Bovine bovver on my last stroll reminded me that I’d previously considered another road walk in upper Fryup Dale.
And lo, here it is. Once off the through road, the only vehicles I saw were two bikes and a push chair, so don’t fret about traffic – just treat these little lanes as decent paths.
The downside is that this is the first stroll in eight years of this column where the start point can’t be reached by public transport (unless you want to extend the walking by seven miles or so to/from Danby or Lealholm).
Accordingly, one of the two bikes I saw was my own.
I squeezed myself out of the ludicrously overcrowded train where I’d enjoyed the company of Janet and her 10 friends sinking Carling, Jager bombs and most of the offerings from the Greggs fatty-snacks section.
Unable to find adjacent seats and so dotted about the whole carriage, we all had to listen to their progress through a tasting menu that is unlikely to appear on Masterchef anytime soon. “These Pringles are rubbish Doreen. Av yer got no cheesy ones?” “Sharon, Sharon, d’yer won a sossage?”
“This lager’s mint”
“I love iced buns, me” “Debbie, av yer tried them fishsticks - they’re lush.”
With a final bark about pickled onions ringing in my ears, I pedalled up from Danby, past the splendidly named Fairy Cross Plain situated in the dip between the newly tree-planted Round Hill and Heads Gill.
Local legend suggests that fairies from Egton Grange used to pop over to the nearby crossroads and float about in a spooky manner, accompanied by the odd ghost or two. (Though
there also used to be a remote pub here where, I gently suggest, the legend may have been born on the back of a beermat.)
I parked up just a few hundred yards further on at the Great Fryup Dale Café.
Wow! What a place!
This café is part of the Yorkshire Cycle Hub – possibly spawned by the Tour de Yorkshire – which offers cycle sales/repairs, and accommodation alongside this stunning café.
Arriving by bike is not compulsory and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
The views from the terrace will blow you away as you munch on your sticky cake and slurp your Americano.
Turn left downhill at the hub entrance, then at the bottom take the right turn at a junction. This takes you on to the quiet 4.5 mile loop of old asphalt serving farms in Upper Fryup Dale and will provide views, fresh air and rural goodness equal to any footpath.
Pass the rather grand sounding Fryup Hall B&B (largely hidden from view so you’ll need to gauge its grandness from Tripadvisor), and meander downhill to the valley bottom, eventually reaching the very pretty Wood End Farm and its cute gardens.
One hundred yards beyond, for reasons of variety, I recommend going off road into the woods adjacent to a little beck.
A footpath sign on your right shows you the way into this copse of traditional woodland.
It isn’t particularly well trodden and you may need to negotiate some fallen trees, but it is a short and handsome diversion.
I was rewarded with the majestic site of a large bird of prey (probably a buzzard, though it looked bigger than that) and a curious deer peeking at me from behind a tree, before scarpering off to tell its mates that he’d just seen a bloke in a daft hat.
The path emerges close to Fryup Lodge with its two friendly Irish wolfhounds.
The owner is either a season ticket holder at the Diggerland theme park (I counted four) or has had a tip-off about buried treasure, but either way rejoin the Tarmac through a gate and continue back along the east side of the valley admiring spectacular views back towards the Esk.
A mile or so later and the road snakes through Applegarth farm.
Now if you wish, a good path leaves the road to your left, heads right and follows field boundaries before taking a final sharp left to access the road near the hamlet of Street (see map).
I continued along the lane up a steep hill eventually to a junction on the hillside.
And I should add, that despite trying to avoid cows there were two of them standing in the middle of the road here enjoying some shade from a Rowan Tree!
Turn left downhill to a second junction, then left again to the aforementioned hamlet of Street and its attendant windpower machine.
Keep going downhill over Great Fryup Beck and after climbing up to a junction with the road on the west of the valley, turn left.
There may be a little more traffic here, but after a short distance you’ll reach the junction below the cycle hub where you started.
More tea, vicar?