2018_05_19 Great Ayton

Leader : Anne Jackson.                           Distance 8 miles.


Left click map and elevation to enlarge






We arrived, fourteen of us, on a beautiful hot sunny day to witness little kids enthusiastically paddling in the shallows of the river Leven while their parents relaxed on the river banks enjoying ice creams g&ts and picnics- Idyllic and quintessentially British. Yet there we were all geared up to tramp the 1000ft or so up to the obelisk that honours the town’s favourite son, Captain James Cook. Were we mad or what?

But she who must be obeyed swiftly quashed any thoughts of revolution or reneging on her plan for the day and dragged us off apace leaving the riverside where perhaps Cook himself may have wet his feet.

Along the village streets for a while it was not long before we headed south east and climbing slightly into green fields and then after crossing Otter Hills Beck and skirting Little Ayton we turned sharp left and began to climb, quite steeply at first onto Easby Moor. Now with the great man’s monument teasingly in view it looked like only a short sharp stiff climb to reach our target for the day. If only life was so simple. .Right turn came the order and can you believe it we began to descend. And down and down we went on an undulating stony track into Millbank Wood. One or two of our colleagues who we suspect had advance knowledge of the route took a slightly less challenging detour towards the Kildale minor road.

Finally reaching the ‘bottom’ we daft ones exited the wood alongside the by now bustling River Leven which for a short way metamorphosed into the delightful ‘Old Meggison Falls’. The Leven springs to life a mile and a half on nearby Warren Moor. Soon though we were on the minor road and joined up with our colleagues just past Bankside Farm, purveyors of fine pedigree chickens for those who may be interested. Finally puffed after the steep climb from the farm we gladly downed tools for lunch at the so familiar junction where that old lady of long distant trails ‘The Cleveland Way’ brushes the edge of Slacks Wood.

“It’s off the shoulder; it’s off the shoulder” they shrieked- what the hell? But no it wasn’t a warning of a colleague’s slipping or collapsing backpack but rather cries of delight from our lady companions who had managed to capture a glimpse of the new Duchess of Sussex’ s nuptial dress on their mobiles. Isn’t life grand?

Soon though after all that excitement and with appetites slated and thirsts quenched we followed the ‘Way’ again  due west along the roughly paved track for a short distance until we reached the great man’s monument where we paused yet again to take in the view and to take on air. Erected in 1827 the monument offers fantastic views to the north over that other great moors icon Roseberry Topping.

The sun was unforgiving and with the men sweating but the ladies perspiring mutterings were heard how wonderful it would be to have dear old Reg’s pool on hand for a quick skinny dip. Sorry Reg- no takers yet.

Fortunately it really was all downhill from this point so with views second to none we commenced our descent.Tricky going in places we gingerly navigated the stony tracks until eventually reaching level ground again at Little Ayton.

Unfortunately at this juncture and just as we were nearing our journey’s end your humble scribe suffered what can only be described as a ‘senior moment’ and was unable to complete the final furlong. However as always every cloud has silver lining and he was rescued and transported to the end in her chariot by a delightful and chivalrous Lady Galahad. On arrival he was then fawned over by some of our own female members, which was really rather enjoyable..

Could be worth trying on again sometime.
A lovely day out in one of our region’s popular but nevertheless delightful spots and in convivial company.