Friday, 7 June 2013

A case of Deja Vu or a walk on the art side........................June 7th
First a word about data, those lies, damn lies and statistics beloved of Mark Twain.
By June 6th this blog has been visited 24096 times. Small compared to celebrity blogs but interesting to me. The top scores are:

United Kingdom      9837
United States           8980
Canada                    1084
Russia                      634
I can understand that most hits are from the UK, we are almost cousins to the US and I have relatives in Canada. But Russia. Why ?   почему
 The most frequently read walk is It might as well rain until September June 2nd 2012. A short walk in Durham city. Very strange.

It is summer at last, we have had blue skies for four days on the trot! Several gadgies have gone away for a few days and the remaining four have opted to walk along the north east shore of Kielder Water hoping to catch sight of the Ospreys that spend their summer on the lake.
The walk has been blogged before: Kielder Sanction I, December 2011 but a walk deserves a blog.
This is a part gadgie walk because to get to the start you need to take the A69 from Newcastle, turn north on the A68 near Corbridge and turn left at the signpost for Bellingham. Through Bellingham and turn right for Falstone, a village just south of Kielder Dam.
From Falstone catch the bus operated by Howard Snaith that runs from Hexham to Kielder. This bus runs only on Tuesday Friday and Saturday and it leaves Falstone at 10.35. You are advised to ring the company to check it is running. The journey terminates in Kielder by the castle which has grid reference NY 631934 . It is possible to do the walk without a map but use OS Landranger 80 or get a map of the area from the information office at the castle or Tower Knowe at the south end of the lake.
(Before you catch the bus obviously in the case of Tower Knowe)
A depleted team consists of vm., mm., hm., and bm.. and we arrived in Falstone with time to change into boots before the bus arrived. Without Brian to lead us astray there was no bacon sandwich in the Falstone Tea Rooms. Hungry, we caught the bus and got off some fifteen minutes later at Kielder Castle.
 Kielder Castle was built in 1775  for the Duke of Northumberland as a shooting lodge, obviously long before the reservoir was built. (Do you build a reservoir?) It is now a tea room and visitor centre with a good display of the things to see around the lake and in the forest.
                                   Howard Snaith's Kielder coach. Lovely friendly company.

We left the castle and walked down the path past the Minotaur Maze, a change from Maize Mazes, and at the road turned right for a few yards before spotting the unmissable sign post that points you on your way to either the north shore or the south shore. However we chose to follow the north shore by first crossing the Kielder Viaduct, a reminder that once a railway ran down the valley taking coals to Newcastle and people going about their business.
The viaduct was built to cross the River North Tyne, now it is a bit of an open air art gallery.
 One of the panels on the viaduct. The art , in this case a fish, represents local industry and past times.
At the end of the viaduct there is another choice, follow the well built cycle/footpath that encircles the lake (about 24 miles) or follow the old footpath along the side of the lake for a short distance.
                                            Stick to the old path and admire the horses that were brought in to keep the vegetation down.
Once past the horses scramble up the bank and rejoin the official pathway and keep on it to the dam at the south end. As simple as that.
The first thing to come to is the weir at the point which separates the old Bakethin reservoir from the present Kielder. Not very interesting but not far beyond it is Gowanburn
                                         Memorial to the Gowans. I need to research this.
About a mile beyond Gowanburn a footpath on the right leads to the first work of art on the walk: Silvas Capitalis or wooden head to non Latin speakers. (Alright, Forest Head fussy)

                                         Two views of Silvas Capitalis. It is 5 metres high or roughly 14 feet.
                                       Beautifully made from wood you can go inside and climb stairs to peep out of his eyes.   I like this one, great workmanship and fun.
Back on the path the route follows the shoreline turning north at this Viewpoint which is also reached  by taking a short trail of the main path.
                                             Ben thought it was pieces from a giant Trivial Pursuit game
                                              or cheese. It is actually a concrete representation of the "Viewpoint"
                                             symbol on Ordnance Survey Maps. Pretty dull really.
                    Back on the trail: the path heads round the bay that the Plashetts Burn flows into. There is a good photograph of the area taken some hundred years ago when a coal mine was here. A railway took  coal tubs down to the station and goods yard. All gone, under the water.
The next art work is the Janus Chairs. These are three large chairs that can swivel giving a view over the lake or the rather boring forest behind. We arranged them to face lakeside and declared a Herbie Spot. The pie situation is getting desperate, something must be done but at least we had Ben's ginger biscuits and some ALDI chocolate to help the sandwiches go down.
                                          The Janus chairs, quite comfy and a good picnic spot.
                                            Interesting work of art, and functional.
 Beyond the chairs, which are off the path, the next work is "Salmon Scales". Four cubes representing the life of the salmon.

                                                 Salmon scales, they rustle in the wind and sparkle in the sun.
                                                 Not very good.
Further along is Robin's Hut, a wooden construction that looks across the water to Freya's Cabin. A sad tale of Robin and Freya is on the hut wall. A touch of the Johnny Tillotson hit about Little White Dove and her lover Running Bear but in this case Robin, smart lad, rowed across the lake and spent the aft0ernoon with Freya in her cabin talking about trees and flowers. Oh come on!

                                                 Robin's Hut. Beautifully constructed from wood and shingles
                                            but on a windy day the draught would blow straight through.
About a mile further along is an interesting work, Belvedere. Constructed of stainless steel from the lakeside it looks like a giant loudspeaker. It would provide good shelter on a wet day and it has a large window giving views across the lake.

                                               Three views of Belvedere, nice one!
Next stop on this tour of art is 55/02, so called because, to the nearest whole numbers it is at 55 North and 2 West. A steel construction with a sliding section we were not impressed and moved on.

The final offering in this outdoor gallery is the wave chamber, which is well off the main path but worth a visit. Built from stone like a beehive a simple system of lenses and mirrors projects a picture of the moving waters of the lake onto the floor, provided you close the door.
At this point we spotted a large bird over the lake. Hoping it was an Osprey we watched it for a while before it flew over a distant wood. Definitely a bird of prey but not clearly identified.
                                                        The Wave Chamber. Pretty good.
Returning again to the main path we soon reached the dam. Some swallows were flying through a window into the gents' toilets but their nests were outside. They would be looking for flies!
                                     The Queen declared the Reservoir open some years ago.
                                         This assembly commemorates the opening.
On previous visits we have spotted deer on the grassy slope of the dam but not today.
Back in Falstone we changed and headed down the North Tyne Valley and along to Wylam to visit the Boathouse Tavern. Fourteen different beers but I settled for the familiar Tyneside Blonde.
An excellent walk on a warm day but a word of warning. If you choose to walk the north side of the lake there is no escape route and vehicular access is limited to a forest road  which is restricted to forestry vehicles. So you walk the full length or a short distance and turn back.
We saw chaffinches, yellowhammers, siskins and the usual collection of small birds, plus some stone ducks, silent warblers and a Gosprey, but the bird of the blog is the female gooseander, three spotted together looking for mates.

The MatrixMMMIII
                                                                 steps                                    miles
Higear                                                     29523                                    13.96
myLIDL3D                                            19539                                      9.02                         ridiculous

Dave's LIDL3D                                      29318                                     12.48
Dave's LIDLUSB                                   28688                                      15.39!!!!
OUTDOORGPS                                                                                     13.4
Ben;s Bragometer                                                                                   13.4

Last time the walk was only 11.5!

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