Hello, and welcome to my first blogpost! Not just my first blogpost for the good people at Regatta, but my first ever post!
Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Tony McDonnell, and I’m married to Dawn. We’ve been together for 23 years, and we live in Middlesbrough with our three sons; Adam (12), Will (10) & Owen (8). We’re a very active family, taking part in karate classes three times a week, cycling when the weather is good, and some of us are training for a half marathon!
In January 2013, we re-homed a 7 month old working cocker spaniel called Archie. When the family went to see him for the first time, we all instantly fell head over heels in love with him, and brought him home that day. He settled in within a few days, and is now a firm part of the family. He’s a typical cocker spaniel, full of energy with a cheeky personality, and he adores being outside. His favourite places to walk all include water, and we cannot keep him out if it! As we spend a lot of time in places like the North Yorkshire Moors and the Lake District, Archie has given us a perfect excuse to pack up our Land Rover and go explore a lot more!
Our latest adventure took us to Roseberry Topping, a local landmark between Great Ayton and Guisborough. For many years, generation after generation of local families have walked up it’s steep, rocky and often muddy banks, to admire the amazing views of Teesside, parts of the North Yorkshire Moors and the Cleveland Hills.
The walk starts in the National Trust car park in Newton Under Roseberry, and you follow the well walked track through farmland to the wood at the base of Roseberry topping. Then from here you have two choices – a steep path or a very steep path! If you choose the steep path, you walk through some lovely woodland, listening to the woodpeckers hammering away in the trees, and looking at the amazing wild flower display! Archie always runs off ahead here to make sure the path is safe for us to follow! As any Cocker Spaniel owner will tell you, they have to be at the front of the pack, and constantly run back to you to round you up or to get you to hurry up! Archie is no different and must run ten times the distance we walk on any walk.
On the way up to the top of Roseberry Topping, most people stop for a rest at the “folly” half way up. Archie has a favourite hole that he likes to sit in here – we’ve not figured out why, but he does it every time we go up there! The views from this half way point are fantastic, but not nearly as good as at the top!
Once you’ve caught your breath, it’s time to push on to the summit of the “Middlesbrough Matterhorn!” From here the path gets very steep, very rocky, and most of the year, very slippery! However, today it’s 17 degrees C and the path is bone dry. Archie seems to get very impatient waiting for me and my two legs to scramble up this section! Another fifteen minutes or so, and you finally reach the top. Time to catch your breath again, and take in the amazing views ….
Sitting at the top, admiring the view, my thoughts are drawn to my new Regatta clothing and how well it performed on our climb. I’m wearing Regatta “Xert Stretch Zip Off Trousers” & “Edgepoint Mid Boots”, which are both incredibly comfortable! The trousers have zip off legs to convert them into shorts, and a handy zipped thigh pocket which I used for my mobile phone. The boots are a trainer style walking boot, and provided excellent grip on Roseberry’s dry, dusty paths.
My youngest Son, Owen, and myself sat for 20 minutes or so, eating our snacks, but the waiting around proved too much for Archie, who seemed determined to give me a heart attack by edging closer to the vertical drop on the summit!
So, we packed up, and headed on down the very steep path. This descent is tricky in places, with loose rocks underfoot. I’m sure it drives Archie mad, that us two legged people make very slow progress down this path, while he sprints backwards and forwards. However after slowly making your way down, you eventually arrive back into the woodland, and you can relax a bit.
Today our walk finishes back in the car park, but normally we finish at the amazing Kings Head Inn next door http://www.kingsheadinn.co.uk/ This is an extremely popular pub with walkers and locals alike, and in summer you can sometimes struggle to get in there!
So, that’s it, for my first entry, but we have lots more of our favourite walks to talk about in the coming months. If you see us out and about, please come and say hello, particularly if you have biscuits with you!!
Tony & Archie