North York Moors

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September, 2015

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We walked across the North York Moors in 2012, towards the end of the classic Coast to Coast walk, from St. Bees in Cumbria to John Smith’s Bay in Yorkshire.

In a classic game of two halves, the first day on the western edge of the moors was magnificent. The second, longer day was in weather so atrocious that we could barely see the end of our soggy noses.

Unfinished business. This time we had the car, as well as our trusty walking boots, so we were able to explore the area much more comprehensively. And in magnificent weather.

We stayed in the same B&B as 3 years ago, Red House Farm in Glaisdale, where Sandra & Tom Spashett will give you a warm welcome to their special, historic house and provide a breakfast that would even sate a hungry Heathcliff.

Drive to nearby Grosmont to ride the steam engines of the North York Moors Railway north to the fishing port of Whitby, or south to picturesque Pickering. If you’ve got the time, break the journey in Goathland and pretend you’re back in the 1960s, taking part in an episode of Heartbeat.

Staithes is another fishing port, at the north eastern extremity of the North York Moors national park. The access down to the village is precipitous and may be a challenge for some Silver Travellers, but the view – combined with a pint and lunch at the Cod & Lobster pub – reward the effort.

The interior of the national park is a combination of green dales and pretty villages, and the higher “tops”, bleak, inhospitable heather-strewn and grouse-filled moors.

One of the prettiest villages is Rosedale Abbey. If you’ve got time and energy, walk from the village to the end of the dale, have tea and cake – and soak up the distant views – at the brilliant Dale Head Farm Tea Garden. And then complete the circuit by walking back past ruined industrial buildings from the late 19th and early 20th century, when iron ore was mined by thousands of workers when this area was a vibrant part of the Victorian industrial revolution.

Take time also to visit The Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge – one of the more desolate, higher parts of the moors – for a pint of restorative Wainwright Ale and generous helpings of home-cooked food.

Whether on foot, in a car or a bus, or on a steam engine, this is a wonderful area for Silver Travellers to explore. Especially in good weather.

Andrew Morris

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