An Autumn walk requires big auburn coloured trees – and trees means Egton Bridge.
If westerly gales haven’t intervened, I invite you to follow this seven-mile route and enjoy the stunning colours that nature mixes on its palette at this time of year.
From the station, turn right on the road and just past the church go left on the track towards Grosmont (a permissive route by kind permission of Egton Estates, bless ‘em).
After 10 minutes, head right through a gate at a whitewashed cottage and cross the River Esk on a footbridge. Quickly dogleg right and left, then at a junction of paths take the strenuous option through a gate and straight uphill.
After skirting the garden of the rather lovely Honeybee Nest Cottage, follow its winding drive to eventually emerge on a minor road.
Turn round, have a glug from your water bottle and enjoy the view back across the valley before continuing straight on through a gate with the hedge on your right.
Additional gates take you to Low Burrows Farm (home of the noisiest cattle in Europe), then a decent track takes you up to High Burrows Farm, where you should turn right on the road.
Now, stop awhile and treat yourself to something from the little stall set up by Liz at the Farm. I’ve just come back from Orlando, where I enjoyed some Bread and Butter pudding for dessert at a faux Irish pub called Raglan Road.
I’d read some reviews claiming this to be the tastiest dish in culinary history – and it was indeed scrumptious – but I hereby declare that the blackcurrant jam from the stall at High Burrows Farm knocks it off its global perch.
If there is some available - buy it. Buy all of it.
Liz occasionally sells at fayres and shops, but other than that you can’t get this stuff in the shops.
Trust me, you will be glad you lumped a few jars around in your rucksack for the rest of the walk, though you might want to leave the eggs until you can return in your car.
Soon, where the road bears right, take a footpath on your left which carries on for a good mile with exceptional views over the Murk Esk Valley to Goathland and beyond. With steam trains chuffing along in the trees far below, it is beautiful stuff.
Indeed, it took my mind of the day before, when I’d had a trip to the dentist.
The plan was to whip out a painful fang, but after much poking and pulling with a chisel and some industrial pliers, she called for reinforcements.
The heavy mob tried a crowbar and some dynamite, but it wouldn’t budge, so they referred me to a hospital, patched it up, told me it would hurt for some time and presented me with a bill for £233. I’ve since found that alcohol helps, though oddly enough you can’t get it on prescription.
Turn left after dropping on to the Goathland Road through a broken gate.
Head along to Struntry Carr Farm in the distance, taking a path right 100 yards beyond. A couple of gates take you up on to open moorland where the distinct path curls right (take the left fork at a stone marked with a yellow blob), and after a mile or more, go left on a road.
Very quickly, follow a waymark right, and as you approach a wall and a few trees, look out for a footpath sign on your left. Make sure to turn right at that sign and a trail will soon appear in the reeds and heather 20 yards or so above that wall.
Follow this for over a mile through bracken, gates and the odd puddle of slop, before a gate takes you onto rough grassland.
Look out for a sharp left turn onto a track that takes you down to the large and prominent Swang Farm.
I missed the turn and was grateful for the help of a young farmer who guided me back to legality.
A really nice bloke – the very opposite of the “Get orrf moy laaand” bucolic man with high blood pressure and a shotgun from the pages of Viz.
A few hundred yards past the farm, as the track swings right, go left onto a path which soon takes you past a derelict barn.
Stay high (but just below the barn), through an avenue of holly, eventually over a stile on your left. Go diagonally right, then down by the hedge until – near the bottom – a sign takes you through bushes onto the road just above the very welcoming arms of the Horsehoe Hotel at Egton Bridge.
Lovely pub, open all day, and just a hair-raising skip across the stepping stones to catch the train home.