A phone call from George, “Fancy a walk?” says he. “Do dickie birds fly and fish swim” says I.
So here we are at Square Corner about a mile from Chequers to the south east of Osmotherley.
We’re a little undecided regarding route but looking at a walk of about 5 miles around Black Hambleton towards Over Silton. The weather is spectacular although we are warned that it may get a little wintry throughout the day. We make our way towards the huge hill that is Black Hambleton and turn right towards Silton. According the OS Map we’re near Jenny Brewster’s Spring, I googled that but to no avail, if anyone knows who Jenny Brewster was it would be great if you’d post it below.
The team are in good heart and we make good progress. Marlo thinks he’s a husky and Ray a Canadian sled. The lead between Marlo’s harness and Ray’s hand tightens and Ray makes considerable progress on the back of his heals as Marlo, with the strength of a small horse, makes his way effortlessly up the track. There’s a fork in the track, straight on is good walking on solid, fairly dry ground. The option to the left is into bracken, some mud but avoidable with a bit of foot and leg dexterity (Michael Flatly would be fine). I suppose, in racing terms, it could be described as ‘yielding to soft’. You can guess the route we take!
The bracken and ferns are more challenging from a visual point of view than they are in reality and I’m relieved. I’m in front and as such, technically if not morally to blame and may well be in the firing line should this adventure go ‘tits up’. We walk another 20 minutes further in to the forrest and encounter varying degrees of under foot ‘going’, some of it is more ‘yielding’ than we would like.
There are trees across the track clearly the result of coming second best in a storm; we duck, climb and scramble over them. Ray has adopted a kind of rigid, backward lean with heals now being used as skis and Marlo helps him through with only the minimum objection from Ray. “Sit, stop, waaaiitt”, commands Ray. There are cracks from the branches on the stricken tree and seconds later Ray emerges with some twigs in his hair, mud around his heals, dog lead firmly in hand and, in fairness, a bit of a grimace on his face. Marlo is smiling the sort of doggie smile that’s saying “Didn’t I do well?”. I’m still not sure that Ray, on this occasion, would agree!
We reach the end of the track and get our first evidence of where we are. It’s a wall running down towards the vales so we turn right to follow a track parallel to it. We emerge from the trees into bright yellow gorse, a truly magical sight as the sun, with perfect timing, makes an appearance from behind scattered cumulus to highlight the yellows and double the pleasure.
We follow one of the tracks that leads back to an old forestry trail then take a short break to catch our breath and enjoy the spring sunshine on the gorse.
This track is much drier and we make good progress then follow a firebreak to the main track that leads between Square Corner (our start point) and Silton. Yes, we could have gone direct but would have missed the gorse and the adventure in the trees.
We make our way back towards Square Corner with a plan to turn off to the left at the way marker on the track. The going is now ‘good to firm’ and the walk is pleasurable.
The gradient is getting steeper and we need to stop from time to time to catch our breath. The tracks through these trees are clearly used by mountain bikers and look really exciting as a downhill challenge but somewhat daunting if tacked uphill.
We take our sandwich break bathed in sunshine. Dave has brought along some foam seat thingies, I’m closest to him and get to borrow his spare. These things are of no weight and delightfully comfortable, I resolve to buy one (and do) when I return home.
We set off for the high track to make our return. Initially, it’s a bit of a scramble and we get some grip from surface roots and boulders. The route is through more trees and gorse with views down to the Vale of Mowbray (I think) and we stop a couple of time to take it in.
The top track is easy going but the weather is changing and we get a mixture of hail and snow but it doesn’t lay and by now we’re all warmed through and take the change as a bonus.
We return to Square Corner via our outward route and take a few minutes to discuss the next adventure whilst admiring the view down past the old Oakdale reservoirs and beyond to the beautiful vales.
I’ve included an OS map of the route. It is fairly easy if you’re fit but can be challenging in places if you struggle with uphill elements. It’s just over 5 miles and beautiful.
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This is life after an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm open repair. Don’t be afraid of the operation, it set me free. Please be encouraged and inspired to walk, it’s liberating…G..x
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