Post #5 of 5 …. Stony Leas on Fylingdales Moor to Boggle Hole
When : 29 March 2017
Who : Just Me
Where : North Yorkshire Moors and Coast
Start and End Point : NZ954,038
Significant heights : See end of this post for approx. figures
Map : 1:25,000 Outdoor Leisure Map No.27 … North York Moors Eastern Area.
Whole Walk Summary : A stretch of coast path, a lot of wide open moorland, and a final section of farmland. This was the longest day-walk I’d done for many a long year. Starting and finishing at Boggle Hole, along the coast and up to Ravenscar (Cleveland Way), west skirting Jugger Howe Moor and across Fylingdales Moor, north past Newton House Plantation (forest) and then eastwards through farmland back to Boggle Hole.
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This diary post picks up my walking route on a high point on Fylingdales Moor, at the most westerly point of my route. It was from here I started making my way back towards the youth hostel at Boggle Hole, just south of Robin Hood’s Bay village. As such, this is a follow on from my previous posts :
Picking up the walk at the trig point at Stony Leas, high up on Fylingdales Moor, I’d had a bite to eat, some hot soup from a flask (which was VERY welcome given the weather conditions, as once I’d stopped I felt really quite cold, quite quickly. If you head out onto these moors, please take some decent clothing, appropriate kit for the walk [including 1st aid stuff] and enough food and drink for the day – and then add a bit more just in case of emergencies. It is always better to take home some packed lunch uneaten rather than feel you needed more should something go wrong for you and your party, or even if you come across a stranger in difficulties. Over the years, I think I’ve patched up more blisters on stranger’s feet whilst out and about than on my own feet …. Well it’s only common curtesy really, isn’t it?
Anyway, that’s a little beside the point really, as I hadn’t seen a single soul, not one person, since the lone figure I’d seen in the distance all those miles ago over on Jugger Howe Moor. This only added to the remote isolated feel of the place … maybe it’s a bit sad and maybe a tad anti-social, but I quite like it like this, no one to talk to, no one to worry about, just me, my map, the landscape and the elements.
From the trig point, I had to back track a few hundred yards to where a rough track heads-off on the left, swinging round generally northwards bisecting the landscape between the fantastically named “Green Swang” and “Leech Bog Slack”. I was descending through the moor, the terrain very much like the stretch on The Lyke Way Walk, but I now had the dark mass of Newton House Plantation to view off on my left, which after about a mile or so I was to skirt alongside with just a small amount of moor between it and me. Dropping away from the high point of the moor, combined with it having stopped raining plus a degree of shelter from the forest allowed me to strip off my waterproofs and stow away in my sack. It shouldn’t really have made much difference, but I felt much freer, even lighter, and my pace quickened over the frankly quite rough terrain, including deep ruts, large muddy puddles, tangled heathers and tufty grass. It’s shown as a bridle track on my map, but is called Robin Hood’s Bay Road (path) perhaps indicating that this was, once upon a time, an important route across the moor. I certainly would think twice about riding across here unless I had a very sure-footed horse.
Anyway, the path continued northwards, the land dropping on the left to Blea Hill Beck and rising steadily on my right to Blea Hill itself, with its broad flank dropping to Bracken Hill where my map shows another bridle track joining into the one I was following – I didn’t see this on the ground at-all, but this really wasn’t important other than it would’ve been nice as a navigation aid as to how far I’d come. However, it soon became apparent where I’d reached as a flat boggy, marshy area stretched off on my right. This is “Biller Howe Dale Slack” and marks the rising off a stream that eventually becomes Jugger Howe Beck crossed earlier in the walk. Again my map shows a right of way that winds it way through Biller Howe Slack; Biller Howe Dale, then further downstream alongside the stream (now called Brown Rigg Beck) and then emerging into the more significant valley of Jugger Howe Beck where Burn Howe Dale joins.
If you remember from my earlier post (post-3) I’d come through this point some hours earlier and I’d got it in my head that this path could have been used to shorten the walk by maybe a couple of miles. Doing this would have either spared me or made me miss out on the solitude and wide-open spaces of Fylingdales Moor; even now I’m not sure which of these applies, probably a bit of both. As it happens, this alternative path wasn’t visible to me at either end so maybe it was better that I’d taken the longer route.
Back to my actual route, after crossing the head of the boggy valley, the land started to rise, a lone small fir tree adding a bit of height to the moor here, I’m assuming this was a self-seeded sapling escaped from the main forest plantation nearby. The fresh greeny-yellow juvenile fir cones really stood out against the drab moorland colours, but due to the brooding, lowering skies and breezy conditions I struggled to get a sharp image on my camera (or maybe I need to learn more about ISO-control/F-stops/and other controls on my camera). As time was pressing on, I didn’t feel I could tarry too long to improve my photography skills. I guess today was proof that I’m more of a walker who takes photo’s rather than a photographer who walks.
Not long after crossing the marshy bit, with the land rising I took a faint path branching right (still marked as the main bridle way), even with a very small marker post alongside the path, it could very easily be missed, as the more distinct path continues north still following the line of the forest plantation. My map shows the path dissecting the line of a medieval earthwork/dike system but although I think I could make it out, it was somewhat blended into the moor as a whole. However, I had more pressing thoughts on my mind as I had to concentrate quite hard on my direction finding as the path was very indistinct in places, but it picked up more definition as it joined another path coming eastwards away from the plantation.
