I saw a Instagram post which asked “Do you even live in Stockton If you haven’t been to Roseberry Topping?” So I went.
Roseberry Topping is described by the national trust as a ‘distinctive and iconic landmark.’ This is due to its shape as a result of geological fault and a mining collapse in 1912. It is just 1,049 feet (320m) high, but don’t let this deceive you. Believe me. I’ve walked/climbed a few things in my life so far, one being Mount. Helvellyn in the Lake District (age 10) and in my opinion Roseberry Topping is still a challenge. I don’t know how many routes up there are but the one we naturally took following from the car park hits quite fast.
After walking up the country lane you come to some (many) steps. After that are some stone steps with a significant injury should you misstep and tumble down the side of the hill.
I haven’t yet mentioned I had my 7 and 4 year old sisters in tow, so begin to imagine how fun this gets.
So we conquered that part, but this basically puts you at the real start of the hill. Oh yay. By this time Ava, age 7, has already left us three (Carrie, age 16 was there too) trailing behind and I am praying that she has made it alive whilst trying to continue with a four year old who Is asking to be carried and telling me “my legs hurt.” Well little one that is why we are here and Ava has gone; we clearly have some fitness to improve.
So we begin our rocky ascent. And it is tough, I genuinely believed that I was going to be responsible for one, if not all, of my sisters deaths and for this reason I will not return soon, with them, but I digress. So there I am, carefully choosing my steps, making sure Ruby doesn’t slip and die and in the far distant at the top of the cliff pops up this small human wearing all black. YUP. You guessed it, there is Ava. So I waved but also trying to signal to stay away from the edge and I can see her waving, grinning with pride. I can see the phone call to my mum “such and such is on their way to hospital, I’m sorry, consider me dead too.”
Pushing on, we somehow made it to the top in one piece. Here are some (and the only ever) photos as evidence.
As soon as we reached the top I was very aware that SOMEHOW we had to get down. The anxiety was real.
The descent begins. And of course, they knew better than to listen to me and let me go ahead so I could help them, specifically Ruby, who is FOUR, and CLUMSY.
But whatever right, I have only been alive longer than them, what do I know?
Fair to say my heart was In my throat.. Or so I thought. Just a couple of minutes later and there it happens, Ava slips and I watch, in the most slow motion ever, her fall and slide down the side of this hill. With no way to run to her cause it’s DANGEROUS AS HELL I just had to stand still and pray she would stop. To my relief she did, Ruby clearly oblivious it even happened, she then waited for me to get to her.
Thankfully after a few more minutes of sheer dread I noticed a grass path down to the right, THANK YOU GOD. I steered the kiddies over and my life was safe for another hour. This path down was great, Ruby could grass surf with sheer delight and Ava could go ahead without me worrying as much.
We got to the bottom and then crossed over through the grass to bring us back to the bottom of the hill where Carrie was nicely sat waiting. She had quit after about a minute of reaching the real bottom. Looser!
From there we all made it down the rest of the way safely, minus a fall on the steps from Rube, in one piece. We had a pub tea and with polished plates left with smiles and ice cream in hand.
Thanks Roseberry Topping, nice to see you but we won’t be back too soon!
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