The Cleveland Way, Day 4, Great Broughton to Great Ayton

So much craziness with this Covid-19. On the positive side, I have a little time on my hands so I can continue with our Cleveland Way journey. Last I wrote, we had finished our 3rd day on the trail, overnighting in Great Broughton with Hippie Dave at Dromonby Bridge.

Actual Hike: As Billed (Hotel car drove us to Great Ayton)
Expected Mileage: 11
Actual Mileage: 12
Worst Part of the Day: my feet began giving me serious trouble
Best Parts of the Day: 1) Chatty Grouse, 2) Hotel lobby pub with fish and chips
Bonus: A shop next door to the hotel to buy food for following day’s walk (all is right with the world again!!)

Accommodations: Royal Oak Hotel
Rating: Ok, nice to stay in a hotel with a pub in the lobby
Date: Thursday, May 10, 2018

Dear Leslie,

We are in Great Ayton tonight in the Royal Oak Hotel.  Our room is small and nice enough but for the suitcases, daypacks boots and sink washed laundry everywhere. Oh, and the shower is wimpy and the toilet is a partial flusher.  Great Ayton appears to be a lovely village but as we are discovering, we are too tired to explore.

Today was a touch over 12.0 miles.  While yesterday was much more difficult, today almost got the best of me.  I haven’t slept well for 2 nights and am very weary.  My overly sensitive feet are beginning to complain and my left toe is a blister.  Funny, the toe doesn’t hurt (but oh the feet did and this was just the beginning of 6 painful days). 

Today we began with a steep climb onto Round Top Moor and about 2/3’s  of the day was spent hiking on top of a series of Moors.  Heather on the Moors is managed by the Park Service to promote the breeding and nesting of grouse.  Sections are burned for the tender regrowth which the grouse like. 

The yellow flowers are rapeseed grown in spring for the oil. We were told rapeseed is a relatively new crop for the Brits. The yellow brightens the countryside.

 I have enjoyed watching the grouse over the last few days as they telescope their heads out of the brush to scope us out.  They will then duck their heads down and start “talking” across the Moor making sounds that I imagine a group of excited, old ladies make when chattering together. The grouse are nesting and we must have gotten too close to a nest as we were chased on the trail and fussed at by a grouse.  Btw, grouse hunting is a big money maker here.

This is one fussy grouse!
A grouse butt for hunting

The trail over the Moors was great, wide enough for a vehicle and mostly smooth… easy walking. AND it was all sand!  Yes, we are marching toward the North Sea.  We will be there tomorrow night!!

Sandy trail across the Moors. The heather is thick on both sides.

Did I mention the wind??  It was cold and  relentless. We started in shorts and long sleeves and quickly pulled on our jackets and zipped on our pant legs.  I wore a ball cap for a while but it kept blowing off.  I packed my gloves and neck gaitor for tomrrow as my hands froze today.  The temperature on the Moors was below 60F and a mixture of sun and clouds!  Perfect for the endless views of the Yorkshire valley below.

At 9.5 mi, we dropped off the last Moor for the day and walked by road ( which is part of the path) into the tiny village of Kildale. We had been looking forward to a cup of tea at the only tea house in town and found a ” for rent” sign on the door.  No tea for us.

  A quick left and right and we were headed toward Captain Cook’ s monument.  This part of the hike is a blur, it hurt!  We had a viciously, ugly 3/4 mi climb on the road.  I felt like my knees were touching my nose.  We turned off onto a forest path into a Lurch tree forest which was shady, beezy and realatvely flat.

Forest path on the way to Captain Cook’s monument.

  One last short climb and we were at the monument. YAY! 

Cook’s monument-James Cook was born in Cleveland and attend school in Great Ayton. You know the rest.

After enjoying the 360 views, we called the hotel and they picked us up at a car park at the bottom of a hill.  Yeah!  Finished by 4:30 pm.  

Love you,


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