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Storm clouds gather over Dundale Griff
Storm clouds gather over Dundale Griff

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Route No 154 - Thursday 26 August 2005
Saltergate, Malo Cross, Blakey Topping,
Hole of Horcum, circuit -16km.
North York Moors . . .

Maps: OS Explorer OL27 North York Moors Western area at 1:25000

Route Map at 1:50000 from OS Open Space service


I drove to the Saltergate car park (map ref. SE 852937) above the Hole-of-Horcum this morning to meet a couple of friends at about 9.30am. The National Park volunteer rangers were just opening the information trailer as we put our boots on. From the car park we set off northwards for about 150m along the road before turning right along a track for another 150m. Then we turned left off the track on to a footpath along the edge of a small conifer plantation for about 250m. Here we took the path across the open fields on top of Saltergate Brow and continued along the path as it dropped down the side of the brow to Malo Cross at map ref. SE 866949.

The Hole-of-Horcum
The Hole-of-Horcum

From the cross we followed the path through the rough pasture down the side of the forest area, although this part of the forest has recently been clear felled so the area looks nothing like the last time I was up here.

Malo Cross
Malo Cross

Looking back to Newgate Foot
Looking back to Newgate Foot

After about 1.5km we turned left at Newgate Foot to head towards Blakey Topping. This conical hill is said to be formed from the handful of earth the angry giant scooped up to form the Hole-of-Horcum and threw at his fleeing wife. We continued south east for about 1.5km across some rough moorland pasture to map ref. SE 882921. Here we doubled back following the stream.

The path here is not easy to find on the ground so we made our own way alongside the stream for a few hundred metres. The crossing point on the stream is not easy to spot either. The best land mark is a new pedestrian gate in the wire fence at the top of the bank on the opposite side of the stream, but even this is obscured by the vegetation.

Blakey Topping from the path over Crosscliff Beck
Blakey Topping from the path over Crosscliff Beck

Gate into the woods at Crosscliff Beck
Gate into the woods at Crosscliff Beck

Once we had spotted the gate we crossed the stream and began the climb up a path though the woodland which became prettier the higher we climbed. The path emerged on to a track at the top of the bank at map ref. SE 874923.We crossed the track and followed the path for about 50m through the trees to the track which leads to the Bridestones.

The path we were following continues straight on but soon disappears leaving you with some rough "heather bashing". It's easier to walk a few metres to the righ along the track and then follow the wall down to the stile at map ref. SE 870923.

Bulls at Mount Pleasant farm
Bulls at Mount Pleasant farm

Path up the bank from Crosscliff Beck
Path up the bank from Crosscliff Beck

Once over the stile we turned left and followed the track for just over 1km to map ref. SE 866911. Here we turned right through a gate to follow the path over some fields through a little valley, and up to a lane at map ref. SE 861907.

We walked along the lane for about 800m to map ref. 854910. So far it had been a bright sunny day but some shower clouds we gathering and aa we reached the stile to leave the lane a heavy shower started. We were very lucky that at this point there are trees on both sides of the lane which gave us good shelter from the rain and we decided to sit on the wall for a break until the rain stopped.

Sycanore tree in a little valley near  High Pastures farm
Sycanore tree in a little valley near High Pastures farm

After a welcome drink and a sandwich we climbed the stile and walked over the fields to the main road at map ref. SE 850908. We crossed the main road and walked along the track towards Warren Farm where a pack of fox hounds are kennelled. Just before the farm the path leaves the track through a gate on the outside of a sharp bend. Inside the gate is a duck pond that has spread across the gate and almost blocked the path.

Bulls at Mount Pleasant farm
Bulls at Mount Pleasant farm

Gate into the duck pond at Warren farm
Gate into the duck pond at Warren farm

Gate into the duck pond at Warren farm
Gate into the duck pond at Warren farm
 
Oak woods leading down into the Hole-of-Horcum
Oak woods leading down into the Hole-of-Horcum
Oak woods leading down into the Hole-of-Horcum
Oak woods leading down into the Hole-of-Horcum
Thunder clouds  over the Hole-of-Horcum
Thunder clouds over the Hole-of-Horcum

From the duck pond we climbed the slope to walk across a series of fields with some sheep but mostly cattle to the edge of some oak woodland at map ref. SE 841921 about 1.3km away. We took a very pretty path down through the woods into the Hole-of-Horcum. The storm clouds were looking quite ominous by this time and there were flashes of lightening from the black clouds up ahead of us. We continued on the path for about 2km to the hair-pin bend on the main Whitby road above Saltergate (map ref. SE 849940) and made our way along the road back to our starting point in the Hole-of-Horcum car park. The rain had held off and we had managed the whole walk without getting wet thanks to the shelter of the trees near Mount Plaeasant farm. The whole route had been about 16km and had taken us around 5 hours to walk including a couple of stops.

 

Cattle grazing in the Hole-of-Horcum
Cattle grazing in the Hole-of-Horcum
Returning through the Hole-of-Horcum
Returning through the Hole-of-Horcum
Returning through the Hole-of-Horcum
Returning through the Hole-of-Horcum