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SilverBackTrails Wednesday Wander III Howes aka Guisborough Gruntish...

Thanks to everyone who came wandering last night, braving the afternoon wind and rain for a trot ont t' moors...

Luckily for us, the weather had faired up and as darkness settled over Guisborough, Jupiter and a waxing gibbous Moon, meaning one that is between three-quarters and full, appeared in the cloud-free sky overhead.

As soon as we had adjusted head torches, laces, vests and the like we ran off up Bellmangate in the direction of Brown Hill and Belman Bank. The early climb quickly woke the muscles up and stirred the lungs into action. On the way up we passed a nursing home which was built on the site of what was Guisborough Infectious Diseases Hospital.

The climb up onto Belman Bank was slick with mud after the recent rains, and at this time of the year it is crisscrossed by thorny brambles that snag arms, legs, ankles, and foreheads as one of us found out. This particular path is a lot easier to use in the winter months when it is not so overgrown, alternatively put a set of secateurs in your pack. By the time we reached the Cleveland Way a few of us were sporting a selection of thorn scratches which made us look like we had red train sidings tattooed on our legs.

After comparing battle scars we headed up and out onto the open moor towards the Three Howes and Penrod Hil. As we crested the rise onto the open moor Jupiter could be seen hanging like a giant 70s disco glitterball suspended above the eastern horizon. Venus is usually the star of the evening much brighter than its peers at present, this lofty position has been usurped having dipped into the glare of the sun and is, for the time being, overshadowed.

The path we chose from the edge of the forestry block cuts straight across open moorland, and is marked on OS as a green dotted line parallel to a double dotted cart track, both of which can be followed all the way into Commondale. The rain of the last few weeks had left its mark with puddles forming and filing up the deeper erosion throughout the length of the path. Dry feet were very soon a thing of the past another sure sign that it will not be long before we gain an hour and the clocks are turned back.

After just over a mile the FP we had been following intersected with the cart track so we had a quick regroup to make sure no one had gone off on a trail trotting tangent.

All were soon present but not quite correct Lee S had taken a bit of a tumble and was leeching blood from a scrape on the tip of his right ring finger. After a spot of umming and ahhing Lee W produced a little first aid kit and the damaged digit was wiped and swaddled in an Elastoplast after which we ummed and ahhed a bit more before trotting off along the cart track.

Getting onto the cart track gave us an injection of pace, our running naturally quickening due to the firm surface underfoot. Just before we reached the plantation line that heralds the start of Guisborough Woods we passed the Guisborough Moor triangulation pillar, which has stood there since its levelling took place in 1959. Designated as a Secondary pillar meaning it was used to fill a gap between Primary pillars which were around 378 in number and levelled across the UK before the second phase. The triangulation of the UK which saw the appearance of these ubiquitous pillars we still see when out on the hills and trails today began in 1936 and concluded in 1962, though there was a pause in their construction during the second world war.

At the wall line, we turned west towards the gate above Highcliff Farm, which gave us a nice ascent up over the 300-metre contour line which passes through Highcliff Nab before running to meet itself back on the track forming part of the Highcliff Nab land feature. Shown on OS mapping as a thicker brown line identifies it as an index contour line which appears every fifth contour line on the map and will usually have a number printed somewhere along it denoting the elevation above sea level of that particular contour, this remains the same no matter how long the line is. As a further spot of digression, when looking at a correctly orientated map, the index contour line numbers should read the correct way up so you will be looking up at the feature they represent. Inexplicably,a wanderer who shall remain nameless wanted to miss the climb up this lovely little hill by going into the plantation via an earlier gate,

From Highcliff Gate we eschewed the path to the Nab in favour of the logging track that runs down the side of and around its lower reaches before taking you on a rollercoaster ride of switchback climbs that finally deposit you back at Belmangate,

Retracing our steps down the road brought us back to the start where we mustered, counted heads, noted fresh abrasions, donned our mufti and toddled off for a snifter and a packet of pork scratchings.

Thanks to everyone who wandered, so until next week, trot on...💪🦍

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