Saturday, 6 April 2013

It's our birthday and we'll drink if we want to.*
Alnhammoor April 5th.

Had my mother got a move on my birthday would have been 4/4/44, a fascinating number.
As it is I appeared a day later, 5/4/44, still a good day as it is the last day of the tax year.
My friend Harry, routemeister, arrived a year later so he has 5/4/45 as a birthdate, a palindromic number.
We had known each other about 15 years before we knew we shared a birthday, and only found out as I needed his details to put him on my car insurance for the great Austrian trip. (The Iceman Cometh). We agreed that had we been women we would have shared this information within a day of meeting
So today we are celebrating our birthdays with a walk from Ingram Centre because there has been a considerable amount of snow which has been melting and we thought the higher hills would be messy. As it turned out the melting snow made grass and tracks slippy and muddy on this relatively low level walk.
Six gadgies out today, apart from the birthday boys there are vm, mm, pm and hmm, two cars and a meeting at Powburn Tea Shop where we were well looked after by a lady who put up with changing requests, offered bread or rolls for the bacon butties and also offered white bread or brown. Five flitches +T without any discussion.
The walk itself, when we finally got under way, starts near the Ingram Centre. To get there, A1 north, A697 from Morpeth and turn left just after Powburn following the sign for Ingram. Cross the bridge and turn into the car park. (If you want the actual centre continue for a hundred yards, turn left and go down the lane. The centre  and its car park are on the right, just past the church. If it's open it sells ice cream and books.
A map is advisable, OL16 and the starting point is at NU018163.
The Walk:
Leave the car park and turn left, walking along the road past Ingram Farm, watching or listening for the peacocks that live here. The farmers are very friendly and often chat about the walking or the lambing. After about half a mile there is a sign post on the left (and a car park on the right). Follow the path uphill, taking the right fork at the first junction and continue up the slope keeping to the edge of the plantation until you arrive at the plateau summit of Brough Law which has an Iron Age fort on it. Built in the late 4th C BC, (although the vm, donning his archaeologists hat claims it to be 3rd C BC) it has rubble walls, is bivallate and has the outlines of dwellings within. It also has a commanding view.
                                                Brough Law Hill Fort walls.
                                          It doesn't look much but it was home to someone

As vm explained its origins the punmeister observed that when he and his wife were both working they lived in the iron age but now that they have retired they don't bother ironing anymore. I suspect Margaret does really. He admitted it wasn't one of his best efforts.
Having scrambled over the walls of the fort, taking care of course, you can't sue an Ancient Brit for busting your ankle on his threshold, head south on a path that meanders over the moor, south, south west, south east southwest again, before taking a short cut off the path and heading for the south corner of a plantation. Go through the gate, cross Chesters Burn and up the side of the plantation before heading west in the direction of Chesters..
This farm appears to be deserted, I think it may be used sometime as a centre for scouts.
Keep the farm on your right and follow the path uphill, past another ancient settlement, and once through a gate follow the path as it goes downhill towards a gate in a plantation. Walk through the plantation which has little to offer but lines of trees.
                                                If you look carefully you may see the orc peeping out from behind a tree  at the far end of the path.
The path emerges from the wood in to the Breamish Valley and after crossing a couple of fields you come to Alnhammoor Farm, Herbie Spot for the day, and for most walks in this area. We sat on stones next to the river and saw a heron, a dipper a pair of oyster catchers and had a distant view of a pair of buzzards. Vm.still refuses to bring pies but we did have ginger biscuits and chocolate to go with the sandwiches and coffee.
                                            Alnhammoor Farm
                                                  River Breamish
                                                      Lunch time

There are several routes back to Ingram from Alnhammoor but we opted for  the walk back via Cobden, Ewe Hill and Lumsden Hill.

From Alnhammoor head south east uphill and follow the track to Cobden, on the corner of a plantation. Once through the gate take the left hand path that takes an easterly route  over Ewe Hill passing three small plantations and several acres of muddy field. At the third plantation, cross the stile and take the path that runs north east below Cochrane Pike and Wether Hill before sloping gently down to Ingram.
                                      The locals are a little shy, but sweet, especially with mint sauce.
Back at Ingram walk past the village hall and church to the Ingram Centre and car park. In the corner of the car park is a footpath that brings you back to the starting point.
                                     St. Michael's Church Ingram, parts date back to the 11thC
 Changed from muddy boots and trousers we forced ourselves to stop at The Anglers Arms for a birthday celebration, a choice of Speckled Hen, Directors or Everards Tiger. I opted for Tiger as it was new to me. And very tasty it was too.
                                                          The exterior
                                                           The barmaids

Some of the gadgies
The Matrix MMMC   ( Needs updating with Dave's readings)
                                                         steps                               miles
ASDAPED                                   22429                               10.3
Higear                                           21738                               10.28
OUTDOORGPS                                                                     9.6
Bird of the Blog;
We have always said that a real gadgie walk needs a heron, which was spotted today so:

                                                               Grey Heron, bird of the blog
 * Been thinking about that one ?
"It's my Party and I'll cry if I want to" Lesley Gore, 1963
                                                                                                DD John, Ben