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Looking across Farndale from Rudland Rigg
Looking across Farndale from Rudland Rigg

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Route No 261 - Wednesday 6 August 2008
Shaw Ridge, Rudland Rigg circuit - 13.5km
North York Moors. . .

Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base
View the route in Google Earth

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL26 North York Moors Western area


Looking down Sleightholme Dale from the car park
Looking down Sleightholme Dale from the car park

Heading NW from the car park along the road
Heading NW from the car park along the road

There is another ancient route from Kirkbymoorside to Stokesley, called "Thurkilsti", on the west side of Bilsdale but on the stone waymarkers here Stokesley is spelt "Stoxla" (Ref. "Old Roads & Pannierways in North East Yorkshire" by Raymond H Hayes; published by North York Moors National Park Information Service).

A couple of weeks ago I received an enquiry enclosing two photos of an old waymarker stone, with the inscription "KIRBY RODE" on one side and "STOXLE RODE" on the other, asking where this waymarker was situated. The place names strongly suggested Rudland Rigg which is part of the old route called "Waingate" from Kirkbymoorside to Stokesley.

Start of the track along  Shaw Ridge
Start of the track along Shaw Ridge

Cairn on Shaw Ridge
Cairn on Shaw Ridge

We started walking at about 10.00am northwards along the road towards Bransdale for over a kilometer to map ref. SE633961.

Anyway, this morning, despite the gloomy overcast weather, Jim and I drove to a little gravel car park off the road from Fadmoor to Bransdale at map ref. SE636946.

The track along Shaw Ridge
The track along Shaw Ridge

Stoat tracks in the damp sand on the track
Stoat tracks in the damp sand on the track

At this point we turned right on to another track with grouse butts built into the bank at the side of the track. After about 600m we came to the track along Rudland Rigg.

Here we forked right to walk along the track over Shaw Ridge for about 1.5km to map ref. SE634975.

A grouse butt built into the bank by the track
A grouse butt built into the bank by the track

Young puff ball fungus
Young puff ball fungus

Stone waymarker by Rudland Rigg
Stone waymarker by Rudland Rigg

As we approached the waymarker post at map ref. SE638980, the words "KIRBY RODE" were clearly visible but a good bit higher up the post than the one in the photos I had received. On the other side the words "STOXLE RODE" had almost eroded away, but I traced the words with a piece of soft sandstone from the track to pick them out for my own photo. It was a good example of a stone waymark post but not the one we were looking for.

As we approached the junction we were intrigued to see a large police control unit type lorry making its way slowly along Rudland Rigg, but we saw nothing on our walk to help explain its presence. At the junction, about 300m away along Rudland Rigg to our left we could see a stone marker post by the track so we set off along the track to inspect it.

Stone waymarker by Rudland Rigg
Stone waymarker by Rudland Rigg

Millipede grazing the lichen on the stone
Millipede grazing the lichen on the stone

Millipede grazing the lichen on the stone
Millipede grazing the lichen on the stone

Looking south east along Rudland Rigg
Looking south east along Rudland Rigg

Looking north west along Rudland Rigg
Looking north west along Rudland Rigg

It was on the right hand side of the track at map ref. SE649954. We stopped to look at the view over Farndale for a few moments and then found a comfy spot in the heather for our lunch.

We returned to the junction at map ref. SE640974 and continued along Rudland Rigg to the south east. After about 2km we came to a trig point (triangulation pillar).

Trig point by Rudland Rigg
Trig point by Rudland Rigg

A tiny shield bug on Jim's boot
A tiny shield bug on Jim's boot

Lichen in flower amongst the heather
Lichen in flower amongst the heather

Bell heather in full bloom
Bell heather in full bloom

After our break we continued along Rudland Rigg for just over a kilometer to map ref. SE654945 where a grouse shooters' track goes off to the left. We followed this track for around 300m to the start of the steep slope down into Farndale.

The ling heather is coming into flower now and soon the whole moor will be purple. The bell heather has been flowering for a month and is nearly finished but there is not a great deal of it so the purple moor effect doesn't show itself until mid August.

Ling heather with the flowers just opening
Ling heather with the flowers just opening

Looking across Farndale from Rudland Rigg
Looking across Farndale above Low Mill from the shooting track off Rudland Rigg

The ruins of an ancient burial cairn
The ruins of an ancient burial cairn

It is an ancient stone burial chamber, now in a terrible state after being robbed and investigated over the years. However you can still see the double outer wall of large stones that form the base of the structure but the rest is just rubble.

From here I used my GPS gadget to take us to map ref. SE661944 where there is a cairn marked on the OS map. I had read a description of this in a book and it sounded interesting.

The ruins of an ancient burial cairn
The ruins of an ancient burial cairn

The ruins of an ancient burial cairn
The ruins of an ancient burial cairn on the moor above Farndale

Looking southeast along Rudland Rigg to Sleightholme Dale
Looking southeast along Rudland Rigg to Sleightholme Dale

Heather by the road heading towards Bransdale
Heather by the road heading towards Bransdale

Bridge over Ouse Gill
Bridge over Ouse Gill

The whole route had been 13.5km and had taken us four and a half hours to walk including our stops. We had seen only one stone waymarker post, so I think that soon I will have to walk the rest of Rudland Rigg to see what else I can find.

From the cairn we set a course back to Rudland Rigg through the heather. We followed Rudland Rigg for another 1.5km to the road at map ref. SE659926. Here we turned right to walk along the road for 3km back to the car.

Looking down Ouse Gill from the moor near the car park
Looking down Ouse Gill from the moor near the car park