Our latest walk

Thursday 22nd September 2022

SIMON HOWE & MALLYAN SPOUT

Hunt House (Gill View), Point 135, Roman Road, Stepping Stones, Wheeldale Lodge, Simon Howe, Two Howes, The Tarn, Goathland (Mallyan Spout Hotel), Goathland Village, Old Tramway, Beck Hole, West Beck, Mallyan Spout, Scar Wood, New Wath Scar, Hunt House Road, Gill View (8 miles).

Members; Paul, Keith & Chris

Just three of us out today for our walk up on the high moors above Goathland. On the drive north we didn’t encounter much traffic at all and we even got through the usually busy Pickering in double quick time. Of course, the one word missing from that sentence is “quiet”. Nobody is allowed to utter the Q word as we journey north on our fortnightly walks. We all know that if someone lets the Q word slip then it’s odds on every slow-moving tractor, truck and Sunday driver will magically appear in front of us.

Paul and Chris lead the way.

Making excellent time we were soon parked up almost at the end of the narrow moorland lane that leads to Hunt House. It was 8.45 and we were ready for the off. For late September it was relatively warm but with a blustery breeze blowing it was hardly t-shirt weather. It had been forecast that a band of rain would be heading our way from the north west later in the day and the skies in that direction were noticeably darker and more threatening. But being the eternal optimists, we figured we should be on our way back to Hull before any rain arrived.

Looking back from the Roman Road.

We headed off down the hill to the footbridge over Wheeldale Beck before turning south to start the steady climb up to the line of the Roman Road which runs along the eastern edge of Wheeldale Moor. We were looking for the Lyke Wake Walk route which we soon found and then taking this well-worn track we dropped down through the bracken to the Stepping Stones at Wheeldale Lodge.

It’s been a while since we’ve been at the Stepping Stones, probably the last time we did a Lyke Wake Walk, which is a good few years ago now. There’s a lot of FAC history in this area, right back to 1966 when the group first formed, as for the first few years they did many Lyke Wake crossings (40 miles, Osmotherley to Ravenscar) with the Stepping Stones becoming a familiar landmark. In fact over the years, we’ve done many walks in this area, apart from Lyke Wakes, so revisiting the area brought back many memories of those who are sadly no longer with us and those who unfortunately can no longer manage our regular fortnightly walks, but would surely love to if they could.

Keith tests his balance on the stepping stones.

Leaving the Stepping Stones and Wheeldale Lodge behind us we steadily climbed up onto Howl Moor, although still following the Lyke Wake route, and made our way up to Simon Howe. The cairn that marks Simon Howe has grown into an impressive rock structure although Chris seemed to be trying his best to demolish it stone by stone. Being almost 900 feet above sea level the blustery breeze was making its presence felt but once we were sat at the leeward side of the cairn it made for a comfortable grub stop.

The views from this high vantage point were spectacular with Cropton Forest to the south, Wheeldale Moor to the west, the hills above Goathland to the north and Fylingdales Moor to the east. From Simon Howe we made our way along the dry and dusty moorland track passing Two Howes and The Tarn plus many grouse with their white legs standing out amongst the brown heather.

Having a break at Simon Howe

Our path eventually dropped down into the western end of Goathland with The Mallyan Spout Hotel being our destination. The Spout Bar in the hotel is another place that looms large in the long and illustrious history of the FAC with many a tale to be told about our numerous visits to this esteemed establishment. Today though we were the only ones in the bar, initially at least, and it made for a very pleasant way to while away the time. The barman was well pleased with our company as he’d commented he was running short of change. A familiar story to us ex busmen, so before leaving we made sure he had plenty of silver to keep those customers happy who were still using good old-fashioned money.

Back out into the warm afternoon sun we headed for the old tramway which from Goathland to Beck Hole is downhill. From Beck Hole we took the path that runs alongside West Beck, sometimes right next to it and sometimes high above it. To get high above the beck entails a climb, sometimes a steep climb with steps cut into the hillside, not exactly a favourite of Keith or his knees while Chris was also less than ecstatic at the prospect of the dreaded steps. Worse was to follow.

Paul at Mallyan Spout

As we meandered through the woods alongside West Beck, we eventually got to Mallyan Spout, the waterfall. To get there we had to negotiate a jumble of slippery rocks although I’m pleased to report everyone managed to keep upright. Beyond the waterfall the path became less treacherous until we got too New Wath Scar. There was a notice pinned to a fence stating that beyond here the path alongside West Beck was suffering from severe erosion with details of an alternative route.

We stood and looked up at the alternative route which was very steep indeed and to mitigate against the steepness there was a series of steps cut into the hillside. In this case for ‘series’ read ‘a hell of a lot’. Well, there was nothing for it, it was upwards and onwards. As we slowly made our way up the murderous staircase of varying heights and depths Paul made sure he kept well in front of Keith and Chris lest he was grabbed and hung from the nearest tree for putting them, and their knees, through this torture.

Chris tackles the umpteenth flight of steps.

We eventually reached the top and collapsed under the shade of some trees to have a brew and recover. Once he’d got his breath back Keith commented “How many 75-year-olds could tackle such a climb”, to which the answer might be “How many would want to!”. We weighed up our options, follow the alternative route with the possibility of yet more steps further along or head up to the road, which wasn’t far away, and walk back to Hunt House that way. Three votes to nil for the tarmac route.

It wasn’t too bad a route at all really. It was a short distance to walk alongside the Goathland to Egton road but once on the narrow lane to Hunt House the only traffic we encountered was Postman Pat in his van. As we neared our walks end, we passed the footpath we would have used to climb up from West Beck had we not been diverted away from it. It looked a fairly indistinct track through some rough looking terrain and all agreed the road route had been the right choice.

Another fine view

And so endeth another walk. The first half across the moors was most enjoyable, possibly because we haven’t been on the high moors for a while. The second half perhaps less so, mainly because of clambering over rocks and the endless steps to negotiate. But as ever we take it as it comes and rest assured, we’ll be back out again in a fortnight.

5 Comments

  1. Greta stuff and I followed you all in each and every step you took as this is a favourite walking area of mine the only others are what you would call true mountain walks but this area is just a little bit special with some amazing views and panoramas..
    Well done to all and I have to say that Chris or Charlie Papa to me now did do well and for sure this 78 year old would have loved to be with you..
    Keep up the good walking lads and the good reporting and photographs please..

  2. Wow hope I’ll be climbing steps as difficult as those when I’m 75 year’s old, there again Jacko and Bob was climbing them at 84 and 86.
    Great report and photos, Paul and Keith.

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