Thursday, 10 July 2014

A Fylingdales Round - 5th July 2014

... and 14 miles on a steaming hot July moorland Saturday afternoon; bagging two of the many ancient stone crosses on the North Yorkshire Tops along the way.

Always remaining a goal of mine is to complete the 54 mile Moorland Crosses Round however a seemingly relentless and endless drive in my business life has rendered all spare time for training as rare as a hen's tooth and so I must grind out tough runs as and when they can be snatched. Today was such a day.

The Grand Depart of Le Tour was underway away in the west, ultimately being watched by well over a couple of million souls but I remain a terrible sporting spectator these days so I took a great chance to get away from the madding crowd and to head up north and moor wards: The plan being to run around the perimeter fence of RAF Fylingdales early warning station, taking a wide arc to catch a few decent trails and to make this a good off-road training run.

A fine, clear, late morning start from the Car Park facing the Hole of Horcum, we headed away east of north, along, over and then down Whinny Nab to Malo Cross and the first picture stop.

"Malo Cross was originally raised at some time after 1220 AD and, similar to Mauley Cross, is named after the de Mauley family who resided at Mulgrave Castle away on the coast above Whitby. (Peter de Mauley obtaining the Mulgrave Estate by marrying into the de Turnham family). The Cross stands at the foot of Whinny Nab on a branch of a Pannierman`s road running south west from Lilla Cross.

On the head of the Cross is the initial K with RE underneath - Sir Richard Egerton Kt" *
Sir Richard, who erected the stone in 1619, was notorious in the C17th for moving stones then claiming them in order to snatch more land than he was entitled to. Other de Mauley boundary stones are the aforementioned Mauley Cross, north of Stape, and Brown Howe Cross - now in the Castle Museum in York

To the present and under the southern eaves of RAF Fylingdales, the route struck out north along a fir woodland field boundary then hit the hard chalk track of Worm Syke and firstly eastwards then curving around north up towards the furthest east point of the days run - Lilla Cross.

This ancient 10 foot high cross sits upon a ruined, and possibly Bronze Age, barrow called Lilla Howe. It has some barely decipherable letters carved upon its face, one in particular being a large "C" possibly meaning Christos (Christ) along with a small thin cross. There are a few other faded hieroglyphics now difficult to decipher. A plaque on a nearby stone gives some narrative of its history:

According to legend, in AD 625 ish King Edwin of Northumbria was traveling with his entourage across the moors when he met with an assassin who had been dispatched by the King of the West Saxons to kill him. The assassin struck with his poisoned tipped sword but Lilla, his chief court minister, flung himself  between the King and the swordsman, taking the full and fatal thrust - dying on the spot and thus saving the Kings' life. Being much impressed by this selfless act of devotion, Edwin ordered that Lilla, being a newly converted Christian, be buried here in a Christian manner. The King then had a cross erected in memory at the spot where Lilla died. It does appear that the cross dates from the C10th, though there may well have been an earlier Saxon cross here.
In 1952, the cross was moved to Sil Howe near Goathland but 10 years later it was returned to its original site on top of Lilla Howe. Lilla Cross has consistently been referred to by historians as the oldest Christian cross on the North York Moors **.

Turning west, the path headed back down the Lyke Wake Track, over the busy A169 across Ellerbeck, Fen Bog and over the North York Moors Railway, upwards towards Simon Howe

Standing by the tall, neat cairn of Simon Howe, gazing away eastwards over Wheeldale towards Stape, it became apparent that I ought to have packed the P20.

It proved hot work under a cloudless early moortop afternoon and then a relief to get away down southwards back into the shade of the woodland fir plantations and the final careful cliff side descent down Needle Point to Newton dale ...

 ... back over the NYM railway and, beyond the boundary fence, through a wood - a latter-day Fanghorn

We have only passed this way once before, as part of the route of the Saltergate Circuit organised by the Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain rescue mob, and, again have never been in a thicker, darker space.

Incredible to think it was a scorchingly clear blue day outside ... on both occasions. Inevitably the short round came to an end, coming up out of Newton Dale ...

and passing the old, and now partly derelict, Saltergate Inn on route back to the car park and the welcome stop for ice cold water from the resident ice cream van and the final glimpse over Horcum.

A short round of 14 miles but several sharp up and downs delivered a smart testing few hours of moorland trails in preparation for revisiting these parts in the main event - but heading in the other direction - next Saturday.

*An illustrated Guide to Crosses on the North Yorkshire Moors - E. Ogilvie and A. Sleightholme: 1994 the Village Green Press
** Woodwark, T.H., the crosses on the North York Moors, Whitby Literary & amp; Philosophical Society 1934.

No comments:

Post a Comment