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Saturday, 26 January 2013

AN INQUORATE A.G.M.      JANUARY 25/26

There are six gadgies out today, route, halfmarathon, vogel, pun, blog and the happy return of smooothmeister who, henceforth, will be known as kittymeister. An explanation is included in the blog.
Today's walk starts and finishes at the well known Anglers Arms Hotel at Weldon Bridge. (A1 north, A697 at Morpeth and turn left at signpost for Rothbury and turn left almost immediately for the hotel.
Two cars to carry us all, we met at Heighley Gate Garden Centre/shoe shop/bookshop, food store and cafe for breakfast. The bacon butty was available only in bread, white or brown. If you added a sausage and egg it came in chibatta. The bacon sandwich was fine and HP sauce was provided but it was rather like eating in an aircraft hanger, not the cosy little tea shops most of us prefer. Marked down by me to 3.5 flitches.
By prior arrangement we were allowed to leave the cars in the Anglers Arms car park.
             At last, the Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge................
                                             and its extra dining room
 This walk is best done with the aid of a map, the one I have is OSLandranger 81, Alnwick, Morpeth and surrounding area.
                                Ready to go

Leaving the pub we turned left up the hill, turned right and walked under the A697 and headed for Weldon. Near the Weldon Gun Shop the footpath turns off the road and follows a track a few degrees east of north before turning easterly alongside the River Coquet. We stopped to admire the farmhouse at Elyhaugh, built in 1732. The date and the arms of the Lisle family are above the door.
                                        Elyhaugh Farmhouse, 281 years old, approximately
Beyond this beautiful house , after a short stretch along the river the footpath crosses fields covered in deep snow, and a few minor burns (streams)  to Felton Fence where a track eventually joins a road that leads to Swarland Mill.

                                          One of the Swarland herd of two ponies. They were very friendly.
At Swarland  we had a slight problem. The official footpath crossed, by means of a ford, a shallow stream. However the stream was far from shallow and we we had to turn back, not before calling the place a Herbie Spot and indulging in sandwiches, pork pies, ginger biscuits and mini apple pies. We eat well.
We walked back, crossed the stream (by bridge, we were on a road) and turned right to cross fields and bring us back to the footpath. From here the path went almost due west across fields until it reached Longframlington. The fields were deep in snow and not having tennis rackets on our feet, the going was slow. Fortunately the markers pointed us in the right direction, although there is a new detour at Longframlington.
                                           Pretty, but hard work, most of us had aching legs.
  As we approached the village of Longframlingto we spotted a Barn Owl flying low across the fields, looking for supper. Silent and ghost light he(or she) was declared "BIRD OF THE BLOG", a new feature. Other  birds we saw included Fieldfares, Redwings, Chaffinches and, surprisingly, Crows.
                                                 Barn Owl, the silent crepuscular hunter!
We had to walk through the village, the pavements covered in the snow that had been pushed off the road. Northumberland County Council have done a good job this year keeping roads open.
a large green tractor with a plough on the front passed us reminding Brian that he had once  had a girlfriend who was a tractor driver. She had dumped him after a few months by writing a John Deere letter. Not for nothing is he the punmeister.
Through the village we turned off the A697 and took the side road through Low Town. Another Barn Owl put in a brief appearance as we neared the Anglers Arms.
 Back at the pub some of us entered the bar and some drove home as the snow was beginning to fall heavily. Those of us who stayed sat round a roaring log fire and drank several pints of Timothy Taylor's Golden Bitter. Nicely flavoured and not too strong. Warmed by the fire and the beer we went to the rooms we had booked, showered, snoozed and returned to the dining room for dinner and a little more beer.
Now this is the way for gadgies to go walking, occasionally. A good walk, beer in front of a real fire in a lovely pub with friendly welcoming staff, an evening meal and, amazingly an early night. How civilised, how enjoyable, no worries about driving home.
We were meant to be holding the Annual Gadgies Meeting, Ancient Gadgies Meeting or Annual General Meeting to discuss future projects but with only the three of us we were inquorate so had to be content with idle chat.

                                    Anglers Arms Walk.
The incomplete Matrix MMCXX, I await the vogelmeister's results.

                                                         steps                                miles
Higear                                              21648                               10.004
ASDAPED                                      17840                                8.38
Quite a difference
OUTDOORS GPS                                                                     8.67
Good score from ASDAPED

January 26
Breakfast at 9am in the dining room, the full English, a rare treat for all us healthy living gadgies!
In the bar about 45 local businessmen/rotarians/whatever were having a working breakfast, a weekly event apparently, and what a place to hold it.
Fed and watered the three of us headed for Rothbury, parked on the snowy high street and headed for the Rothbury Terraces.
                             Rothbury is a pretty little Northumbrian town, quite old fashioned in some respects with real shops, like a butchers! No supermarket, several tea shops and pubs. Worth a visit.
Leaving the main street we followed a footpath alongside a field where the local children were sledging. The footpath continued in a plantation for a mile or so. The trees were covered in snow, at one point with a sharp crack, a branch fell off one.

                                    Tough critters, Highland Cattle.
                                      Hard work in the snow, but with scenery like this, worth all the effort.
Leaving the plantation we did a semicircular tour of the moorland above the town. In places the snow was well over a foot deep and soft, making the walking difficult but the punmeister made a noble snow plough, cutting a path across the open terrain. The views were spectacular:


                                                 Simonside in the snow.
.                                         And the distant Cheviots.

                                 Brian and Ray in a deep crevasse.
Not surprisingly we met two people taking advantage of the conditions to do some cross country skiing, more surprising was the jogger and the young man on a mountain bike. He admitted it was hard going.  We also met a Northumbrian Penguin.
Northumbrian Penguins are very shy and consequently not seen often. This one is probably a female, her partner would be walking to the Anglers Arms hoping for some fish.
Speaking of penguins my neice's book Penguin in Peril is now available. Look it up on Amazon, for children of all ages it is terrific, the drawings are beautiful.
 Eventually we turned south and on reaching a plantation turned east through the wood. A signpost pointed us in the direction of Rothbury, only a mile and a quarter, across more soft snow but we took it, followed the markers and eventually walked down a very narrow lane and appeared on the main street, next to the car.
Making straight for Tomlinsons tea room and bunk house we had  some refreshment (non alcoholic). The stay in the pub was declared a success and an event to be repeated next January. It was suggested that if everyone put £1 a week in a kitty the weekend would effectively cost nothing. Ray was appointed kittymeister but I suspect nothing will come of it.

Mini Matrix MMCMXXI
ASDAPED                         11320 steps          5.32 miles.

This was the best gadgie trip for a long time! Can't wait for Scotland in summer!

OUTDOORGPS                                             5.29 miles