have mistaken the wet shiny road for water. I slowed down and drove around it as it wasn’t going to move. I got to Alwalton 15 minutes in advance of the scheduled starting time for the walk. The rain was beating down on my car as I sat there watching the minutes tick by. I had already decided that there was no way that I was going to walk today and, as expected, no one else was mad enough to consider walking on a day like today. I’d had a wasted 36-mile round trip, but it was better than getting a soaking. I had considered taking my caravan up to Grassington tomorrow to do some walks in the Yorkshire Dales, but the weather forecast for the week ahead is poor so I’m staying at home and will be exercising in the gym.

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Ravenscar

Friday 20 September 2019. For today I had considered walks at either Roseberry Topping or The Hole of Horcum but I’ve done them both before, it would have been quite a drive to either of them and they were a little more strenuous than I really wanted. I therefore opted for a walk closer at hand and which wouldn’t be quite as taxing. I made the short drive to Ravenscar to do a walk that I’d made up from the map.rav1

I had planned an even shorter walk, but it was so nice that I extended it a little to just 4¾ miles. The outward leg was easy going as I headed south on the bed of a disused railway line locally referred to as the “Cinder Track”. The section through the woods near Meeting House Farm was wonderful and I made an early coffee stop sat on a sunlit bench surrounded by blackberries and wildflowers.rav2

I hadn’t appreciated that a railway track would have such a steep gradient as can be seen from this profile. It really didn’t feel as though I was going downhill.rav5

After 2 miles of easy walking, I turned off the railway track to follow a footpath across to White Hall Farm and begin the climb back up to the coastal path. It was steep to start with and eased off a little before one final climb. There were good views from the top to the cliffs at the other side of Robin Hood’s Bay.rav4rav3

My reward for climbing nearly 600ft was lunch in the cafe where I parked my car. A jacket potatoe topped with cheese and a pot of tea.(The elevation of 342ft as shown above is measured by Strava which only looks at the difference between the lowest and highest point of a walk. Unlike Anquet, it dosen’t count all the ups and downs in between). I think that this will be my final walk on this holiday making a total of 37 miles over 7 walks. The weather has been wonderful, and I’ve really been able to test my hill climbing capabilities. I now know that I need to lose weight (I already knew this) and I’ve confirmed to myself that the days of climbing mountains are probably a thing of the past. Sad but true.

Ravenscar walk route

Cayton Bay to Scarborough

Thursday 19 September 2019. I picked up today in Cayton Bay where I called a halt yesterday. Having now done the 3¾ miles from Cayton Bay to Scarborough, I’m glad that I didn’t attempt this yesterday on top of the 6 miles from Filey. Coastal walking isn’t easy with many ups and downs and another 500ft of ascent. I was refreshed for today’s walk which made it even more enjoyable. I’d only done half a mile when I saw a sign for a café and toilets. It meant going downhill towards the beach, but the reward was a civilised comfort stop followed by another bacon butty and a mug of tea. This fortified me for the climb up to Tenants’ Cliff from where I took the next 4 pictures.cay1cay2cay3cay4

There was a section of inland walking around Knipe Point and through Osgodby from where another down was quickly followed by a steep climb up to White Nab. I rounded the corner and the following views across Scarborough Bay hit me in the eye. It was so nice that I sat there for 20 minutes or so whilst having lunch.cay5cay6

It was now largely downhill into Scarborough where I ended my walk at the Spa complex. My car was parked at the top of the hill above me. I had the choice of one final trudge on foot or, for just £1, I could have ride on the UK’s oldest funicular railway. Needless to say, the latter won.

