Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A Splendid Stroll Through The Kirkham Gorge

Got the 09:48 from Scarborough this morning, to Malton. The train was on time. The other passengers were, or course, the usual bunch of business people and commoners. According to the delightful family across the aisle, Transpennine Express toilets are "the smallest toilets in the world". They've clearly not been on the Caledonian Sleeper. Or to my flat. But if you're trying to fit three people in there at once, what can you reasonably expect?

Took a photo of my self at Malton on arrival, but I looked so terrible I deleted it almost immediately, with the intention of getting another on the way back. My route took me out through the old goods yard - now a housing estate - and on to the riverbank - part of the Centenary Way apparently. My first thought was "what a muddy mess", but in retrospect that was nothing...

Running between the railway and the River Derwent, the path is very flat, very damp, and very windy. And also features cows. I like cows. They're nice. Unless I'm in the field with them, in which case I think they're really scary! Especially when I'm trying to walk quickly away from them, and the field suddenly turns into a swamp! I fear my shoes may never be the same again. Perhaps suede wasn't the best idea.

Cherry Islands, apparently
The Derwent bridge

Huttons Ambo was the next station on the line - "was" being the operative word, having closed to passengers, along with all the other intermediate stations, back in 1930 by the LNER. It's easy to see when you're actually on the train, but from the road it's fairly well hidden, being surrounded by fences, hedges, and the residents' washing lines. 
Does my bum forehead look big in this? (Huttons Ambo)
Random fact: Huttons Ambo served the villages of High Hutton and Low Hutton, the word "Ambo" means "both". Or something.

From Hutton, I had two options - I could either follow the river through the woods, up to the main road, or go up through the village, and across a field to the same point on the main road. I opted for the latter, 'cos I was getting a bit sick of rivers (plus it was shorter). The main road in question is the A64. It has no pavements. It is awful.

Do not walk on the grass verge of the A64, unless you like nettles, brambles, litter and speeding traffic. The A64 is a bastard. However, in it's favour, the A64 leads to Crambeck... 

Crambeck is so  pretty! Considering it's effectively a cul-de-sac off a hideous main road, it's like another world - little cottages, flowers everywhere - even a squirrel! The village street leads steeply down to the railway line and the river. There was never a passenger railway station there - just a coal and goods depot - so I didn't take a picture of myself (it wasn't on the tile map anyway, so would have broken the rules), but I had a good explore. 
Crambeck weighbridge
Crambeck crossing and phonebox

Crambeck became a goods depot, whereas the passenger facilities were at Castle Howard, just a little further along the line - they were kept separate so the gentry arriving to visit the stately home of the same name wouldn't have to deal with "that sort of thing" (I'm sure that's what they would've called it). The station building is now restored as a private residence and a holiday cottage, and looks fantastic considering it's been shut for the past 84 years, but sadly there's no close public access. I got a picture from the gates:
Stupid facial expression. Again. (Castle Howard)
From Castle Howard, it's only three quarters of a mile along the valley to the old station at Kirkham Abbey. The walk winds through woodland, and across fields, and the word "idyllic" doesn't do it justice. The station buildings are now a house, but there's still an operational signalbox, serving the level crossing. If Hornby made a train-set that looked like here, you wouldn't believe it could be real - it's all so perfect!
No comment... (Kirkham Abbey)
Kirkham signalbox

There's the old station and signal-box, overlooking the river, with a quaint old bridge, and the ruined priory (not abbey, despite the station name), and then further up the hill a manor house with a range of Victorian greenhouses and a tiny little pub right at the top. It's one of those places that should only exist in the imagination, but I'm glad it's real :)

After a quick half in the aforementioned tiny little pub - The Stone Trough ; my half-way point - I began to make my way back towards Malton. The scenery reminded me in a strange way of Norfolk - perhaps slightly more undulating, but similar. Walked via Menethorpe (not sure if it counts as a village, or even a hamlet), and Welham (effectively a suburb of the golf course). Got back to Malton with three minutes 'til the next train back to Scarborough, so had enough time to take a less hideous photo of myself on the platform...

Malton - better than the other photo... ;)

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