Odyssey stage 9 – Gill Farm (nr Thixendale) to Wharram Percy

We’re back!

It’s been over 6 months, but we’ve finally got back to our mission to traverse the Yorkshire Wolds Way. The main reason for the hiatus was to train for the Yorkshire Marathon, and following that on the 8th October, we were up against darker nights and less time. The Xmas break therefore presented a rare opportunity to get a trail run in.

The weather was a little ropey though, and as we parked up at Gill Farm, equidistant between Fridaythorpe and Thixendale, it had started to snow, with a light dusting on the ground.

Undeterred we headed down the muddy farm track to the gate, through that and down the valley to the iconic YWW view, with the swirl grass sculpture at ground level. A steep decline down the side on the valley, then a sharp run right across the valley floor towards Thixendale.

At the end of the valley we cross a field and join the road to Thixendale turning right, then up to the cross roads and turning left through the village. Then we turn right up the steep chalk track up the side of the hill, a real gut wretcher! Not far up here, we have to resort to walking as we round the top, looking down behind us on a snowy view of Thixendale.

The track levels off at the top, with a fantastic view of the Wolds and we head onto a field turning left to run along the grass path on the left. The terrain for here on in becomes much more challenging, with many trip hazards and ice patches hidden by the snow. At the end of the field we turn right and start a gradual downhill to the gate at the end of the field. Here we enter the Raisthorpe Estate, famous for it’s Gin (I think?).

We now commence a precarious steep downhill decent, and managed (somehow) to stay upright! At the bottom, we pass through a couple of gates, and into the sheep area to commence a steady, then steep ascent back up the other side of the valley. Again a walk was required at the top. Through a gate and then straight on to the end of a field, through a small copse of trees and then a sharp right at the side and across the top of the valley.

Here we start a long slog miles across the top. It was flat but hard going all the same with the ground and weather conditions. The snow was sharp and stinging, and the ground became very hard and unforgiving. Fog then added to the fun, and the trail decided to become ambiguous to test our navigational skills. These I am afraid to say failed us, as we carried on straight onto the Centenary Trail (Not the Wolds Trail!).

At last, having past by the side of a Forrest we hit a road. By now we’d travelled over 5 miles, we could turn back here having found a parking place for next time, but we needed to get back to the right trail first.

We had an inclination that Wharram Percy was off this road somewhere, so headed left towards Malton. On our left was a car park for Wharram Percy, and we were back in business!

We headed downhill towards Wharram Percy, down a snowy track with banks at either side making it feel the running a toboggan run. Through a gate, over a footbridge and left towards the ruins of the abandoned medieval village. Here the track petered out and when we reach the top of a field we realised we were off the track again!

Back down the hill we went and through a small gate to the old derelict church, over past the lake, through another gate and then up a hill up the side of a valley. Back on track again now, and ready for the slog back.

Here visibility was terrible, and the ground was really tricky. A good couple of miles slogging through this until we passed the acorn marker (Filey 35 miles behind, Hessle 45 miles ahead – which probably means we’ve about 32 miles left to Filey as we are now a couple of miles into heading back towards the car). Behind me, apparently John ended up on the deck, sliding across the ground in the style of a seal! Alas I never witnessed this happen behind me, but I’m sure it was funny!

Eventually we turn left again and down the Raisthorpe valley, up the very steep ascent, and then right towards Thixendale, down the steep chalk path and then through the village once more.

At the end of the village, we turn right down the lane, left across the field as we meet the track again, through the valleys, then sharp left back on ourselves and up the steep grass valley wall. At the gate at the top, we head right up the muddy track and arrive at the car. 13 miles in tough conditions! A flask of coffee and Bakewell slices!

A very trying but different leg of the Odyssey. It was great to get back into it, and we hope it’s not so long until the next instalment. Like us, we know you cannot wait!


Odyssey Stage 8 – Glebe Farm (nr Huggate) to Gill Farm (nr Thixendale)

So far in respect to parking places for manageable chunks of the course we have been lucky.   But, as you can probably tell from the title, hitting a village at useful half distance points is becoming more problematic as we navigate the deepest darkest Yorkshire wolds.   Equally the hills are becoming increasingly challenging, though nevertheless we are managing to keep up over 10 mile distances for each stage, albeit 10 minutes or so slower on the time.

Stage 8 was no different.   As with Stage 7, we were in reasonably familiar territory as it covered parts of the course we had trained on in March (seems so long ago now!), so navigation was not something we had to worry too much about.

Glebe farm
Stage 8 start – Glebe Farm

We parked up at Glebe Farm on York Lane.   The first mile would take us from one side of this estate to the other, first on a road (as pictured above), slightly downhill to the farm houses, then jumping up onto a grass bank, and down through a wooded path at the side of the farm.   Here the fauna had developed somewhat from when we passed through in March, and with shorts on, dodging nettle stings was the trick as we weaved through this section.  Then, back onto the road at the other side of the farm buildings, down a steeper hill towards the village of Huggate.

Up a rise, and then turning a sharp left away from the village and up the hill of Town End Lane.     This road became a farm entrance at which point the verges were mowed and the road was neatly flanked by evenly spaced trees.