Cayton Bay to Scarborough – walk route

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Filey to Cayton Bay

Wednesday 18 September 2019. The plan for today was to walk a 9-mile section of the Cleveland Way from Filey back to Scarborough which would mean that I’ve walked the whole of the coastal section south from Staithes. I drove to the south side of Scarborough to park the car and catch a bus to Filey. It was running late which meant that I didn’t arrive until 10:30. After a very short walk down to the sea front, I decided that I’d have a coffee break before getting on with the walk proper.Filey1

A mile or so later and I was at the top of Filey Brigg.Filey3

This marks the point at which the Cleveland Way and the Wolds Way end.Filey5Filey4Filey6

There were some steady climbs to the tops of various cliffs which gave some lovely seascape views.Filley7Filey8

From the top of Ibberston Cliffs I could look down on Cayton Bay, a place with fond childhood memories of summer holidays from long ago.Filey9

It was at this point that I was feeling a hot spot/embryonic blister on the bottom of one of my toes. I still had another 3 miles back to my car and decided that I could come back and finish this off on another day. Making the sensible decision to avoid a fully formed blister, I diverted to Cayton Bay village to catch the bus back to Scarborough. I’d walked 6 miles with a total ascent of 500ft.

Filey to Cayton Bay walk route

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Esk Valley Walk – Leg 3

Monday 16 September 2019. After taking the weekend off to watch sport on tv, it was back to walking today with the last leg of my Esk Valley Walk from Grosmont to Whitby. The logistics of this walk were something of a problem as the linear route meant that I had to use public transport either the get to the start or to get back from the finish. Parking in Grosmont is £4.50 and I would then have to rely on the infrequent bus or train services to get back to my car. A more sensible idea was to get transport from Whitby to Grosmont and then to walk back to my car. Parking in the centre of Whitby is expensive at £9 for the day so I opted to use the park & ride service for just £1.50 with a bus every 15 minutes. My bus to the start at Grosmont was free.gros6

Update: My memory seems to be getting worse as the years roll by. I had intended to include this next paragraph in this report but completely forgot about it. I like to listen to music when I’m out walking on my own. I use Pendoo wireless earphones to connect via bluetooth with the music player on my phone. I like them as I don’t have wires hanging around my neck. My problem is remembering to take them with me. I forgot them on my previous walk and forgot them again today. Luckily, I carry another set of bluetooth earphones so was able to have some entertainment as I walked along. As if this forgetful moment wasn’t bad enough, I was sat waiting for the bus to Grosmont when I looked down at my feet and realised that I was still wearing my trainers. My walking boots were in the boot of the car in the park & ride. Too late to do anything about it, the trainers would have to do. They weren’t a problem. Perhaps I need to make myself a checklist to use before I set off walking?

I arrived in Grosmont at just after 10am and set off on my 8¼ mile trek. It was a level start, but I was soon to encounter the first and steepest of many ups and downs. This was a climb of 200ft and I needed a stop for a coffee at the top. Unusually, the route barely touches the River Esk and follows a high-level route affording great views of the surrounding countryside.gros1gros2gros3

The next few miles were a delight before I descended steeply to cross the A169 at Sleights. It was noon and time for lunch sat on a bench just outside the village. The footbridge in Sleights, over the Esk, was closed for repair and I had to backtrack to cross the river using the A169 road bridge. There was another climb out of Sleights, but this gave distant views towards Whitby Abbey.gros4

I then descended, again, to cross back over the river in Ruswarp.gros7

I still had a couple of miles to go and looking at the map, I could see that there was one final climb ahead. I tried to find an easier low-level path, but this only led me into a private property, and I had no option but to backtrack and push on over the last hill.gros5

Whitby was its usual busy self and the idea that I’d had earlier in the day to celebrate with fish and chips was soon scrapped. I was too tired to bother and went back to the caravan for a refreshing cup of tea instead. I wasn’t surprised to discover that this walk had a total ascent of 970ft; the most so far on this holiday.gros8Grosmont to Whitby walk route-page-001

