Well I suppose I am a bit biased – being a Monkey Hanger. It did actually rain once but it was overnight, so that doesn’t really count does it? And then it did rain once more – during the day as well – but by then we’d moved into Yorkshire…
All in all though, we did have the most lovely weather for our short break.
The aims of the trip were two fold really. Firstly, to give me a change of scenery after having been pretty much staring at the same four walls for nearly four months and secondly, to get me doing three or four short walks each day to try and loosen my ankle up. OK, I could have done the walks at home but it was nice to get out and about.
The trip started with a van wild camp above Hawes in Wensleydale. We use this spot quite regularly and it’s at the end of Cam High Road, so a good spot for just getting out the van and letting the dogs run free. (Sheep permitting of course where Dixie’s concerned.) And it’s also easy walking – good for the ankle.
I have to say though, that never again will I take ankles for granted. They are actually an amazing piece of engineering. One of those things you never think about until you have to. Ground that to a good ankle feels totally flat, to a dodgy ankle might well feel like the most uneven piece of track ever. When working properly, your ankle obviously constantly rotates and evens out the bumpiest path without you ever giving it a second thought, whereas when damaged, you feel every little nuance underfoot. And what I’m left with now that the bone’s healed, is oodles of soft tissue damage around the joint. As the consultant said to me one day, any force that’s strong enough to snap a bone will have done all sorts of damage to tendons, ligaments and muscles.
Anyway, moving on, we found ourselves up in glorious County Durham. I even made it to a trig point near Wolsingham.
It might well have only been 500 yards from the van, but a trig point nonetheless. There was even a ‘bad step’ near the top that I had to have a couple of goes at…
We camped near by – very peaceful it was too – and another wander had us tackling a quiet track on the edge of Hamsterley Forest.
The views of the surrounding moors were very clear and once again the doggies had a manic run around.
Cow Green Reservoir was next on the list. A lovely place for a campervan to spend the night. A beautiful sunset, gloriously quiet, no sheep nearby and easy paths to potter about on. Someone with a tent had also had the same idea as us too, just a little further round the shore.
A phone call with the Pieman a couple of days earlier, had seen a rendezous arranged at a secret grid ref on the old Darlington to Middleton railway line, so the next morning we duly turned up – on time – at the appointed spot. Dixie was nearly beside herself at the thought of meeting Superdawg……
We let her out of the van and chaperoned the meeting.
As I expected, Dixie’s hackles were up almost instantly. But, almost as quickly, she obviously decided that Superdawg wasn’t actually about to lauch a coup on her kingdom and therefore wasn’t even worth the effort of a grizzly growl.
I had explained to Mike that I was only walking for about an hour at a time but he was ok with that, so we meandered down the track and back again, and then retreated to the van for lunch and a good chinwag.
Dixie went into total floosie mode back in the van and spent half her time trying to cuddle up to Mike for a tickle.
And so ended the County Durham part of the trip! We didn’t feel like going home just yet though and the weather had been gorgeous, so we decided to move on into Yorkshire – the North Yorkshire Moors in fact. We spent several nights wild camping at different spots and then eventually ended up at a site at Slingsby for a few days.
Initially, I had thought about having a go at Roseberry Topping but then decided that that might be pushing the ankle a bit far at the moment.
I did though, manage to climb up to Captain Cook’s monument on the northern escarpment of the moors.
A couple of steady walks were also done along the abandoned railway line on Blakey Ridge.
And the afore mentioned rainy day in Yorkshire didn’t stop action, as we promenaded around Scarborough and Filey and ate fish and chips.
So the final three days of the trip were spent at Slingsby, which is not really the North Yorkshire Moors but more the northern tip of the Yorkshire Wolds. The walking round here was nice and gentle as well as quiet and peaceful, and made me think that maybe the Yorkshire Wolds Way might be worth a look in the future.
So, I’ve obviously got a way to go yet with the ankle but nevertheless feel I’ve made a reasonable start with it. My next physio appointment is this Wednesday so I’ll no doubt come home with even more exercises to do – and I’ve even got some work booked for next week!
The only minor downside to this trip is that Dixie has suddenly started having some incontinence moments, so that’ll be another V-E-T appointment for her – or as Geoff is now calling her, the ‘Pissy Boxer’…