Walk – Osmotherley/Lady Chapel/Scarth Nick/Loop – June 2015
We needed a plan that will allow one of our team to leave part way round because of a musical commitment (we have so much talent in our team). We’re walking from the Osmotherley Village Cross up to Lady Chapel then along to Scarth Nick and returning via the Drovers Road, Limekiln Lane, The Beautiful Valley beyond Whitehouse Farm and back to the Cross.
The OS Map on my phone is telling me it’s about six and half miles. There are four of us this morning, sadly one of our mainstays is poorly and we miss him.
The weather is decidedly inclement and Carol Kirkwood has predicted that it will remain that way until early afternoon. She did it with a promising smile; however, so there is definitely hope for the afternoon.
The original intention was to catch the Osmotherley bus from outside The Buck Inn here in Northallerton; however, it is late and we’re meeting Peter so decide to walk back to my house and take the car.
Pete is pointing at his watch as we park outside the Queen Catherine in Osmotherley and whoever is controlling the rain nudges the tap open a little more just to ensure we attire ourselves in appropriate clothes before we set off.
The route is up the hill and turn left into Ruebury Lane. The Lane ascends quite steeply but the views across the Vale of Mowbray are usually spectacular. Today it is limited but under some heavy nimbostratus there is a degree of weather drama and the Pennines are just a blur.
We come to a fork and take the right hand route towards Lady Chapel which is sign-posted but easily missed in the rain.
A little further and the 1st of the Stations of the Cross is represented by a simple wooden cross with a plaque adjacent to it with a few words that indicate what that particular one represents. Traditionally, there are 14 but Lady Chapel have adopted the non-traditional 15 stations. I think this is the more hopeful and optimistic version that ends with The Resurrection rather than the rather subdued and abrupt alternative that ends at The Burial. We walk slowly and take a few seconds to read each of the stations as two of us have not seen these before.
It’s still raining and we take the opportunity to go into the Chapel which is certainly open during the day but I’m not sure about evening or night. Inside it has an atmosphere and smell of old incense and we take a short break to think whatever thoughts. My mind is activated when I’m in any religious building, usually positively. It’s also nice to get out of the rain and whilst it isn’t heated, it feels warm. It may be my imagination but I think we’re treated to what I can only describe as an ‘ecclesiastical hug’ from the soul of the building. Cat Stevens is singing “Morning Has Broken” in my head as we sit and rest, it’s really nice in here.
Sweet the rain’s new fall,
Sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall,
On the first grass
Praise for the sweetness
Of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness
Where His feet pass
I’d really prefer the final verse where the sun comes out but you never know, we’re only a third way round so there’s time yet.
We step back out into the rain that has renewed its intensity but we’re well clothed so it’s really not an issue. There is another route marked on the OS Map that seems to go through a few trees and rejoin the Cleveland Way in the direction that we’re actually going but it’s overgrown and with the vegetation acting as a storage place for the water then acting like a sponge being squeezed when you get within a few metres of it, we decide on the longer (about 1km) but less wet route back the way we came and taking the other track back at the fork.
As we walk towards Chapel Wood Farm the rain abruptly stops and enables us to look across the bottom of the clouds and see showers emanating from their base like pencil marks scribbled by a child to represent a picture of a rainy day. I remember a huge thunderstorm one day when at junior school at the Applegarth. Mrs. Cowen saw us watching the lightening and some of the children had just been scared by the intensity of a huge clap of thunder that was still rolling around the clouds when some fork lightening zig zagged across the sky. I don’t know whether she asked us to draw a storm as some way of distracting us from what was going on outside or if it was to capitalise on the fact that we had the perfect material to inspire us. Either way, I do remember producing a child’s version of what I’m seeing now without the violence and it did help to reduce the fear. It’s fascinating.
The track is well marked and there is no need to use the app on my phone but I do to maintain the learning curve and also, and probably more important, gain confidence in its accuracy.
At the edge of Scarth Wood Moor we take the right fork and make our way up the well worn track through the woods. They’re not dense and the vegetation has not encroached so we remain dry(ish).
At the top we meet three ladies who are heading in the opposite direction and we pass the time of day. One of them refers to the ‘number of people’ out today. We hadn’t met anyone up until then so it was a surprise when one of them complained about not even being able to ‘nip behind a tree’ without a lookout and some advance notice.
We’re on a piece of cleared land and it’s a beautiful view across the vale enhanced by the fact that there are areas of blue sky beginning to appear as the nimbostratus becomes clusters of cumulus in a wonderful metamorphosis and it’s all happening right in front of our eyes; you get more than exercise on a walk!
It’s raining again but not in the same league as the previous unrelenting, potentially drenching downpour, this is a shower so we decide to take a break under the next canopy and eat our sandwiches.
There is another 1km to the end of Arncliffe Wood when we go through two well signposted gates and on to the moor proper. As we walk the rain has stopped again and we can see Swainby clearly on our left and Sheepwash, equally clear, to our right. Scarth Nick and Quary Lane is in front of us and it takes only 10 minutes on this minor downhill stretch to reach the road where we turn right towards Sheepwash and the drovers track.
There are numerous flowers on each side of Quarry Lane, I’ve featured some of them in the photographs that were captured along this stretch please feel free to label them. At the stream we walk over the bridge and Bri reminisces about bringing the kids up here and watching them tentatively and nervously negotiate the water splash. It’s a couple of inches deep but the equivalent of a raging river if you’re a two year old checking out your new wellies and feeling the force of water for the first time, even if you’re clinging to your Mum’s hand!
We climb the bank leading to High Lane and notice that we do this now without stopping, I mention to Bri that we stopped three times when we first started doing this. About a mile along High Lane we turn right towards Cod Beck Reservoir through the woods and at the junction we turn left and remain on this track until it becomes Green Lane. I can see Osmotherley to our right just nestling into the valley and the clouds part to allow sunshine to beam directly on to it. The picture is surreal yet I don’t raise my camera, doh!
This lane takes us on a descent until we meet the track that will take us off to the right and skirt White House Farm down into the beautiful valley and the footbridge that takes us over the river and back up into Osmotherley.
According to the App AND the OS Map it is 10.7km, about 6.6 miles. Some of the ascents are steep but generally short lived with the exception of the Village Cross up to Lady Chapel, that does go on a bit! I did say that I would make some comments about the OutdoorGPS App, I’m becoming more familiar with it now and I’m beginning to like and trust it but I don’t want to endorse it until I’ve spoken to people who may have brilliant alternatives. If you do have any experience of these apps please either put your thoughts on here or just PM me, thanks
Enjoy the snaps…G..x