Starting from Goathland and heading off through the closed station towards Beck Hole, we immediately came to a short but steep (for me) uphill track through snow, mud and water. Soon realised my summer boots from Canada, although very comfortable, were maybe not going to be up to the job. Nearly everyone else was sensibly wearing their wellies. The group of 9 of us were soon well stretched out .... I take my sheepdog role very seriously - bringing up the rear and checking that the group are together! What a day - blue sky and sun. After a week of grey skies, this was beautiful.
Having gained a little height, we immediately headed downhill - through snow/ice which had me faltering and then to steep snow and ice covered steps. My knees were not happy. Thank goodness for poles and thoughtful, patient supportive friends.
Soon we were trudging uphill again and I wished I had stripped (1 layer anyway) before starting off. Not too far, but definitely steep and a good aerobic exercise! I could feel my temples pounding as my heart raced and I was once again reminded of my lack of fitness. Tried to disguise my feelings of nausea, but unsuccessfully. Nevermind, we were now well on towards the escarpment, but I couldn't resist a quick hello and nuzzle with a calm endearing pony waiting patiently at the fence surrounding his field. I got the impression it was feeding time, as on the other side of the farm, a small flock of sheep came running towards us baa-ing loudly to announce their interest in us. Not long before we were above the railway line and could see the bridge under scrutiny ahead of us. A perfect place to stop and fuel the tanks, helped down with a cup of tea. Martin is a star at brewing tea in the out of doors and came prepared with stove, large pan, 6 mugs, choice of teas plus milk and sugar. A slight misunderstanding nearly had me without a cuppa, but fortunately it was all put right without too much drama. Lesson: tea should never be joked about! Thanks Martin. It reminded me of the days Dave and I never went out without a brew kit and of the hoards of photos we have of us enjoying a brew with a view. Specifically a holiday in Mayrhofen, Austria comes to mind whereby the quality of each days hike was determined by the "brew view".
Next stop, the village of Beck Hole and a visit to the Birch Hall Inn for a lunchtime pint, or in the girls' case ... a large pot of tea! I was driving, so no alcohol for me. The timing was perfect - the one big table and bench, in the sun, unoccupied ..... and few people about. A large snow mound in front of my place on the bench proved to be a perfect foot support. It wasn't long before this tiny pub and narrow street became very busy with Sunday strollers or drivers and their dogs We sat with smug expressions, I am sure, as we made the most of the early afternoon rays and lack of a breeze. Conversation, laughter, teasing .... the time flew by. Once the winter sun dipped down behind the houses, the temperature dropped considerably and the female members of the group decided we should make a move. The menfolk meanwhile still had beer in their glasses so we thought we would get a head start. The boys had long since disappeared with their railway enthusiast friends from the village and we guessed they had returned to Goathland. Their energy? - I am so envious!
So that was the end of our day ... nearly! A smaller group headed into Goathland - the setting for the popular tv series Heartbeat, for another pot of tea/coffee. All too soon it was time to head home, and we nearly made it before dark. The thin sliver of the new moon was a lovely sight in the clear sky on the journey. Happy.
Special thanks to .....
Martin, for being prepared for, and brewing, tea for 6 on the open moors.I should sleep well tonight! I pray that the help needed in Haiti, for the thousands of people continuing to suffer following the devastaing earthquake, will reach those most in need very soon and that a degree of comfort is achieved for these poor lost souls. My heart goes out to the population there,
Sarah, for pouring wonderful tea at the pub and her care and concern on steep up climb.
Dave, for much encouragement on the steep downward steps and for stealing my poles!
Neil, for much needed drinks at the pub.
Gail, for her entertaining tales of her scottish family.
Rob, for his croggie bicycle ride.
Wills, for his "5 pounds and 30 pence"
Josh, for remembering my name.