Last September, I set off for my second English walk to hike the Dales Way, which was followed up by a spontaneous UK and Ireland adventure in November, then an enchanting family trip to the island in March, and finally ambitious walk across the breadth of England in celebration of my 40th birthday in May.
Not long after I came back from the Dales Way my good friend, Jeremy Jones, contacted me about going on yet another walk with a group of friends. Within a matter of hours, a committed group of 6 had been assembled. I was surprised to see how eager everyone was to set dates and book big ticket items. A chance comment on facbook led to a conversation with Bobby the Australian, who I met on the Dales Way, and he joined the party.
We settled on the Cleveland Way, a 110-mile national trail that skirts the outer boundary of the North York Moors National Park in the northeast of England, just north of York. Coincidently, the Coast to Coast overlaps the Cleveland Way for about 10 miles, so I got a nice preview of the trail in May. Half the trail follows the coast. There are many coastal trails in the UK but I’ve alway been leery of committing to more than a week of walking with invariable coastal scenery. This trail should give me a taste a coastal trail without committing me to a full week on the coast.
The North York Moors contains the largest expansive heather moorland in England and Wales. According to the North York Moors’ website:
Heather – an evergreen shrub with twiggy stems – covers our open moorland. Usually lots of heather plants grow together, forming a thick, bushy carpet, sometimes up to half a metre tall. This helps the plant to survive strong winds. Heather also has tiny, narrow leaves shaped like the needles on a Christmas tree, which stop the plant from losing too much water as the winds blow across the moors.
Nectar from heather flowers makes excellent honey, and local beekeepers often bring their hives on to the moors in late-summer when the heather comes into bloom.
Heather moorland in the middle of a bloom is breathtaking. We will be walking during the blooming season.So here I am, a year from planning my Dales Way walk and I’ve been to the UK 4 times since with another trip planned for late August. Not too shabby.
Part of my goal with this trip is to play the role of tour guide. I’ve learned quite a bit about booking these trips, and who knows? If there’s enough interest, a walking tour to the England with some eager friends might be feasible annually, as long as I can still figure out a way to get out by myself. I’m looking forward to sharing
I’m not sure if I’ll have enough time to keep up with the blog along the way. I suppose that most of the people who follow it will be walking with me this time. At any rate, I’ll post when I can. I expect there will be enough shenanigans this trip to keep me otherwise occupied.