A monochrome, high exposure, high contrast shot of the trees described.  Nice.

As we reached the summit the YWW pointed off left over a field to continue our rise through the grass at the side of a hedgerow.   Over the summit we descended to our first gate, standing in the way of our first steep chalk valley.   Through this gate, to the tremendous view of the valley below, we gingerly tracked down the thin gravel path, and onto the grass cut out path that slowly descended into the valley.

The trek down the chalk valley on the way to Fridaythorpe

After a long downhill trek, we hit another nettle hazard, as we skipped through the fauna to the next gate, and then left again for a long, brutal, slog up hill.

What followed was one of the hardest sections of the YWW for me.   For only 0.8 miles (though it felt like 3), we ran uphill, through thick at times, power sapping grass, and into a strong head wind (made stronger on account that it was channeled through the valley and into our faces).   I tucked behind John to try and use him as a wind break, but it was futile.  He’s not that big!  At the end of a valley was a steep climb out of it to the next gate.    Back onto a farm track now and onto Huggate Lane, we descended into the A166 straddling village of Fridaythorpe.


We ran alongside the A166, before turning left onto Back Street.   This was a key milestone for our adventure so far, as we passed the place where we used to park up for the training runs.   Our introduction to the Yorkshire Wolds Way, and the place where the idea to run the whole course was born.    Back Street leads slightly uphill onto Thixendale Lane.  We then veered off this road onto the YWW track and across another road that lead into the ABN Foods Factory, a rare industrial landscape.   Through fields and over the brow of the next hill we descended to another gate marking the entrance to one of the other great valleys of the YWW, for an iconic view of the wolds.

John’s obligatory gate pose, with the iconic view of the wolds behind him

Down the wide grass track down the side of this huge valley, moving sheep out of our way as we trotted down.   At the valley basin, we edged right and across the floor to the next gate.   At this gate was another YWW Acorn Marker, and guess what?!  We’ve passed half way!    This marker reported Hessle at 40 miles away, with Filey Brigg now only 39!    A true milestone of our Odyssey!

40 miles to Hessle, 39 miles to Filey – Past half way!

Through the gate and up another long, hard, grassy slog up hill.  With increasing evidence of cows in the area (I put one shoe into some cow shit for instance), we made it through another gate.   We continued uphill now on a farm track, past a dead mole (I think it was a mole), turning left and then right.   As the road entered the farm, we took a grass path at the side of the grounds and onto the public road which crossed over our path.

We had traveled about 5.3 miles.  We had arrived at Gill Farm which is on the top of the road down to Thixendale.   We know, however that we have an off-road path to take to that village, but here at least is a place to park next time.   After a bruising trek, with the sun also taking its toll, we decided to head back to the car.

The entrance to Gill Farm, our turnaround and stage 9 parking point

The way back was slightly more forgiving, as our downhill sections lasted longer, and the wind channeled through the valley once we passed through Fridaythorpe was now on our backs.    The last push was through the grounds of Glebe Farm, and for 1 solid mile back to the car, we were aiming uphill.

Stage 8 done, another main artery (the A166) crossed, and crucially we have past our half way stage!   The Odyssey may take a slight hiatus due to other commitments that we both have.  Maybe 3 weeks or so, but we will see.  We will try our best to fit the next one in as soon as possible.    After all stage 9 will take us back into the unknown as we track down the abandoned medieval village of Wharram Percy.  Hopefully the Black Death has drifted away now.

Stay tuned for more adventure..

Odyssey stage 7 – Kilnwick Percy to Glebe Farm (nr Huggate)

An early start for a change.  Up at 05.30 am, John arrived at 6.  A banana and espresso for breakfast, and the unsettling feeling that a poo was impeding, but we were off for stage 7!

We have ran most of this section before in practicing so navigation was not an issue for a change.   This section though was tough, amazing scenery but that was mainly due to the steep chalk valleys we had to descend and ascend, then descend and acend again.  Well that and the glorious morning sunshine!

Parking as usual at stage 6’s turnaround point we started with a hard slog up the hill to the top of Millington bank, past a wood on our right.   The track eventually flattened out and after 3/4 of a mile or so, we took a sharp left onto a single track path through a field.   Over the top of this and we could see Millington at the foot of the bank, taking a sharp right and along the top of the bank.   Amazing views from here.  You could see for miles!  

We ran along the bank for a good mile, over a farm track and into another field.   This eventually descended into the first major valley.   We turned left at the end of the field, and the through a gate down a steep valley, the foot of which looked up onto a thin winding track.

We climbed up the steep goats trail, switching back left and up to a gate, then through a grass field with a hedgerow on our left, and along to our next steep decent.   Here is John checking out the view:

Down the very steep valley, far too steep to run down, and the up an even steeper ascent, practically using hands to climb at this point!  Then turning right and up and up we continued, through another gate and then taking a sharp left through a wood, with a ploughed field to our right.   Descending into another valley, through another gate and then taking a right along the bank.   On our left looking down to the foot of the valley we could see the road that links Huggate to Millington snaking through the valleys down to Millington Wood at the foot.   

