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Footloose Librarians' Coast to
Day 12: Osmotherley to Clay Bank Top
After a great breakfast in Osmotherley, we started out shortly after 9:00 in heavy mist, heading up a gradual slope beginning at Swainstye Farm to rejoin the Coast to Coast Trail, which in this section shares the path with the “Cleveland Way” (a long distance walking path limited to the North York Moors). The higher we climbed the worse visibility became until at places we could see only 20 yards through the mist.
Throughout the morning and midday we were teased by the sun, which regularly seemed ready to break through and burn away the mists. Instead we climbed and descended he sequence of high moors without ever enjoying the promised vistas from the peaks. We lunched at Lord Stones Café, high up on the road below Carlton Moor, a great spot. As we left we saw nearby on the edge of Green Bank, a group of parasail flyers, and walked over to watch in amazement and talk to one of them making preparations. We watched one flyer soar and float, hang motionless in the breeze, and then rise in a gentle updraft, over and over. About 7% terror, 3% the feeling that you are a god, and in between the skill of the pilot, shaping his soft wings to soar on the breezes. The soft thrum of the wind in his harness as he passed close above the cliffside was like magic.
We rejoined the trail to climb first Cringle Moor, then the edge of Cold Moor before choosing an old track, south and below the Wain Stones and White Hill. The path took us around the hillside and into a sloping field below a wood, full of pheasant and grouse, so many that it defies description.
Down to the Clay Bank Top, and the B1527, where we called for a ride the several miles south off the trail to Chop Gate and the Buck Inn.
Irony, as always, proved a cruel companion,
giving us the first real sunshine and clear views of the countryside
as we descended by Land Rover from Clay Bank. But a hot shower, a
short rest, and a promising menu will go far towards soothing the
day’s small disappointments. After all, what’s a trek across the
moors without a cool mist to keep you company?
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