|Kildale to Saltburn-by-the-sea (23 km)|
Roseberry Topping from Easby Moor
This long journey to the North Sea is the most confusing part of the Cleveland Way with some complicated navigation along forest paths and across fields. The highlights are reached quickly - Captain Cook's monument on Easby Moor and Roseberry Topping - with the rest of the day spent in pleasant woodland and on country lanes. I had the 'advantage' of the hottest day of my trip - making the pub at Slapewath a welcome sight.
|Bankside Cottage||B&B||01642 723259|
|Kildale Barn||Camping barn||01642 722847|
I left Bankside Farm and turned uphill along a minor road to the brow of the hill. The Cleveland Way leaves the road on the left and goes along the edge of the plantation (with scrubby woodland on your left) for 1.5 kilometres. It then breaks out into the open and rises gently onto Easby Moor and the 18 metre spire of Captain Cook's monument (about an hour from Kildale). I found the monument more than usually interesting being a Kiwi and also having a connection with the area - my maternal grandfather, Frank Davis, was born and raised in Great Ayton where Captain Cook went to school. The monument is quite popular so you are unlikely to be alone even on weekdays. The monument has the following inscription:
|In memory of the celebrated circumnavigator Captain
James Cook F.R.S. A man of nautical knowledge inferior to none, in zeal
prudence and energy, superior to most. Regardless of danger he opened an
intercourse with the Friendly Isles and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere.
He was born at Marton Oct. 27th 1728 and massacred at Owythee Feb. 14th 1779 to
the inexpressible grief of his countrymen. While the art of navigation shall be
cultivated among men, whilst the spirit of enterprise, commerce and
philanthropy shall animate the sons of Britain, while it shall be deemed the
honour of a Christian Nation to spread civilisation and the blessings of the
Christian faith among pagan and savage tribes, so long will the name of Captain
Cook stand out amongst the most celebrated and most admired benefactors of the
As a token of respect for and admiration of that great man, this monument was erected by Robert Campion Esqr. of Whitby AD 1827.
By permission of the owner of Easby Estate J.J. Emerson Esqr. it was restored in 1895 by the readers of the North Eastern Daily Gazette.
The moor is left on a north-north-easterly path which quickly descends steps down Cockshaw Hill - the clay surface may be slippery in wet weather. At the bottom of the hill a minor road is crossed and a stepped path takes you up onto Great Ayton Moor. Remember to look back south to see Captain Cook's monument on the skyline. About 2 kilometres later the turn-off to Roseberry Topping is reached. While I did not take the detour, I recommend that you allow time for it since the views will be worth working up a sweat on the 80 metre climb.
The sharp crag you see in the photo above is the result of subsidence caused by quarrying for ironstone. The exposed faces are noted for their fossil plant remains.
|Over Great Ayton Moor to Easby Moor|
The Cleveland Way turns its back on Roseberry Topping and crosses Newton Moor to the corner of a plantation, the edge which is followed onto Hutton Moor and a sharp right turn. A green path branches off two hundred metres later and drops to meet a stone wall below Black Nab (a small spring-fed stream is crossed here). The wall is followed at first gently down hill and then steadily uphill past Highcliffe Farm and towards the corner of Highcliffe Wood.
Before entering the woods, the path takes a turn to the left through a hand gate. It is a good idea to turn around here and have a last look at the moors and the spike of Captain Cook's monument on the skyline. This is where the photo to the left was taken. The stone wall is followed for another 100 metres. The path turns uphill into the trees to cross a forestry road and climb to Highcliffe Nab.
The view from Highcliffe Nab over Guisborough is quite good but the nab is better as a place to sit down and remind yourself about the route. I won't repeat the route description but it is easily followed through Guisborough Woods with only the network of paths near Slapewath causing problems. A stop at the Fox and Hounds pub for lunch is available as a reward for good map-reading.
|Westerlands Guest House||B&B||01287 650690|
|Wharton Arms Hotel||Hotel||01287 650618|
Suitably refreshed, continue past the row of houses beyond the pub (towards Guisborough) and climb up through an old quarry on steps through gorse. An enclosed path then climbs alongside a woodland before levelling out until a stile on your right. The stile takes you onto a farm track which becomes Airy Hill Lane as it nears the village of Skelton Green. The Cleveland Way passes straight through the village and joins an enclosed tarmac path to Skelton through open ground. Near the end of this path there are good views across the houses to Skelton Castle.
The 'Lake District' (Coniston Road, Ullswater Drive and Derwent Road) of Skelton is passed through before the route reaches fields and then the woodland around Skelton Beck. The beck is crossed via a footbridge and the pathway then goes downstream to pass under a railway viaduct. The youth hostel marked on the map at this point is closed. It may have been opened again but check this out first. All the paths downstream along the beck eventually reach the sea but the Cleveland Way climbs uphill about 500 metres from the sea front to gain the main road.
The Cleveland Way continues down the main road and to the seashore via a zigzagging road to the right. However I turned left and went up to the Tourist Information Centre (near the railway station) to book a room for the night - I decided to indulge myself with a stay at a hotel.