Here the track was tricky, running uphill but with a awkward camber down to the slope.   We edged around and to the gate, which led onto a road.  We’d now covered about 4 1/2 miles.   Down the road to a T-Junction, and across and through a field heading uphill again.   At the summit of this field was the YWW acorn maker, telling up that Hessle was 35 miles back, and Filey was 44 miles ahead! Nearly half way!  

At the end of the field we turned right onto a farmers track, which led onto Pocklington Road.   We’d covered 5.2 miles, found a place to park and so started to head back.  Here is a couple of shots from this turnaround point:

Back then.   The poo urge from earlier was intensifying and John needed to get back so Sarah could go to Wireless1’s Big Weekend.   The way back was a tough slog though, the hills getting particularly hard now after such a distance. Here is an easier bit though as we stumble down the goat track:

Getting back up from here was arduous though, my hamstrings were literally on fire!

Eventually we arrived bank onto Millington Bank, crossed the field, and arrived at the track for a nice downhill back to Johns car.   

A nice sunny morning run, with 10.2 miles covered.   We are getting there..   Stay tuned for the next stage, the course is hotting up now!

Odyssey Stage 6 – Londesborough to Kilnwick Percy

We are now well into this challenge and stage 6 will see us reach our nearest-to-home location.   We will then arc back over in a north-easterly direction and back towards to coast.

For now though we begin at the small civil parish of Londesborough (population 182, 2011 census), and the YWW is about the most famous thing about this village according to Wikipedia.   Parking at exactly the stop we turned around at on stage 5, we headed down Howlgate Lane passing All Saints church on our left, before taking a sharp right and heading up hill and out of the village.   At the top of the village we were directed straight over at the cross-roads in a westerly direction, following the asphalt for about 1 mile of undulating countryside.

You could gauge the landscape well from here.  To our left we looked onto flat land and could see the cooling towers of Drax and Ferrybirdge in the far distance, to our right were the steep hills of the wolds, and we were half way up coasting along its banks.   After 1 mile or so we arrived at a T-juction and turned right uphill, then after 40 yards turned left into Partridge Hill Farm.    The owners of this farm studiously (with big yellow arrows) directed YWW trailers efficiently through the farm buildings and out onto the back field on a farm track.   Down the farm track to a gate, we are then directed over a grass field on a narrow track straight across to another gate.    Due to the wet weather this last week, the track was maybe a little less obvious due to the grass springing up quickly in response to the rain, that, and a combination of poor signing in this area means that the YWW became confusing here.

We appeared to be directed left through a gate, down by the side of a wood, through other gates, and tracking the edge of fields.  The track was hard to follow though and we were getting very wet.    Over a small wooded bridge (over Burnby Beck), down through another field we arrived at a plain “Public Bridle Way” sign, and because it never said YWW on it, we knew we had taken a wrong turn somewhere.     We had now arrived at Church Lane, and because we could see the entrance sign to Nunburnholme (a village that is on the YWW), we knew we were close to the trail so decided to continue.


Almost immediately after entering the village we picked up the YWW trail again, turning left and across a field, right at the end of the field and then merging with Lowfield Lane.   Up Lowfield Lane and then turning right up the steep gravel track of Braft Lane, though a wood.  At the top of this wood (Garforth Wood), we went through a gate, and up a muddy track that went on and on through a large field containing sheep and through a couple more fields to the summit of Welton Wold Farm.

We were directed through the farm onto the farm entrance road, and then directed right up a hill, and then left at the top back onto what seemed to be the same track and trajectory as before.    Across a few more fields we arrived at the B1246 (Kilnwick Percy Hill).

Kilnwick Hall
The Hall at Kilnwick, now the Madhyamaka Buddhist Centre

The YWW sign was directly opposite pointing us straight into a deep grassy delve, at the other side we went through a very muddy gate (filthy it was) and back onto the track.   Across more fields we could see the rooftops of Kilnwick Percy to our left, and at this point the YWW trail shared its course with the “Pilgrimage of Grace Trail” which charts the track of the great East Yorkshire rebellion of 1536.

stage 6b

The Pilgrimage of Grace was a popular rising in Yorkshire in October 1536 against Henry VIII’s (he was a shit) break with the Roman Catholic Church, the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the policies of the King’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, as well as other specific political, social and economic grievances. It has been termed “the most serious of all Tudor rebellions”.


We were actually stumbling in the footsteps of history!

We rounded a field, and passing the YWW Acorn Marker (Filey 49 miles, Hessle 30 Miles – progress!), we arrived at yet another farm.   At this point we had traveled 5 miles so hoped to find a candidate for a parking place soon.    After travelling through this farm, greeted by a sheep dog, we followed the farm road down a valley and then back up a hill until the track merged with another road that ran down to Kilnwick Percy.   We had hit 5.2 miles and could see a couple of places to park for next time.   In the distance we could see Millington, and the YWW was pointing right up an uphill track and onto on the Wolds.   At the top of here we would meet some familiar territory as we would arrive upon the stages we’d trained on in practice a couple of months earlier.

stage 6d
The turn around point and start of Stage 7

Time to turn back.   But if you think the fun ends here as we track the route back, then you are mistaken!   We had to run the Nunburnholme gauntlet!!

