Monday, 16 July 2012

Beck Hole from Goathland

It was the annual Outdoors Magic North York Moors meet last weekend. This meet is organised every year by Steve, our delusional Yorkshire born friend who believes Yorkshire to be "God's Own County where the sun always shines". The North York Moors National Park is somewhere I have spent very little time despite it being less than two easy hours drive from Manchester. Unfortunately Nicky had a lecture on Saturday afternoon and I was out late on Friday night seeing the Stone Roses at Heaton Park, which was amazing by the way! Therefore we could not make the whole weekend. Steve and Elaina kindly offered us a room in their self catering cottage for the night which made things a lot easier for us so we agreed we would go up on Saturday evening and spend the rest of the weekend with them. I picked up Nicky from her University lecture in Manchester. She was late which gave me a valid excuse to park up near Oxford Road and browse the shelves of the Cotswold Outdoor Rock Bottom shop. There were Haglof's rucksacks at half price including a useful looking one with an innovative side on  laptop sleeve inside it. As I was about to pick one up and fondle it I felt a familiar cold breeze on my neck, I turned to find the missus giving me that "you do not need one" look.

The White Swan and village pond at Newton-on-Rawcliffe

The drive up was easy and the weather was looking good, despite reports of flooding all over North England. We passed York on the A64 then turned north to Pickering. The signs for the turn to Newton-on-Rawcliffe in Pickering were obscured by overgrown trees so we took a slight detour. We arrived in Newton-on-Rawcliffe late evening. It is a quiet elongated village on a hill with lovely stone buildings. We took photos of very cute Moorhens chicks in the village pond then headed into the cosy surroundings of The White Swan, the village pub where we had agreed to meet everyone. Robin and Milly arrived first, followed by members of a walking club based in York. Steve, Elaina and Craig followed them through the door half an hour later. Out of character for Steve to be last to enter the pub! We ate delicious chunky steak pie with vegetables followed by bread and butter pudding, washed down with a few points of rather moorish local ales. The guys told us of their days hike. They had been on a lengthy hike around the Hole of Horcum and Blakey Topping. Discussions of walking opportunities for the next day made me realise the guys had all had enough long walking for one weekend. They decided they wanted an easier stroll. I couldn't blame them as if I had done a long walk on the Saturday I would probably have felt the same way. So a route which we have done before was chosen, which I was a little disappointed about as coming all that way to an unfamiliar area I wanted to do something new, but at the same time I also wanted to spend time with our friends so I was just happy to be outdoors and with our friends. We also did the route in reverse and in completely contrasting conditions to last time so that kind of helped.

Goathland Railway Station

After the White Swan we returned to the self catering cottage which was literally a stones thrown from the pub. We cackled over an episode of Mrs Browns Boys then went to bed. Craig told me earlier in the day that he didn't like the scary looking dolls decorating the front room so me being the meanie I am I crept into his room while he was asleep and placed one on his pillow. When I opened our bedroom door on Sunday morning I was greeted by the sight of all dozen or so scary looking dolls lined up in the corridor. Alexander, Milly and Robin arrived at breakfast in time for Elaina's fry up which went down well. After breakfast we set out for Goathland. Milly travelled in our car and kept us entertained. Goathland was sunny and full of tourists enjoying the Heartbeat memorabilia, references and landmarks. Goathland is of course famous for being the filming location for the television series. We left the tourists behind and made our way down to the beautiful Goathland railway station.

Steve bowling to Craig

We crossed the railway and made our way over Mill Scar. As we approached Eller Beck we stopped at a flat oblonge shaped area of grass. This was the spot where a few years earlier we spent a fun afternoon using our survival bags as sledges sliding down a small snow covered slope. Steve opened his rucksack and took out a set of cricket wickets, a cricket bat and a corky style cricket ball. There were no bails so Milly donated a section of her walking pole. The ladies sat and admired the professional sportsmen in action. This was a truly spectacular reenactment of the War of the Roses, or at least it was until the Yorkshire man broke the bat which meant the game had to be abandoned. Co-incidence or was the Yorkshire man scared of the Lancastrian's superb fast arm bowling? With the cricket bat broken we carried on walking. We let Nicky walk through the ford before telling her that we weren't actually going that way. A steep climb saw us reach the path that skirts Cass Hill. There was hundreds of Foxgloves, probably my favourite wild flowers. As we passed high over the North York Moors Railway a diesel locomotive with several old carriages made its way through the valley. When we finally reached the descent to Beck Hole Steve made us all wait patiently for the next scheduled train. We all stood patiently waiting for a ">steam train to pass under the bridge in true Railway Children style but sadly we were let down and had to watch a fairly boring diesel locomotive instead.

North York Moors Railway

We descended the road to Beck Hole. Another typical sleepy and idyllic North Yorkshire Moors village. At Beck Hole is the fascinating Birch Hall Inn. An incredibly cosy pub on one side of the building and sweet shop on the other. Both serviced by the same member of staff through a cobby-hole.  On the menu in the pub was Pork Pie, Pickle & Pint, we ordered several and headed to the beer garden at the rear of the pub in the Eller Beck gorge. Craig and myself, both sweet toothed headed for the sweet shop. The beer garden wasn't open the last time I was there, it is a great place to spend an afternoon. I scanned Eller Beck for wildlife and spotted a Yellow Wagtail and a Dipper both bobbing around on small rocks in the beck. Elaina harassed a few cute dogs as usual before doing some rather peculiar looking stretching exercises. By the time we left the Birch Hall Inn, Craig and Myself were starting to come down from our sugar rushes. We crossed the road in front of the pub and headed along the route of the Grosmont Rail Trail. We passed some lovely wee Pigs behind Incline Cottage then made our way up the old Beck Hole railway incline now a lovely walk through woodlands. Back at the Goathland car park we said goodbye to Robin then made our way back to Goathland, this time returning via the scenic route over and Wheeldale Moor which was very wild. Back at Newton-on-Rawcliffe we said our goodbyes.

I have uploaded the photos from the day here.

Route Map...


  1. Is that "fairly boring diesel locomotive" a Deltic by any chance?

    David M

  2. The Deltic came through earlier, no idea what the brown thing was that came under the bridge.

  3. Nice report and great photos! As for the War of the Roses...we'll need a re-match next year!