360º images showcase the beauty of the longest trail crossing the
North York Moors
Those thinking of walking off the Christmas excesses can now plan a route from the comfort of their sofa, feasting their eyes on the beauty of the longest trail crossing the North York Moors by viewing 360º panoramic images on the internet.
The entire 109-mile Cleveland Way National Trail is now live on Google Street View following a mapping exercise by the North York Moors National Park Authority using a special elongated camera and computer equipment mounted in a backpack as part of the Google Trekker loan program.
It took volunteers from the Hardmoors ultra-running team the equivalent of 13 full days within a seven-month period to walk the length of the trail carrying the 23kg backpack.
Capturing the images took time as the team could only use the Trekker on fine, bright days and they needed to ensure the camera kit remained upright as they walked slowly along, even when faced with low branches and scrambling over challenging terrain.
The image sequence has since been stitched together to provide viewers with panoramic vistas right along the Cleveland Way, which stretches from Helmsley across the North York Moors to Saltburn-by-the-Sea before re-entering the National Park and then following the coastline down to Filey.
Web users can now appreciate the diverse landscape and character of the horseshoe-shaped trail across several seasons.
The virtual tour includes:
- the moorland at its most beautiful when the heather is in full bloom and it becomes a sea of vibrant purple
- the section of the trail that opened this summer (as part of the England Coast Path launch) offering a new vantage point of the fishing village of Staithes
- the scene out from Sutton Bank that author James Herriot claimed was ‘the finest in England.’
- the impressive sandstone crags known as the Wainstones towards the North Western edge of the National Park, and the spectacular views from the highest point (454 metres) of the North York Moors on Urra Moor
- the historical sights of Rievaulx Abbey and Whitby Abbey.
Malcolm Hodgson, National Trails Officer commented:
It is fantastic to harness the power of Google Street View in this way. Taking a virtual tour of the trail not only showcases the beauty of the Cleveland Way but it can also be a valuable planning tool, particularly giving reassurance to novice walkers when they’re looking to stride out on a section of the route.
Local businesses can also benefit as they can use the images on Street View to help provide directions and information for visitors.”
Jon Steele of Hardmoors added:
It is great to see the project going live especially as there were several challenging sections when we were walking with the Trekker including scrambling up the Wainstones and ducking down low enough under trees and hedges.
However there were many lighter moments particularly when we were treated like celebrities as we walked through Scarborough to applause from visitors, after news of the Trekker project had been released. Plus there was the time when a group of children thought I was strapped to a rocket and about to fly. We have never had so many photographs taken of us!”
View the Cleveland Way on Google Street View via www.nationaltrail.co.uk/cleveland-way/google-trekker