Esk Valley Walk – Leg 2

Friday 13 September 2019. One of the reasons for coming back to Scarborough was to complete the last 2 legs of the Esk Valley Walk. I did the first 8-mile section from Castleton to Lealholm last year and now wanted to do the last 14 miles into Whitby. Leg 2 is a 6-mile section from Lealholm to Grosmont. My bus, in the opposite direction, departed at 09:59 so I made sure that I arrived early and paid my £5 fee to park the car for the day. An early arrival allowed time for the obligatory holiday bacon butty and a mug of tea at Grosmont station.leal3

The bus arrived on time. There was no one on it so I assumed that it had travelled empty from Whitby and I was the only passenger for the 20-minute ride to Lealholm. The roads were narrow and steep in places and I wouldn’t have wanted to drive my car along them, let alone a bus.

Following the river downstream I would have thought that it would have been downhill all the way, but I was soon to find out that this wasn’t true and there were a few short sharp uphill sectionsleal2leal1

It was an easy start until I crossed over the river on a footbridge near Thorneywaite which signalled the start of one of the uphill sections. I missed a turn in the village as the signpost wasn’t very prominent. Soon realising my mistake, I backtracked to follow the footpath through the garden of one of the houses. The owner was busy gardening, so I stopped to have a chat with him. There was another uphill at Carr End and thankfully there was a bench at the top where I stopped for a welcome rest and some refuelling.

I was now on the route of the Coast to Coast path which was familiar having completed it in 2011. I stopped to take a picture of Beggar’s Bridge in Glaisdale and then made my way, uphill again, through East Arnecliffe Wood.leal4leal5

There are a series of steppingstones at Egton Bridge and I was just about to take a picture of them when this “blue flash” shot past me heading downstream. It happened so quickly but I’m sure that it was a Kingfisher.leal6

The last couple of miles into Grosmont was fairly boring being along a stony farm track with nothing much of interest to look at. I was pleased when the walk had finished. Although it was only 6-miles and generally downhill, it still had a total ascent of 535ft.Lealholm mapleal7

Hackness

Thursday 12 September 2019. It was a showery morning yesterday so rather than walking; I had a free bus ride into Scarborough to do some food shopping at M&S and to get a new battery put in my wristwatch. The weather today was much better although it clouded over in the early afternoon and the breeze freshened. I made an early start at 9am and was finished by noon so I think that I had the best of the day.

I made the short drive to Hackness to tackle a walk that I’d found from somewhere, probably on the internet. I had a map of the route but not much else. I didn’t even know how long it was. The start of the walk was easy until I reached Wrench Green and from here it went steeply uphill towards Coomb Slack Farm as can be seen from the profile below.

It eased off when I made it to Lang Gate. From here there was a contouring section around the hillside bringing me into Wood House Plantation. The path through here was something of an obstacle course with fallen trees to negotiate and a few boggy sections. Another one of those paths where it wouldn’t be a good idea to have a trip or fall. The path then improved a little as I crossed an open area of grassland. This was heavy going as I had to drag my feet through the long-wet grass. I eventually approached the aptly named Mount Misery and from here it was steeply downhill on a paved road to the valley bottom. I’d walk just 3 miles in 2 hours, and it was at this point that I decided to cut the walk short. A good idea as I subsequently checked the section shown in pink on the map below. This would have meant another 5 miles and a further 1,000ft of ascent.

I made my way along the road to the crossing over the River Derwent where I had my only stop for coffee and an early sandwich or two. There hadn’t been anywhere suitable for a stop before now. The rest of the walk was made up, on the hoof. I had a choice of walking the road all the way back to the car or following the footpath beside the River Derwent. The latter seemed a better option so that is what I did. Breaking away from the river, I then headed up to Broxa Lane to pick up another footpath back into Hackness. The section after my lunch stop was only a couple of miles, fairly level and far preferable than the planned route. Overall, my walk was just 5 miles with 750ft of ascent. Short but testing enough for me. The area for today’s walk to the west of Hackness has steep sided valleys with the tops covered in thick woodland. It looks pretty but is something of a challenge.