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The track along Rudland Rigg
The track along Rudland Rigg

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Route No 262 - Friday 15 August 2008
Bransdale, Rudland Rigg, Bloworth Crossing,
the Badger Stone circuit - 17.5km
Bransdale
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 across Bransdale from the start of my walk
Looking across Bransdale from the start of my walk

The road down into Bransdale
The road down into Bransdale

I have not been for a walk this week and so I managed to negotiate a day pass and left my wife looking after the grandchildren for the day.

After what seems likes weeks of rain, this morning was fine and bright. There were still plenty of clouds about but they were higher and lighter with lots of blue patches, altogether less threatening.

Limousin cattle near Colt House farm
Limousin bull neat Colt House farm

Limousin bull near Colt House farm
Limousin bull near Colt House farm

I set off along the road, down the hill into Bransdale. After about 1.3km, at map ref. SE613975, I turned right off the road to follow a path down the hillside to a road at Colt House Farm.

I drove to the edge of Bransdale, map ref. SE609963, where the road turns to the right and begins a steep descent into the dale. From this point there is a moorland track heading north that I intended to return along at the end of my walk.

The road at Colt House farm
The road at Colt House farm

Crossing Bransdale to Bransdale Mill
Crossing Bransdale to Bransdale Mill

Crossing Bransdale to Bransdale Mill
Crossing Bransdale to Bransdale Mill

Sundial at Bransdale Mill
Sundial at Bransdale Mill

I think the mill is now a hostel or bunk house. From the mill I climbed up the slope to Cow Sike farm on the narrow loop road around the dale head.

I crossed the road and took the path across the fields to Bransdale Mill at map ref. SE620979. I walked through the cobbled yard of the mill.

Bransdale Mill
Bransdale Mill

Inscription on Bransdale Mill
Inscription on Bransdale Mill

Bransdale Mill
Bransdale Mill

At the track I turned left and walked along Rudland Rigg for about 2km to the Cammon Stone at map ref. SE626999.

I turned left at the road and walked along the road for about 150m, where I turned right off the road to follow a path up the hillside to Rudland Rigg at map ref. SE634986.

View down Bransdale from the Cammon Stone
View down Bransdale from the Cammon Stone

Inscription in Hebrew on the Cammon Stone
Inscription in Hebrew on the Cammon Stone

The Cammon Stone
The Cammon Stone

The Cammon Stone
The Cammon Stone

The track along Rudland Rigg
The track along Rudland Rigg

Kirbymoorside - spelt phonetically in the local dialect
Kirbymoorside - spelt phonetically in the local dialect

The inscription on the Stokesley side of the post has gone completely
The inscription on the Stokesley side of the post has gone completely

The track along Rudland Rigg
The track along Rudland Rigg

Jenny Bradley - medieval marker stone
Jenny Bradley - medieval marker stone

From the Cammon stone I continued along Rudland Rigg over Bloworth Crossing to a large boundary stone at map ref. NZ611023, but it is the small stone beside it that is much older and more interesting.

Boundary stone and 'Jenny Bradley'
Boundary stone and 'Jenny Bradley'

The square shank of this stone is set in a stone plinth. This stone is called "Jenny Bradley" and dates from at least medieval times. I sat by the two stones to have my lunch and look at the view out to the hills at the head of Bilsdale.

The hills at the head of Bilsdale
The hills at the head of Bilsdale seen from Jenny Bradley

The Cleveland Way leaves the railway near Bloworth Crossing
The Cleveland Way leaves the railway near Bloworth Crossing

A 'Coast to Coast' backpacker
A 'Coast to Coast' backpacker

A hawk moth caterpillar
A hawk moth caterpillar

Here I turned off the Cleveland Way route to follow a track heading south east along Cockayne Ridge. After about a kilometer at map ref. NZ607006 I turned right to follow a track down to Hodge Beck and the Badger Stone.

After my break I retraced my steps to Bloworth Crossing and turned left to follow the Cleveland Way route for about 1.5km to the face stone. On the climb up from Bloworth Crossing I found myself veering to the right as I walked. It was an odd sensation and quite hard to correct. I took a photo of the face stone at map ref. NZ596014 and then walked back along the track for about 500m to map ref. NZ602015.

The Face Stone
The Face Stone


The Badger Stone

It was becoming quite painful to stand up straight and I needed the aid of my walking stick (sorry my trekking pole - I'm an intrepid hill walker, not some old bloke with a stick)) to do it. From the Badger Stone it was still 4.5km back to my car, there was no-one about and there was no mobile phone coverage, so I just had to keep going.

This is a large gritstone outcrop just sitting there in a sea of heather. All this time my gait was becoming more awkward and by now I was not just veering to the right, but I also had a definite lean to the right.

The Badger Stone
The Badger Stone

The long track ahead from the Badger Stone
The long track ahead from the Badger Stone

The bracken spraying helicopter
The bracken spraying helicopter

I said a heartfelt thank you to my Australian rescuer before easing myself into my car. Once sitting there I was much more comfortable. The seat has a lumber cushion which was really effective, though I had hardly noticed it before. I couldn't wait to get home and explain that I had been rescued by a helicopter crew. The whole route would have been about 17.5km, but today I walked about 16km. The scary thing is that I didn't do anything to get into trouble - it just crept up on me. I could very easily have been the subject of a full search and rescue operation!

I trudged on for another kilometer to a bend in the track at map ref. SE599996, and from there I could see the track stretching ahead. My lower back felt as though it was in some kind of splint and any attempt to move from the waist sent a sharp pain to remind me to keep it still. I couldn't carry my rucsac on my back any longer and I tried wearing it on my chest which changed my balance and was a little more comfortable. I pressed on slowly along the ridge. A crop spraying helicopter was buzzing back and forth across the moor (I learned later that it was spaying the bracken). The helicopter seemed to be landing and taking off from the track I was on, but round a bend ahead at map ref. SE607978. By now I could not carry my rucsac at all and just dragged it along by my side. Every step was painful and I stopped frequently to lean heavily on my walking stick for some relief. Eventually I could see two lorries parked on the track ahead and just then the helicopter landed and the white tank on its side was refilled, then it took off again for another spraying run. I could see two men by the lorries and I waved and beckoned and one of them walked along the track to meet me. He turned out to be a very friendly Australian. He could see the state I was in and asked how far I had to go. Fortunately I had only 1.5km to go back to my car. At once he offer to give me a lift in one of the lorries and I gratefully accepted his offer. It was his mate who actually drove me back and on the way he explained that they were here for the short bracken spraying season. He had been very impressed with the remote Scottish hillsides that they had been spraying for the last couple of weeks. There were a couple of large handles to help get in and out of the cab and I lowered myself very carefully onto the road by my car.