Back we went, without issue until we arrived back at Nunburnholme.     We lost the track here on the way out so we were determined to get the correct track back through.  At the village we turned left as directed, and then we were pointed right through a gate and across a farm field.   At the end of this field we arrived at a gate.   The track at the other side was under about 4 feet of water!   Burnby Beck forded the track here it seemed.    We had 2 choices; turn back the way we came, or climb the gate and wade through it!   John (with a keen sense of adventure) opted to climb the gate and begin wading.  I held back, prudently awaiting John to gauge the depth before committing.  Remember as well that we would have about 2 miles of squelchy running in reward for this adventurous decision.

stage 6f
The Ford – John was 2 seconds off wading into this – that would have been pure comedy!  If only..

I heard a noise.  A shout.  The farmer was calling from the house.   Something that sounded like “BRIDGE!”, and then “DICKHEADS!”, and then “BRIDGE!” again!   He/She (couldn’t tell from here) seemed to be gesticulating towards the left with some urgency.    Seconds before John had committed to wading then, we were saved.   Turns out a few yards to the left, hidden in some bushes, was a nice wooden bridge!  Hooray!

After that challenge, we crossed over, then up a hill to the top of a field, turned right, and was confronted by a field of cows!    More importantly, there was a bull staring us down.   Shit!   Here’s were John can be useful with his farmer training.   Like some kind of Tarzan (but with farmyard, not jungle, animals), John managed to communicate with them.  Clapping a signal and grunting he moved them back.  And back.  And back.    It seemed he was just cornering them though, as they reached the corner of the field we were trying to exit.   There was a grove of trees in the corner.   He pushed them back into these trees.   They split down two narrow tracks into what looked to be a dead end. We were bound to confront them!   We had to, there was nowhere else they could possibly be!

They went.  Vanished!

About 5 cows  (and a bull) had literally disappeared!   It’s as if they had climbed the trees, I honestly could not fathom out where they could have gone!   A complete mystery.  We were both thoroughly baffled!

disappearing cows

Anyway following that drama, a field or two further and we got back to the point we went wrong on the way out.   We then arrived back at Partridge Hill Farm, and then trotted along the lane back to Londesborough and eventually to my car.   10.6 miles done. Ice Finger buns the reward this time.

Join us next time as we attempt a challenging 12 miler (very hilly terrain) to Hugate and back!    It’s all change again, as we get into the deepest darkest wolds and the infamous chalk valleys..



Odyssey Stage 5 – Arras Wold to Londesborough

Now safely across the A1079, the atmosphere seems a little different, less foreign somehow.   The landscape seems to have altered a little, though clearly this is just a figment on my imagination.  Stage 5 offered more adventure, as we had to bring our experience of the trail, and our burgeoning navigational skills to bear, in order to tackle the quirk of Stage 5….more on this below..

We parked up at Arras Farm on the top of a hill, high above Market Weighton.    We followed the tree lined farm track into the farm yard.  I felt nervous here, worried we’d become inadvertent trespassers having missed a sign, though this was not to be the case, the farm yard forming part of the YWW after all.   Through the back of the farm we came out of the woods bearing left in a more westerly direction with rolling fields to our right.   The bridle way rolled over these hills, before turning into a narrow path with a steep and challenging right to left downward camber, at which point we we’re heading downhill rather steeply.    At the end of this field we came across a sign that warned of aggressive calf defending cows, with a separate sign warning of a bull!.   Luckily today the field was empty of all cattle.

At the bottom of this steep field we arrived at a road.   After 100 yards, the YWW pointed left up onto a disused railway line (It also pointed straight on as it turned out.  More on this later).


We now had a long 1 ½ mile straight, flat, tree covered stretch on this line.   The only place of note was St Helen’s Well (believed to be the site of the High pagan Temple destroyed by its High Priest Coifi) on our left, and one railway bridge which we ran under.    The track ended at what appeared to be the start of some “Monkey Trail” in Market Weighton (a cycle route that connects to Beverley).   We ran past a park, and through some parkland, before arriving in the town.   We we’re pointed toward the main road through Market Weighton, but when we got there the signs abandoned us.   We were lost!

Heading west on the main street (based on a guess), we turned right as the road signs at least pointed to various tracks, one leading to Londesborough (that one could be ours).   With nothing changing, we stopped to consult Google.    We found a useful map on the Ordnance Survey, however would you believe it – There are 2 YWW trail options?!!!!

YWW map2 (2)
Both routes highlighted here in blue.  We are now on the road in between, where the green dots are, up to the roundabout at the A614 and then back right toward YWW Option 1.

Option 1 (the one we took) – diverts through Market Weighton, however we should have stayed on the main street, picking up the trail further out by turning in a northerly direction, now parallel with the road we were on (see blue line on left of map).   Option 2 – was to not use the railway track and carry on to Goodmanham, then pick up the trail direct to Londesborough.

