Saturday, 20 June 2015

We go walking In The Rain! Clay Bank to Bloworth Crossing

Those of you who know us well will already know that we simply don't
Do weather, but after three days stuck indoors avoiding showers and chilly winds even Dave was ready to brave the elements. Dressed in all the waterproof gear we own, we drove to the Forestry Commission car park at Clay Bank, overshot it, and parked in the next large layby just before the spot where the Cleveland Way crosses the B1257. We swapped cheery hellos with a family picnicking in the layby - in the rain - and took the Cleveland Way uphill towards Bloworth Crossing. Our plan was a ten mile loop although, at this point, I wouldn't have been surprised if Dave had already starting suggesting going home. It's no fun when your glasses are permanently blurred with water.

Instead we followed the practically-cobbled Cleveland Way up into the
Not a great day for views 
clouds. Actually into clouds! The wind did get stronger as we ascended but it was still warm and we were both wishing we weren't quite so well dressed by the time we got to the top. Dave had also begun to suspect that his waterproof coat was no longer as waterproof as it had once been. The track was very clear which was fortunate as visibility was down to probably about 100m along the top and I was fascinated by the swirling cloud that I could feel on my face as we walked through it. Wildlife wasn't as obvious as usual. We did see skylarks, what we are calling a curlew, a couple of rabbits, and several grim-looking sheep. This was my first time out with my new walking poles and I am very pleased with them. Not having had shock absorbers on my last pair, that give took a bit of getting used to, but once I got the hang of it they were great.

Our route called us to take a right turn but we couldn't find it anywhere,
I'm sure that cloud is chasing us! 
so we continued on the Cleveland Way to Bloworth Crossing. This used to be where a railway - from ironstone mines on the moors to Battersby - crossed an ancient drove road. Vintage photographs online show a dozen or so railway workers cottages in a small settlement. However now there is only a small information placard there. Another way to our missing path should have materialised just after Bloworth Crossing, but we chose not to go that way because it was just a faint sheep trail setting out across the moors. We were concerned that if we lost sight of Bloworth Crossing and the Cleveland Way, and then the tiny path petered out, we could get ourselves very lost indeed. We do walk with phone GPS and an Ordnance Survey map, plus we had our lunch and a flask of coffee, so it was tempting to stride out regardless. Commonsense won the day though so we paused to eat our sandwiches before turning back the way we had come. We would still have a respectable seven mile walk and were pretty proud of ourselves for being there at all!

We saw our first Other Walkers on the return leg - a group of nine who
Not so happy here 
loomed up out of the mist like something out of a zombie movie. Their expressions ranged from cheerful to wry to miserable. I loved this stone marker, engraved at some point in the past with the North York Moors equivalent of a smiley face, and the centre of a bridleway sign informed us that we were temporarily on the Wainwright Coast To Coast walk. Did Julia Bradbury ever do that one for TV?

The rain had let up by this time leaving us just with the swirling clouds to contend with. Our path did suddenly become more popular though and we were overtaken by two more walkers, a fell runner and a mountain biker on the steep downhill back to our car. Going downhill also allowed us a sudden improvement in visibility as we came out below the cloud level again. Dave says the mist's effect was more intense but similar to his experience of a cataract. Scary stuff.

Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk 
Our walk was just under four hours all told and we were pleased with that. I liked having seen the moors 'under their duvet' this one time, but the lack of distant views did make for a very different walk and we both agreed we prefer being able to see for miles. We didn't get too cold and I stayed nice and dry. Poor Dave ended up soggy through both his coat and his boots though so we are now considering whether to make a return visit to Go Outdoors for replacements (there's a sale on!) or whether just to never walk in the rain again!

I'll finish up by saying Congratulations to everyone who has been doing the Refugee Tales Walk this past week - 'a Walk in solidarity with Refugees and Detainees'. Our friend Andy had signed up to walk the 80 miles from Dover to Crawley and I think the group should be arriving at their destination tomorrow.

Still smiling at Bloworth Crossing 

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