Following a good breakfast at the Cross Keys and after dropping into the village shop for an interesting chat with the smartly bewigged lady behind the counter, we set off up the hill out of the village.
Two young women came up behind us and moved on ahead. It was dull and breezy as we turned our back on Thixendale and moved on over the hill. We were surprised at this point To come across some highland cattle. Busy taking a photograph of mother and son, I was somewhat surprised to see the head of an enormous bull, complete with large nose ring, appear over the bank……. I decided at this stage that a family shot was sufficient!
We had not gone far when we came to a place where the path crossed to the other side of the hedge. The girls had continued, chatting, along the hedge line. We shouted but our calls were lost on the wind. We eventually emerged on the road and about 100 yards along behind us our lady friends had emerged heading in the wrong direction! After fierce gesticulations on our part they got the message and headed down the road. They were back on track.
We moved from deep valleys to open fields. After some ups and downs we found ourselves on a long stretch of green lane going straight ahead for over a mile. There were wonderful views to the north. The weather was fickle – one moment rain and the next sun emerging from behind the cloud.
Passing through a field gate we started to descend into the deserted medieval settlement of Wharram Percy. There is evidence of at least one Iron Age house here in addition to a Roman Villa. The village grew under Anglo Saxon settlers and for three centuries it had a population of circa 150. Unfortunately the Black Death and a change in farming methods led to the village being deserted and it is thought that the last house was abandoned in 1500. The first thing to be seen was the skeleton of the church appearing over the slope of the hill. We then descended to the fish pond, beautiful in the sunlight and then the grassed over foundations of ancient peasant houses. A lovely spot.
We then moved on, taking the route up through the tall grasses beside the path up to the car park for Wharram Percy and out onto the road. The sun which had come out for the medieval village fast disappeared and it started to rain. After a fair bit of road walking we turned down into the small village of Wharram Le Street. We then struck out to the right of the road that made up the village on the bridle way that wended its way up the hillside away from the road. At this point the two young women and two elderly gentlemen ( who put their umbrellas up against the rain where upon the said umbrellas more or less immediately blew inside out – I wonder if they have tried anoraks with a hood?!) who we had also seen along the path were ahead of us.
Not long after this, the girls had missed another turn off and we had brought them back on track and the elderly gentlemen were disappearing up the path on the wrong side of the hedge! We all shouted to gain their attention and were then concerned to find them trying to climb the fence. They were eventually persuaded to walk back the 100 yards to the turn to get it right. What extraordinary behaviour! Dear me! They were all hopeless! The route is very clearly marked. It felt a bit like the hare and the tortoise!
After crossing a road we were moving upwards and after a turn down to cross a small beck we were heading upward again. We were travelling over farmland and eventually came up to farm buildings where I was amused to see a kayak parked. Flooding up here seems a little unlikely!
The views were broadening out …….
In the distance, beyond the vale of Pickering, the North Yorkshire moors could be seen on the horizon.
Our route then took us along the edge of woodland and eventually down a long field edge. Winteringham, our objective for the day, could be seen ahead. A turn to the right at a reservoir and we entered the village.
We headed up the road to the Wolds Way Lavender Farm where we had decided we would be collected by our Cross Keys chums who have been found to be great hosts. We had one of the best cheese scones I have ever encountered while we waited. Yummy!