Crossing Report – Chateau d’Osmotherley, July 2017. Ian Evans

(subtitle – ‘When I wurr a lad’) Otherwise being a report of a dirge over the ‘Full Classic’, July 2017 (with apologies to Monty Python, Rowan Atkinson, et al., vis: )

INTRODUCTION – The scene is set: on a Balmy Night at a local hostelry in far flung Blakamore, four old time Dirgers meet and exchange greetings -….. Nah then, nah then? …. Aar’s tha binn? …Hey up! … Good ter si’ thi’! … etc., etc. – then they sit down to relax and reminisce:
Obediah : Theh dun’t knaw they’re born these days, do theh? Well, jus’ becozz them fond yoothz sees uzz awdtimers sitting here at this ‘ere Wake in ower Sunday best, supping a fine vintage o’ Chateau d’Osmotherley, dun’t meeann wi dun’t knaw t‘ troo meanin’ o’ dirgin’.
Isiah: Aye, t’troo meanin’ o’ dirgin. Ah tell thi, when we wurr lads it were nowt but t’ Full Classic foruzz.
Jeremiah: Aye, nowt but t’Full Classic.
Obediah: Nah’days nunn of ‘em sets off abaht a seppoort party to cater to theer ivvery whim. Aye, it’s all, bacon sarnies at Looards Stooans, ….
Gessiah: ….. an’ foot massages at Old Margery….
Obediah: ….. an’ a la carte dining at Hamer ….
Gessiah: …’ aromatherapy at Ellerbeck …
Obediah: …’ nooah doubt, paramedics, BUPA an’ bottled oxygen at Beacon Howes.
Isiah: Aye. An’ Ah expect the’ll hev escalators at t’Jugger Howe Ravine affooer long!
Gessiah: Aye, booeth daan an’ up an’all, Ah expect.
Isiah: Aye, happen!
Jeremiah: Aye, happen as not!
Obediah: Aye, happenn as not an’ like as maybe!
Isiah: Aye, happenn as not an’ like as maybe tha’s reyt!
Jeremiah: Seppoort party?!! Seppoort party?!! In mah day, thurr wurr non o’ that namby, pamby nonsense. Ivvery thing wi ‘edd worr carried on arr owen backs. Arr owen backs I tell thi’! Wi trekked ower top on oil them theer Clivvland Hills, throo all t’mirk & miyer wi’ no’butt a smyell on arr faces an’ t’usual four hun’erd weight haversack on arr backs.
Gessiah: An’ nooah short cuts eether. Nunn o’ that Lyke Wake Stooan rigmarole. Wi’ hedd ter slog all t’way up tu’ t’Trig Point ter start. Two miles up hill, vertical mind, affooer wi’d even started. That theer Bill Cowley, he wurr nivver arraand but hi’d knaw if tha’ cheeated.
Obediah: Aye, hi’d knaw.
Jeremiah: An’ wi set off wi’ no’butt a smyell on arr faces an’ clogs on arr feeat.
Gessiah: An’ we did all on it wi’ nowt but a canteen o’ beck watter an’ two cheese sarnies.
Obediah: An thurr wurr nunn o’ them gentle, guidin’ Clivvland Way paavin’ stooans. No, it wurr mudd, murk an’ miyer all t’way fra start ter t’end. It wurr t’Full Classic an’all – gooin’ ower top of ivvery hill, nunn o’ that eezi peezi Miners Track, nooah Lion Inn, nooah strewellin’ along t’tarmac at Roezdayle Heead – nunn o’ that. Wi’d leeave t’railway track at t’ pieyell o’ lime, strayt daan ter bowels o’ Hell, also knu’ern as t’Esklets, and then straat back up ter t’Owd Margery. Frum theer it wurr baandry stooans all t’way ter Ellerbeck. Then wi hedd ter skip ower t’unexpoded bombs and dodge t’military police to get ter Lilla afooer thrashing on to t’Ravenhall Hotel.
Jeremiah: An’ that there Bill Cowley what’d he think? All he ivver sedd wurr ‘Gi’ thissen a week an’ thay’ll be reyt to do it aggeeann’.
Isiah: A’ve bin listening to all that an’ Ah think yaw lot must ‘a hedd it easy. When wi went off ter dirge, wi’d wait fo’ wust weather. Wind an’ rain? – nowt. Wi’d wait till it wurr rainin’ n‘ sleetin sidewards, fra’ all four directions, mixed in wi’ bizzards ‘n hail-stooans. Wi dirgin’ weather just reyt, wi’d get up two hours afoower we went ter bed, set off barefoot an’ backards, stridin’ throo thickest & tallest heather in t’ oil uh Yorksheer, chooisin’ t’ path thruff thorniest thorns, ower steeapist hills n’ ruffest rocks, wadin’ thru’ ‘undred fathum deeap becks an’ gills, an’ snorklin’ thruff fiercist & deeapist bogs. On Fylingdales wi’d ignore t’red flag sooas wi could play hide & seeak wi t’Red Caps and hopscotch on t’minefields. An’ when we got t’ Ravenscar arr Dad would make us dance on broken glass, just furr fun, affoor he made us run bihind t’car all t’60 miles ‘til we got hooem. Then wi hedd a rub daan wi’ a wet flannel, eat an handful o’ cowd gravel an’ it wurr straight off ter wukk foruzz, furr a short twenty-five hower shift, if wi wurr lucky!
Jeremiah: An’ if yerr try telling t’ young foak that terday theh wun’t believe yerr!
All: Aye, that’s troo, reyt enuff.

