Osmotherley to Hanging Stone
Osmotherley to Hanging Stone it is then. Carol, looking enchanting, announces that today is going to be sunny if a little chilly.
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The sun is casting a yellowy glow and the sky is as blue as I’ve seen it all winter. It’s great to have a day that’s not grey and miserable.
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Osmotherley is looking beautiful in the morning sun and, surprisingly, there is plenty of parking space. Certainly different to the night of the wonderful legend that is said to give the village its name.
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Osmotherley, Hanging Stone, Square Corner Loop

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Apparently, Oswald’s Mum had gone out to gather wood for the fire in a heavy blizzard in the winter. At this point, I don’t like Oswald; however, he does redeem himself, well, in a fashion. The weather was appalling and the snow was drifting in the high winds. When she didn’t return Oswald went out looking for her. He found her close to death in snowdrifts and in his devastating grief he lay down beside her and they died hugging each other in the winter storm. Hence: Os-by-his-mother-lie. It became contracted to Osmotherley. Errr, yeah!
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As I pull the car into a slot near the fish and chip shop I record a mental note to make a special effort to avail myself of Briege’s excellent fish and chips this weekend. They’re cooked to order and well worth the 6 mile trip.
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The bus is, surprisingly, a little late. Certainly not a common occurrence in our experience and we do use it regularly and the service is great. The team disembark and it becomes obvious that we have a good turnout, this week we are eleven!
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We make our way down along South End past the Village Hall then turn right on to School Lane.
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St Peter’s Church

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St Peter’s Church is to our right and I remember a fabulous, happy day when my dear niece Stephanie got married there nearly three years ago. It’s framed in blue sky this morning and we create a few photographs to capture the moment.
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At the corner we turn left and then through a gap along a snicket to our right I remember sledging with my kids and their cousins.
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The path is clearly marked and passes a couple of farms. We arrive at a bridge straddling Cod Beck and assemble for some more photographs. Hayden is telling us about his childhood here. It strikes me that we had privileged infant years and this is another great place to grow up.
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Cod Beck

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Just to our right Hayden is telling me about Foxton Mill. In its time used for washing linen but in a previous life had been a corn mill with an overshot water wheel and millpond. I imagine Constable paintings of a rural idyl. There’s no trace of that now and we move on past the sports fields and on to the road.
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Foxton

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This part of the ramble is easy going and we make good progress past Home Farm then Hill Top Farm and into Thimbleby. We turn left off the road and on to Sandpit Lane towards Thimbleby Bank Plantation. This is quite steep so outer layers are jettisoned and stuffed into our bags.
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As we enter the woods and turn right it becomes clear that there is going to be a fair amount of mud to contend with and the going, in racing parlance, would be “heavy”. Since 2009, in addition to the official description of the going, British racecourses are required to report penetrometer readings using a GoingStick; we’re looking at a good 12 inches on this path! I think Franky Howard or Benny Hill would have had a whale of a time with these terms!
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Hanging Stone

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/*StartWobblyScene
The distance to Hanging Stone is no more than half a mile along this track but it is uphill and the mud is sucking at our boots so it is challenging.
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As the stone comes into view it triggers thoughts from nearly 50 years ago. I let my mind drift and it does, with a vengeance! In 1968 when Love Affair were singing about “Everlasting Love” and The Bee Gees were informing us that they “Gotta Get a Message to You” I was 17 and was walking with my first real girlfriend. She was 16 and we walked this path. It was spring, the sun shone, the first flush of flowers was in full bloom and birds were singing. We walked hand in hand and it felt good to belong to someone. I think it was first love which is uncompromising and even hurts a bit. There was barely a minute without thoughts of her; nothing carnal, nothing planned, just puppy love at its most intense. We arrived at the rock and ate sandwiches that she had prepared. I was a fussy eater at the time and didn’t like most things but what I didn’t like most was cheese. You’re ahead of me, those sandwiches were made with cheese. I bit into one and waited to retch but didn’t, it was divine. I’ve liked cheese ever since and over time learned to like anything that is thrown at me but that was very definitely the turning point. We spent an hour or so on and around the rock then walked slowly back to Silton. It was impossible to walk slowly enough, we didn’t see anyone and the whole afternoon was sublime. It ended abruptly and we moved on – puppy love is for puppies but it certainly was intense.
*/EndWobblyScene
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Now I’m back with my hairy-faced friends. They’re talking about Carol the wonderful breakfast TV weather lady. The conversation is in-depth but makes only a cursory visit to her predictions regarding weather. The observations are certainly complementary although there may be a hint of testosterone-induced spin especially regarding her ample curves and not, I’m sorry to say, appropriate for her ears.
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We walk on!
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The track up to the stone is steep and muddy but entirely doable so off we go like mountain goats some of us sporting beards to prove it.
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Hanging Stone Through the Trees

