Saturday, 13 June 2015

My longest walk ever: 15 miles across the North York Moors

It seems that Dave tempted fate recently. In a conversation with our
Cairn at the top of the hill above Chop Gate 
friends Chris and Marta he mentioned our then recent 10 mile walk and said that we'd never equal their recent 15 miles. About a week later, and with a combination of gorgeous sunshine and stunning scenery, we did! The North York Moors are a fabulous place to walk. Clicking this link will take you to a Google map of the route we actually walked - as opposed to the one we planned. Several of the paths wind more than the straight lines imply so we are confident of more than 15 miles 'on the ground'. We took a picnic lunch, should also have taken an afternoon snack, and the walk was just over seven hours plus twenty-five minutes for lunch.

Dave had planned us an eightish-mile route starting in the village of
View back downhill to Chop Gate 
Chop Gate. Their village hall car park is accessible to walkers and I loved their Pay And Display system: take a numbered ticket as if for a supermarket deli counter and drop a pound coin into the box. Just a pound! Brilliant! Our route started uphill straight from the car park and we jockeyed for position several times on the climb with another couple who had parked at the same time and were following a five-mile route cut from the Northern Echo newspaper. All our best walks seem to start with a knackering incline. This one was half an hour and very steep in places, but with a cushioned grassy surface. The cairn in the first photo was a welcome sight marking the top of the hill, yet, strangely, looked somehow different at the day's end so we weren't sure of our descent!

We walked on mostly sandy paths and saw dozens of hides for grouse
Babbling brook 
shooting parties as well as what looked like cat litter trays everywhere which we assumed were also grouse-related. We did also see several of the birds themselves - they seem just as daft as pheasants. Babbling brooks were remarkable by their absence - we only spotted a couple including this one and another by Rye Farm where we perched on a convenient pile of cut logs to eat our lunch. Other bird sightings included lapwings, curlews (probably) and another peregrine falcon. This one flew low over us so we got a very good look. There were skylarks everywhere and I enjoyed listening to their songs tumbling from the wide blue sky. It was very hot at times so our carefully packed fleece jackets weren't needed at all and I actually ended up with a little sunburn! Sunburn in June? Who'd have thought it! An unexpected 'No Entry' sign started us on a detour which we then compounded by adding a good burst of enthusiasm. During the day we managed to walk 'off map' from two sides which made navigation interesting and which wasn't helped by an almost complete lack of phone signal. Were we downhearted though? Surprisingly not (much)! A tall mast provided a visible anchor and we just kept striding out enjoying the fabulous views and colours around us.

We were both tired by the time we did get back to Chop Gate and,
I loved the colours in the heathers and lichens 
fortunately, the descent was a firm grassed surface which I could walk practically normally - instead of my usual Bambi-on-ice tiptoeing when faced with scree. We were confident of having got into double figures of miles, but didn't know for sure how far we had gone until Dave gmapped the route today. This was the longest walk I have ever done and is also the longest we have undertaken together. Dave did complete 15 miles previously - from Falmer to Alfriston - but said he felt much better physically this time. I think we both could have done more had we needed to, but it was a relief to see a waiting car!

I'll finish up talking about our walk with this great image of the moors
Oh look, more moor!
rolling off into the distance and please keep scrolling for an important petition underneath ...

I received the following email from SumOfUs this morning and it has made me pretty angry with not only the Conservatives but also everybody who voted them in! Scarcely back a minute and they are already starting to sell off taxpayers' assets at knock-down prices. Please sign the SumOfUs petition, then tweet or email your MP to protest this waste of Our Money, share and reshare on social media, and generally throw a right hissy fit! The extra £13bn we won't be getting could make a huge difference right across Britain and we need to act fast to have any chance of keeping it.

SumOfUs said
"By George, he's gone and done it. It's official:

George Osborne has just announced Britain's biggest ever privatisation. He's going ahead and selling off RBS at a loss of £13bn -- a huge loss to the taxpayer. It's part of the rush to privatise Britain -- an ideological move to hand over power and profit to corporations.

But, we own 79% of RBS.

Rather than selling off our stake at a loss to the bankers who got us into this mess in the first place, the government should be finding ways to make the bank work for the good of the nation and using this as an opportunity to fix our broken banking system.

Just as he's pushing through £12bn of welfare cuts that will hit the poorest and most vulnerable in society, Osborne is prepared to sell RBS off at a £13bn loss. £13bn is enough to plug the gap, protecting our public services and preventing austerity."

Please sign and share now.

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