Leader : Ian Bagshaw. Distance : 7 miles.
The Last walk of 2017!
Leading a Club walk can be quite stressful for the leader, and some would say also those being led!! ‘Storm Dylan to SMASH Britain with snow and 80 mph gales and danger to life!.’ I have decided that a better judge of the weather is the number of ramblers waiting at Vane Terrace and 14 with more promised seemed to me that we would have a reasonable day of weather which proved to be the case.
We parked at Easby Abbey built in 1152 by Roald, Constable of Richmond , constable meaning the governor of a Royal Castle. The White Canons used to be at Easby but we only had time for a photo shoot at the spot chosen by Turner for his painting of the Castle. We took the riverside path towards Richmond and the mud could have been worse but it was soon passed. No sight nor sound of The Drummer Boy (do you know that some think that he might have been Lewis Carols inspiration for Alice in Wonderland!). The views over Richmond were clear and remarkable and continued for most of the day. Over the main road (A6136) at the map says Station Bridge but I thought it was called Mercury Bridge ? Down over The Batts to the bank of the River Swale (Sualuse – meaning liable to deluge!!)and soon we reached the waterfalls where we had our first break. The River was most impressive but too impressive for even our wild water swimmers. Keeping an eye on the time in case we went too fast we crossed Richmond Bridge and enjoyed the iconic view back to Richmond Castle (another head Turner!).
The route through Billy Bank wood was a little claggy (anyone know who Billy Bank was – ?copper miner?) but we soon exited by the wooden gate and spent time watching a mole busily producing a hill ! and then a group of Belted Galloways provided a further distraction. The back marker reported that the pace had been brisk and this proved to be so as we crossed the bridge over the Swale at Round Howe 15 minutes ahead of our predicted arrival time. Some took a short meander into the woods and others got on with enjoying their lunch and watching the car park attendant undertaking his revenue collecting duties.(No rest for the …)
Bang on time the leaders’ little helper arrived with Mulled Wine and Crisps and we had a short quiz of General Knowledge questions. (Apologies but Ian was absolutely right – The River Ure is 74 miles long- sorry).None the less Jan and George won the bottle of red wine. We then made a short ascent through the trees to the Reeth Road and then climbed the 100 metres up Green Lane to Hurgill Road – only 100 metres but it seems more ! The leader chose the track over the fields running parallel to Hurgill Road from which we again enjoyed panoramic views of Richmond and the surrounding countryside. Sadly a bit of road walking before our descent again to The Batts beside the River Swale. We surrounded a seat and surprised everyone including ourselves by singing 5 verses of the English version of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.
Over the Station Bridge (?Mercury?) and to The Station before continuing along the old Railway Line.(York and Newcastle Railway 1847) , over the old railway bridge over the River Swale, sharp left turn and there we were back at Easby Abbey after 6.7 miles. There were memories of having used the line to go to school and travelling on the line for a day out in Richmond – steam trains – serendipity!
Ralph Fitz Randal is a Wetherspoons pub and it is named after Ralph Fitz Randal who founded the Friary in the 15th C which is directly across the road from the pub. Our leader was most impressed by the price of the coffee and the fact that it was possible to have an infinite number of refils! The same is not on offer for the beer.
Finally we ended with 17 ramblers as the leaders’ helper joined us for the second half. We were not troubled by Dylan , in fact we had a lovely day – Eleanor is next !!
Happy Walking in 2018 !!