Three Walks for the Price of One

Posted by Trevor Thurlow on 2020-05-28

Three Walks for the Price of One

Having returned to the UK on Friday 20 March my plan was to swap my sailing kit for walking kit and head out into the hills as soon as possible with my SOC friends.  The UK going into lockdown three days later put paid to that little plan.

However, the loosening of Covid-19 management requirements, a couple of weeks ago, to essentially permit single individuals from other households to meet in an outdoor environment and the relaxation of travel and exercise restrictions provided an opportunity to achieve the above in a limited way.  But it also delivered an unexpected bonus - the ability to get ‘three walks for the price of one’.

Under normal circumstances Frank Broughton, Bruce Stainsby and Graham Moss would join me on occasions, as a group, for a walk and natter.  Even under the relaxed restrictions, outlined above, this was not permissible as a group.  So instead I set up three May walks; Tuesday 19 with Graham, Friday 22 with Frank and Tuesday 26 with Bruce.

Knowing the Dales and Moors so well it is not difficult for us to park and stay away from villages, farms and homesteads in order not to potentially upset locals who may be understandably sensitive at this time.  For the walk with Graham we met and parked by the roadside above Raw and had a great, if cloudy, windy and cold at times, day and walk over to and onto Fremington Edge before crossing back over Arkengarthdale and up to Fore Gill Gate before returning to the cars under a blue sky and shirtsleeve weather.  Having not previously seen at first hand the impact of the July 2019 floods in Arkengarthdale and Swaledale, I was shocked by the amount of devastation caused to the riverbanks and adjoining areas and pleased to hear that SOC was supporting initiatives to repair some of the damage.

Friday saw me and Frank park near the outskirts of Marske and make our way over towards Hurst and up onto Fremington Edge before returning via Telfit Bank to the cars by mid-afternoon.  Though we walked in bright sunshine for most of the time it was again a day of very high winds enhanced at regular periods by wind driven showers.  Conditions that reminded me, more than I cared to be, of ‘The Roaring Forties’ but at least the ground below my feet was a lot more stable.  Another cracking walk vividly illustrating the impact and extent of lead mining on and in Swaledale.

The final walk of the three saw me and Bruce meet up on the edge of the North York Moors and follow the route of the Guisborough Moor Race. Though I must admit that we chose to walk the route, rather than run it, in order to enjoy the views a little bit more and also save some breath to natter about our respective adventures since we last met.  No cold northerly winds this time, just a nice clear, sunny and warm day to enjoy the far reaching views out to the North Sea (watch out for me hopefully sailing past in July 2021) and back over to Captain Cook’s Monument and Roseberry Topping with great chunks of North Yorkshire laid out below us.

It was great to be back out with SOC friends in the Dales and Moors, catching up on their news and adventures far and wide before the world came to a halt. ‘Three Walks for The Price of One’ can definitely be recommended though the same can’t be said for some of the home haircuts seen along the way.

Trevor Thurlow


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