All in a days' work in Yorkshire
The day starts with some planning for the new interpretation boards about the Cleveland Way and my other Trail, the Yorkshire Wolds Way, at Filey Country Stores. The Stores are situated near Filey Brigg, which is the meeting point of both National Trails. The boards will replace old faded ones that have been in place for nearly 10 years.
Then its off and across the Skinningrove to meet the manager of a new community cafe - "The Ochre Cafe". Its unusual name pays homage to the colour of the water at times after flooding of the old ironstone mines. Skinningrove is rich in old industrial history, giving it a special character amongst Cleveland Way settlements. We discuss opportunities to promote the cafe through the Cleveland Way website. It's a great set up and an ideal spot for walkers looking to break their journey between Saltburn and Staithes - as much food as possible is very locally sourced and there is free internet access for any walkers wanting to check or send e-mails to friends/family (or "God forbid" work!)
From Skinningrove it's a short hop across to Saltburn, where I plan to pick up some figures from our people counters situated along the Trail there. We have been using people counters for many years, but often they broke and gave unreliable data. These new ones are superb, waterproof and with a 10 year battery lifespan. At last we are getting some good user data back. I chance upon the two new rights of way Rangers for Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, busy upgrading the wooden steps out of Saltburn. It reminds me just how many people work on the Cleveland Way. We have Andrew, our full time Maintenance Ranger - but in addition the National Park Ranger Service has about 20 people working on the path at some point. Added to this is our extensive volunteer service putting high quality dedicated work into the Trail. Last year our volunteers did nearly 400 days of work along the Cleveland Way.
I return to the office at Helmsley - take a quick call from Mark at the Irish Times who is coming over in a couple of weeks to do a feature. We cover his requirements - how many days to take and the availability of Baggage Handling Services.
Finally I grab a chance to look at some of the returns from our Cleveland Way Schools Project. This entertaining venture was organised by the North York Moors National Park Educational Service. We went into 8 primary schools along the Cleveland Way and spoke to the children in Years 5 or 6 about the Cleveland Way and walking along the path. Then we took them out for the day on their "local" piece of Cleveland Way, where they learned about its management and wildlife, geology and local history as we walked. Many of the children seemed to fully enjoy this opportunity to explore the outdoor classroom.
We have received many pieces of inspirational work for our Cleveland Way Schools Exhibition. The children were asked their favourite thing about the walk. One child wrote that it was "The chance to go behind a bush for a pee in the outdoors" - ah - simple pleasures!
Malcolm Hodgson, Cleveland Way Trail Officer