Gilling West. 5 Jan 2017.
Gilling West – 5 Jan 2017.
Knowing my usual luck with the weather, I thought an easy local walk with a comfortable dry coffee stop would be the best bet for early January, but I needn’t have worried as 5 Jan was a beautiful crisp sunny winter day.
Whether it was the good weather or the prospect of coffee and Christmas cake at our place in Skeeby en-route, I don’t know, but we had a fine turn-out of 16 when we met up at Gilling West. Too many to name individually, but it was nice to see Brian Kinane out again, though he needed reassurance that encounters with frisky cattle were unlikely, though, as it turned out the same could not be said about horses and dogs.
It also turned out that many of the paths used, within a couple of miles of Richmond, were new to most of the group. We started, after leaving the village, with a very pleasant stroll along Skeeby Beck – a regular summer evening route for us to the White Swan in Gilling to and from Skeeby until, that is, we manage to get our sadly-missed Travellers Rest re-opened (see www.travellersrestskeeby.webs.com for more info - with apologies for the shameless plug for this community project).
Our arrival at Skeeby was well-timed for a coffee break at our house, where Gwyneth was waiting with coffee and home-made Christmas cake which proved very popular. (not much left for us actually!).
Gwyneth and Ron and Pat Kassell now joined for the rest of the walk, bringing the group size up to 19. We headed south along field paths to Union House farm where a couple of horses were a little too inquisitive for some. They were soon however calmed by the SOC Social Secretary and well-known horse-whisperer, Barbara Gravenor. Next a pleasant walk, with excellent long distance views on both sides, along a good vehicle track, passed a fishing pond and back to the bank of Skeeby beck, almost to its confluence with the Swale at Brompton Bridge.
Over the bridge, the obvious route back to Skeeby up Parkgate Lane was initially avoided by using little-used paths to Old Maids Farm (no-one new who the old maid was), with a lunch stop on the edge of a field in lovely sunshine, and quite warm with not so much as a breeze. We re-joined the lane then bridle path of Parkgate Lane, continuing on a diverted route round the tatty Barnacres Farm, back across the beck and a couple of fields into the other end of Skeeby.
From Skeeby an alternative route back to Gilling, crossing our outbound route at Gascoigne Farm then across a couple of claggy fields adding extra weight to our boots which were of course removed before some of us finished the day with a nice pint in the White Swan.