Five Crosses Winter Solstice Hike North York Moors Challenge Walk
With Mark Reid FRGS – author of ‘The Inn Way’ & Mountain Leader
Winter Solstice ‘sunrise to sunset’ challenge walk
35 km (22 miles) – 700 metres of ascent – 10.5 hours
The Five Crosses Winter Solstice Hike is a new challenge walk (devised by Mark Reid in 2020) that links five ancient moorland crosses on the North York Moors, walking from sunrise to sunset on the shortest day of the year. This long distance challenge walk starts and finishes at Goathland, in the heart of the North York Moors.
THE FIVE CROSSES WINTER SOLSTICE HIKE
The Five Crosses Winter Solstice Hike is a 22 mile route with 700m of climbing that will take around 10.5 hours to complete. The route starts and finishes at Goathland, famed for its Heartbeat and Harry Potter connections, and takes in the rolling moorlands to the east and south, including Goathland Moor, Sneaton High Moor, Fylingdales Moor, Saltergate Moor and Wheeldale Moor, visiting the following historic crosses along the way:
1. York Cross
2. Ann’s Cross
3. Lilla Cross
4. Malo Cross
5. Mauley Cross
From Goathland, we head eastwards in darkness across Goathland Moor to reach York Cross at sunrise, from where we turn south along an ancient traders’ routes passing Ann’s Cross and numerous Bronze Age burial mounds to reach one of England’s oldest crosses, the 7th Century Lilla Cross high on Fylingdales Moor. This is a moment to savour, with heather moorland all around and the low sun illuminating this ancient cross. From Lilla Cross we head south-west along a pannierman’s route to Malo Cross, an early 17th Century wayside cross at the foot of the Tabular Hills. Our route then turns west to reach the dramatic glacial meltwater channel of Newton Dale Gorge with wonderful views across deep valleys and forest, from where we continue westwards through the vast Cropton Forest to reach the medieval Mauley Cross. We then walk northwards across Wheeldale following in the footsteps of Romans as we walk alongside Britain’s best preserved Roman Road at sunset, which takes us back into Goathland.
It is a demanding walk that requires a good level of fitness and so must be approached with preparation and training, but it is also a rewarding walk that will be remembered for many years as we walk from dawn to dusk on the shortest day of the year, visiting prehistoric burial mounds, standing stones and defensive ditches, Roman Roads and medieval moorland crosses.
Much of this walk follows clear paths and tracks across open moorland, with some sections through forest and valleys. The paths will be rough and muddy in places, and there are only two significant climbs during the day: the road out of Goathland at the start of the walk and the descent into and ascent out of Newton Dale Gorge. This walk will start and finish in the dark – headtorches essential!
Mark Reid knows the North York Moors like the back of his hand and will guide you around this route (whilst also sharing his knowledge of the area), so that you can forget about navigating and concentrate on enjoying the walk!
This guided walk is designed for solo or small groups of walkers who want to take on the Five Crosses Winter Solstice Hike, but don’t want to worry about route finding.
- Fully guided walk with Mark Reid (Mountain Leader)
- Experience the comaraderie of walking a challenge route with other like-minded walkers
- Discover the history, heritage & geography of the North York Moors
- Share your sense of achievement with your fellow walkers
- Small group sizes – 8 people per Mountain Leader
- You are GUARANTEED not to get lost on our guided walk!
OUTLINE OF THE DAY
6:50am: Meet at Goathland. Weather forecast, gear check & briefing.
7am – 5:30pm: Fully guided walk around the Five Crosses Winter Solstice Hike challenge walk
5:30pm: Debrief back at Goathland, then head home
NB: Sunrise is 08:22 and sunset is 15:39. We will be walking in the dark for approximately 1 hour in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. Finish time is approximate
YOUR GUIDE - MARK REID
MARK REID is the author of 17 walking guidebooks including ‘The Inn Way’ series. He is a qualified Walking Group Leader, Hill & Moorland Leader and Mountain Leader, and has an unrivalled knowledge of the history and geography of the North of England. Mark has a BA (Hons) Geography degree from the University of Lancaster and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS). Mark has walked over 28,000 miles of footpaths since 1997, and has taken over 17,000 people out walking in the countryside – he’s been an Outdoor Professional for 26 years! Mark has appeared on ITV YORKSHIRE on the TV walks series ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ along with ITV weatherman Jon Mitchell, as well as ITV1’s The Dales.
EXPERIENCE, FITNESS & INFORMATION
- No previous hill-walking experience is required as full guidance will be given.
- This is a long distance challenge walk that covers 35 km (22 miles) in a single day, with 700m of ascent that will take around 10.5 hours to complete. It is a long and demanding walk, with rough, wet and muddy terrain in places as well as some steep ascents/descents and exposed moorland. We will start and finish this walk in the dark.
- A good level of fitness and stamina will be required to complete this walk; preparation and training will be necessary.
- Successful completion of this walk will depend upon your own level of fitness, stamina and preparation, as well as good fitting boots and no minor injuries along the walk, such as blisters, pulled muscles or sore knees etc. By taking part in this guided walk, you understand and accept the risks involved in undertaking a long distance challenge walk. Participation of this guided walk is no guarantee of successful completion.
- We are fully insured (public, civil & professional indemnity insurance)
- All of our instructors are fully qualified and experienced Mountain Leaders
- So far, we have taken over 17,000 people out walking, and have a wealth of experience dealing with all ages and abilities.
- Part of the attraction of valley, hill and mountain walking is the challenge of tackling different terrains, landscapes and weather conditions. Every effort is made to minimize potential hazards; however, the very nature of hill and mountain walking involves a certain level of unavoidable risk of accident and/or injury. By taking part in this activity, you are aware of and accept these risks.
- Our walks are suitable for all ages. Under 18s (minimum age 14) may attend if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The child must be accompanied at all times during the walk by their parent/legal guardian.
- Terms and Conditions