A deluge of Biblical proportions, but Esk Valley country walk can also double up as a pub crawl!
A Stroll With StuFriday July 27 was the day the drought broke in truly spectacular fashion. The day started with electrical storms, dried out for this little walk, then exploded in the evening with a deluge of biblical proportions, accompanied in Redcar by continuous lightning and non-stop growls of thunder.
So I suppose my friends and I were rather lucky to stay dry on this little jaunt to the watering holes of Egton and its attendant Bridge.
It is just over four miles, so is easily do-able from Whitby using the Arriva 95 bus or the Esk Valley train.
Starting at Grosmont station, go over the level crossing turning right adjacent to the railway but soon climbing left next to the coffee shop and church.
Turn right through a kissing gate and follow the path straight on up the hill (ignoring the left turn re-joining the railway). Superb views are now available over Grosmont, but a somewhat less welcome sight greeted us in the form of several tons of living beef blocking the path ahead.
A whole herd of them, in fact. Leigh, our resident gazelle, forged a diversionary route through a thicket of gorse and the rest of us followed, leaving our DNA behind on the thorns.
The accepted advice on encountering this sort of bovine trouble is not to jump around shouting “Don’t panic” or to sprint towards the nearest gate,but to stay calm and avoid getting between cows and their calves.
Though I think they could play ball by not getting between you and the pub, to be honest. Carry on for half a mile to a farm, turning left along Lease Rigg Lane. The Tarmac bends right and left after a junction, then a few hundred yards later look out for a footpath sign on your right.
This takes you into a field that could do with a heavy roller and the route leads straight downhill to a stile into woods.
The path in the trees goes diagonally downhill, eventually reaching a stile into a level field.
Alternatively, you can ignore the stile and follow your mate through a hole in the fence, tripping over brambles and falling flat on your face, bringing a small window of merriment into the sad lives of your so-called friends.
Keep going left for a short while, before doubling back to a footbridge over the Esk.
It’s a beautiful spot to pause and take in the scenery – the sort of place you might catch a glimpse of a Kingfisher perching in the bushes looking for lunch.
Head out onto the wide track next to the cottage and turn right, but after just 20 yards turn left through a gate leading up to a “Stop, Look, Listen” sign across the railway (you’ll hear and see nowt as the nearest train is 25 miles away).
This is a permissive path and is not properly signposted, so I’ll be as accurate as possible despite the fact that we got it wrong!
I blame the rivers of perspiration running across my eyes as the heat and humidity – quietly constructing the storms to come – was incredible.
It is steeply and steadily uphill for a mile or so and I was lathered by the time we got to Egton.
Bear slightly left through the first field after the railway but always staying to the right of a small brook.
At a line of trees go through a gate (could have been a stile) into the next field.
The thickest stand of trees bend away to your left but you should go straight uphill.
We’d gone wrong by this point but I confidently suggest you need to go up to the far left corner in this field where a gate will take you onto a narrow track, walled on either side, which soon curls left before emerging onto the road near Egton Primary School.
Turn left along Egton Lane opposite the Wheatsheaf Inn (but hey, don’t ignore it, or the Witching Post Inn two doors away), and after a quarter of a mile or so, beyond a couple of houses, a marked stile on your left takes you onto a field path that leads straight down to Egton Bridge.
Keep the field boundaries on your left, doglegging left through woods near the bottom, before descending a little further to a track that takes you to the excellent Postgate Inn near the train station.
Finally, walk down the road turning right after the church, then 300 yards later cross stepping stones over the almost dry River Esk leading directly to yet another lovely pub – The Horseshoe Hotel.
Bit of a pub crawl for me and my pals in truth, but even if you stay out of the inns this is a lovely short walk in the Esk Valley bookended by good public transport links.