So things have changed a lot in the last 12 months meaning my time has now become more precious than ever. No more can I just decide to disappear for a week into the hills, a promotion to the big league at work means I now need to plan my personal time well in advance to make sure I don’t leave this hobby of mine behind for the rat race.
With this in mind I have devised a cunning plan that will let me hike the Cleveland Way in 4 days and still have time to chill with my little clan at the same time. With my base set at Osmotherly camp site in our glorious new caravan I intend to break the walk into 4 very long days over and fit it around family time on selected weekends. It kind of goes against my goal of through hiking all of the national trails but a compromise had to be made. I will still carry my full kit which some might think is a little perverse considering I wont be using my tent but it makes me feel like i have tried to stick to my original ideals even with the new format.
So Day 1, back end of May I set of from Helmsley at 7am knowing I had to cover 30miles or so to get to my destination in Carlton to meet with the family. I thought I would be more or less walking alone and I was for the first section of the walk which takes you up to the top of Sutton Bank, weather was good and I was moving fast after a long lay off. I think I reached Sutton bank at 9am and there was a huge charity walk heading off along the national trail. They had an hours head start on me and they numbered about 100. I have walked this section of the trail many times so i decided to sack the usual photo/relax points and just plough through the trail.
The weather took a really bad turn for the worst at abut 11am and it turned really windy with rain lashing in constantly. By the time I reached osmotherly I was chilled to the bone. I popped in the Queen Catherine for a bowl of soup in front on the roaring log fire and warmed up for an hour. The walk between Osmotherly and Carlton is a lovely walk when the sun is out but I had no such luck with the weather and was soon back in the heavy cloud with rain whipping up the escarpment of the North York moors into my face. Sometimes hiking isn’t fun and this clearly wasn’t. By the time I reached Carlton bank I couldn’t even be bothered to stop and wait for my lift so I just jogged down into Carlton to meet Tom, Leanne and her family in the Black Bull Inn for dinner. They menu was Thai food, the beer was cold and I was happy that I’d battered in some 33 miles and managed to keep the rest of the clan happy at the same time.
Next up Carlton to Saltburn when my diary sees fit.