02 Oct 20

National Parks of the Coast to Coast

Stuart Holland United Kingdom

The North York Moors is undoubtably a special place to walk and is my favourite section of the Coast to Coast which may surprise some people given the spectacular wild scenery of the Lake District National Park. The walk enters the national park at the tiny village of Ingleby Cross on the western side of the park and continues through to Robin Hood’s Bay.

The moors is a fascinating place to spend time and most memorable for me are the subtle moorland colours of green and rust against endless blue skies and depending on what time of year the magnificent purples of the moorland heather which stretch for mile after mile.

Although the moors can look wild and empty, if you’re walking in early summer you’ll also hear the call of moorland birds, such as red grouse, curlew and golden plover and come across stone crosses and medieval boundary markers such as Fat Betty which is thought to date from the 12th century.

These ancient markers have guided and keep travellers safe for hundreds of years. There are numerous myths and legends regarding Fat Betty’s history. One legend has it that Fat Betty was set up to commemorate the death of two nuns who became lost on the moors. Apparently tradition states you should leave a food offering and take one, I can’t personally vouch for the freshness of your chosen offering so select carefully!

The North York Moors is a truly engaging landscape harbouring many secrets from the past including Iron Age burial mounds, medieval abbeys and timeless stone villages. This is the landscape that provided the majestic backdrop to Wuthering Heights and Brideshead Revisited and with a uniquely Australian connection, Captain James Cook was born in small moorland village of Marton.

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