I was delighted this morning when from my window, I could see that once again, the Cleveland Hills were reminiscent of a highland mountain range, iced with snow.
No snow here though. Just frost.
Hungry to see some of the white stuff, my Partner and I decided we would go on a brisk autumnal walk. There is nothing like a brisk autumnal walk to wake you up on a Saturday morning.
The obvious choice to most people that live locally, is Roseberry Topping, which lies above the beautiful village of Great Ayton.
We’ve climbed up it countless times, traditionally on New Year’s Day. It’s as iconic to the North East and Yorkshire to those that know it as the Angel of the North.
I remember once in School a Geography teacher asking the class what the tallest mountain in the world was, to which a student naively replied ‘ Roseberry Topping’. Still makes me laugh today.
It’s not a mountain, It’s an odd shaped hill, and not even the tallest amongst the Cleveland Hills (which it is often mistaken to be). Looked after by the National Trust it is often compared to the Matterhorn in Switzerland for it’s shape. Which is why it is so recognisable to those that know it. It stands out like a saw thumb amongst the rest of the hills. It is a spectacle, made even more so when sprinkled in snow.
And so when we arrived I have to admit I was a little disappointed that whilst the snow was still present along the Cleveland hills, any sign of it at Roseberry Topping had been transformed into a muddy sludgy mess, by the many families and dog walkers that had already been up. Which made walking up it much more difficult.
On the way up, as the path got steeper and steeper, we passed through some woodland where the autumn colours were spectacular and we forgot about the mud for a bit.
Using anything we could, (natural stone, leaves) as stepping stones the mud was still completely unavoidable. And it was inevitable that one of us was going to fall over. Clue: it wasn’t me.
Finally we reached a resting point, although we didn’t actually stop to rest, just to take more photos, and here the remnants of snow and ice were much more clear. Fingers frozen we continued on.
You could also see, that the rest of the hills, more popular with proper (professional? is that a thing?) walkers (usually on the trail of the Cleveland Way), were still coated in the white stuff.
This beautiful tree is a sort of landmark in itself, it’s once your past here that the real climb begins. A lot of knackered people tend to turn round here.
Finally, out of breath and freezing cold we reached the top, where the icy wind that didn’t exist moments ago can quite easily knock you off your feet. And if it doesn’t then the views certainly will.
On a clear day (according to wikipedia – having a terrible sense of direction I wouldn’t know what I was looking at) you can see as far the Pennines, which is 40 – 50 miles away.
Taking shelter from the wind, we had a quick bite to eat – a sausage roll and a crunchy if you were wondering. Here I examined the graffiti that has been carved into the stone over many, many years. Most people probably see this as terrible act of vandalism, but I actually find it quite charming, some of the etchings dating back to the 1800’s.
For the walk back down we chose a different route, a steeper, icier and all together more dangerous passage (but it’s quicker so hey-ho). We spent most of the descent falling on our arses.
Till at last, although back to deep mud, we found some steps.
And then we were back at bottom, admiring the best view of all and feeling fantastic.
Tomorrow, it’s back to digging, but right now a cuppa is calling.