A Transport of Delight

With thanks to Flanders & Swann.

When I first received this picture it brought back so many memories of my childhood and beyond.

My late friend Brian Storey and I were great ramblers from a fairly early age, we walked from our homes in Billingham to places such as Thorpe Thewles, following the beck, or to Greatham Beck and across to the old brickyard and Cowpen marshes.

When we went to “The Big School” at the age of eleven we were both given bikes, from then on we cycled to places such as Guisborough, Eston and Great Ayton so we could wander around the hills.

As we grew older the Cleveland Hills became our target, this is where Crowe Brothers came into their own, we would set out early on a Saturday morning from Billingham and catch the Crowes bus to Clack Lane Ends at Osmotherly, a climb into the village followed by a good walk along Black Hambleton to Sutton Bank or across the escarpment to Hasty Bank and a walk into Great Broughton to catch a Middlesbrough bus, great days.

In 1960 Brian read about a walk across the highest and widest part of the North York Moors and we decided to give it a try, every opportunity during the Summer holidays we travelled to Osmotherly on a Crowes bus and walked a little further every time, once we had managed the walk from Osmotherly to Castleton we decided we would be able to complete the walk.

In the October (Tatie Picking) holidays we set of on the 5pm Crowes bus out of Stockton, I seem to remember it was almost a full hour to get to Osmotherly in those days, at about 6:30 in the evening we set off from the Trig point above Mount Grace Priory, our school had provided a map and compass and we had our army surplus haversacks and water bottles and mothers sarnies, it was an excellent crossing which we both enjoyed and when we reached the Trig point above Ravenscar we whirled each other around in glee, that was the first of many “Lyke Wake Walks”.

In later years when Brian was teaching at Sheraton Comprehensive School he would organise hiking trips for the pupils and I would be seconded to act as marshall and back marker so that we didn’t lose too many pupils, nowadays, of course , this wouldn’t be allowed, but life was simpler then.

We continued our rambling for many years taking in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales as well as the North York Moors, Brian continued organising outdoor pursuits and qualified to teach rock climbing and canoeing, he also organised the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme at his school and I acted as marshall and timekeeper when needed.

Workload, marriage, mortgages and children certainly restricted our hiking days but we did manage quite a few walks before age took its toll.

Our last “Lyke Wake” was in the 1980s but I have many terrific memories of the many crossings we made.

Details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

22 thoughts on “A Transport of Delight

  1. Bruce
    Your good friend Brian Storey taught me at Hardwick sec/Sheraton comp in the early 1970’s and became a friend in later life, I often used to bump into him in various places around Stockton and he even attended a couple of school reunions that I organised. A good few of us from different years (but mainly 1974 leavers) attended his funeral in 2019 as did ex pupils from other schools he taught at in the area, there were even kids in uniform from the last school he taught at which proved what a great teacher and how well liked he was. Still very much missed by us all.


  2. I remember Crowe’s buses very well. I was born in Haverton Hill in 1954 (7 St. Vincent Street if anyone out there is interested) and grew up in Billingham to the age of 12, and my paternal grandparents lived in Hutton Rudby. We finally got a car by the time I was about 10 but before that we would get the United bus to Stockton, then Crowes from Stockton to Hutton Rudby. Lovely photo, great memories.


  3. We must have caught a Crowe Brothers bus when we travelled each year from our holiday lodgings at Saltburn to Osmotherley in rhe 1950s. Saltburn to Yarm (old station) by steam train, then bus to Osmotherley for a walk on Black Hambleton. I was always a bit wary of the moorland sheep with horns, but then I was a 5-6 year old at the time and a southern ‘soft-ie’ to boot! I have walked many parts of the Lyke Wake Walk since but never in one go.


  4. Firstly many thanks to all for your comments, very much appreciated.

    Secondly my apologies for being the only person on this thread who couldn’t spell Osmotherley correctly, I am sure Brian would have given me 100 lines or stood me in a corner in a dunces hat for such a blooper.

    Patricia F, you are quite right about the word sarnie not being used in the 50s and 60s, it was always sandwiches, if they were those soggy tomato sandwiches that were usually served up whilst sitting on Seaton Carew beach then “sand” was an integral part of them.

    By the time we had progressed to hiking in the Lakes or Dales we had our own transport so we didn’t need to use public transport.

    Brian and I led many parties on the Lyke Wake over the years, most of them had transport to and from the start and finish points as well as having hot food at some of the road crossings, when Brian and I did our first walk we had to backtrack to the Flask Inn to catch a bus into Whitby then another bus into Middlesbrough and again another one to Billingham, you could get almost anywhere by bus in those days but you did need plenty of time.

    There was only the one time we failed to make it home, we slept the night in the public toilets in Castleton and caught the milk train early in the morning.

    Brother In Law Alex Moody, Alec to me, your potato bed is prepared and ready for planting.👍



  5. George Clements. I thought you had dropped off the radar old chap, not hearing from you for a while.
    We knew each other from Tilery Road school, but I think before your time at the school, our very first ever school trip was to Osmotherly,
    Neil Stockdale you lived in Craister Street next to my Aunt Tilly and Uncle Bob, your Mum took the Sunday school in the ‘Tin Box’ Amy Stockdale.


