Saturday, 4 May 2013

A Walk in Allendamp            May 3rd

A title suggested by the punmeister as the walk progressed in good old English drizzle.
The jolly Scottish weatherman on local TV had told us again that the west side of the country would be wet so four gadgies opted for a relatively local walk from Allendale in south Northumberland.
Out today are pm., mm., vm. and bm.. We drove along the A69, turned off beyond Hexham at the signpost for Alston and then followed signs for Allendale itself, parking in the town centre.
The Allendale Tea Rooms have already been awarded five flitches for their excellent bacon butties and tea so naturally we called in again. Same pleasant service.
A map is advisable,  OL 43: Hadrian's Wall covers every step and the town centre is at GR837558.

                                              Yet another in my series on car parks.. This one graces the centre of Allendale. The tea rooms are in the building in the middle of the photograph.
Walking westward for a  hundred yards we turned  right in front of a large building that looks like it could once have been a hotel and went downhill towards the river. A footpath on the right took us along the river bank until we came to a road.
                             \Allendale cricket field
                                                                      Allendale cowslips
                                                    River Allen.

Turning left we crossed the river and admired the small industrial park that was home to Allendale Brewery.
                                                Allendale Brewery.
            Across the road from the brewery a signpost pointed the way uphill through a small wood to another road at Thornley Gate. Turning right on the road we walked along it for a short way before fortunately spotting the sign that took us into Oakleydean Burn. Meeting another road we turned left downhill for a short distance before finding the signpost on the right hand side of the road that led us across four fields until we came to another road near Wager House. This part of the walk crosses the remains of a smelting mill flue. There are several of these flues in the area,, designed to create a strong draught for the lead smelters higher in the hills. The chimneys are still visible above and have been visited on previous walks in the area.
We turned left towards Wager House andfollowed the road for a short distance before turning right and crossing fields towards Wooley. More fields and then at the Hagg Burn we headed downhill towards the River Allen, fortunately the route is well marked! The footpath stays close to the river and goes through the yard at Park Farm, voted the foulest farm of the day for its rather large collection of discarded plastic sheets. Through woodland and across footbridges the path took us alongside the River Allen, past a rather dilapidated bridge that was forbidden to tracked vehicles, past old mine workings  until we crossed the river near Holms and declared a Herbie Spot.




 Part of the walk follows Isaacs Tea Trail, called after a gentleman who visited the farms of the area selling tea. There is a booklet describing the walk, we have covered part of it in the past.

                                  An old lime kiln near today's Herbie Spot. Limestone and coal added at the top, fertiliser shovelled out at the bottom.
   Old mine workings, probably for lead  which had been extracted in this area for years.
A well chosen Herbie Spot.

                                River Allen at the day's Herbie Spot
Lunch over, and yes it was the usual but how we miss Dave's pies, we followed the north bank of the river, a few yards on what had obviously been a well made track to the mine and then we met another road. Turning left we came to the tiny hamlet of Sinderhope, turned right up the road past Garret's Hill farm where the road petered out and became a track over the moors. The track led us across a heathery moor, which is excellent for cleaning mud off boots but has the habit of undoing your laces, until we came to a cross roads, or cross paths really. Turning left we headed towards Allendale, making a short deviation to look at Stobb  Cross, probably a marker from the days when this was a drove road. It also had the appearance of a prehistoric burial cairn although there is nothing marked on the map.
 Looking back over Sinderhope on another damp and drizzly day.
.                                                        Stobb Cross.

 The moor eventually meets cultivated land and after crossing several fields we came to a road, turned right, sharp left over more fields at Scotch \Halls farm and followed the sign posts over several fields until we returned to Allendale.
There are several excellent stiles on this walk, two of which I have added to my rough draught of my forthcoming book wall and fence crossings in the north of England.
                                A novelty stile, quite unusual
                                              A traditional wall stile, this one has a little extra
                                          fence to deter the more adventurous sheep
Changed we walked to the Golden Lion pub which had a good selection of beers, including my favourite Timothy Taylor's Landlord. The always do when I'm driving. A really friendly pub, and very much a local with a cross section of locals having a late afternoon  pint and discussing the County Council election results. No comment on them but five barrels for the pub.


                                                          steps                                miles
Reliable ASDAped                          22303                               10
New LIDL 3D                                  17109                               7.70 *

Daves LIDL USB                              21823                             9.40
LIDL3D                                             21791                             11.76*
Measured by Dave                                                                       9.4

Outdoor GPS                                                                              9.7
 Brian's GPS                                                                              10

Let's settle for 10
* New acquisitions: Obviously they need some tinkering with, mine is way out for steps and distance, Dave's is good for steps but too  generous for miles.

            A bit tricky to follow, buy a map.
Bird of the blog:
Not the best of days, probably keeping out of the drizzle. We saw lapwings, oyster catchers a kestrel crows, a couple of wheatears, an unidentified wader that was still on the moors, several curlews and the usual collection of small birds. As an ex member of the Curlew Patrol, 16th Lancaster St. Pauls Boy Scout Troop, I chose that moorland bird.