After a reasonably painless trip on the 128 bus to Pickering, I headed up Park Street, past the station (already done that one) and out of town, past the trout farm, and over New Bridge crossing. After the entrance to the quarry, the road heads uphill, not particularly steeply, but for what seems like forever. There isn't a footpath either, but there wasn't much traffic, so thankfully I didn't have to jump into the nettles at any point. A few tractors passed but not very much else.
At the top of the hill, the road flattens out onto a plateau - technically part of the Tabular Hills (apparently), and is virtually straight. As I was wandered along, pondering the possibilities of it's suspected Roman origins, I became aware of three cows up ahead. Being (I thought) guided along by a sturdy, rural sort of woman. She was gesturing to me, but I couldn't hear her. Naturally I assumed she wanted me to get out of the way, so I politely stepped aside onto the verge, waiting for the cows to pass.
As they neared, I realised the woman was actually shouting at me to walk in the middle of the road and scare them away, so for the second time in a week, I had to put my best bullfighting technique into practice - and they were indeed bulls, not cows (I noticed that when they turned round). What happened next was like one of those crap comedy episodes of Heartbeat - the bulls ran past the woman, so she started chasing them, waving a stick. Up ahead, the road was blocked by (presumably) her husband in a Landrover, and the intention was to steer them back into the farmyard from whence they had escaped.
Alas, the plan failed, and they trotted off through a gap in the hedge, and across a pasture of sheep, with the woman shouting and swearing in their wake, but I like to think my assistance sort of helped...
Eventually I reached civilisation (of sorts), and entered the village of Newton-on-Rawcliffe, and, as appears to be becoming the norm, the pub was shut. No beer for me! Disastrous!
Scabby OS Map guided me through the village and out the other side, and down a leafy lane. I hopped over a stile, and was presented with a fabulous view of Newton Dale. The only problem was, I was at the very top, and my destination was at the very bottom.
After a perilous, near vertical descent, which would have been challenging even for the sturdiest-footed Peruvian and his llama, I reached Levisham station. By the point I was incredibly thirsty, and the prospect of refreshments was filling me with glee. Of course, Sod's Law worked its magic, and the weighbridge tea hut was closed, as was the tea shack on platform 2, and even the vending machines were shut away and padlocked. Never mind though - there was a train back to Pickering soon, which would definitely have a trolley on board...
The train arrived on time, and I got on board. It was absolutely jam-packed with pensioners and the only free seat I could find was by the buffet counter, and was effectively a cushioned narrow shelf. The buffet counter was (of course) closed, but the trolley man was standing nearby. Before I got chance to buy anything, he locked his trolley away in a hidden compartment, and vanished, leaving me parched and surrounded by a coach party of noisy Canadians. Oh dear...
We arrived back in Pickering late, so I didn't have time to get anything before the next bus back home (which as fortune would have it, just happened to be packed with noisy schoolchildren - the joy...), so when I finally arrived back in Scarborough, I immediately made a beeline to the pub. All's well that ends well. Three cheers for the good citizens of Wetherspoons!