In order to right our course we elected to carry on up the road until the next roundabout with the A614 going west to east, take a right (east) and pick up the YWW where it crosses over (the option 2 path again, the right side blue line on the map above).    It was a long way to this roundabout though (1 mile).   We turned right there, and saw what remains of the Minster FM stalwart advertiser “Karlelia Cars” (Remember big John? – retired/dead now I guess(?)).   We ran through a lay-by past a picnic area uphill, and there it was the YWW sign!  Yay!  A very comforting sight.

We’d covered 5 miles, but because it was only 1 mile back to Goodmanham from here, we estimated the way back would be 1 ½ miles or so less then our route here; so we decided to take more on and attempt to make it to Londesborough.     We crossed over the A614, down a bridleway at the side of a field, picking up a farm road.  This bent right, before we we’re pointed through Londesborough Park, which was very reminiscent of Castle Howard.   Beautiful it was, with old trees and sheep in the fields as we headed down to the lake side.

John pointed out that due to the investment in ironmongery just to protect the younger trees, that whoever owned this land must be minted.   At the lake we crossed a small wooden bridge, through a gate and up hill into Deer Park.   Here we met an YWW T-junction where the YWW reunites with itself and both Option’s 1 and 2 point right up to Howlgate Lane, Londesborough.   At the top of the hill we merged with the village and find our parking place for next time.   6 ½ miles covered.

Back then, we retraced our steps through Londesborough Park, and as far as the A614.   Here we followed the YWW (option 2) back over a field, turning left and downhill by the side of that field the track became thinner, and headed through the woods, bearing right, and under a railway bridge.   Then uphill and into Goodmanham.   Turing left into the village the right at the top of the hill (past Brownie Camp) we followed the country road downhill and left (north) towards another railway line, which happened to be the track we took going out (YWW Option 1).   Back to the bull field, we staggered up this steep hill, and started running again when the angle fizzled out a little in the next field.

Then began the long slog back up the rolling hills to Arras Farm.   After 1 ½ miles of concentrated running, we got through the farm, up the farm track and back to the car.  11.6 miles covered and a good, if tricky, stage 5 complete.

Jam Tarts comprised the post stage 5 snack.  Only £1 per pack.  A nostalgic end to proceedings!

Join us next time as we hunt down Nunburnholme!!   Destiny is all


Ravenscar Half Marathon (Base layers required!)

After the fourth leg of the Odyssey it was time for a change as I’d entered the Ravenscar Half Marathon, an event held annually and hosted by Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue. I left home about 7.45 am planning to arrive in Ravenscar at 9 am, all went to plan in terms of the journey however there were subtle hints along the way of things to come, rain started to fall and the outside temperature dropped from a pleasant 12 degrees at home to 7 degrees as I parked the car.

Add drizzle, rolling mist and a howling wind the 7 Degrees felt like a minus. I left the car park, walked the few hundred yards to the village hall to collect my number to see other competitors beginning to assemble wearing gloves, hats, coats and running tights. I’d planned on a shorts and vest run.

It was bleak and freezing, I hurried back to the car with number 263 to plan my outfit, shorts were the only bottom half option, vest, t shirt and waterproof golf top provided options for my top half. I was so cold I thought I’d wear it all. I headed back to the village hall to stand by the radiator. By now there was a long queue for numbers and the toilets, I’d had a windy wee against the car park wall.

The start was delayed 20 minutes which gave me time to decide on the vest over t-shirt option and leave my waterproof hanging up by the door of the hall. The start headed downhill through the village and past the Raven Hall Hotel which looked like your average, seen better days, northern seaside hotel. Onto the Cleveland way to follow the cliff tops for 6km, at times a bit too close to the edge for my liking. The Cleveland way runs from Filey Brigg to Helmsley and is 110 miles, one for the future perhaps?

Away from the sea and a steep descent, a few cow pats, a farm, a quick climb then onto the disused railway track which once held the Scarborough to Whitby line becoming redundant in 1965. Passing through Staintondale station the run along here was fast, and with a slight descent, the surface under foot was flat, fine shale. Perfect for picking up a bit of time to set against the hills to come.


And yes, the hills came, well let us call them ravines, steep ravines, with steps, wooden bridges, boulders, more steps. Trying to climb these at pace really sapped all energy from my legs, eventually after a very hard, slow 4-5 km I was back on the cliff edge to join the path where the course had left it to join the railway line, 6 km left into a gale with one last steep climb up towards the village hall I crossed the line in 2 hours, 7 seconds.  The difference in terrain was highlighted in my split times, the fastest km, 4:29, the slowest 9:37.


This was my slowest half marathon time, on probably the toughest course, shame I wasn’t 8 seconds quicker to break that 2 hour mark. Into the village hall for a medal, orange squash and flapjack. My waterproof still hung up by the door.

I always look to completing a half within 30-35min after the winner, and despite the 2 hour time, I was in that zone, so not so bad. A lesson learnt in being better prepared for the English weather with more kit in the car in future, but certainly a race I’ll revisit.

Odyssey Stage 4 – High Hunsley to the A1079.

