Walk 3418 - Cringle Moor & the Wain Stones
Nat Park - North York Moors
County/Area - North Yorkshire
Author - Peter Smyly
Length - 6.0 miles / 9.8 km
Ascent - 800 feet / 242 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference NZ522030
Postcode TS9 7JH (approx. location only)
This is a walk featuring part of the Cleveland Way on the North Yorkshire Moors along a ridge to the south of Great Broughton, featuring three tops of similar heights. The walk covers a small part of Alfred Wainwright's famous "Coast to Coast" walk and the area is a popular spot for hang gliders. Paths are clear throughout the route and the three hills on the ridge entail a certain amount of steep ascents and descents, but normally on well-constructed stone paths. There are pleasant views of hills and countryside throughout and the highlight of the walk is the assortment of rocks and boulders near the highest point of the third top, known as the Wain Stones. This route suggests returning by the low level path which borders the escarpment to the north, the route bypassing the three hills as it undulates gently instead. This is a walk that could easily be completed in an afternoon.
Start at the Lord Stones' car park at the Carlton Bank end of the ridge to the west where there is a subterranean café and public conveniences. Take the obvious path through the trees and follow the waymarked trail ahead, passing a plantation of trees on the left before following the path up to the first top, marked by a stone chair, large enough to seat at least two people. The view to the north is especially apparent throughout with green and yellow fields and scattered settlements such as Great Ayton and Great Broughton with the distinctive profile of Roseberry Topping beyond and Urra Moor to the right of it. Further away still, the industrial chimneys of the Middlesbrough area can be seen. The view back to the car park shows a path clearly going up the ridge on the other side. The path ahead now follows a more or less level trajectory through the heather with rock outcrops on the left and then the route descends steeply in places to the next dip. Going up and down each of the three hills is entirely optional as there is a path on the edge of the escarpment that skirts all three of them, a route which is suggested for the way back to avoid a straight "there and back".
After the second top has been ascended and then descended down to the dip known as Garfit Gap, the next top saves the best until last with the prospect of the Wain Stones drawing ever nearer. Seen from the second top, if you haven't visited them before, there is nothing to suggest how dramatic they are until you get much closer to them, especially on the walk up the final slope to reach them. This approach is the steepest section of the walk but any toil is barely noticeable as the rocks and boulders loom ever larger on approach and the path weaves its way between them to lead to the top of the ridge above the stones. This is a popular spot for rock climbers with ropes and helmets. This is the most interesting and picturesque bit of the walk, and it is well worth pausing to stop and drink in the views.
For the return route, a descent to Garfit Gap offers the option of taking the low level route to the right all the way back to the car park with only minimal ups and downs along a very clear track. At Garfit Gap there is evidence of former mine workings in the form of old slag heaps.
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