Saturday, 17 November 2018

Back on the tracks (Durham) November 16th
After a warm week on the Spanish Mediterranean coast with the gadgette I am back out with a small group of gadgies to enjoy a forest walk devised by Dave and centred on the Beamish Museum near Stanley in County Durham. There is a small team, consisting of John Ha., Brian, Dave and me, starting from the car park and picnic site just outside the museum. To get there from Newcastle, A1 south, turn off at Chester le Street and follow signs for Stanley and Beamish Museum. Just before the massive entrance turn left into a Yorkshire style car park.
The map that covers the walk is OS Explorer 308 Durham and Sunderland and it's advisable.

Car park and Museum entrance. Beamish is well worth spending a whole day in. It has a town, trams, buses, a mine a farm and a fish and chip shop. And a school with sums in old UK money such as £12;7s 6d x 8 (Ans;£139) and that's an easy one.
The walk makes use of  the trails made from disused and dismantled railways and the Great North Forest Trail, sometimes marked as Heritage trail.
We left the car park along a trail in the north west corner, following three ladies on horseback, they were soon far ahead. The path, part of the Consett and Sunderland Railway Path goes west through Hellhole Wood before turning north through Carrickshill Wood, across a minor road, over a field to the Causey Road. We walked along the road a short distance  to the entrance to East Tanfield Station.
Easy to spot, the sign at East Tanfield Station.

Much of the walk is through woodland.

There are hundreds of these silhouettes around the country to mark the hundred years since the end of World War 1
Past the station the footpath wanders through the woods above the Causey Gill until it reaches Causey Arch.
Causey Arch is the oldest railway bridge in the world. It was built in 1725, one hundred years before the Stockton and  Darlington Railway. It was part of a line built to carry coal to the Tyne and was either horse or gravity powered, depending which way you went. It was renovated in the 1960s.

Coal wagons like this were used on the track.
We walked on to the Causey Arch tea rooms, turned left down a road and at the bottom of a hilltook the footpath around a field, over more field and down a short lane to the Tyneside Railway Museum which had a picnic table, so we called a Herbie.
Picnic spot; Galaxy chocolate cake, ginger cookies, mince pies and savoury muffins from Mrs. A

Workshop area of the museum. Closed for winter.
After lunch we crossed the road and  walked east along a lane towards Birkhead Cottages, turning south at a difficult to spot footpath. A field or so later we crossed Hedley Lane got lost. We were off the Great North Forest Trail in a lightly wooded area with several footpaths. Evbentually we found the track to take us to Hedley Hall Farm, more of a settlement than a farm with several cottages and barn conversions. The footpath goes through the farmyard, across rough ground where we saw a deer, and enters Mill Wood. Turning left on a lane then right to follow the footpath just inside the wood on Beamish East Moor, following the Tyne Wear Trail.
At the end of the wood we came to a road, turned right and walked past the cottages at High Forge.
Just beyond the forge, on the left the walk through Ousbrough Wood is sign posted. Another easy stretch of woodland until we came to a steep stepped path down to a footbridge.
Not sure because I can't see a name on the map but this footbridge crosses the Team Valley stream
Having walked down the steep bank we were rewarded with a steep climb through the woods, not on the Forest trail, but a footpath that brought us to a road  and the pub, The Shepherd and Shepherdess, very close to the museum entrance and the car park. Having changed from very muddy boots we went to the pub, surprise.
The pub near the museum. Warm and welcoming and with three ales on hand pumps, Timothy Taylor's Landlord, Wainwright and one made for the pub. The soda and lime was good too, as was the tea said John.

Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and databaseright 2018

Matrix MMXVIII 11a
                                                                     steps                             miles
NAK                                                           25463                              9.24
Etrex                                                                                                   9.11
iPhone                                                                                                 9.5
Dave's NAK2                                             20149                              9.22
"""""USB                                                    20397                             9.33
"""""NAK1                                                 20144                              9.21
""""  SM                                                      20537                             9.08

More pictures on a gloomy slightly foggy day

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Seven go off the rails in Teesdale, again. (Durham/Yorks.) November 2nd
  Another repeat but a relatively easy 10 miles down the old railway line in Teesdale. There are seven of us out, Brian, Harry, Ben, Dave., John H., John Ha., and me. 
The walk starts from Middleton in Teesdale but to get here we are driving to Barnard Castle, breakfasting and bussing to Middleton in Teesdale and walking back.
The car park  in Barnard Castle is reached by driving down the high street, turning left at the ancient market and almost immediately left again. A bargain at £1.50 for the day. A few minutes walk away on the main street is the Penny café which is very welcoming and, more important, does a fine bacon sandwich, and a sausage one too.
This week's car park in Barnard Castle, a mere £1.50 for a day's parking

The ancient market in BC, vertical still after all these years. The Penny café is behind it and slightly down the road. The bus stop is to the right of the market.

Across the road from the café is the bus stop for either the 95 or 96 bus that leaves at 4 minutes to the hour and goes through the Teesdale villages to Middleton
You could do this walk without a amp but it is covered by OS OL 31 The North Pennines.
The walk:
We got off the bus in Middleton as soon as it crossed the bridge over the Tees, turned back and took the footpath on the north bank of the river. (There are three paths in the Tees valley; Teesdale Way on the north bank from Middleton, Teesdale Way on the south bank from Eggleston, and the Tees Railway Path)
Initially the north bank footpath clings to the river bank, crunchy underfoot this time of year with fallen leaves The river sparkled in the autumn sun, lovely day for a walk.