This week we decided to take advantage of the lighter evenings to get a stage of the YWW completed.   Eager to crack on, I picked John up just before 6 pm and we were at High Hunsley (Littlewood Road) by 6.30pm.

We started off the run beside a field of Oil Seed Rape / Rape Seed Oil (You choose, I’m not wading into that debate!), slightly down hill with a hedgerow to our left side.   We were travelling in a northerly direction and there was a strong easterly wind at our side.

After 400 yards or so, we took a right by the back of that field, and the downward angle increased as we ran into the wind.   Through a gate at the bottom we then descended a very steep bank and into a chalk valley (the classic Wolds landscape).    Turning left here, we ran back north at the foot of this valley, with grass slopes to either side.

The wind, although easterly, was channeled into us down this valley, so even though running slightly downhill the wind was slowing us down.   We turned left, and as the valley split into a couple of directions the wind channel flipped over to push from behind us as we headed west.

We arrived at a gate, which John couldn’t fathom how to open, so I climbed over.   John persevered, and got there in the end, coming through the gate the conventional way.   The valley here became a sea of Oil Seed Rape / Rape Seed Oil.    A blanket of yellow with our track through the middle.    Win the sun out and low, the sight was amazing!   Life affirming!   Spectacular!  Look:

We ran through this sea of yellow, for ½ mile or so, then the path bent right (north), up over a rise, and then down towards a gate at the end of the field.   Then through that over some grass, and up onto Beverley Road which cut across us.   The YWW sign pointed left onto Beverley Rd.

After only a few hundred yards, the sign pointed left (north) past a farm and up a rough farm track (called Wrangman Dale Road).   This was steep and hard going for 400 yards or so.   At the top we arrived at road called Stoneknowle Hill, and again the YWW pointed right.   After a few hundred yards it pointed left again (north), and we began a long, and lung busting ascent up the track of “Big Hill”.   The name of this geographical feature was no misnomer!

On and on it went.   There was a huge wind turbine at the summit, with many more off in the distance.   There was a couple of false summits on this track as the top never seemed to arrive.   Eventually in flattened out and then gradually we started to descend.


At the eventual foot of this descent we passed the YWW Acorn marker (Filey 59 ½ Miles, Hessle 19 ½ Miles).   Curiously this one working in ½ miles rather than the customary rounding up/down.    A flat section, and then we began to ascend once more until eventually the path took us to Beverley Lane as the road took a immediate left swing to continue our northerly trajectory onto Hessleskew Lane (the 2 roads merging).


Unsure of where to go next we checked the map.   We could see, we were within ½ mile or so of the A1079 so decided to continue on Hessleskew Lane, past Hessleskew Farm (on our right), down a hill and up a rise until we reached the A1079 running East to West.     We had done about 5 miles, but could see just across the road the YWW sign so we crossed over.    At the entrance to Arras Farm the YWW went off road again, so with a lay-by in which to park for stage 5 we headed back.   The YWW sign indicated that Goodmanham was now 2 ½ miles away.


The A1079 was a big milestone for us.   The YWW has 4 main arteries either at its boundary or cutting through it, which are: the A63, A1079, A166, and the A64.   If you consider these evenly split, we had crossed our first major section.  How exciting!

Running back we looked forward to a long down section to compensate for our suffering.   The wind became less forgiving through and as we hit the Oil Seed Rape / Rape Seed Oil valley it was right in our faces.  That coupled with a slight uphill and power sapping grass terrain made it a challenging return trip.    We arrived back at the car at exactly 8pm though, so the 10 miles had taken us 1hr 30 mins, which is what we’d expect (Stage 3 was 10 mins slower).

Again, awesome scenery, and we never lost the track.   Looking forward to traversing the Market Weighton section at stage 5.

Stay tuned for that one!


Odyssey Stage 3 – Brantingham to High Hunsley

Take a deep breath and buckle in….this was a tough one.

I arrived at John’s at 3pm and he drove us out to Brantingham, with the aid of his Sat Nav (with shoddy window suction).    Having only made one wrong turn en-route we arrived at the lay-by we had reached on Stage 2, and it was satisfyingly vacant.

We parked up, put camel packs on, and off we went.

The first 3-400 yards were a tough uphill section up Ellerker Wold Lane, which became a single path half way up, all through the wood.   At the summit we were confronted with an excellent view of the Humber estuary, maybe our last as we now change tack a little as the YWW arcs in a northerly direction.

The start of Stage 3 – Ellerker Wold Ln

Through a gate at the summit, we trundled down a steep farm track, at the foot of which was Woodale Farm (If you’ve not noticed already I find this stuff out on the map afterwards, it’s not local knowledge that’s for sure!).  Down a track into a bit of a hole and then up a steep grassy bank up to a winding path, and longer more drawn out, yet still steep, up section.   This was tough going already.    Some other walkers and dog walkers on this section, which makes going much harder, as you feel psychologically committed to running past them, even though these sections would forgive a walk/stumble otherwise.  You can’t go rambling with all the trail running gear on after all.

