There is no rest for the wicked. Yesterday was spent travelling home from Seville and after one night at home we were on the road early again this time heading up to Osmotherly to meet up with Dorothy and Steve to continue with the assault of our next long distance footpath. We completed stage 1 from Helmsley to Sutton Bank last November and over these two day we are tackling stages 2 and 3. It was a quick sort out of cars, and, leaving Dorothy and Steve's at Ormotherly, we set off in ours back to Sutton Bank. We were lucky with the weather: mixed sun and cloud improving as the day went on. Our walk followed the western edge of the Yorkshire moors along steep escarpments with expansive views over the Vale of York to the Yorkshire Dales. Near to the start below was Gormire Lake; the only natural lake on the North Yorkshire Moors, it has no inflow or major outflow of water. It is thought to be fed from an underground spring and drained by a limestone channel. It is the subject of many myths and legends: it is supposedly bottomless and the entrance to hell. The latter half of our walk followed the Hambleton Drove Road. This is a 15 mile routeway over the Hambleton Hills. The road takes its name from the Scottish cattlemen or drovers who were hired to drive cattle all the way from Scotland and across the English countryside to sell at various market towns as far south as London. The Hambleton Drove Road was just one of many routes which were followed by these tough traders. Along our walk were were serenaded by the beautiful bubbling breeding song of curlew as they glide back down to earth on shivering wings and the strident calls and aerobatics of displaying lapwings. There were grouse in plentiful numbers; I love their friendly chuckling go back-go back call as they fly off. Nuthatch were calling in the woods as we descended to Osmotherly. Wood anemone, wood sorrel, dog's mercury and primroses were all in flower now.
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