Saturday, 26 April 2014

No Weddings and a Funeral

This morning, despite not leaving the den of iniquity that is Bacchus 'til after 3am, I managed to drag myself onto the 09:48 TransPennine Express to Malton - the starting point for today's adventure visiting a couple of stations on the abandoned Malton & Driffield Railway. 

Wind-in-the-Willows was never like this.
After a stroll through the back streets of Norton-on-Derwent (Malton station not actually being in Malton of course...), my planned route took me out to the south-west, through a sea of pebbledashed post-war council housing along Beverley Road, and I spotted the first roadkill of the day! There were also lots of little snails to avoid crushing, as it was drizzling steadily.

After a mile or so, I turned off, onto the Centenary Way footpath (I've no idea what it celebrates the Centenary of - or where it leads to, but there seems to be bits of it all over the place) and across open farmland towards the railway embankment behind the Bacon Factory. Sadly, there was no aroma of bacon, just a faint undernote of horse muck, as the area is quite well-known for it's racing stables.

No trains today...
The path actually leads up onto the embankment, and follows along it for a while - the view is crap 'cos it's totally overgrown with bushes and trees - before dropping back down to field level again and over a fairly rotten-looking footbridge across a drainage ditch. 

Still following the mysterious Centenary Way, thee path became very muddy and horrid - perhaps wearing brogues had been a bad idea? - so I had to tread very carefully. In fact "Tread" might be the wrong word - "Mince" might be more appropriate. Like a sylvan John Inman-impersonator. Thankfully there was nobody else around to see just how much of an utter knob I looked.

Soon though, I was back on a proper road, and it was time for a station-selfie. Although quite an attractive building, I didn't hang around long at Settrington, because as well as a profusion of "Private" notices, there is also a long shed with cages along the front - very strong-looking cages - which clearly are meant to house some sort of killer hounds. They aren't visible in the photo as I have managed to obscure them with my massive head.

Settrington - hiding my fear well
So anyway, I managed to keep all my innards intact, and limbs uneaten, and carried on along the lane
Settrington Grange - seriously creepy...
southwards. It runs parallel with the old trackbed , but to be honest I was far more intrigued by the security measures at Settrington Grange on the other side of the road. They clearly do not welcome visitors at all, and have got the most enormously high fence I have ever seen - badly camouflaged behind a dying hedge. Perhaps that's where the killer dogs from the old station go to work? I'm sure they've got to be hiding something dodgy - I'm thinking Josef Fritzl crossed with Jimmy Savile...

North Grimston is only a short distance away, and is much more welcoming. The only warning sign there is about children playing on the grass. Not scary at all. The station layout there is quite unusual, and must have been a pain in the arse when the line was open, as the road runs right through the middle, actually bisecting the platform! The station house is on the southern half of the platform, and the waiting rooms on the north. Luckily, even nowadays the road is only a very minor one - I imagine before the station closed in 1950 it was probably even quieter!
North Grimston - the southern part of the platform
"Bright Eyes..."
My original vague plan at this point was to carry on to the next
station along the line at Wharram, but due to time constraints and not wanting to miss the train back from Malton, I ditched that idea. I walked a short way beyond the station house, turned left, and (insert trumpet fanfare here) found myself back on the Centenary Way again! I followed it down the hill, as it lead back to the actual village of North Grimston, and passed my second dead animal of the day (third if you count the sausage roll I bought from Asda). Not roadkill obviously - I think this one had been attacked by a fox, or maybe an owl.

I wouldn't drive across that for all the tea in China!
The path crosses under the old railway line this time, by means of a seriously rickety bridge that looks like it's come out of the Wild West, never mind rural Yorkshire. Most of the bridges between Malton and North Grimston were removed long ago, but this one is used by Lord Middleton of Birdsall to access his pheasant nest areas further along the line. He (or at least, his chauffeur) must have nerves of steel to drive a Landrover over that! Or perhaps they use something smaller - maybe a SmartCar...

St Nicholas', North Grimston
Before it reaches the village, the path runs right next to a stream, so is consequently more like a dirty swamp, which only confirmed what I was already thinking - smooth-soled brogues are definitely, definitely not designed for the countryside (although they do look very nice - I bet Lord Middleton has several pairs). After that though, it was road walking all the way back to Malton/Norton. I was going to pop in and have a nosey in St Nicholas's church, but as I reached the gate, I realised I was about to invade a funeral. Thankfully I managed to resist the urge to greet the assembled company with a hearty "Good Mourning!"...

Back in Norton, I had finished all my Asda snacks, so called into a butchers shop for a pork pie - it was very nice, but not quite as good as the one from Hinderwell earlier in the week, and cost 20p more (clearly the racehorse-owning local populace have more cash to spend on baked goods). And with that I was back at the station in time to get the 14:03 back home. Much better hangover prevention than sitting around at home watching DVDs and eating crisps.

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