The summit of this second uphill section was Mt Airy Farm on our left (it has Mt in its title, say no more!).   A right turn out of the wood to the edge of the field, a left, then a left again and through Mt Airy Farm, past a cow (John’s guess is that this one was a Hereford.   Not a confident shout though, it has to be said), and then down the farm track.

The farm track took a right turn, and through some trees, after which we we’re confronted with an excellent high up view of South Cave and its surroundings.       We were now on a road that twisted down to South Cave, and it is called “Steep Hill”.   It certainly was, as we tentatively ran as fast as we dare, down its slopes.  It then took a sharp left down to South Cave.

South Cave from YWW

We arrived at Beverley Road, South Cave, the top end of the village.   We took a left, crossed over after 100 yards and then right by the side of a very nice Grand Designs type house and into the fields.     Past some bushes, we crossed a wooden bridge and then began the third significant ascent so far (we had not even traveled 2 miles yet!).    A long drag up through some woods, up a woodland path popular with walkers (again ensuring we ran as much as we could as we panted our way to the summit).    Not that we saw it but Swinescaif Quarry was just to our left (Popular with Mountain & Quad bikers by all accounts).

At the summit we hit a bridle path and took a right turn going downhill towards Riplingham.   On our right we past a vineyard “Market Place Farm’s Little Wold Vineyard”.     Wine this far up north!? I bet its shit, probably like that terrible Riesling wank they used to dish out in the 80’s – Blue Nun, Black Tower, Hock and the like.  Let’s put it this way, I’ve never seen South Cave referenced in Field & Fawcett!

The Little Wold Vineyard

After 400 yards or so the YWW pointed left through a gate and down through a picturesque valley and towards Drewton Springs.   We ran down this grassy section until we arrived at an intersection of footpaths.   Turning right up and back on the YWW and over a small hill, doubling back down a bank and through a large turnstile gate, then a right again back onto the track.

The valley to Drewton

We then started out on a punishing 2 mile stretch up hill.   This was hard.   First it started with narrow wooded path, bent left in a northerly direction into a bigger track, and then split into 2 separate paths, the YWW was the left choice, continuing north on a narrow and very quiet section through the wood.    As we neared the edge of the wood, the angle increased until we were practically climbing out of the wood at the top.   The path bent left on the field at the crown of the wood, still uphill, until we reached the summit at another YWW Acorn marker – Filey 64 miles!    Running at the edge of a field now, tracking the hedgerow, we eventually hit the busy B1230 which cut across our path.


We crossed over when a gap in the fast moving cars appeared, through a hedge, and right tracking the side of the B1230.   Then left across the field until we came onto a quieter road cutting across our path; Whin Lane.   The YWW then pointed right onto Whin lane until we came to a cross-roads, where Brick Dike Lane (to High Hunsley) cut across us.  We crossed over it and onto Littlewood Lane, and at approximately the 5 mile mark, the YWW pointed left, across the fields again and in the direction of the A1079.

The YWW sign here indicated the Goodmanham was the next village along at 7 ½ miles away.    Here also, was a passing point on the lane that we can usefully use as a parking place for stage 4.   Time then to head back.


As always with these things, there is no need to narrate the trip back, however the downhill into the first wood encountered going back, was extremely steep and precarious.   It reminded me of that cheese rolling event they do in Gloucestershire, but without the cheese.   Happily, we avoided accidents this time.   Some more punishing (if shorter in distance) uphill’s on the way back.   By now the (potentially) Hereford  cow had moved up to the top of the field at Mt Airy Farm, other then that the return journey was uneventful.    We eventually stumbled back down to John’s car in Brantingham.

10.2 miles done.   It took us about 10 minutes longer due to the brutal terrain in this section, then it should have.     We had some cheese and Marmite bread (from Dunnington bakers) with our now customary coffee from John’s flask, in reward for our efforts.

We are now the right side (our side) of South Cave with probably 10 mins less to drive to the next start (as we don’t have to get over and across the A63 anymore).    We are heading north now tracking along the route of the A1034 to Market Weighton about ½ mile or so off on our left.    Here are the 3 stages mapped out (from my Garmin Forerunner 50) so far:

Getting up to Goodmanham in stage 4 might be a bit much (A 15 miles return trip and we might not have the time to cover that distance – we both have other shit to do as well), but we may (may!) get as far as the A1079.   We will see..  There you go, a cliffhanger ending!

A clean sheet on the Navigational Stakes.  We never got lost once this time!   We might be getting the hang of the YWW now (?).  Famous last words!

See you all next time you avid blog following trail running enthusiasts!

Odyssey Stage 2 – Welton to Brantingham

I picked John up at 15.30 on Saturday and drove to our new starting point in the pretty village of Welton.   We have about 5 minutes less to travel than we did to Hessle to start leg 1, so in total the round trip should take us 10 minutes less this time.     The Yorkshire Wolds Way arcs towards where we live, with the stretch between Millington and Fridaythorpe being only about 10-15 minutes’ drive away from base.   For now though, and as will be with the later stages, we are having to make 45 minute drives out to the starting points; so every 5 minutes counts as it buys us that little extra time.