I was now heading in a north-easterly direction with the path slowing swinging in an arc to the right; I’d caught a glimpse of a pool some way off on the right (backed by Foulsike Farm) which helped on the navigation side of things and I knew the main moorland part of the walk was now approaching its conclusion. I must admit I’d had enough of the moor by now, and I felt I needed to be a few miles further on as soon as possible as the gloom of the day started to feel like the gloom of the evening – and I didn’t really want to be navigating the last of the walk in the dark. The path was such that I could stretch out my stride as it descended alongside a shallow valley and soon reached an area where three little streams merged into one at Thorn Key Wath, The combined waters contrived to deepen the valley here, resulting in a few mini-waterfalls/cascades. In the sun with the heather in bloom, I’m sure this is a lovely spot and I can imagine families and groups of walkers making this a perfect picnic spot, especially as it is where two bridle tracks cross making four possible routes to/from here.
As it was, I was the only soul here, my only company an occasional sheep, and they tend not to be very talkative or sociable in any way (this had been a very quiet route in terms of people seen/passed), but I did take the opportunity to have a bite to eat and a drink here before turning right (following the combined stream) towards the south. There were signs of civilisation here-abouts though; above is a junction between the A171 and B1416 roads with traffic jams seen earlier from the moorland path (due to roadworks). As I dropped further, nearing the A171 vehicles could be seen travelling at some speed, but without them you’d have no idea the road was there at-all – and then all of a sudden, somewhat abruptly, the path emerges out onto the main road at a bend where it crosses over Kirk Moor Beck.
Unfortunately, I now had several hundred yards of road-side walking (rising quite steeply heading south-easterly), having to brave the traffic moving at speed. The amount of verge here isn’t brilliant; not really aiding staying off the tarmac. It’s obviously a bit of a spot where motorists need to slow down, as big signs almost shout at drivers to slow to 40 mph, I’m not sure anyone who’d passed me had heeded this speed limit (except for a huge tractor with an even larger trailer of smelly manure which trundled past climbing the hill).
Once over the stiff (but not long) climb, I was pleased to soon turn off onto a farm road heading off to the left. It was still tarmac, but with grassy fields on both sides, gorse bushes in flower and a strip of grass breaking through down the middle of the road making it felt more track-like and I didn’t mind the hard surface as it allowed me to stride out dropping to St Ives Farm. The path does a quick skirt around the buildings and then rises now as a dirt track up Park Hill heading into some woodland. The landscape had changed now, this side of the A171 being much gentler farmland, with woods and grassy fields – the moors now left behind. Navigation was straight-forward (eastwards), following woodland tracks, field boundaries (with cute gamboling lambs), farm tracks and farmsteads along the way (including Swallow Head Farm and Fyling Old Hall Farm.
It was at Fyling Old Hall Farm that I joined a very minor road, turned right and then a sharp bend to the left, crossed the line of the old railway (you’ll know a bit about this from my post-1, as coming from Ravenscar) and then rose up to merge into another minor road (Bridge Holm Lane). I didn’t mind this final stretch of road walking at-all, my legs, well all of me really, were feeling very tired now, and I will admit that last very little climb up had been a bit of an effort. The evening was drawing in quite quickly too so road walking was an easy way of navigating the last mile or so back to the car-park (even some roadside daffodils struggled to brighten the way back in the semi-light). I was quite happy to arrive back at the car-park, but still had energy to enjoy the little jokey sign-post warning people not to drive down to the youth hostel.
The steep drop down to the hostel was a bit of an effort for my weary legs, but I was quite happy as the old mill buildings came into view and it wasn’t long before I’d crossed the little footbridge (now briefly back on The Cleveland way) and “checked in” at reception to cross me off as being “home” safely (I’d left my route with them at the start of the day). I’d made it back and just before 7pm.
It’d been a long day, a big day of strenuous walking (at least for me) and certainly the longest distance I’d done in a day for a very long time. I was tired, yes, I was tired, but my knees had stood the test and I felt good. Later, after a shower, I headed into the self-catering kitchen, made cheesey nachos with a hot tomato salsa for starter, beef chilli and rice for main course and steamed treacle cake for pudding …. All washed down with a couple of pints of ale purchased from the hostel reception.
Well that’s about it, I hope you’ve enjoyed my scribblings…. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.
Heights Climbed worth mentioning over the whole walk.
Downhill bits not really worth noting.
• Stoupe Beck Sands to Ravenscar.
About 200m (660 ft)
Track, Road, Coastal Paths.
• Ravenscar to Trig Point near Radio Mast/Scarborough Rd
About 66m (215 ft)
Road, Track, Moorland Path.
• Jugger Howe Beck Valley Bottom, Initial Climb onto Moor.
About 60m (200 ft)
Flagstones, Moorland Path.
• Long Steady Climb over Fylingdales Moor to Stony Leas.
About 120m (395 ft)
Moorland Tracks and Paths.
• Biller Howe Dale Slack, Rise towards Thorn Key Wath.
About 40m (130 ft)
Indistinct Moorland Path.
• A171 between Kirk Moor Beck and Farm Track
About 20m (65 ft)
Only mentioned really because of the potential traffic hazard
• St Ives Farm to Bridge Holm Lane
About 30/40m (100/130 ft)
Spread over a number of ups and downs on farm tracks, paths and roads.
• Overall Adding Up
About 540m (1,770 ft)