Our group in North East England is thriving at present, with several recently-joined regulars as well as others who have been with us a long time. A creditable eighteen participants met on a bright late spring morning outside the church in Ingleby Greenhow, eager to be away to enjoy what turned out to be a splendidly panoramic ramble around the edge of the Cleveland hills.
We set off through the churchyard, across a small stream, and found ourselves almost immediately passing through pleasant open grassy fields, with the Cleveland escarpment ahead. In the distance we could see Roseberry Topping, a distinctive cone-shaped prominence with a steep cliff, which we had climbed on a previous occasion. In one field we passed a herd of young cattle which seemed very keen to greet us and say hello – perhaps they thought we had tasty morsels for them.
Turning to the right after this encounter we began to follow what had been the route of the Rosedale Railway. Nearby Middlesbrough and the Teesport area has long been associated with the iron and steel industry, but much of the early extraction of the ironstone came from high on the remote North Yorkshire Moors in Rosedale. It was carried on a 17-mile railway built in the mid-nineteenth century which crossed the inhospitable high moors and descended by a rope-worked incline to reach the port on Teesside. The route of the railway has survived as a scenic path for walkers. We now ascended around 600ft up the incline on a continuous gradient of 1 in 5. At the top we were rewarded by extensive views back to Teesside and beyond, and a welcome break for our lunchtime sandwiches, albeit with a little rain momentarily in prospect.
Although we were now on open moorland we could see some remains of the railway in the form of bits of stonework associated with an engine shed and the winding-house for operating the incline. We could imagine this not to be an easy place for the many railway and other workers who would have been needed to keep it all going in all weathers and at all times of the year.
The next part of our walk took us along part of the Cleveland Way, a long-distance footpath, and we followed the high ridge, mercifully more or less on the level but maintaining the wide views. Eventually we turned downhill, quite steeply into woods which became more sheltered; and the air became noticeably warmer.
Crossing more fields we passed close to Ingleby Manor, a grand-looking house with extensive grounds. We soon found ourselves back at the village of Ingleby Greenhow, which we entered by an intriguingly narrow and winding path between two gardens. We took the opportunity of refreshment in the village pub before dispersing.
Thanks are due to Chris who made the preparations for today’s event, to Ivor providing the photographs along our way, and as always to all who participated and contributed to the conviviality of the occasion.