30 May 2007

Guisborough Forest and Walkway

This is actually my nineteenth walk after moving to the United Kingdom and looking upon rambling as an interesting hobby. However, I am posting it before the others, for it has taken me over 2 years to think about starting to keep a blog about my walks, and another 6 months to actually create one. Says a lot about my ability to procrastinate.


We took off to Guisborough Forest yesterday morning with a few friends. It was not the best of days to be outdoors. It was pouring when we left, and despite the forecast for clearer skies later in the day, it wasn't until much later (read on the way back), that we actually saw some sun. But we were not about to let a few drops of water deter us. So we wrapped up warm, pulled on make-shift water proof jackets (M and I don't really have raincoats yet. That's another thing on my must buy list), packed a nice lunch, and set off.

Guisborough Forest and Walkway

The Forest, situated in Pinchinthorpe, has a walkway and three waymarked trails. The green, red and white trails, 2.5, 4 and 6 km long respectively. Or so says the information leaflet we picked up at the visitor centre. They have misprinted, kilometers instead of miles if you ask me!

M and I had attempted to walk the white trail earlier this year and had got hopelessly lost. We ended up trying to climb a hill instead.
We were quite determined not to get lost this time round, and actually managed to find the first white arrow that marks the beginning of the white trail. The rest was simple. It was just a matter of following the white arrows, through the woods, past fields, along a stream, by a lake, all the way back to where we began. Whew! Easier said than done, though. For at a couple of places where the path forked into a left and a right, there were no white arrows. But we did find a few other walkers, who put us back on track.


At one point along the trail, we voluntarily left the beaten path to climb up to Hanging Stone and spectacular views across the valleys. Another small detour took us to the edge of the Blue Lake, where we sat down to a well-deserved picnic of sandwiches, crisps and cakes.


The walk took us over 4 hours. Not great going, considering it was not even 3 miles. Frankly, I think I was instrumental in delaying everyone. Bluebells, pink rhododendrons and a myriad of other pink, white and yellow flowers lined the path. Clover and soft curly ferns spread out under the trees. There was birdsong in the pines and the oaks. Wild rose bushes, not yet in bloom, glistened in the rain. I just had to stop and take it all in (the camera). The others were not impressed, but they couldn't leave me behind. After a while, they even quit whining.


The final leg of the white trail took us on the walkway that was once the route of an old railway line. We found time to peer at some fish and tadpoles, as we made our way past a tiny pond. A quick look inside the visitor centre revealed some interesting taxidermy specimen. They even had live video coverage of some nesting birds. We gathered from the ranger that some of the fledglings had flown the nest without adequate notice. I guess human teenage tendencies are finding their way into the animal world. Well, despite a few achy legs, we had a thoroughly enjoyable day.



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