Saturday, 22 February 2014

Muddy Marske to Helwith Bridge

For me, being out in the sun and wind, amongst the fields and trees of our glorious countryside is a good enough reason for living in the UK.  People moan about our taxes, our government, our weather.... But being out on a hill or mountain on a spring day is reason enough for it all.  I love it.

And I've missed being out there.  Peter and I have been out of the country cruising exotic places and because of that, I've not been out walking since November last year, so this is our first walk of 2014, and it was a brilliant day for it.

We picked Marske because it is nice and local, and Peter worked out a relatively short walk that wasn't too hard. We needed to test our fitness and start getting back into the routine of it all.  So just after midday, we set off from the bridge outside Markse and headed northwest along Marske Beck.

There's been a lot of rain recently, everywhere is muddy, and as I know from a previous walk in Marske, it can be exceptionally muddy down by the beck. 
Approaching Pillimire Bridge - thankfully the mud was a little bit drier here!
Once across the bridge you reach this old waterwheel.  I think it's fantastic!
From the bridge we made our way across wet and soggy fields, past Skelton Farm, and onto a track that led us upwards towards Skelton Moor.  It is so good being higher up again, looking across the valley below. (OK, so we weren't that high, but it was nice anyway).
The little vale of Marske Beck, Telfit Farm ahead. 
Then it was downhill towards the little Hamlet of Helwith and its bridge.

The ford across Marske Beck at Helwith
I should point out that Helwith Bridge is only a foot bridge.  From there we turned east to follow the beck as it meandered towards Telfit Farm.   We found a perfect couple of rocks to sit on. We enjoyed hot soup and cheese biscuits in the sun.  Glorious!

Walking further, we passed all the "Keep Out!" signs of the military firing range on the other side of the beck, and rounded the bend to Telfit Farm.  The path isn't very clear in this area, it was more of case of following your nose, but we ended up on the road just outside the farm as planned.   Then it was across the field to the bridge nearby.  There isn't a ROW sign, or obvious footpath across the field, which sort of makes you a little nervous about being there.  But reaching the other side, the stile and fingerpost gives comfort. 

I'm always amazed by these bridges, really solid crossings that are only used for animals and walkers.  I wonder what reasons the farmer had so many years ago, that made him invest so much time and money and have them built?  How have the roads, and tracks and paths around us changed that they are not used anymore?  Nowadays, we'd just put up a wooden bridge.  These stone bridges out in the middle of nowhere are reminders of a different time, and add so much character to the landscape. 

You can see from the picture that the land has slid on the other side of the beck, but we found our way to the path and continued our way through uninterested sheep, past Orgate Farm, through Clints Wood and back to Marske.  The snowdrops were out in force.

I thought these Teasels were wonderful. 

Then, all too soon we were back at the car.   We'd walked just over 5 1/2 miles, a little bit of up and down, and both of us felt brilliant.  A good little walk.  

I am so looking forward to our next one. 

Here's a map of the walk.