On the north bank footpath.
At one point the path leaves the river and goes to Egglesburn Farm, but we didn't, probably talking too much. A couple of fields later, realising we had made a mistake, we wandered a little before finding a narrow lane that brought us to the point MS height 208 on the OS map. Turning right on the road we found, on the left, a sign post pointing in the direction of New Town.
Blame them for missing our proper route.
Harry and I, honest citizens, crossed the fields to the farm and few houses at New Town and rejoined the Teesdale Way, following it all the way to the village of Egglestone. The others took a short cut, it is marked on the map, and cut out part of the village. We all met up at Egglestone Bridge and called a Herbie.
Waterfall on the road down from Egglestone to the bridge

Herbie time in the sun in November: Titan bars, cookies, cookies, chocolate cake bars, ginger biscuits and savoury scones from Mrs A
Herbie time over we crossed the river and joined the Teesdale Way on the south side of the river.and headed for the village of Romaldkirk.

The Tees at Eggleston Bridge.
Romaldkirk is another pretty Teesdale Village and once through it we followed the signposts to join the Tees Railway Path.   
The church in Ramaldkirk. The only church dedicated to St. Ramald about whom not much is known. It has 14th century origins
                                                                                                                    Easy walking on this dismantled railway which you can follow from Middleton to Barnard Castle. It crosses the River Balder on a fine viaduct and comes close to the village of Cotherstone.

River Balder from the viaduct.
At Cotherstone decisions had to be made. The clocks had been put back and it was dusk, to continue to Barnard Castle meant we would probably arrive in the dark so five of us decided to walk across the fields into the village and catch the bus back to BC. Ben and Dave, both athletes and not afraid of the dark, chose to finish the day on the TeesRailway Path.

Cotherstone pub, it was closed, probably as well.
Back in BC and knowing we would have to wait for Ben and Dave we had a swift half in the Golden Lion before we all met up in the car park. Changed we headed for that good old favourite The Boathose in Wylam, it had its usual large selection of hand pulled beers and soda and lime for the driver.

Contains OS data copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2018

And a matrix again
                                                                              steps                       miles
Dave's NAK 2                                                      25384                          11.6
"""USB                                                                 25658                          11.74
"""""NAK 1                                                          25483                           11.62
SM                                                                        26721                          11.65
iPhone                                                                   25227                          9  (to Cotherstone)

Some pictures courtesy of Dave 

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Partridge Nest, Wool House, Kingswood, Plankey.
(Northumberland ) October 26th.
The TV weather forecast promised a cold day with a northerly wind, showers on the coast. So we decided to head inland and follow a new walk devised by Brian, starting from a National Trust car park near Ridley Hall, near Bardon Mill in the Tyne Valley. To reach this spot follow the A69 west and turn off near Bardon Mill at the sign post saying Beltingham and Ridley Hall.
We stopped for breakfast at Brockbushes Farm shop, bacon sandwiches, tea, coffee and Bovril for Dave, a beverage usually served at soccer matches with pies.

Heading for a Bovril.
The walk is covered by OS OL 43, Hadrian's Wall and would be useful.
There are six of us braving the cold today: Brian the divisor, Harry, Dave, me, John H., and John Ha., making a welcome return after some month's absence. He expected some intelligent conversation but probably went home disappointed.
The impressive National Trust car park with bays marked out by split logs! Free to members displaying their annual pass, otherwise there is a charge. It is at NY 798640.
Leaving the car park we headed back towards the river, turning left to stroll along the south bank for a while before crossing a field to Beltingham.
This small but perfectly formed village has a connection with the Bowes family, ancestors of the late Queen Mother. It also has a small church, St. Cuthbert's, with 12th century origins and 19th century restorations. In the churchyard is a large yew tree, supposedly 700 years old. It is said that its branches may have supplied wood for the English long bows used against the French. (OK, the Welsh helped)
Ancient yew, ancient graves, old church and Dave.Having admired the church and the tree we followed the road passing near Partridge Nest and reaching Willimoteswick.
Willimoteswick, a fortified manor belonging to the Ridleys. Dating back to the late 15th century, it offered some defence against Scots. The building is on the map below but the name, printed in Gothic Script on the OS map as an indication of age, is missing. The building is at the spot height 107, near The Mill.
From this farm we crossed fields to High Barn and on to the Shaws, turning south to the Wool House. Some of the fields we crossed had a crop of maize, some had a flock of sheep.

Not quite as high as an elephant's eye. The crop is grown for animal feed. Some farmers cut a maze in the field and make witty signs.

A rather tired looking tup. It's that time of year. One still wore his score keeping waist coat.
Somewhere in this area we stopped for a Herbie, sitting against a wall or tree stump in the sun.
Today's feast included home made cookies from John. Ha., cookies, carrot cake, frangepanes and chocolate iced cookies from Mrs A.
Moving on, with difficulty we crossed fields to Winshield Side, a minor road, turned east and at point 184 on the map turned into fields to Farnalees Burn, a short but steep descent to a footbridge, followed by a short but steep ascent to Midgeholm, thankfully free of the little pests as it was too cold.
Dipping down and climbing up again we came to Kingswood Farm.

Kingswood Farm and machinery.
From Kingswood the footpath crosses fields, going gently down hill until it enters the woods at Brarwood Banks on the west side of the River Allen, opposite the strangely named Plankey Mill. This is certainly the prettiest part of the walk. A couple of miles of easy footpath, covered at this time of the year with fallen leaves, wandering through woodland with all its autumn colours and next to the river which sparkled in the sun. We met several people out walking dogs or photographing the woodland. Soon we were back at the car park.

Autumn on the Allen
Changed we headed for the Boathouse pub at Wylam, a favourite. It offered at least ten hand pulled local beers and some rather fine soda and lime. It also offers Thai food.
The Boathouse, Wylam.
Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2018
Walk starts in top right corner by the footprint. We went anti clockwise.

The Matrix MMXVIII  10c
steps                                               miles
20000                                                   8
For technical reasons there is no huge matrix today.