    • Absolutely right, Josie. We lived at 30 Craister Street and my Mam used to keep the ‘Tim Box’ clean an tidy. There was always a strong smell of gas there when she lit the tea boiler. Behind we used to have our bonfires on 5th of November. Nothing better than baking potatoes in the embers the next morning!


    • Josie, its certainly a long time ago since the days at Tilery Road School.
      If you care to contact the team at picture Stockton they will give you my email address and we would be able to catch up on life since Tilery days.


  6. When I was four or five I, my parents and my cousin took the Crowd Bros Bedford bus to High Leven. This must have been about 1955 of 56. I remember it was a beautiful morning and the conductor gave us a ticket roll which we held our of the window as a streamer. Happy, innocent days!


  7. I worked at BTP in the mid sixties in a large labour-intensive laboratory. No high tech analytical equipment in those days! We were quite a few lab technicians, male and female, including about ten single lads. One Monday morning one of the older guys announced that his nephew had done the Lyke Wake Walk at the weekend and said that ‘none of you wasters could do that’. So a few weekends after we did it – every one of us! In later years when I’ve visited Teesside I’ve stayed a couple of times at the Queen Catherine hotel in Osmotherley, where our BTP Lyke Wake Walk adventure kicked off all those years ago. Happy memories!


  8. When I worked at HW’s Thornaby in 1953 the brick layers chargehand Thompson lived at Osmotherley and travelled to and from there each day, even weekend work. I can’t ever remember him having a car or bike or m/bike. How did it heaven knows


    • Hello Robert. My name is Sandra Dover. Did you know my dad Tommy Dover who worked at Head Wrightsons. Regards Sandra Dover in Rotherham


  9. Lovely memories of Osmotherley, my aunt lived there and we used to stay in her cottage for our summer holiday week when I was around 8 to 11. Lots of walking as we had no car very few people owned one then. Up to Black Hambleton then down to Sheepwash and back to The cottage. Walks around the area every day. In later teenage years we used to cycle there quite often. Much less traffic then, cycling was a real pleasure. Happy days


  10. Thorpe Thewles is quite a hike from Billingham but Greatham not too far. You’d never be able to do all those places on the Yorkshire Moors by bus now as they are too infrequent. As for the Lake District years ago the only none seasonal route was the joint United/Ribble service from Newcastle (Haymarket) to Carlisle and then on to Keswick or wherever you where going. There where summer only services from Durham City via Stanhope and Alston to Keswick and Darlington via Bowes to Keswick. United did a very good, the X79 I think, from Darlington to Langdon Beck and from there you could hike over the fells to Appleby.


  11. I agree. Life was simpler then. Thank you so much for your story. I really enjoyed it. Never walked much myself but my older brothers did and usually came back with an injury.


    • In the late 50s there was a seasonal service from Stockton to Keswick via Darlington. The coach operator was GNE and it certainly took quite a time to get there. I used that service 3 or 4 times in the late 50s early 60s.


  12. Not to forget you and Brian introduced your brother-in-law to the pleasures of the Lyke Wake Walk. The personal satisfaction of completing the walk was great and the pleasure of getting to know Brian was a bonus. Great memories.


  13. What a great article! I remember doing a Lyke Wake walk at some point in my youth. I used to have a lovely enamel coffin pin that you got for completing the walk. A big part of my early holidays would be walking the moors or beaches with my dad. We would even walk from Roseworth to Stockton and back on Saturdays to get the weeks shopping! Not something folk are up for these days……..


  14. A’h yes I remember well the livery the Crowe Brothers busses, brown and cream, one of the other busses they had as I recall was a Bedford OB.
    The photo has its own memories parked at the top of Finkle Street near to the Yorkshire Penny Bank (Note the ‘Penny’), just out of shot is E.Winpenny’s bespoke Tailors shop, he used to walk Norton Road to his shop swinging a brolly, very smart and topped off with a brown bowler, a fine advert for his business.
    My future Sister-in-Law at that time did work for him in those early years.
    Thanks for the memory Bruce


  15. A’h yes I remember well the livery the Crowe Brothers busses, brown and cream, one of the other busses they had as I recall was a Bedford OB.
    The photo has its own memories parked at the top of Finkle Street near to the Yorkshire Penny Bank (Note the ‘Penny’), just out of shot is E.Winpenny’s bespoke Tailors shop, he used to walk Norton Road to his shop swinging a brolly, very smart and topped off with a brown bowler, a fine advert for his business.
    My future Sister-in-Law at that time did work for him in those early years.
    Thanks for the memory Bruce.


  16. Great story and great memories. Me and a mate once cycled from Victoria estate to what is now Teesside park going across the Victoria bridge we were young probably about 9 or 10 it seemed like miles and a big adventure for townies. I applaud your fortitude at that time .


  17. That was lovely to read! I especially like the idea of not losing “too many” pupils.
    (Of course nobody round here ate ‘sarnies’ in those days.)


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