So here we are, Dale Road, Welton.  Start no2.  We ran uphill for 400 yards or so out of the village and past the beautiful Welton Spring on our right. The road became a trail, and led to a cottage in the woods.  We ran over a culvert, the spring left of the track flowing down a small waterfall.   We opened the gate and ran out north on the track.

YWW Welton

The track here was reminiscent of the chalk valley sections we had tried out previously in the Fridaythorpe area.   We had woods to our left, and a steep grassy and yellow heather laden bank to our right as we ran through up a slight incline.   Eventually we arrived at another gate, exactly 1 mile in now, through the gate we continued on a narrower path through a wood, still up a slight incline.   After another 3-400 yards or so, we arrived upon a cemented bridleway which ran west to east uphill and across our path.

The YWW sign pointed right (east) up the bridleway.   After 200 yards or so, I spotted the YWW sign (John never) pointing left across a field (SC 1, JD 0), so we corrected ourselves and headed across back in the northerly direction.   Past some dog walkers, and now with a big farm on our left.   Here the track became more prominent as we were now among what appeared to be a network of bridleways snaking over the various hills.   We we’re now also among a number of large wind turbines, surely doing their part in contributing to our renewable energy mix, as it always seems bloody windy round here.

After the odd twist and turn, we went down a steep decline and then John spotted the YWW sign pointing us west.  I missed it this time (SC 1, JD 1).    We turned left up a narrow track and through a half mile long wooded section, until we eventually hit a road T-Junction.   Lambwell Hill ran south to north across our path, and Elloughton Dale straight ahead of us.   We crossed over and ran up Elloughton Dale until it took a sharp left, at which point we left the road section to continue on the YWW trail.

Ellougton dale road

This section was hard going, like most of the route thus far it seemed to be mostly uphill, and at this point the terrain (due to tractor tracks) was extremely bumpy and uneven.   We continued in this direction and passed an YWW Acorn path marker saying 69 miles to Filey.   That means that we are 10 miles from the start at Hessle (1/2 way into stage 2).    The track then gave way to a road; Spout Hill.


At the summit of Spout Hill, I paused to take a picture of the Humber I could see in the distance, plus various roads and villages, as we we’re at the top of this sections hills.    As we ran down, we spotted our first deer!  Massive it was as well, more like a moose.  The road was steep here, and we could see the start of the roof tops which must belong to Brantingham.    All of a sudden a YWW sign pointed right, and John completely missed it.  This was a particularly sneaky one, and it was really by chance that I noticed it.  Nevertheless I take the lead in the YWW navigation stakes (SC 2, JD 1).    This took us down a steeped fenced off path between two fields, so steep it was precarious to run down, down to a gate at the next road section; Dale Road.

Here the sign pointed right, not that John noticed, he just ambled across and then looked back at me confused.    I showed him the sign (SC 3, JD 1).   We headed past All Saints Church, Brantingham (A pretty church in a wonderful situation, founded in the 12th Century and lovingly restored by the Victorians in the late 19th century) on our right, then slightly up hill on the road into a private wood.


As the road bent right we saw the YWW sign again, and the track pointed us into the wood.  The sign suggested that South Cave was 2 miles away, but we had now covered about 5 miles, and here was a layby where we could park next time.   We decided to head back.    Then we saw our second deer!    This was up a hill in the wood at the opposite side of the road.  I took a picture of it.   John noted that these deer are darker in colour then the deer seen nearer home (again flexing his superior Askham Bryan College nurtured rural expertise, he thinks he’s like some kind of farmer Bear Grylls!).

Back then to the lung busting challenge of mounting Spout Hill, but after the exertion, we are rewarded with a mostly downhill trot back.   It did get windy, and a little cold though on the way back.     A good quick pace, only halted when John needed a slash.   We retraced our steps, and cheerfully made it back to my car.   A very nice, varied, and picturesque section complete.   It really is a nice part of the countryside this way out, and until taking this on, neither of us would have ever knew.

We had parked outside an unusually white telephone box (a KC 6 telephone box), like off of the past, and we’re startled (then amused) when an old bloke suddenly lurched out of it!    It actually had a fully operational pay phone inside it as well! In 2017!

Phone Boxes in the Hull area are unique in being coloured white, different from the usual red.   This is because Hull had its own independent telephone company, KC Communications, founded in 1902.  There you go!

We had our customary coffee from John’s flask and then headed off home.

Next time, as South Cave is only 2 miles from our next starting position, we hope to make it past there to a further point.   North Newbald beckons, however this may be too far, so it could be an intersecting road that we aim for rather than a village per se; we’ll see.

Also, an admin catch up of the YWW Navigational Stakes referenced in brackets above; on Stage 1 we only went wrong the once, which was my fault, so I have to add 1 to John’s score, therefore following 2 stages its SC 3, JD 2.

Finally, the route this time took us on a bit of a dog leg, and our distance, as the crow flies, was probably only about 2 ½ miles, so we still have a good distance to drive out.  Probably about the same to Brantingham as it was to Welton really, but after we get past South Cave next time, we should see more significant progress.

Stay tuned as the adventure continues, but for now…….That’s all folks!!



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