Friday, 11 November 2011

High Cantle      11-11-11

   There are five gadgies out today, four from last week and Ben the halfmarathonmeister.
   The plan for today was to walk up Hedgehope from Hartside in the Breamish Valley but the low cloud changed our minds for us, no point in going where you can't see anything.
   Instead we opted for a gentler walk from Hartside. To get to this farmhouse from Newcastle, shortly to be renamed Sports Direct on Tyne, take the A1 north, A697 just north of Morpeth and a couple of miles north of Powburn take the road on the left signposted Ingram. Drive as far as you can, to the sign that says  "no cars beyond this point, please". This is Hartside, GR 977162 on OL16, The Cheviot Hills.
  From Hartside, especially on a misty day like today, follow your nose along the surfaced road that leads to the tiny but very attractive settlement at Linhope. There are only three or four houses, lovely place to live if you don't like going to the pub. On the right and a little way up the hill is an ancient settlement called Grieves Ash. It is an interesting site  for Dave and has special meaning for me. The next time we walk there all will be revealed, so keep reading! The road becomes a track and  after about half a mile there is a junction. The right fork is signposted "Linhope Spout", a very pretty waterfall and well worth a visit, but not today.  Take the left fork which leads over the moors. Today it was very muddy and low cloud made it difficult to see but thanks to intuition and a magic needle, an improved version of the magic fish used in that terrific film "The Vikings", we wandered westward to Rig Cairn, turned on a bearing of 250 degrees and eventually came to High Cantle. From here a rough path leads down a steep slope to the valley of the Breamish and a farm track. Turn left on the track and soon you come to a barn like structure which makes a good Herbiespot, inside on a damp day or outside on fine days. It was a damp day. The two tups * in the shed looked ready for work.
An attractive Herbie spot on a damp day.

 Last week Dave, the vogelmeister, had not brought his usual offering of mini pork pies, as he is on a low fat kick. I made a mental note to buy some but forgot until the morning of the walk. Fortunately our local Sainsburys** opens at 7am so I was able to get some long before we set off, cut them into correct gadgie halves and add them to my lunch box. I even packed a couple of sachets of HP Sauce***.  They were welcomed by all, Dave was rightly ashamed, guess he will bring some next week.
Joke of the day:
American to Irish diver.  "Why do you fall backwards off the boat ?"
Irish diver. "Because if I fell forward I would still be in the boat."
The other jokes are not fit to print.
After a fond farewell to the tups we continued along the track past High Bleakhope Farm. Be careful, two years ago as Harry and I walked past this farm an irate farmer ran from the house politely asking us not to look through his window. It's the isolation that gets them.
 Further down the track is Low Bleakhope farm. Here you can turn left and follow a track back or you can do as we did and follow the old Salters Road over the moors.  A lot of money has been spent upgrading this track and work is still going on. We suspect there will be a plantation appearing shortly, or shooting butts.
  After about a mile and a half a grassy track leads off to the left, passes several low level grouse shelters and feeders and joins a surfaced road. Turn right, walk past Alnhamoor Farm and stay on the road to Hartside.
  The pedometers have worked well today if a little generously, averaging out at about 8.5 miles, enough on a poor day.
  The Anglers Arms had its usual supply of Timothy Taylor's and I wasn't driving.
* tup  northern word for a ram
**For my increasing number of foreign readers, Sainsburys is a British supermarket chain
*** Again for those of you not familiar with British delicacies HP is a spicy brown sauce named after the Houses of Parliament.
Those of us of more mature years learned our French from the side of the bottle which used to have printed on the label:
"Cette sauce de haute qualite est un melange de fruits orienteaux, des epice................"
Now it is made in Belgium or somewhere and the French has gone.