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Towards the top of the steep bank, the stone is framed by trees with a backdrop of blue sky and occasional stratocumulus, just gorgeous.
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We arrive in pairs and as we assemble on the rocks Hayden makes a break for the Hanging Stone itself determined to do what he’d last done decades ago, he intends to climb on to it. Chris spots what he’s doing and follows. As they pose at the top for the inevitable photograph one of our group quips, “They’re the oldest of us all”, to which there was an instantaneous reply, “They’ve got the least to lose!”. Cruel, but funny!
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In fairness, if you fall off the stone it’s not far to your first point of contact, about 20 feet, but then, short of a tree slowing you down, you’re good for a 300-foot roll.
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A helping hand

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We scramble around for a while and take in the majestic view of the Vale Mowbray and the Pennines in the distance. We also take the opportunity to replace the outer layer that we took off on the way up, it’s pretty chilly up here and the wind is quite gusty.
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Hayden and Chris

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George and Hayden go back down to the path to meet up with Cuz and walk to a meeting point towards Silton. We make out way to the upper path that will intersect and bring us back together in about 20 minutes. Either route is fine but if you’re already at the stone it’s easier to choose the upper route.
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The penetrometer is telling me that this isn’t quite as bad as the lower route but as we reach the main track it becomes firm and easy going.
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We pass a small underground reservoir and then begin the long ascent that will take us to Moor Ridge and through Crabtree Bank Plantation. Turning left on to the forestry track we have Nether Silton Moor on our right and Over Silton Moor on our left. Last year there were woods on both sides but they’ve been harvested now and we stop for a drink and a nibble on the logs.
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As we reach the top, Black Hambleton is towering to our right with Hambleton End creating a soft silhouette looking up at one o’clock. The lack of trees means we’re exposed to quite a strong and very chilly wind that’s sweeping up from the Northeast but Square Corner is now in sight and we’re going downhill again.
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At Square Corner, we turn left and begin the descent to Oakdale. This view is always beautiful. We’ve seen it in the rain when it’s not quite as nice but in the snow when the sun is shining it is heaven. Today it’s fabulous because the atmosphere is so clear. The North Easterly is coming from a non-industrial direction so the Pennines are clearly visible and you can even see the snow on the tops.
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Steps down to Oakdale

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The steps down to Oakdale are dry today. We were here a couple of weeks ago and Peter very nearly became the cabaret when he slipped. In the bottom of the valley, we’re protected from the wind and undo our outer garments to try to let some heat out.
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Walking down from Square Corner to Oakdale

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We exit the tracks onto the Chequers road and head back to Osmotherley to assemble at the Queen Catherine for some of their excellent food.
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Disaster! They’ve stopped serving. We’ve used them so many times before we thought they served food all day but no, we’ve just missed it. Our own fault, of course, we should have checked but well worth bearing in mind if you’re doing any of these Osmotherley based walks. We make do with a few crisps and nuts but resolve to bring sandwiches in future if we’re going to be running late.
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This walk is 8 miles and includes some steepish hills that combine with the mud to make them challenging. Much better in the Spring when it may be drier. Enjoy the snaps…G…x
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As always, if you enjoy these please ‘Like’ both the post and the YR Page then you’ll be informed of the next one. It also indicates to me what you like to read. G…x
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With: George Renwick, Chris Richardson, George Preston, Peter Hymer, Stephen Pilgrim, Hayden Kirby, Dave Bowman, Dave Rider, Grant McDonnell (Mac) and Tony Wright.
 
 
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