The Cleveland Way, Day 1, Helmsley to Sutton Bank

Actual Hike: Helmsley to Boltby
Expected Mileage: 10
Actual Mileage From B&B to B&B: 14.5
Times We Got Separated From the Trail: 1 (for 4 miles)
When We Discovered Detailed Trail Description in our Hiking Materials:  End of Day

Accommodations:  Willow Tree B&B
Rating: Fabulous!!
Date: Monday, May 7, 2018

Dear Leslie,

We made it through our 1st day of hiking, 14.5 miles, about 4 miles longer than advertised.  We are more than a little exhausted.  It has been unseasonably warm here, the temperature rose to mid 70’s with a very clear, blue sky. We hiked mostly in the sun with few moments of cover. Although we applied sunscreen and both wore hats, we have splotches of sunburn.  We looked forward to cooler temps on Wednesday, meanwhile, Tuesday is a carbon of today.

Trail about a mile or so out from Helmsley

We started in Helmsley and the trail was easy to follow for the 1st 2.5 miles but somewhere we got off track and ended up walking the road for about 4 miles between Rievaulx Abbey and the village of Cold Kirby where we found the trail again.

Notes: the road forked at just after Rievaulx Abbey. We did not find an acorn marking so we took the left fork. We had been walking on the road for a few minutes when we were passed by a properly dressed horsewoman traveling on her trusty steed. We asked about the trail, she looked puzzled and said she thought there might be a trail somewhere in the woods along the right fork in the road. Hmmmm.

So we walked back, took the right fork and indeed she was correct, there was a trail but it was not ours. Luckily I had read enough to know that the trail went through Cold Kirby so we walked the road for miles till we arrived in Cold Kirby, found an acorn marker and the correct trail. Unfortunately we did not discover the detailed trail information in our Absolute Escapes package until that night. The left fork was the correct choice after all.

Reivaulx Abbey. The ruins looked like something I would really like to explore but they were a mile or so from the main road and would have added 2+ miles to our day. It was still early on the walk but we had begun to realize the demands of walking all day. This would not be the last time we bypassed something we would have loved to explore.

What is advertised as a well marked trail is misleading.  The roads are mostly ” single track” so cars have to pull off to let another by.  We had to step off the road for cars going in both directions.  Did I mention, Brits drive like bats out of hell?

Across from the gate is a pull off where cars can move off the road for on coming traffic. We just jumped in the grass.

The scenery is spectacular.  Lush green fields sectioned off by ancient stone walls. 

The walls are incredible.
Lush fields

Most of the fields have sheep and spring is baby lamb time so we see many baby lambs frolicking in the fields.  The mother sheep and her babies are numbered with the same number so they don’t get separated.  Sheep #29 comes to mind with her 2 babies marked 29.  Almost looks like they have been spray painted.

I didn’t get a good picture of the sheep on this day. We were a little stressed about loosing the trail, my picture taking suffered.

We have walked through several fields of cows, really big cows!  While the sheep bleet and scatter, the cows give you the stink eye and slowly start walking in your direction.  I don’t much like hanging out with the cows.

Today was a bank holiday and Helmsley was crowded last night.  Helmsley rolls up its sidewalk between 3:30 and 6:30 on Sunday evening so it was just by luck we were able to get take away fish and chips at around 6:15.  We ate on a bench in the square. Very greasy! (the fish, not the bench)

The accessible spots along the Way were crowded today, especially past Sutton Bank where the National Park headquarters is situated.  Otherwise not too much foot traffic….  lots of road traffic.

Notes: We stopped for ice cream at the National Park headquarters, which is located in Sutton Bank. We were hot, tired and ready to be at our B&B. Unfortunately we had another 2 miles to walk to Boltby. Most of it was on the Cleveland Way so we hiked a few of the following day’s miles.

We were looking for this clump of trees as a directional marker for our B&B.
The directions from Diana, our evening host said to “look for the clump of trees, take a left at the old barn and walk downhill in the field toward the road. “
John and I kept asking ourselves, “is this really the barn? Down THAT hill?” It’s the only barn we had seen for a while.
Photo taken from the road to Boltby. This is the hill, on the ridgeline is the clump of trees with the barn. Dang that was quite a downhill traverse. We weren’t looking forward to climbing it first thing in the morning to start our day’s hike.

Tonight we are in an amazing B&B overlooking the countryside.  We have a lovely suite with a balcony.  The french doors are thrown wide open and we have a refreshing breeze. 

We have been served lemon cake, homemade lemonade and are waiting to go downstairs for a quiche dinner. 

Notes: our host, Diana was absolutely the best. Instead of driving two old, exhausted travelers to town for dinner then returning to pick us up, she made dinner for us. Not only did she serve us in her family dining room but she pulled out the silver, china and crystal. We had the same dinner as her family (who ate in the kitchen), quiche, a fresh spinach salad and fresh strawberries. It was so good and we were so grateful that all we had to do was drag ourselves back to our room.

Also, we were hiking at the same time as a lady from Ottawa, Canada who was also hiking (solo) with an Absolute Escapes agenda. We spoke to her briefly at the Red Roofs B&B. She was also staying at Willow Tree but Diana told us she had declined her offer of dinner and stayed in her room.

Our host will pack our lunch tomorrow. The B&B is a bit of a farm with geese, chickens and a garden.

Speaking of tomorrow, I hope we only have 10 miles or so to hike ( but I am not counting on it).


This entry was posted in Cleveland Way, England, Hiking, Travel, Uncategorized, Walking. Bookmark the permalink.

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