Saturday, 15 June 2013

On the Boardwalk, Boardwalk.... June 14th

This weeks outing is a near repeat of a gadgie favourite, first blogged  as The Henhole  24/9/11.
(Remember all you nice Americans we do date, month, year the proper way of course!)
The rotund weatherman promises a reasonable day with the chance of a heavy shower in the afternoon, so three gadgies and a very junior apprentice set off for a walk in Northumberland's Cheviot Hills.
The team consists of b,., vm., rm. and his youngest son Paul, out for a bit of bonding with his dad.
The walk starts at what now must be a very familiar spot in the Harthope Valley but just in case......
From Newcastle take the A1 north, A697 north of Morpeth, turn into Wooler, turn left almost immediately into Cheviot Street, take the right fork, turn right at he signpost for Langleeford and drive about four miles before pulling into the grassy car park on the left. There is a polite notice asking you not to drive beyond this point unless you have business at the farm beyond.
A map is useful on this walk, the best is OS OL 16 The Cheviot Hills and the car park is at Grid Ref  954224.
The walk, at last (and did you notice there was no bacon sandwich?)
Almost directly opposite the car park there is a path which goes alongside Hawsen Burn.

                                          Langleeford  car park, a gem, and free!
Actually there are two paths and you can take the lower one which is a bit boggy as it goes alongside the stream or the slightly higher one which is drier. Hoping to see a Ring Ousel we took the lower path and got a glimpse of what we thought was one of these birds bu could not swear to a positive hit. Nor did we see any adders. The two paths soon come together on a good track. A signpost at a junction directs walkers towards Broadstruther  but for this walk take the left fork and continue steadily uphill to the fence line. We have never found the path that leads directly to a stile but at the fence we turned right and walked for a couple of hundred yards to the traditional crossing.
                                       An example of a common stile, not very interesting but functional.
We continued along the path until it reached a forest track, turned right along the track until it reverted to a footpath, went through a small plantation and emerged high above a meandering stream, ox bow lakes of the future no doubt. The plus side is the view, looking west over the College Valley beyond.
                                         Looking west on the approach to Goldscleugh.
The footpath led us to the farm at Goldscleugh. The original farmhouse has been replaced by a more modern building.

                                                 The old farmhouse, could make a lovely country let
                                                      Weather gauge near the farm.
                                                        Rainfall, wind speed and temperature.
From Goldscleugh there is a metalled road that leads for several miles to Hethpool and out of the College Valley. We walked it as far as Dunsdale, the next farm along the way and now a holiday let. Nicely isolated you could take a supply of food and drink there and write a book.
We merely called a Herbie Spot and settled with our backs to the wall for lunch, after only four miles.
                                                Typical Cheviot view, the Bizzle.
The usual lunch but to make life a little more exciting I had brought some LIDL chocolate for a change. Amazingly it was just like ALDI chocolate.
Lunch over we walked through the farmyard and headed southwest across a couple of fields with plantations on the right. The plantations had been cropped and in part replaced with deciduous trees. At the end of the plantation we had a good view of Mounthooly Youth Hostel and bunkhouse. To its left a narrow plantation with the remains of an ancient homestead and terraces clearly visible.
                                                        Mounthooly YH and bunkhouse
                                                Not the best of photographs but the outline
                                               of the settlement is just visible to the left
                                                of the plantation with the terraces above.
We ignored the ladder stile that leads through the birch wood and went down the bank to a track, turned left and headed for the stream (College Burn). Once there was a footbridge but it was washed away in the great rains several years ago. Fortunately, for us anyway, it has been dry recently, the water was low and we crossed easily with dry feet too. Turning left we walked along a good track heading slightly west of south until it petered out into a footpath.
                                               North along the College Valley
                                                   The Henhole, a good scramble.
At this point we made the decision not to scramble up the Henhole but to take the footpath up the right hand side of the burn and join the Pennine Way long distance footpath near Red Cribbs.
When we reached the Pennine Way we met two ladies who were almost at the end of their trek along the longest walk in England, looking forward to a refreshing drink at the pub in Kirk Yetholm no doubt.
We followed the path roughly west, pausing at the Mountain Refuge Hut looking hopefully for Dave's compass that he left here several years ago. It had gone. Nice to see some walkers had obligingly left their plastic cutlery on the ground outside the hut and that some had grafittied the interior to let us know they woz here. There is a book for comments too! Still it shows not all education is wasted, at least they can write.
                                                  Hoping to find his compass Dave enters the hut!
Leaving the hut we headed east up the steep slope towards Auchope Cairn.Quite a pull too so we stopped for a mini Herbie Spot and to admire the views, although the clouds were heading in ominously from the west.

                                                Young Paul waits for the gadgies at Auchope Cairn.
Because the many boots that tramped the Pennine Way caused some erosion and also because the Cheviot plateau can be a boggy peaty morass which is difficult to plodge* through, a boardwalk was built across the Pennine Way some years ago. It is currently being replaced by flagstones from old Lancashire and Yorkshire mills. The sound of clogged feet can still be heard on a moonlit night and the distant clatter of a thousand looms, turning out miles of cloth for the empire.
                                                         The boardwalk leading from Auchope Cairn to the Cheviot.
                                                Flagstones on the left, ready to be installed. They are brought up
                                               by helicopter although in our younger days we always carried a
                                               couple in our rucsacs to help.
                                                  Flagstones of True Yorkshire grit.

We followed the boardwalk which later becomes a flagged path to Cairn Hill. Just off the path are a few remains of a Boeing B17 which crashed in World War II.
On the summit plateau we saw three Golden Plovers, nicknamed "the squeaking gate" because of their strange cry
Eventually we came to the trig point which marks the bleak summit of the Cheviot which is 815 metres high or 2674 feet. From the summit we continued along the flagged path to a stile, crossed it and continued in a north easterly direction downhill.
                                                 The Cheviot summit trig point, and footpath.
                                              The Harthope Valley looking north east.
After a slight climb to the top of Scald Hill we continued until we came to a fork  and took the right
footpath which went downhill to  the road near Langleeford Farm. On the way down we met a young man running up!

                                                           Langleeford Farm
Turning left on the road we were soon back at the car. We sat around for some time, enjoying the views. The young man came running back, he was out for a training run, getting fit for the Chevy Chase, an annual walk/run in these parts of about 20 miles. He had also run the Berlin Marathon.

                                          The Harhope Burn at the car park
Changed we headed home, calling at the Anglers Arms for beer, Directors, Speckled Hen or Theakstons' Bitter, not to mention a very warm welcome.

Bird of the blog.
We saw wheatears, willow warblers, skylarks, a family of grouse chicks waiting for August, mistle thrush, oyster catchers, possibly a ring ousel and a host of lbjs, but the bird of the blog is the Golden Plover.

                                                     This week's bird, a Golden Plover
The Matrix MMMII

Things are getting worse;
                                                              steps                              miles
Higear                                                    13310                              6.3
MyLIDL3D                                           21203                              9.54
Dave's LIDLUSB                                 29654                               14
LIDL3D                                                22923                               10.54
OUTDOORGPS                                                                             12.8 (sounds right)

plodge: Northumbrian dialect for "wading in water"