Thursday 20th June 2019
Route Huggate, Cow Dale, Oxlands Dale, Chalkland Way, Thorn Dale, Wetwang (Black Swan), A166, West Field, Cow Dale, Rabbit Dale, White Hill, Cow Dale, Huggate (11 miles).
Members Paul, John K, John S, Chris, Paul ‘Sherlock’ Holmes, Stu, Keith.
We stayed fairly local today with a walk from Huggate to Wetwang. It didn’t take us long to reach our start point in Huggate and once we’d settled on our parking spot we were soon ready for the off heading north out of the village just a few minutes after 8. The sun was shinning as the morning warmed itself up and although there was a bit of a breeze blowing it was nothing untoward.
We joined the Chalkland Way (a 40 mile circular walk on the Yorkshire Wolds) at the head of Cow Dale and then meandered through typical Wolds scenery in Oxlands Dale followed by a steady climb up through Shortlands Dale towards the lane at Foxcovert Farm. From here the path follows field headlands with wheat and barley in the fields and big open skies above us. John K was beginning to feel the sun at this point so he stopped to put on some sun block. Unfortunately he spread a little too much on his face and forehead which gave him the appearance of Chief Sitting Bull getting ready for the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
Not long after we stopped for a brew at the edge of a field full of barley looking out over rolling Wolds countryside. Considering our earlier than usual start some of our group, well Paul and Stu, opted for the long and leisurely break. After all we could see our lunchtime objective, Wetwang, in the distance which was not much further than a couple of miles away. But the others were champing at the bit to get going so get going we did.
A little further along the path we came upon a small group of farm workers taking a break in the sunshine. We weren’t quite sure which part of the world they were from but they eyed us suspiciously as we approached maybe thinking we were UK Border Force officials in disguise. Our path had been well trod all the way from Huggate but as we approached the strangely named Beadygraves the path became somewhat overgrown with all manner of greenery grasping at our legs and arms. Sherlock’s bare legs in particular had attracted the attention of various stinging nettles so Paul had to administer the magic spray to help quell his tingling limbs.
We arrived in Wetwang a good half hour before beer o’clock so we mooched about near the village pond awaiting the doors of the Black Swan to be flung open. Wetwang is noted for its fish & chip shop and predictably it didn’t take long for Sherlock to darken its doorstep for his fix of chips. He then complained they’d given him too many chips so being good buddies and all we helped him out as best we could.
There are two pubs in the village, the other being the Victoria which doesn’t open on mid week lunchtimes, and bang on the stroke of twelve the Black Swan opened up. We’ve used the Victoria a time or two but that was many moons ago whereas none of us could recall favouring the Black Swan with our presence at any time. They had a reasonable selection of ales on offer along with a nice back room to spread ourselves around in and all in all it wasn’t too bad a place to while away an hour or so.
Eventually though we had to drag ourselves out to be met with some fine rain which wasn’t totally unexpected as we’d felt a few drops of the wet stuff while waiting for the pub to open. Luckily though it was a short sharp shower and as we headed out of the village the rain ceased and soon enough we were bathed in sunshine once more. The next part of the walk wasn’t so pleasant as we trooped along the grass verge of the fairly busy A166 before reaching the sanctuary of our path at West Field.
The track cut across a corn field before dropping down into Cow Dale, a different Cow Dale than the one mentioned earlier, as our path followed the edge of a wood for quite a distance. We stopped for a bite to eat part way along this route before heading off once more Huggate bound. The grass along the valley bottom was quite lush which called for extra effort from steadily tiring legs to negotiate.
At the junction of Rabbit Dale, Oxlands Dale and Cow Dale we joined the path we’d been on earlier in the day which would take us back to Huggate. Just to clarify this is the same Cow Dale we’d trod during the morning but not the Cow Dale we’d walked along just before our afternoon grub stop. Are you keeping up with all this? And you thought walking was easy.
Back at the cars and in relaxing mode a mud splattered 4×4 trundled by and as it did the driver poked his head out the window to thank us for parking on the grass and not on the lane when we realised it was our old friend George, the former landlord of the Gait Inn in Millington. It was a pleasure to see him and he was just as pleased to see us and so for the next 20 minutes or so we had a good catch up with much laughter and memories of times past. Eventually though he had to shoot off as he had cows to feed and we had homes to go to.
It had been a good day out on the Wolds with mostly fine weather with the day being topped off by meeting our old pal George. Right, which Cow Dale did you say it was?
ON THIS DAY
18th June 2009 – Hutton-le-Hole to Cropton
Col Hutch, Paul, Chris, Paul Craggs, Keith, Sherlock, Stu, Dudley, Ray & Jack Rhoades.
As was customary we stopped for a chat with the ‘ould fella that lived in the cottage at the edge of Cropton village. On arrival at the New Inn we spied a lady driver making a complete hash of parking between the white lines in the car park. Paul’s suggestion that she leave the car where it was for us to repaint the white lines around it didn’t go down too well and she drove off in a marked manner. Keith discovered he only had one bluey and the suggestion that he should hop into the pub was met with a response that was both discourteous and vulgar.
22nd June 1994 – Gunnerside to Muker
Bob, Jacko, Paul, Chris, Dudley, Nathan, Ray & Barry.
We struggled up Botcher Gill and enjoyed the meadows full of wild flowers on the approach to Muker. We saw a coach load of ladies heading towards Muker which worried Ray as the coach was from Tyne & Wear and he feared they’d drink all the Newcastle Browns before we reached the pub.
28th June 1979 – Millington to Fridaythorpe.
Bob & Jacko.
No observations on the days walk were noted apart from the cost of a couple of gallons of petrol for the day @ £1.10 a gallon.