A circular walk from Goathland, taking in the moors and a fine coastal walk - July 1997
Walks with a Camera © Geoff’s Pages 2011
With the car safely tucked
up, we set off from
Goathland as quickly as
possible. Already a
honeypot, TV's "Heartbeat"
series has added to the
crowds here, and we were glad to leave the
bustling village for the quiet of West Beck. This
gorge is a delight, and we were sorry to leave it for the open
moorland, where we crossed the Roman road on
Wheeldale Moor, and headed via the "Blue Man i'
th' Moss" towards Rosedale. Someone had seen fit
to adorn the blue man with a suitably sad face.
The moorland miles are long, but easy going in
the dry summer weather, and soon we were
descending into Rosedale, staying the night at the
interesting old farm at Low Bell End Farm. Our day's walk was not
over yet however - we still had the mile
each way to Rosedale village, for excellent
food at the Milburn Arms.
Day 1: Goathland - Rosedale Abbey
Day 2: Rosedale to Glaisdale
We took our leave of Low Bell End and walked back down into the
village - the opposite direction to our ultimate objective. The
reason - essential supplies!
Having taken on fuel, we headed for the west side of the valley.
We climbed the steep sides on a path which was much clearer on
the map than the ground, eventually to gain the track of the old
ironstone railway (after pausing for a snack....).
The railway trackbed provides an excellent high-level traverse of
the valley, and we made rapid progress - into the gathering gloom!
What had started a fine, sunny day deteriorated until, by the time
we took the to interesting bit, it was raining steadily and the mist
was down. So - sorry - no photos of the
ancient stone-flagged George Gap Causeway
which we followed across the moorland to
Glaisdale Rigg, a high bare moor crossed by
a long straight track down to the village of
Day 3: Glaisdale - Runswick Bay
By the time we got to Ellerby, only a couple of
miles from our destination, we had time to kill,
and the pub looked inviting. I don't think it was
really a walker's pub though, and it didn't help
when Tim knocked his drink straight into the lady's
Fortunately, our landlady for the evening was very
understanding, and we were able to dump our
rucksacks, change into clean dry clothes (the
weather now showing signs of improvement) and
spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the
interesting little fishing village, before spending a
most interesting evening checking out the local
We took our leave of the
Angler's Rest and made our
way down to the river Esk.
Ascending gradually, we
followed the map carefully
to negotiate an interesting
route northwards, making use of paths, tracks and
short stretches of mostly minor road. The route
may have been interesting, the weather was not, being very dull,
damp and cold. Consequently, the camera stayed in the bag until
we got to Runswick Bay.
Day 4: Runswick Bay to Whitby
The route to Whitby would be our lowest walk ever
- the tide being out, we followed the shore most of
the way to Sandsend (which is, oddly enough, at
the northern extremity of the beach from Whitby).
Despite the low altitude, the walk was not easy,
with lengthy stretches of slippery boulders to
negotiate - but also a fine, flat wave-cut platform,
with many fossils visible. Nearing Sandsend, I suggested to my two
colleagues that it was possible to find Whitby Jet in the rocks (I
had been there before, many years ago). And sure enough, after a
lengthy search, we found some embedded in a boulder. This
unusual substance, resembling brittle black fossilised plastic, was
highly regarded as a jewellery item in Victorian England.
There comes a point where, whatever the state of
the tide (which was by now on its way in), one
must climb - up a crumbly shale ledge to the
disused railway line (yes, another, this time the
former Middlesbrough - Whitby route). A
phenomenon of the east coast here is the "sea
fret", when sea breezes cross a band of very cold
water running down the coast. This causes a fog
which gives the coast a cold, damp day when just a couple of
miles inland there may be warm, bright sunshine. And so it proved
on this day, when patchy warm sunshine gave way to a cool, misty
evening. The fish and chips were excellent that evening however -
always at their best on the coast, the little back-street shop
provided us with a real treat.
Day 5: Homeward
No, we didn't walk all the way! We had to
get to Goathland, then drive home - so we
took the train to Grosmont, here joining yet
another former railway trackbed. The
Whitby - Pickering line, engineered by
George Stephenson, was one of the first
lines to open, in 1836, with horse-drawn traffic. The climb from
Grosmont to Goathland was achieved by
staying at valley-floor level as far as
possible, then using a cable-operated
incline to climb the last mile or so. By-
passed by a new route in the 1860s, the
trackbed now provides a fine route for
walkers - especially on days like this. The mist in Whitby had given
way to hot sunshine in Grosmont - and I'd left my hat behind in our
last B&B... Fortunately, much of the route is tree-lined, providing
So we arrived back at Goathland, the village
heaving with trippers paying their visits to the
Adensfield village stores... We jumped into the car
and headed for home. We had had an excellent five
days, with good walking, plenty of variety of
scenery, plus good food, drink and accommodation.
What more could one ask?