I had spent a couple of days fitting out the back of the Land Rover fitting and changing around the fridge, storage boxes, fuel, water, containers, fire extinguisher, a sand and dust proof container for the camera stuff, truck spares i.e fan belt and suchlike, in fact everything else we are going to need when camping, and more importantly when exploring overseas in wilder climes, I need us and the truck to self-sufficient for a few days at least, so everything we are going to take will need a place and be secure…and not just chucked in the back willy nilly! I’ve sorted a lot of stuff already, I’m sure there will be more things that we havent yet given thought to. In fact I was looking in the back of a Discovery today that is destined for an adventure to Portugal in the morning and picked up a few more ideas about fasteners in particular.
Sunday opened its eyes to a warm still day here in South Yorkshire, the haze had burnt off by 08.00hrs. I just wanted to do a bit more work on the roof rack fitting the base for the extra fuel cans up there. Oh and employing the electic saw before breakfast because the fridge was boxed in by one infuriating inch thus preventing the easy removal of it. Oh wel,l its best to find these problems now and not when I’m on my way to Timbuctoo!)
Julie wasnt coming, she was going to have a day with the osses Lightening Rio and Barney. I wanted to go out and do some research and development..should I take my saw? Nah, think I’ll just take a pencil and notebook! So once Id finished buggering about I showered changed and sorted my “ready use” box before heading to the North York Moors.
I joined the A64 at York and sped along the bypass at around 70 mph, the bottlenecks get no easier on this infamous road especially on the last roundabout on the bypass eastwards, everyone came to a halt as the traffic sorted itself into single file. I was only in it a few minutes before heading off the A64 towards Sherrif Hutton leaving the stop start procession as everyone in Yorkshire it seems headed for the coast!! The first place one comes across is the beautiful hamlet of Flaxton, the vast grassy verges were awash with thousands of bright yellow daffodils
Flaxton..taken last Spring 2013
I drove further north heading towards Hovingham and began the climb up the steep ridge line that is The Howardian Hills. I worked the gears as my two and half ton red truck clawed its way up, the sharp bend at the bottom had slowed me down, going very quick round a sharp bend is not the best thing to do in a Landi..its fun but not wise! The whole body sways and it starts to tip, having beefed up shocks and springs and having big tyres put the truck high on the road and doesn’t help on swervy tarmac..though it’ll be brilliant when overlanding! Nunnington Hall is just off to the right over the little ancient humped back bridge. Before long I’m at the junction of the fast A170 trunk road, to my left about 30 miles away is Thirsk, and about 15 miles to my right is Pickering. This is a great road to travel at speed because its wide and in great condition, it has no blind bends or much on the way of junctions and towns along its route, hence its popular with bikers, so extra care is needed, race replica motorbikes in particular zoom along here very quickly as is the nature of the type of machines they are….race replicas. I turned towards Pickering and got my boot down, at Kirkbymoorside I turned North again and drove to Fadmoor and Hutton le Hole, I backed the speed off to enjoy the countryside and pulled over a few times to let some Sunday sport cars go past, the roads are narrow and passing opportunities are few.
It wasnt long before I left the tarmac in favour of some of the older tracks I saw, I put in some practice switching from high to low gear, the pulling power and the traction is enormous when switching, and when it gets really moon like you can lock all four wheels and crawl over almost any ground. Today though I wanted to get to grips with the stuff in the back. I found a spot to pull over and turned off the engine.
The grass had been nibbled down to the bone by the sheep, though it was soggy underfoot it was ideal for a picnic. It was so very peaceful I sat on the roof and just soaked up the silence, the only noise was from the Lapwings, these broad winged black and white birds played above the heather emitting loud “Pewitt pewitt” calls. Scurrying in the field were male pheasants with their vicar like collars.Now and again I heard dark coloured Grouse barking too. Erm did I say it was peaceful??
