Square Corner, Over Silton Loop
Drink had been taken at the planning stage but the walk is sensible and involves finishing off part of the Hanging Stone walk which was slightly truncated due to time constraints and mud last week.
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The Route

Carol, dressed in a very flattering blue number, informs us that the day will be sunny if a little chilly. She’s right on both counts, the sky is cloudless and as blue as the dress that she is wearing. I think today; like Carol, is looking good.
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George (The Governor) picks me up in his MX two seater but the top remains firmly attached, whilst today is sunny we could end up with exposure in an open top car regardless of style.
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At Square Corner, the others have already arrived and are in various stages of putting boots and/or outer layers on. One member of the team makes a randomly frank announcement that he is wearing two pairs of underwear. After a brief pause whilst we take this in and fight against the mental image there’s a harmony of voices that ask the same question, “Why?”. Then we all regret it when he went on to mention a thong…
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I take a couple of snaps across Oakdale with Osmotherley, the Vale of Mowbray and the Pennines in the distance. There is a slight haze but the sky is unbelievable in its intensity.
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The sun is in our faces as we set off towards Black Hambleton and there is still a thin layer of ice on the puddles that cracks as we walk near them and creates tiny eddies of blunder in the water underneath.
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The path is rising slowly and the gentle introduction is good for the heart as it responds, equally gently, to the call for increased effort from our leg muscles. By the time we bear right, we’re pleasantly warmed up and walking with ease. We’re adjacent to what would have been the woods on Over Silton Moor had it not been for the fact that they’ve been harvested and are now stacked in several neat piles of logs near Mother Gill.
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We turn right at Mother Gill and follow the path through the woods towards Mother Dale when Cuz George exclaims, “Deer!”. It’s out of the blue and a little bit startling as we jump then see about 200 yards in front of us first one, then two deer. They prance across the track almost in slow motion taking very little notice of the fact that we are so close. They then spring into the wood and within seconds disappear in the trees their camouflage doing a remarkable job.
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At the junction, we turn right and can see two other walkers heading in the opposite direction. They stop and ask us the way to the reservoir we tell them. Walkers always acknowledge each other and it’s great when you get to help especially with directions.
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As we turn left onto the southwestern track and Thimbleby Bank Plantation on our right. The track is well-drained, flat and broad which means our progress speeds up as we enjoy the sound of birds. The protection from the biting wind means the sun warms us through and our outer layers are soon unzipped or removed for comfort. I’m a bit worried about what Mac will jettison though and the mental image still hasn’t gone!
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As we begin the descent towards Over Silton the woods break and open up a window on the Vale of Mowbray and Vale of York. There are small lakes and ponds shining like mercury and reflecting the sky and hedges to double the pleasure; when you walk in Yorkshire the fabulous views come thick and fast and change with the season.
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Silton, or rather Over Silton to give it its full name, is a beautiful little village and we stop to compare maps and routes. The village was mentioned in the Domesday Book and has been owned, given away and sold by various Lords of the Manor and the Crown. To the north-west of the village is a cave known as Hobbthrush Hall and informally as Hobby Hole. Local legend has it that a Goblin lived here that churned the local farmers’ milk into cream at night. Not as good as a Teasmade though!
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Old school at Over Silton

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We’re just over three miles and about halfway around with even more visual delight to come.
/*StartWobblyScene
When we were 8 or 9 years old we would bike to Silton from Northallerton (about 6 miles I think) and climb the cliffs. There was never any issues with traffic then and we could leave our bikes against the fence and know they’d still be there when we went back.
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One day, we’d parked our bikes and a rival group of boys rolled up on their own machines. There was always an element of rivalry between us and we would race to climb the cliff face to be first to the top.
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On this particular occasion, we beat them to the top so after a lot of name-calling one them unzipped his fly and began to pee on my bike. Now you need to know that I’d dropped the bike in a hurry to get to the cliffs before him so I wasn’t aware of what would happen next…
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He laughed at me – and then he began to pee on the bike aiming first at the handlebars then the seat – his laughter began to change and then became chilling and hysterical until it was the most horrific scream I’d ever heard. In parallel to the noises from his mouth, his body began two or three rhythmic and violent contractions then he threw himself backwards and fell over still peeing down his leg. Then he jumped on his bike and rode off shouting that I was a bastard and he would ‘get me’ throwing in a few more expletives for good measure.
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You see dear reader, I’d inadvertently dropped my bike onto an electric fence!
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There were tears of course, and we couldn’t breathe for laughing. Needless to say, the story made its way around school the following day and we got a huge amount of amusement out of it for months.
*/EndWobblyScene
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St Mary’s

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The route takes us left out of Over Silton towards Kepwick and opens up to reveal the vale to our right and St Mary’s Church to our left. Joanne Aston – churchwarden of St Mary’s walked 500 miles (and she’d probably walk 500 more! OK, I’ll get my coat) to raise funds for the church roof by completing the Santiago de Compostela. Believe me, that’s a serious day out! I’m a couple of hundred miles into it and need to pick it up again later in the year. You can read the start of it under the Menu->Camino on the front page of this blog.
Back tot his walk…
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Kirk Ings Lane meanders through the fields with snowdrops already in bloom and the promise of daffodils in the next few days.
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Bracken burning on Kepwick Moor

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We turn left onto Moor Lane and we’re immediately challenged with quite a hill. Conversations become sketchy as we reach the top of the hill and both respiration and heart rate respond to the terrain.
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The track is very straight and we can see over half a mile of it at any time. Kepwick Moor is to our right and Nether Silton Moor to our front. This track is an avenue and the trees create wonderful frames for the view to the moors on the right and Knipes Hill to our left. There is a controlled fire towards the top and the smoke is blowing across the heather and bracken. It looks surreal against a sky that has no clouds and photographs are created at every opportunity.
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We move off the road and pass through a gate into a car park that is the anchor for the Forestry Commission track that will take us back up on to Nether Silton Moor. This hill is very challenging and does go on for some time. Peter and Mac, our mountain goats, go bounding ahead whilst the rest of us take a more leisurely approach.
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Towards the top, we take a short break out of the wind next to the log pile mentioned earlier.
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As we set off on our final leg we can see the cars about half a mile away at Square Corner and enjoy the fact that this part of the track is down. In the distance, there is more bracken on fire with beaters ensuring that it is controlled and guided.
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As we make out way back to the car the smoke is so thick that the backmarkers appear through it like zombies then they disappear again almost as quickly.
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And so to the pub in Osmotherley to indulge in various excellent pies and soup.
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A well-deserved reward after a 6-mile walk with a couple of decent hills, brilliant views and the most amazing weather.
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This is a tremendous walk and easily navigated; however, you need to be reasonably fit and well wrapped at this time of year. Enjoy the photos…G.x
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As always, if you like the reading please ‘like’ the blog and the YR Page on FaceBook also please ‘share’. You’ll then get updates as they’re posted (about once a week and photographs, sometimes more). Thanks, G.x
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With Peter Hymer, George Renwick, Hayden Kirby, George Layfield, Grant McDonnell and Cuz George Preston

2 thoughts on “Square Corner, Over Silton Loop”

  1. This is a great walk George and we can extend it by various lengths, still getting back to the Queen Catherine for tea, coffee or whatever. Wish Mac hadn’t told us about his underwear situation, nightmares!!!

    Reply
    • Thanks George, it’s a brilliant walk and I agree that the variations are many. It changes according to the season and the tracks are walkable most times of the year. Thanks. George

      Reply

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