The car park at Lordstones is a great place to start a five miler up and over two ridges with a wonderful return along the lower track that enables fabulous views across the Vale. If you tackle this walk you’ll be rewarded hugely with the views from the tops but also between the ridges where the well-maintained track meanders up and down the hillsides. It’s not too wet today so we don’t miss out on traction and given the heights, I’m very much good with that. We meet numerous people from dog walkers (really) to other ramblers and the odd Duke of Edinburgh adventurer.
The excellent photographs above are courtesy of George Renwick – thanks George
The track up Cringle Moor is a test. None of us is particularly unfit, in fact, the opposite is true but we haven’t done serious ‘ups’ like this since Coniston and that was a month ago. We reach the top with only a couple of stops and spend a few minutes catching our breath and taking in the view from the vantage point at the start of the ridge. To our left we can see for miles across the Vale to Teesside and beyond to the right is heather moor which will suddenly turn to purple in only a few weeks time and we resolve to return for the display.
The wind turbines off Redcar are clear and initiate a memory of childhood trips organised by the local church.
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We are told about the annual outing either at Sunday School or it would be part of the update from the pulpit from Father Connolly as he warned us all of the evil of sin. We’d arrive at the bus and be counted on board carrying shopping bags with egg sandwiches and flasks of tea. If we were lucky we’d have a bottle of Lowcocks Lemonade or sometimes, as a special treat, Dandelion and Burdock. It would be an image burnt into my brain and my longing for it would be indirectly proportional to our nearness to Redcar Beach. By the time we got there it would be all we could do not to steal our way into the bags to glug a few stolen mouthfuls of the nectar directly from the bottle. There would be a few old chipped cups that would do for the outing, our posh cups never left the house and the idea of taking a glass was out of the question on the grounds, it was always said, was that they’d get broken and someone would end up with cut feet.
It’s one of the few memories that involve rain as well as sunshine. Most of my childhood was conducted through weather filters that allowed sunshine through the summer and lots of snow through the winter. The odd foggy day may be lying dormant in there and perhaps thunder and lightning but mostly warm sunshine at one extreme and snow at the other. The dormant ones would be reawakened by a friend or my family saying something like, “Do you remember when the fog signals would be detonated for the trains on the main line?” and the memories would come flooding back. It seems archaic now but that’s how the trains were controlled before GPS, radio telephones and onboard signalling. I digress…
All the children would be on edge as the bus reached the top of each hill. There were dozens of pairs of young eyes all peeled on the horizon ready to be the first to chant, “I can see the sea” and even when there was a false alarm and the first words were delivered in error, the rest of the bus would have already joined in and the excitement would start.
The busses would park side by side, packed into areas like boxes of cereal and the inner ones would not be going anywhere until the outer ones left for home. It mattered little because they would all be going at the same time regardless. We were told to return at a given time and that’s when we’d be there. Mam and Dad would have us back a good twenty minutes before the allocated time and we’d stand around sucking sticks of rock and trying to get to the lettering that was a good quarter of an inch in and needed a lot of sucking to expose from the outer circumference. We’d have been warned to keep the cellophane wrapping on the end not being sucked but that had usually been discarded long ago. Our hands would be sticky with the solution of saliva and sugar and our short pants would be shiny on the front where we’d wiped them to get rid of the abrasive sand. It managed to find its way into our mouths, eyes and underwear with alarming and unpleasant discomfort which wouldn’t be resolved until our mandatory bath when we got home.
The day had been filled with eating sandwiches, eating ice creams, going in the water, shivering with a towel wrapped around our shoulders, and eating vinegar-soaked chips with scraps and a thick layer of salt. We’d be given the odd bite of cod from my Mam’s fish together with bread and butter and cups of tepid stewed tea from the flasks and the Dandelion and Burdock carefully rationed to stop us drinking it all at one sitting. It was a banquet that was enhanced by the novelty of sand, sea air and salt water. It was elevated to new heights because my Dad was with us and that was a wonderful thing as he was normally only seen in the short window between him coming in from work and us going to bed.
The return journey was always subdued. The day on the beach was always a success and parents would be fast asleep with heads lolling like the toy dogs that would nod at you from the back parcel shelf of cars in later years.
The drivers were usually very generous and would drop people off near their homes in an elongated ritual that lasted nearly as long as the trip home.
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We climb two serious hills whilst enjoying the visual results of the exercise and manage to negotiate the zigzag steps that are well maintained but can be ‘interesting’ if there’s been rain. We’ve had rain but they’ve dried quite quickly which has removed the slipping danger but the loose stone risk is still evident as I see some flailing arms in front of me followed by a brief discussion with no one in particular interspersed with some ‘fluffing’ words. Wainstone’s is reached without incident and two of us take the opportunity for a snack in the lee of the two ridges whilst storm clouds start to form in the West.
The walk back along the lower route is surprisingly beautiful as the moor protects us from the rising wind but the elevated track maintains a panoramic view of the vale and the effect of the change in wind direction coupled with the occasional bouts of sunshine gives us a wonderful view of the Pennines which were all but mist on the outward leg.
After a brief unplanned wander around a small lake not mentioned on the OS Map we reemerge at Lordstones for what we hoped would be a welcome bacon sandwich and latte.
Lordstones Cafe/Restaurant Value and Quality Slipping
I’m sorry to report after many times praising Lordstones on their grub, I have to say that the quality and value for money have plummeted. I received a bacon sandwich with one rasher sitting dejectedly in a bread bun and at eight and a half quid for that and a latte, I wasn’t impressed.
Enjoy the snaps G x
Some folks can’t get around like they used to so please feel free to share for their armchair rambling pleasure.
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