After brewing up some coffee and making a couple of chicken sarnies, playing around with the arrangement swapping things around until I was satisfied I packed the ready box away and continued my journey up the dry bumpy track, eventually coming to a main road, turning to Hutton-Le-Hole then turning left again back out into the wilderness and away from the Sunday flocks. The pubs were brimming with families paying their dues to all their much-loved mothers, today was Mothers Day after all.
I picked my way towards Rosedale Abbey, the heather was brown and coarse it would be a while yet before it turned soft and purple, the grass however was a lovely green and nibbled short, punctuated here and there by clumps of needle sharp clumps. The sky was a light grey it stayed like this all day, unfortunately I had drawn the short straw today, the clear blue sky was south of me today. There was a keen breeze too coming in from sea just 20 odd miles away, all the same I kept my window down because Id fitted wind deflectors the previous day and wanted to test them I found these worked quite well.
Bank Top, Rosedale
Before the steep decline into the valley to Rosedale Abbey below and home to the most expensive cup of tea in Yorkshire, there are some old ruins and worth a pause to go explore and also enjoy the views across the valley, unfortunately today the haze meant one could not see for miles and miles, but just a mile or two. The old ruins are the remains of The Rosedale Ironworks, started way back around 1856, there are a row or arches backing into the hillside, this is all that remains of the two giant kilns.
A black and white study of the kiln arches
There were as many sheep as visitors here today, it was still fleece weather after all and the chill wind blew up the valley quickly from the North Sea. Just half a dozen cars stood in the car park.
I had the grateful co-operation of this very photogenic “barr lamb” she let me take some close-ups with flash and just stood looking at me! I took a few more photos before leaving her to her 24 hour lunch
I took my leave climbed bach into the truck and dropped down into the valley to Rosedale Abbey, crossing onto the road to Egton Bridge then onto Goathland by way of a different road from the one I normally take…Remember I dont get lost..I just go a different way! I was stuck behind old Gladys and her friend as they trundled along in their little car at 25 miles per hour chatting and pointing at anything and everything, I dropped down to fourth gear and followed them to the main Pickering to Whitby road, it was just a few miles away…tum ti tum ti tumm!!
We reached the main room after several tracks from The Undertones” we both turned towards Pickering, Gladys quickened her pace to 40, I overtook them with foot to floor on a straight bit the engine was singing proudly as I picked up the speed and was blatting along at a smooth 65. Id also lined the bottom of the truck recently with sound proofing and noted how much quieter it now was, I didn’t need the music as loud now, but I still had it on loud anyway!
It wasnt long before I arrived at Pickering, this time I went straight across the roundabout and on towards Flamingo Land and the main A64 trunk road. It was the last episode of the brilliant English production of The Three Musketeers tonight and I wanted to get back to see it, hence I was choosing the direct route now and getting a move on. But after just a couple of miles a bottleneck choked our progress as the road switched from duel to single carriageway, this happenend twice for gods sake! I didn’t think it would be this busy it was still only March and I didn’t thing folk would be going to the coast in such huge numbers. We didn’t stop we just shuddered along slow slow quick quick slow all the way to the bypass at York! Nothing to write home about really except for the knob in the car, let me explain…the traffic slowed as the duel carriage was turning into a single, this point was about a mile away and people slowed and used both lanes intending to do so until the arrows indicated one should get over to the one lane, one or two will try and push that bit further, thats just our nature nothing really wrong with that right? Well Mr Knobhead thought this was not on and decided nobody was going to pass him so he moved to the middle of both lanes, the single lane was still about half a mile away, I was the one up behind him and so with one wheel on the grass I overtook him. He was looking up at me and mouthing off and jerking with his thumb indicating I should get behind him!! This self-styled Traffic Officer didn’t like me passing him one little bit! I just laughed and made sure I got past OK, further along when the arrows on the road surface indicated to go into left lane, I indicated and waited for a gap then pulled overwith everyone. If your reading this Mr Knobheadl let me say the only persons on the highway who have the authority to control the flow of traffic are the emergency services…and the Queen, its her road after all!