Well straight away, let me wish you all a Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years.
It is a decent bet that one or two of you will overindulge on Christmas Day, perhaps ingesting a small surplus of sherry, sprouts and stuffing.
So, before you start on the Boxing Day fry-up, this brisk five-mile stroll might help while your Mum is loading up three tons of mash, carrots and parsnips into all her available pans.
At the far end of the Co-op car park in downtown Whitby, a track runs between the railway and the river all the way to Ruswarp. Turn left over the bridge at Ruswarp, then left again on the road (careful now, no pavement).
Go past the turn-off to Golden Grove and past Cock Mill Cottage, and at the chevrons, follow a public footpath to the right of the garage in the grounds of Squirrels Acres Cottage.
You will quickly come to two footbridges in the woods (this is the muddiest bit of the walk by the way, so don’t give up now). Go straight on keeping the beck on your right, and soon you will climb up to Waterfall Cottage. The waterfall in question is a little gem, but try as you might, you can’t quite get a decent view of it.
It is visible through a tangle of trees, but the cottage owners are keeping the best view to themselves.
But worry not. I won’t be defeated by mere trivia such as trespassing laws and inaccessible undergrowth, so for your pleasure I endeavoured to get a decent shot of the falls from the top, by climbing a fence, hanging on to a tree and hoping to clamber down to walk through the shallows above the dropzone.
I say hoping, because the said tree unfortunately expired with a sharp crack and I found myself travelling down to the water with unwelcome haste. A bramble bush snagged my jacket and pulled it off my shoulders as I fell into the beck and staggered around desperately trying to gain a foothold.
This venture had turned into an exceptional impression of Norman Wisdom, and with one last cry of “Oooh, Mr Grimsdale”, I finally toppled over, landing in a very cold pool just above the threshold of the big drop.
A startled Heron flew off for somewhere a little quieter as I huffed, puffed and swore my way back to the fence, cold, ringing wet and still without that photo because it hadn’t occurred to me to take a quick snap as I was thrashing around among the rocks.
So I am sorry, but I do hope you appreciate the efforts that go into producing your weekly newspaper.
Splodge on up the tarmac past the rather splendid Cock Mill Hall, continuing for a mile or so past a farm and then Valley View B&B to reach a crossroads of paths adjacent to a sign saying Watsons Farm.
The sun had mercifully come out for me by now and I spent a short while gently steaming, before pressing on. Turn left at the crosspaths on a wide track into the woods, but after just 100 yards go left again on a narrower path which soon splits in two.
It’s left again (so ignoring the prominent footbridge down to your right) and go downhill on a stone trod to cross a different bridge at the bottom.
The slightly sloppy path (it’s not my fault they have Christmas in the middle of winter) climbs back up the other side, still in woodland, to reach a brick arch carrying the cinder track – the old Whitby Scarborough railtrack. Climb up (it’s easiest to go under the bridge and double back), then head back towards Whitby.
Broomfield Farm, home of the very wonderful Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary, is away to your right where a variety of wild animals will be looking forward to a New Year that they wouldn’t have had without the work of Alex at the Sanctuary.
After a mile or so, cross the viaduct over the River Esk. The views are magnificent from up here and I defy you not to pause a while to stare over the parapets on either side.
A couple of hundred yards after the viaduct ends, turn right on a grassy path, keeping the Caedmon College buildings to your left.
It’s left ahead of the cottages to emerge close to the new bridge.
Cross the road, and turn left ahead of the bridge to follow a Tarmac path down to a road, along which you soon turn right along a track to cross the railway to the same point where you first started.
Next week, because you will have decided to get fit, we’ll be doing an eight-miler above Kildale.
Enjoy that fry-up while you can!