YWW Day 8
Staxton to Filey Brigg (12 miles)
It was an early start this morning as we had a train to catch from Filey. With an hourly service from the station it meant that if we missed it, it would have a knock on effect for our connections to get back to Glasgow.
I had woken at around half past four, even before the alarm had gone off. Rather than lie there, I found out if my father was awake (he was) and suggested that we get on with it. A petrol station across the road had provided us with breakfast/lunch so there was no need to break open the stove, meaning we pitched the tent and packed up in what was an eerie, still silence. It was pitch black, or would have been if not for the street lights on the road.
It wasn’t long before we were on our way, the walking poles clacking loudly on the tarmac just as the first light began to creep in from the East. We were heading for Wold Lane which would take us back up to Staxton Wold, a stiff climb to start the day. It was slow work, not helped that half way up the hill where a track crossed our way we missed the path and spent 10 minutes wandering about an old quarry. It’s amazing how easily one can miss the correct path in the dark.
Eventually we emerged into the fields at the top of the Wold and passed the RAF base, feeling a little bit naughty with all the CCTV cameras around. The place was well lit up giving a strange luminescence to the surrounding land.
The base was quickly left behind as the path started to descend into a sunken lane, plunging us into near darkness. Thank god for head torches! As the path dropped we slowed our pace, keeping a lookout for the left turn that was coming up. We needn’t have worried as the fingerpost loomed out of the dark showing us where to go. The path here was a steep climb in between hedgerows with a soft, almost sandy/chalky surface. It was also pitch black in there, such was the denseness of the vegetation, almost like entering a tunnel.
At the top, the Wold opened out before us, grey and muted in the limp light. It was a bit of a roller coaster here, the path following every lump and bump towards Flixton Wold as the light increased to full, if somewhat greyish and overcast, daylight. To add to the atmosphere, early morning mist had gathered at the bottom of some of the dales, especially Lang Dale, adding to the eeriness of the morning.
On reaching a quiet road, we stopped for a while to have breakfast – it was still only around 7 a.m. – as I’d not really been hungry when we set off. The next stage was a drab little walk along the road to Camp Dale, the last of the Wolds we would encounter on the trail. The track crossed the dale then climbed up onto the bank on the other side giving fine views down its length. Here there was a final Wolds Way bench and acorn telling us that there was only 7 miles to go. We should be finished by lunchtime then!
The path here dropped into the dale and turned into Stocking Dale (saying goodbye to the Centenary Way which had been sharing a route with us for a long time), this place being another site of a deserted medieval village, although there really is nothing to be seen on the ground. Stocking Dale, unlike many of the other dales we had walked through, was quite heavily wooded, lots of scrub trees amongst the more mature ones. It was also rising steadily, the dale petering out on a farm track, the only evidence of its existence just a small dip in the ground.
There was a real feeling that this was the final stretch to Filey and as we crossed a road at Stockendale Farm the sun threatened to appear for a while. To the north there were fine views towards the North York Moors, with the lower ground in-between covered in low lying mist.
The small village of Muston heralded the outskirts of Filey, we stopped on a bench for a while to rest before walking through the village. It was still stupidly early, so unsurprisingly the pub wasn’t open for business. The path passed up what looked like a garden path alongside some pretty houses before we had to take our lives in our hands crossing the A165, busy with rush hour traffic. From there it was downhill, skirting hedges and the local secondary school, before we were walking through the streets of Filey itself.
Once in the centre, it was straight to the Tourist Information Centre with an ulterior motive. I collect cloth badges from these walks, and was happy to find that the Wolds Way had its own, which was duly bought. There was also the small matter of ditching the backpacks, which the staff there kindly allowed us to do (though it was, apparently, strictly against their rules) meaning we could walk unencumbered up to Filey Brigg.
The route here wasn’t well signed, but you couldn’t really go wrong – turn left at the beach and walk to the long sticky out bit. There was one last kick in the backside, a steep climb up steps to get back up to the correct hight for the finish, leaving us with a gentle stroll to the monument that marks the end (or start) of both the Wolds Way and the Cleveland Way.
It was so tempting just to keep walking!
Still, there was a train to catch, so we retraced our steps, this time taking a route along the beach, to the TIC, picked up the sacks and made our way towards the station with plenty of time to spare. This meant there was the chance to stop for some celebratory fish and chips before the short shuffle (I had certainly stiffened up) to the station, just as the rain started.
Day Rating 7/10
Not the most exciting of days, but had some pleasant and interesting sections on it. The path over Flixton Wold was surprisingly hard work and Camp Dale made a fine finale to the Wolds experience. The finish at Filey Brigg was a bonus, and although we didn’t go all the way onto the Brigg it certainly added to the finish. A nice symmetry with the start on the Humber.
Overall Rating 67/80 (83%)
A fine trail that rates in the middle for me – not one of the best, there were no what I would call “outstanding” days. That isn’t to say that the trail is bad – far from it (it possibly didn’t help that we were walking in late summer/early autumn, when most of the wild flowers and summer vegetation were over). What I would say is that this is a hugely enjoyable trail with some great scenery, history, lovely little villages that nestle in the Wolds and some cracking surprises – it is also not as easy as it looks – while most of the walking is gentle there are quite a few ups and downs for the unsuspecting walkers. This also has to be one of the quietest trails I’ve walked, with very few users on it – only the occasional dog walkers near villages. This isn’t that surprising as the route is actually quite remote – there are very places that are passed through between stops. One real bonus (that many other paths are lacking) are the number of benches on the route. The carved trail benches are a work of art in themselves, and every single one of them has been placed thoughtfully at a great location. Not only that they always seem to appear at just the right moment.
Well worth doing, and to risk a cliché, a very good trail for an introduction to trail walking and those who are looking to cut their teeth on a long distance path.