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Wednesday Wander Stanghow Moor.

Thanks to everyone who wandered with us last night it was a decidedly soggy evening with the rain falling on us from the start.

Our route started near the old railway viaduct outside of Slapewath on A171 Whitby Road.

The first 500 metres or so took us along a little used track that was a haven for nettles and brambles, thankfully nettles are losing their bite at this time of the year so our passage, although wet was not overly unpleasant. After popping back onto the roadside for a while, we ran past the row of old miners' cottages that make up the Hamlet of Charltons situated at the foot of Birk Brow. From there we followed a track up through Woodhill Gill onto Stanghow Moor. By the time we reached the top of the bank the rain had taken root and was falling steadily, without a hint of easing up. On the way through the fields before reaching the Moorside we passed a 19th-century boundary stone which stands between the estates of Guisborough and Skelton it is inscribed with the letters I T W on its west face. I have not been able to find out what the inscription relates to, if anyone knows please post and let us know...

Leaving the sheep fields and dry stone walls behind we followed the path through a kissing gate onto the open moor, joining a flagged trod which is marked on the map as the Quakers Causeway. The etymology behind the name and reasoning for it being associated with the Quakers is not known but appears to be a much more recent embellishment. The path has been in place for hundreds if not thousands of years, having been used to cross the moor by Neolithic settlers before it was utilised as a medieval panniermans trod. Which was predominately used by travellers moving between Guisborough Priory and Whitby Abbey. Incidentally, Guisborough Priory was founded circa 1119 AD by Robert de Brus, who was given the title of Lord of Cleveland by Henry I. His son Robert later started the Scottish line that would produce Robert the Bruce of Scotland. Ok, I digress, however the next time you are running over Stanghow Moor and the rain is driving into you on a westerly wind be grateful for your technical kit and taped seams, a scapular, a rectangular piece of cloth much like an apron, cowl and riding cloak would not have afforded as much protection, or would it..? Perhaps the mandatory kit list should be amended somewhat.

We left the trod and headed over towards High moor via a cart track which winds its way up to join the FP leading to Guisborough Woods. This is a well-defined path which is very runnable and marked on OS 1:25000 mapping as a double black dotted track which denotes it as other road, drive or track and can be fenced or unfenced. Once on High Moor, we continued along the signed FP as it snakes its way over the open moor to what is left of Westworth Wood. Following the loggers plying their trade throughout its confines, this amounts to about half a dozen stumps and a smattering of unwanted shattered tree trunks. We should be grateful though as the climb up to and descent from spot height 262 has been much improved by the laying down of crushed dolomite, no more twisting through the trees hopping over roots and boulders as you rush headlong down the path, muscles at breaking point as you push yourself towards that elusive crown.

Thankfully upgrade stops before you reach the cart track that takes you onto The Cleveland Way...

Cats and Dogs came to mind as we ran down towards Spa Wood the number of puddles and running water throughout the route testament to the amount of precipitation there had been and still was falling on us. Wet feet from start to finish, a discomforting augur of the changing seasons.

Once back at our rubber-wheeled horseless carriages it was time to wring ourselves out and have a rub down with a hair shirt before splashing our way to the Cross Keys for refreshment. Of course by the time the first pint had been pulled it had stopped raining...

Until next week trot on 🦍

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