We opted for a light breakfast at The Blue Bell. Our bad vibe about the place was not helped by being asked in an accusatory tone as to whether we had booked breakfast. I know that the owners are new, but one of the golden rules must be to try and be pleasant to people (even in the face of their trying behaviour). So after muesli and toast, we were on our way.
The morning weather was cool, cloudy, with a wind from the north – north-west. We climbed past the village church; we bought two of Diane’s famous flapjacks – from an honesty-box placed in front of a cottage just above the church. Having hiked away from habitation, the C2C became one with the Cleveland Way, a union which would see us towards lunchtime on the morrow! Initially, we headed north-east through Arncliffe Wood with occasional views west over the Vale of Mowbray. Our path was busy on this Saturday morning with many young people DukeofEdinburghing. One group of high-spirited lasses asked to borrow our map for a few moments; they had one of their own, of course, but it had been packed in an inaccessible corner of one of their rucksacks! On Scarth Wood Moor, we had a good view of The Cleveland Hills standing in line ahead of us, forming an escarpment above the flatlands to the north and west. This escarpment runs east-north east initially, before swinging north up to the distinctive silhouette of Roseberry Topping.
It was a great day for a walk; cool and bright. For several morning miles, we had Whorl Hill for company – initially ahead of us, and later to our left. Its apparent symmetry viewed from the escarpment was fascinating.
We descended to Huthwaite Green, where Scugdale Beck had cut into our ridge: we were rewarded with pretty meadows and woodland, but at a price – a steep climb back on to Round Hill to regain the escarpment, walking on across Carlton Moor .Our next descent would bring us to our lunch. At this stage, we thought that the day’s hard work was over, having covered 8 of the 12 miles. In retrospect, I’m just amazed how my complacency remains intact despite the experience of getting it wrong so often; misjudgment should be my middle name!
Before I moan about the arduous afternoon, we had a very good lunch at Lord Stones Café. This establishment is a campsite & shop as well as eatery; it seemed to be doing a roaring trade for such a rural spot; but I suppose that it’s not many miles from Middlesbrough. We took our ice creams outside as the weather showed signs of brightening up, and chatted with Julie, aC2Cer from Lancashire, who had also stayed at The Blue Bell on the previous evening.
Then on and upwards! It was still somewhat chilly due to the bracing wind, but the sun was periodically piercing the tenacious Yorkshire cloud cover. The steady climb onto Cringle Moor, was rewarded by a brief rest at Alec Falconer’s Memorial seat. From here, there was a great view, particularly along the escarpment to Roseberry Topping. We then dropped into a narrow valley, before ascending onto the hill atop Broughton Bank, above which hang-gliders swooped and circled. The rollercoaster continued down into Garfit Gap, before the final climb of the day, up to the dramatic Wain Stones.
As we dropped to Clay Bank Top, we were thankful that our short afternoon’s ramble had come to its end. We were met by our landlord for the evening, Wolfgang, and his 4by4; he ferried us to The Buck Inn in the hamlet of Chop Gate, some three miles south of Clay Bank Top. Our room was very comfortable; indeed our sense of repose encouraged a late siesta!
The fare at The Buck had a distinct Germanic flavour: Swabian maultaschen (a noodle envelope containing minced pork and veal served in a clear broth with carrots) as a starter, followed by beef goulash and chicken schnitzel. The menu helpfully recommended beers to accompany the mains – Hofbrau Dunkel with the goulash; Erdinger Weissbier with the schnitzel! I polished off the meal with a Belgian waffle, although Julia demurred when invited to share. The fare was indeed unusual for an English Pub; we were far from being alone in appreciating it! There was a great ambiance in the busy inn, and we chatted with several people, including a couple who had jumped on their motorbike, that morning, in Burnley and headed north-east for a bit of an adventure. So, if it’s gaiety and spontaneity that you want, get yourself off to The Buck Inn, Chop Gate!