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!