Solo Roseberry


Jeans – check
Shirt – check
Trousers – check
Socks – check
…erm vest? well it’s up a height so OK – check

I can’t sleep, my brain is jumping around like a box of frogs so I decide to walk to the top of Roseberry Topping – Yorkshire’s Matterhorn.



So…it’s 0430 (that’s a.m.), I’m dressed and trying to decide if I need a shave. You just don’t know who you might meet on Roseberry Topping mid-week in spring. I have a shave!

I’ve not done the Roseberry walk before. Yes, I know, I only live 20 miles away but that’s the truth. Like many others, I’ve talked about doing it but never actually got around to it.

There are maps on the Internet so I try the National Trust and bingo, full instructions. If I’m just going to the top and back I don’t really need them but they describe a kind of circular route that includes a bluebell wood so I print it off. The printer is near Tom’s room and I’d never noticed just what a noisy clanking beast it is when it fires up. I have no idea what preparatory acrobatics it’s doing and I do feel a little uncomfortable but then I get over it 🙂

Hardened walkers need sustenance on their treks and the fruit bowl is in focus. Bananas are a food that are easy to carry, full of energy & potassium and are recommended by all the gurus that write about walking. I don’t have any bananas!  It looks like an orange will do. Could do with a drink too so I go for the full fat Coke, nothing like something fizzy when you’re out of breath. It doubles as a trigger for foaming at the mouth syndrome and ensures you’re centre of attention when the symptoms begin and they call for the rabies testing kit. I think I’ll call at a shop and get a still orange.

You can see from all of the above that I am a fastidious and detailed planner and have thought for days about this. OK I’m not expecting snow and it’s not a “Hard V. Diff.” as the climbers would call it but it does have steep bits and that’s why I’ve printed off a map…

It’s still dark outside but there is a glow in the East, it’s also a little overcast which is disappointing as my imagination whilst still in bed was ripe with images of a glorious sunrise and the bewitching, photographic, golden hour. Fingers crossed, as my Irish friends would say “It’ll improve”.

I arrive at the car park at Newton-Under-Roseberry. It’s £2.20 for two hours or £4.00 for the day, since I don’t know how long I’ll be I pay the 4 quid.

It looks steep!

I take the track up to Newton Wood, mostly oak trees and just beginning to bud. The birds are really going for it just a wonderful dawn chorus of call and response. Translation: Call, “Fancy a leg over”, Response, “You’ll need to catch me first”. You can see I’ve been studying ornithology for hours!

There are steps that look maintained and safe but I certainly wouldn’t like to negotiate them in the rain. As I scramble above the tree line there’s gorse, daffodils and small white flowers that I haven’t yet identified. I make my way further up towards the cliff element of the hill and look back. Now I know why people come up here regularly.

I’m reasonably fit but have to stop a couple of times to catch my breath and I’m overtaken by an American gentleman who tells me he goes up everyday rain or shine. Clever sod 🙂

Near the summit the wind is really blowing strong and I’m not a happy bunny. There are two ladies at the top and they encourage me to take a particular route and the wind dies almost immediately.

At the summit my two best friends are sitting and chatting about the view, I’m slightly nervous due to the wind but they’re completely unfazed, I feel a bit of a wimp 🙂

My return to the tree line is windy but uneventful then I follow the trail into the wood to look for the bluebells. Sadly, they’ve either been or are yet to be, I’m not sure which. Perhaps that’s a cue to go back in a couple of weeks.

As I scramble down one of the banks I’m approached by a particularly attractive female who turns her head slightly to one side when I speak to her. She has beautiful eyes and I swear she is smiling. She has a wet nose and licks my face as she gets close. I love labradors and this one is particularly friendly although I could have done without the face wash whilst I’m trying to negotiate some tree trunks on hands and knees.

Back at the car and checking distances. My route including Newton Woods was 4km (see map). It was the ‘hard’ route with some very steep ascent.

Oh, and, I had a word with a friend whilst I was up there 🙂

Enjoy the snaps…G..x

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