and so, fast forward to July 2017……………
So in an attempt to replicate the glories of teenage dirging of yester year, I attempted to cross in the style of days gone for no other reason than to remind myself how tough this walk used to be. None of this namby, pamby Lyke Wake Stone business for me, no sir, daft as a brush I set off uphill from Osmotherley (as we used to) to the Trig Point on Scarth Wood Moor to start – 983 glorious feet above sea level and close to 2 miles walk uphill from Ossie. Having (unnecessarily!?!) walked up to the ‘old’ start, I set off toward the Cleveland Hills frontline visible ahead. In days of yore, between Cringle & Carlton Moors, there was only a bleak, shelterless, windswept col before the emergence of the tall confers and the Lords Stones emporium. It seems that the normal modus operandi these days is to follow the Miners Track around the faces of Cringle Moor, Cold Moor, and Hasty Bank, but resorting to the masochism of yesteryear I slogged over all three summits, admittedly using the now paved Cleveland Way/Coast to Coast track. As I progressed along the railway I reached the ‘pile of lime’, an historic Lyke Wake landmark now barely visible adjacent to the railway where the stone, white-lettered, ‘Esklets’ sign is. Sticking to the ‘Full Classic’ plan and ignoring all good sense, I descended sharply towards the old Esklet ruins secluded at the bottom of Westerdale by following the line of shooting butts and from the bottom immediately turned eastwards again to ascend through the crags back to the moor top and the track direct to Old Margery. In the good old days this ‘detour’ was introduced to avoid disturbance of nesting grouse around South Flat Howe.
From Old Margery the Full Classic doesn’t use the tarmac at all except where crossing the road. I stuck to the parish boundary on the direct path across the heather to Fat Betty and then followed the boundary stones across Rosedale Head to Loose Howe – this actually proved to be just about the toughest part of the whole process as it was now dark and there is no path as such – nobody goes that way these days as everybody succumbs to the seductive lure of the easy going on the tarmac all the way from the Lion Inn to the Millennium Stone. Additionally the drainage channels that have been cut into the peat hereabouts lie athwart the Lyke Wake route & in the moonless gloom these are unfortunately quite easy to stumble into. I managed to employ quite a bit of Anglo-Saxon phraseology on this bit describing to myself the stupidity of doing a 40 mile walk (a fair proportion of it in the dark) and deliberately choosing not to do it the most straightforward way.
The younger generation might be surprised to learn but the Rosedale Moor bogs are not as terrifying as they used to be – it was normal to go at least knee deep numerous times between Loose Howe & Shunner Howe but in the drier climes of more recent years it is usual, on a summer crossing at least, to get through without getting too wet. From Hamer much of the rest progressed as it was ‘way back when’. Wheeldale Moor has not recovered from the punishment doled out by passage of half a million boots to the same extent that Rosedale Moor has. The mixture of soft and rocky ground is as tiring as it ever was. The section from Ellerbeck to the military gravel track is actually wetter and squidgier than it used to be. Way back I always used try and avoid intersecting the military gravel track until I’d got most of the way to Lilla; the EWS fence used to run adjacent to this track & the threatening MoD signs hear about used to unnerve the teenage me & I was always expecting an uncomfortable encounter with the Military Police (though that never happened).
The final bits of experience from days of yore that I indulged in were to jump across Jugger Howe Beck (there was no foot bridge in the 70’s) and after reaching Beacon Howes plodded onwards the further mile & a bit to Ravenscar to finish outside the Raven Hall Hotel.
Conclusion – Yep, it really was ‘tuffer wenn arr wurr a lad’!!! (even though this July 2017 dirge took me 6 hours longer than it would have done in the 70s).

17 hours total but spent around 2 hrs in Lion with Thomas having a meal so I suppose 15hrs walking

[Any problems understanding the 1st bit, try Google translate.]