The pALEgrimage is a yearly event where teams of 'Smoggies' leave Teesside for various breweries scattered far and wide. These breweries donate a cask or pin of ale, the pALEgrims collect it and get it back to The Golden Smog pub in Stockton-on-Tees.
So far, so easy? Not as easy as it sounds as the pALEgrims carry their precious cargo while walking, running or cycling from their nominated brewery back to The Golden Smog with their ale. Once all the kegs and pins are back, they are racked in the alley at The Golden Smog and the pALEgrims, their friends and family and Smoggies have ourselves a brilliant beer festival with all the donated ale.
The pALEgrims are sponsored for their endeavours and every penny of the festival ale sales goes in the charity pot too with all the donations going to The Great North Air Ambulance.
A local band of ale lovers called The Ale Team started the pALEgrimage with a yearly walk to Masham a few years before The Smog opened, but the two teamed up and held their first joint pALEgrimage in May 2015.
This would be my first participation in this yearly event, my team leader Phil had been on many before although this time he had chosen probably the furthest away brewery (North Riding Brewery in Scarborough) and was doing the first two legs by himself, so I offered my assistance and he agreed to have me along as long as I could keep up.
This was Day 2 of our pALEgrimage - as Day 1 had taken us from Scarborough to Whitby, Day 2 would now depart Whitby and follow the Esk Valley to Castleton in the North Yorkshire Moors. A more strenuous walk than yesterday albeit marginally shorter. Again we discussed the route choice. We had three options, the A172 Moors Road - A very busy main road with obvious hazards whilst pulling a barrel of beer, this was soon discarded. A walk along the Esk Valley Way, the best and most scenic by far, I wouldn't have considered any other option but for the fact we had this large transport to consider and the narrow meandering single file footpath with tree routes, steep stepped ascents and descents along with quite rugged terrain in places made for a daunting and potentially difficult challenge. So a decision was made - We would follow the valley via the reasonably quiet moor roads connecting the various small towns along the way (Ruswarp, Sleights, Grosmont, Egton Bridge, Glaisdale, Lealholm and Danby) before reaching the days end point (and my participation in the walk) at Castleton Moor.
This was a much harder day than yesterday, the weather was hot and the climbs hard, but peoples generosity along the way kept the spirits high along with Phil's dogged determination to do this in style.
The walk to the Golden Smog would continue on over the next two days as some of the Ale team members were joining Phil to take the barrel onwards to Stockton-on-Tees. For me, well my walk was done as I spent time with my son who was heading off to the States to live the next day. I did obviously turn up at the party on the Sunday to enjoy a couple of pints of the beer that I'd spent two whole days with.
3D outline of route