Sutton Bank/Gormire and White Horse Loop

Here is the route, some stunningly beautiful landscapes and a bit of fun

The dogs are watching every move I make as I get ready for today’s little walk from Sutton to Gormire and then to White Horse.


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All being well it should be around 10km and about 3 hours.

I’ve spoken to George Renwick and he’s ensuring we all meet at the appropriate time and that all are informed, he’s a star.

Pete has requested that I give him plenty of time as, in his words, “I’m not the fastest driver in the world” so I’ve asked him to be at my house at 0930 as we’re meeting Flemers at Sutton Bank ready for a 1015 start. Pete Hymer is a gifted photographer and anyone who is married and reading this has probably been photographed by him.

Pete arrives right on time and we set off for Hayden and George.

He’s right about slow! We travel through town and we’re overtaken by pedestrians. Hayden is at the bus stop and we pick him up then make our way to the end of Harewood Lane where we stop for a couple of hours whilst we wait for traffic to clear. George has been held up due to an incident on the bus so we pick him up at Morton then point the car in the general direction of Thirsk.

We’re making steady progress, only a couple of tractors and a tramp on a bike manage to overtake us. Flemers rings me to let me know he’s at the meeting point, I tell him we’ll be there a week on Tuesday.

Flemers is a gifted internationally renowned singer and songwriter and boy can he talk. He finds a hook in every sentence and has perfected the art of breathing through his arse as there is no evidence of pausing for breath but he is rivetingly interesting and he defers to anyone which is a key art of conversation. He’s also very witty and fits our group perfectly.

We assemble at the meeting point at the top of Sutton Bank. There is a charge of £4 for the parking but there are facilities to hand.

I see a sign that informs us that the best view in England is only a few metres away and that’s the direction that we take. The first part of the walk is northwest along Sutton Brow towards Garbutts Wood. I’ve seen these wonderful views so many times but I never tire of them. There is a minor haze that reduces the definition of the Pennines over the other side of the vale but we can’t avoid that as the ground is wet and the sun has been busy for 4 hours so it is to be expected.

We make our way along Sutton Brow and take every opportunity to make photographs. The sky is as blue as I’ve ever seen and the wispy high cirrus cloud full of promise. Cirrus cloud is the harbinger of great weather. It contains no threats, no lightning to fry us, no drenching rain to make us cold and uncomfortable, it promises then it delivers, I love cirrus cloud.

The Cleveland Way is well maintained and there is a separate cycle track so there are times that it looks like a dual carriageway; however, the views, well they are just stupendous. As we make our way along the ridge Gormire presents itself to us like a clear blue pool surrounded by vegetation that’s been prepared and dressed by the perfect spring. Gormire is, depending on the text, bottomless; contains a village; is the escape route of a witch and is the final resting place of a goose that re-emerges without feathers in Kirkbymoorside. Today, it’s a very beautiful lake and reflects the blue of the sky. Just beautiful!

We turn left at the bridle path and make our way down to the lake. The track is muddy at times but otherwise relatively easy going. There are so many different birds singing that trying to identify them becomes an obsession.

There are rhythmic sharp cracks that echo around the forest. Flemers observes that it’s a farmer chastising his wife. The response, if he’s right, is that if it’s a Yorkshire wife she’ll render her husband with three Adams apples and, with luck, he may regain his ability to see, hear and smell in the next few days.

The mystery is solved when we meet some Forestry Commission workers rebuilding a fence. We ask about the lake and we’re advised to turn left at the next intersection in the forest.

We follow their instructions and soon see the lake.

There is a length of rope hanging with a piece of wood in a loop at the bottom, a perfect swing that is immediately seized upon by both George and Hayden. I switch on the camera ready for what might happen. The rope is hanging in a beautiful glade that looks out upon the lake. The water is blue from the reflection of the sky, it’s surreal.

I make a few photos and so does Pete. Sadly, the rope remains intact, George and Hayden get to play and we are robbed of the ultimate photograph of the splash as one or other of them is consumed by the lake.

A man and his wife ask us if the path goes right around the lake. He has a baby strapped in a papoose around his chest. They stop for a while in the shared expectation that one of our illustrious comrades should end up wet.

So we move on. The Lake is on our right and the map is telling us to walk the periphery until we’re at the other side. The walk remains fabulous and we arrive at the other side having missed the route that takes us to High Cleaves. The upside is that we completely circumnavigate the lake, the downside is that we’ve added a couple of kilometres to the map.

We stop for lunch just before High Cleaves, we’re in a beautiful meadow and the sun is shining. The day is idyllic with daisies, buttercups and forget-me-nots in abundance.

This middle ground is easy but doesn’t conform to the map. The farmer keeps us right and we end up on the appropriate track with the valley to our left.

The meadows are well kept and remind me of childhood, the sheep and lambs are gamboling free although they are a little uncomfortable with us in the field.

We cross the main Sutton Bank Road and walk the lane that emerges on the other side. More fields are presented to us and we make a right just before Hood Grange Farm. The path bisects the corn field and there is a surreal feeling of walking on water as we traverse the field with the leaves and stems of the corn making gentle waves in the wind.

The walk through the valley is easier as we follow the bridleway through the woods and beyond to below the White Horse. We’ve fallen into a discussion about education now and manage to identify some issues but, sadly, we don’t come up with solutions.

We need a couple of stops as we make out way up the steep incline to the car park for the White Horse then we get to the steps! There are a lot of them and more stops are necessary. I’ll explain this when I make another blog about health.

The actual White Horse is a dichotomy of the impressive vision of what can be seen from the north/south main railway line where it looks pristine and the disappointment of what it looks like at close quarters. The views beyond though are without equal and more than compensate.

Our final mile is parallel to the glider station and thoroughly enjoyable as we see them being towed into the sky.

More views including Sutton Bank and Gormire beyond, fabulous!

Flemers has to leave immediately, but we stay for ice cream, coffee and soft drinks at the cafe.

Great day. About 8 miles when we include the extra mileage around Gormire. If you follow the map it’s about 6 miles. Varies between moderate and easy and it is really beautiful.

Enjoy the snaps…G..x

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