Friday, 14 December 2012

A wee Walk on the Wear on a wet day... Dec 14th.

  In October 1987  Michael Fish, BBC weatherman told his audience that the lady who had contacted him about an expected hurricane was wrong; there would not be storm that night. During the night several million trees were blown over in the south of England, property was damaged and 18  people were killed.
Since then the BBC has erred on the side of caution with their forecasts. For today they promised heavy rain moving north up the country,accompanied by strong winds. We five gadgies (pun, route, vogel, halfmarathon and blog) decided discretion was the better part of valour (second cliche of the day) and opted for a gentle walk along the River Wear starting in Durham.
We caught a bus, the 24, from Eldon Square Bus Station in Newcastle and got off in Durham Bus Station.
A brand new double decker bus, with mod cons including a screen telling passengers the next stop, how far transport has come since I was a clippie*.
From the bus station we walked down North Road, across the lovely old Framwellgate Bridge and turned down an alley on the right hand side to a small cafe called  " The nine  altars", presumably after the series of nine altars in the apse behind the high altar of that wonder of the world Durham Cathedral.
We ordered the usual bacon butties, were offered a choice of bread or bun, white or brown, sauce and tea, at a reasonable price too. The bacon was good, buns large and seeded, and the tea came in large pots; five flitches and a recommendation.
Late breakfast over we set off across the Market Place, over the road, turned right and walked down to the river bank.After a hundred yards or so we crossed the river by the Baths Bridge and continued along the bank of the river.

The Marquess of Londonderry, soldier, coal owner. The statue was unveiled in 1861
              This narrow street leads up to Palace Green and the cathedral. A must if you are Durham.   

 The river walk passes several things of interest. The Durham Cow for a start.

 The cow is involved in the story of the monks of Lindisfarne carrying the undecayed body of St. Cuthbert to his final resting place at "Dun Holm"  the hill on an island, where the cathedral was built. The Dun Cow was on the Dun Hill.

The walk passes the Racecourse  Sports Ground where Durham CCC played their first first class game in 1992.I was there! And further on there are several rugby pitches.

            Weather vane at the Racecourse cricket ground.

                                  Durham Cathedral, forty years to build the body of the church, another 360 before the towers were all added. Well worth the wait.

We walked along the river bank until we reached Shincliffe Bridge where we crossed the road, crossed the bridge,  took the footpath on the other bank and continued on our way as the first light drops of rain fell.  The path, which is part of the Weardale Way,  meanders across fields and through woods until it comes to High Butterby Farm. From here we walked alongside Butterby Wood until we reached Croxdale Farm. Here we found a dilapidated but magnificent hemel which offered some shelter so was declared a Herbiespot. Amazingly we had the usual lunch except somebody forgot the pork pies! Over lunch I expressed the opinion that the great Captain Oates had not nobly walked to his lonely death in the Antarctic but had been eaten by the others. The punmeister suggested it was Scott's forage Oates.

A high hemel at Croxdale, the tractor has class.

A few yards down the lane from the lunch spot is a small chapel, presumably at one time attached to Croxdale Hall. 

                         The chapel at Croxdale. A chapel of ease it was built in the 12th century and is a grade1 listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument. The door hinge is huge.

                                      Croxdale Hall.
Lunch over we walked on in the heavy rain to Croxdale Bridge and after a last look at the Wear walked to the bus stop in the village of Croxdale.

 The Wear from the old bridge at Croxdale. The viaduct in the background carries the main London Edinburgh railway line.
We caught the first bus that came back to Durham and considered a visit to Wetherspoons but decided as it was early and also raining heavily, to catch the bus for Newcastle which was about to pull out. Back in Newcastle we headed for  The Five Swans, an excellent Wetherspoons, but at 4.30 pm on a Friday it was packed, three deep at the bar as my father in law used to say. And we are in a recession! Deciding there was little chance of being served quickly and not being able to get a seat we broke the gadgie walk rule and went our separate ways home. The shame of it.


Higear played reasonably well and said 4.83 miles;
I forgot to switch OUTDOOR GPS on

                                                            steps                              miles
ASDASLIM                                     12108                              5.68

ASDACURVE                                 12192                              5.58

LIDLUSB                                        12296                               5.60

Some consistency!
A jolly little walk on a wet day.

* Clippie. a bus conductor, seller of tickets so the driver could concentrate on his job. As a student I worked as a clippie and loved it.

                   Q. What do you call a gadgie in a suit?
                   A. The defendant!

    Contains OS Data. Copyright. Crown Copyright a database right 2012