Thursday, 18 June 2015

North York Moors walk to Commondale

I'm backtracking a couple of days now in order to tell you about a walk
Our moor path 
we did on Monday. It was about eight miles in all and, at its farthest point, took in the very pretty village of Commondale. We started by parking in a big layby off the A171. (Just past Charltons heading towards Whitby the road splits to climb a hill. At the top, as the road merges again is the layby. Parking is free plus there's lots of room and a tea van!) We crossed over the A171 and started along the clearly signposted footpath. Grass and earth at first, once the ground becomes boggy someone has kindly laid lots and lots of slabs to walk upon so we had both a dry path and a clear view of it heading away over the horizon. I do love a path that looks to continue forever! The volume of water was a surprise to us as our previous walks around this area have been on noticeably dry terrain. This moor had little becks and pools, one of which had a miniature waterfall trickling into it and this stunning orange plant growing under the water. We commented that most of the water had a brownish tinge to it and this reminded us of our first holiday in Scotland. We stayed in a rural log cabin near Oban.

Anyone know what this stunning
orange plant is? 
Our lunch stop was a little early, but in the shelter of the valley. We
Stained glass windows at Commondale church 
descended a road through Sandhill Bank which looks like an abandoned quarry, and sat on a bench in the middle of Commondale. Commondale used to be a brickmaking village which is why their church is so different from any others around here. The red bricks glow in the sun and I love their trio of stained glass windows. Sheep and chickens wander at will through the village and I saw one plaintive 'please shut the gate' sign because 'sheep eat my garden'. A couple of little cottages there are for sale and we were particularly taken with one that has access to the beck!

Back uphill after lunch and 'Meml' on our Ordnance Survey map turned
War memorial near Commongate 
out to be this elegant memorial for two First World War soldiers, presumably local men. The stone is well away from the village and completely surrounded by moorland, but had a relatively recent wreath at its base so is obviously still a place of remembrance. We disturbed several grouse which flapped off squawking indignantly and got us pondering a question: do people 'grouse' because it sounds like the bird, or are the birds so named because of their disgruntled cries? The Online Etymological Dictionary notes a possible Old French root for the human action, but not for the bird name. On a roll, we also considered whether 'pharmacy' and 'farm' have the same origins. 'Pharma' is definitely from Greek and 'farm' must come from the French 'ferme', but does 'ferme' come from an original Greek meaning for the domestic growing of plants for medicinal purposes? Or do they just sound the same in modern English? It turns out that I need a different dictionary to answer that one, but 'farm' in an agricultural sense is pretty recent so it's probably just coincidental! I love language!

Although this walk was only just over half of our previous fifteen mile epic, we both found it more tiring which baffled us. Perhaps a greater proportion being uphill was the reason, perhaps the stronger wind at times, or perhaps just one of those random walking occurrences! Not including our lunch stop, we were on the move for just under four hours. Our car was patiently waiting in the layby, but the tea van had already shut up shop. I really need to remember our thermos before we set out, not at the point where I want a hot drink.

Beautiful moors and a tiny Dave 

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