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Tales from the trails - A Walk Recce To Remember !

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

That picture of the lovely (now we're back home and warm!) Tae Dog and a plastic camel in the woods pretty much sums up my day!

We always recce our walks before you walk them....sometimes it's a joy, other times it's traumatic and leads to MUCH wine drinking!

So. We set off late. DON'T get me started. There was faffing. We had to drop my teenager's house key (the one he definitely had!) off at work. We had 10 miles to do before dark. We'll just make it! All is well.

We had decided to take both dogs. Now. I love my doggos Arthur and Tae (though at one point today they had much more colourful names I won't repeat!) but they aren't great hikers. More on why later.

First drama. Teenager replaced the car boot barrier. We were remiss, and did not check it before setting off. Cue full scale canine escape into the cabin on the busy A170 into Scarborough. Cinnamon buns (not a emphemism) were squashed.

Google Maps is a knob. You know it. I know it. WHY do I continue to trust it?!? The post code was NOT helpful and my lovely recce of Wykeham Forest is looking decidedly dodgy. My husband informed me he didn't think he had his head torch. WHAT?!?

No worries! The post code was taking us to Harwood Dale. I have a route planned there that I was thinking of doing in February. We'll do a short version of that! (I'll go back and do the whole thing - don't worry! )

Start the walk from a cute little village. Three times. In 15 minutes. Because Arthur (dog not husband) has to poop in three sittings. (Bags back to car. No poo bin and I'm not carrying them 8 miles!)

The route is gorgeous. Bit muddy but lots of stunning forest, lovely countryside and a Staffie crossed with an American Bull Dog pulling like a train! My bad. I forgot his harness. The 'little' dude has big shoulders. I slid. ALOT!

Slight issues with the paths discovered. A footbridge coated in Vaseline or grease or olive oil! Husband thinks it's mildew. Whatever! All four of us ice skate across. I'm CLINGING on for dear life. Husband slides past dragged by a skidding Arthur. (Husband is a North York Moors Ranger - this death trap has already been included in strongly worded email to the landowner cause he's scary like that, and you guys aren't crossing it!)

Count our blessings there are no broken bones....until we get to a marked footpath gate that is stuck fast. Investigate the catch. There's something weird and slimy and spiky in it. Not touching it. Nopey nope! So, we climb and shove the pooches through a hole in the fence. (Same landowner, same email!)

Catch a glimpse of lovely Hayburn Wyke in the distance. It's not for today, the light isn't plentiful.

Up, up through golden pines. Loving life. This is why I do what I do. Dogs off lead and trotting happily beside us. (They are both so good off lead, well usually, the train proved me wrong about 30 minutes later)

Short section of road. Faster than expected. (We'll avoid on our walk. This is why we recce!) Dogs not bothered by cars. Oh no. But Arthur point blank refuses to walk on the wet leaves. Carry him for half a mile. He. Is. HEAVY. A chunk! Had a little cry. Husband coaxes Tae with diminishing patience.

Farmland. Husband gets dragged down a muddy bank by Tae. I may have laughed. A lot!

Meet the farmer who tells us that our preferred path is 'buggared'. He kindly directs us, and we literally stumble over an ancient stone circle of burial cairns. Ace!

The walk is nearly done. Just the forest's beautiful big wide paths to navigate. Home free!

Tae sees the deer before I do, and oh Lord he's off lead! The magnificent animal saunters slowly off (they breed their wildlife 'ard in Yorkshire!) Tae gets a good whiff of his first deer and starts channelling Usain Bolt!

Dog disappears. Panic! Shout once, I hear him skid to a stop. Shout twice. He barks. Think he may be swearing at me. Shout three times. He comes trotting back and huffs.

The last 15 minutes were mercifully uneventful. Both dogs jump in the boot pooped, and I eat my squished cinnamon bun from earlier. Well deserved I think! Husband inhales chocolate. We make a pact. Dogs ONLY on routes we know.

So, if you see a walk from Harwood Dale sometime in February. Please book it. There will be no slippy bridges, stuck gates, fast roads or idiot dogs! Just beautiful countryside, lush forest and a bit of mud.

PS The camel?! No idea either. Best not to question!

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