Travel | Returning Home - <br/>North Yorkshire with Clare Nattress

TravelReturning Home -
North Yorkshire with Clare Nattress

In 2018, Clare Nattress and Matty Waudby left their life in the UK for a year-long bikepacking trip round-the-world. At the end of their journey, they didn't know if the adventure would continue.

Once they returned home, Clare and Matty took to the Yorkshire Moors, a place they would explore when they were kids. Soon they find themselves amongst a landscape they missed whilst away, and see that their adventure is far from over.

Words by Clare Nattress | @thetouringartist 

Photography by Clare Nattress and Matty Waudby | @getwildmatty

Goathland's moorland village was a familiar place as a child, often visited for long walks in the National Park with my family on the weekends. I knew it back then for being featured on the television series 'Heartbeat', but its popularity has soared in the last decade particularly following its appearance in the Harry Potter films.

It wasn't loved at first sight for me with the North York Moors, I often remember trudging along as a grumpy teenager in high winds, heavy rain and soggy boots, but since exploring on my bike over the last few years it has become a special place that we both love to visit. 

We headed off in the direction of Goathland, this time, leaving the bikes at home. I followed Mat on the climb up out of the village rambling the track through deep purple blooming heather, leading us off through the bracken in search of Nelly Ayre Foss. Clambering up over rocky paths with slippery moss and through beautiful woodland, neither of us minded the slight drizzle in the air. A few kilometres past and the sound of flowing water lead us further down an overgrown path. We dodged brambles and nettles whilst passing sheep grazing off the land. Finally, we caught a glimpse of Nelly Ayre Foss. It's a relatively unknown waterfall, small but significant in West Beck two kilometres upstream of Mallyan Spout. There's a handful of waterfalls in the Moors hidden away in the rugged wilderness, a couple of which we still have to discover. We unpacked the bags and enjoyed a simple lunch by the falls, before heading further up to higher land.

The light drizzle became heavier, grey clouds surrounded us. We were fully exposed in the stunning yet unforgiving landscape. It brings us back to cycling here with friends the previous winter conquering both heavy snow and extreme fog, unable to see the cyclist ahead.

Meandering the path on the plateau we encountered the pyramid spaceship object of RAF Fylingdales radar base in the distance. An strange structure in the landscape. The moorlands desolate qualities made us feel like we'd landed on a barren planet.

We pushed on despite the familiar headwinds and headed back down towards the village, documenting our surroundings as we went. Clambering down the bridleway, the sound of the steam locomotive embarking on its daily route between Grosmont and Pickering echos the landscape. A sight to behold in the modern day, we relish the heritage of this area and Yorkshire's true beauty. With it's position on the eastern edge of the North York Moors means Goathland is very close to Whitby, our hometown of York and the Yorkshire Coast. A perfect central pin in the UK map.

Mat and I have recently returned to Yorkshire following a ten month cycling trip of the globe. Cycling in parts of the Himalayas including the Annapurna Circuit, Spain, Norway, Australia and New Zealand meant we hadn't set foot in the Moors for over a year, for all the wonders and wilderness that we experienced on our bikes we missed this raw beauty back home.

With the setting sun and tired legs we sauntered back to the car. The day was exactly what we'd hoped for. After all, home is where the heart is.