2016 Walk 3 – Goathland to Beck Hole


“The Tarn” near Moss Rigg, Goathland

After my walk from Llangollen I decided a new pair of walking shoes was in order and the next day was spent in Shrewsbury looking for suitable replacements. I was hoping to find a pair of Eccos but only one shop carried them and only women’s shoes. After visiting several shops I settled on a pair of New Balance hiking shoes, the most comfortable Gortex-lined pair I could find. My Eccos were donated to a Shoe Bank in Ellesmere.

The following day I headed to Goathland in the North York Moors, a full-day journey involving two buses and three trains. Goathland is one of the “old haunts” I referred to in a previous post. Back in the late 90’s I operated a small group walking tour company and the North York Moors was one of my favourite destinations. It’s been 17 years since my last visit and I’m pleased to report very little has changed.

I arrived late in the afternoon and headed up onto Moss Rigg to stretch my legs. The light was wonderful but a brisk northerly wind meant it was downright chilly. Half an hour next to the coal fire in the lounge of my b&b was in order after my short walk.


The Birch Hall Inn in Beck Hole

The forecast for tomorrow afternoon was grim and so I decided to make best use of the morning. I headed out immediately after an exceptionally good breakfast and managed to get a couple of miles in before digging out the rain gear. I looped back to Goathland and headed down to Mallyan Spout where I encountered a group of 20+ walkers. I followed the beck for a short while before seeking refuge in one of my favourite pubs in Britain, the Birch Hall Inn in Beck Hole.

The Birch Hall Inn’s public bar is tiny, about 12′ by 12′, and hasn’t changed in 17 years. I suspect very little has in half a century. It’s perfectly suited for muddy walkers with (or without) soggy dogs and its close confines guarantee you’ll soon be part of the conversation. I met a British couple who were amazed to learn I was from Victoria. For the past 12 years they had escorted caravan groups through British Columbia and knew my city well.

After enjoying good beer and good conversation I returned to Goathland via the ‘Beckhole Incline‘, a one-mile path following a short-lived mid-19th century horse-drawn railway. A visit to the Goathland War Memorial rounded out a short but enjoyable walk in the North York Moors.