Friday, 15 November 2013

Blowing in the Windy Gyle ........ November 15th

How many times have we walked this walk?
How many times will we walk it again?

Windy Gyle is a popular winter walk because it is not too far away and, more important, it's a good walk in the Cheviots. 

The walk starts at Barrowburn high in the Coquet Valley and it contains a short stretch on the border with Scotland. To get to the start take the A1 north, turn onto the A697 at Morpeth, watch out for diversion signs to Rothbury as the damaged road still has not been repaired, go through the town and continue through Thropton. Turn right for Harbottle and Alwinton, driving through them both and watching out for a herd of alpacas and find the car park at Barrowburn on the left. It has tables for picnics or sitting at as you put your boots on.
A map is advisable, OS OL 16, The Cheviot Hills, and the car park is at NT866103.
Naturally we stopped in Rothbury at Tomlinson's Café and Bunkhouse, enjoying a bacon butty or toasted teacake, washed down with the contents of a ginormous teapot. Five flitches again. (

The walk:
As we put our gear on we disturbed a lone roe deer which bounced up the hill.
 We left the car park and turned left, walking up the road past the track leading to Barrowburn Farm where there is an excellent tea shop, and continued  for a while before turning very sharp right at a gate and soon afterwards, at the sign post, turning left to head for the hills.
                                            You expect a car park now, here it is.
This path climbs quite steeply  with Barrow Law on the left. (1mile) It continues over open moorland before reaching a plantation at Murder Cleugh (2m) A stone records that Robert Lumsden killed Isabella Sudden here in 1610!

                                                 Poor Isabella, murdered in tough times on
                                                the border, even with JamesI and VI on the thrones.
Leaving the plantation we turned right on the farm road for a short distance before turning left on the path leading to Little Ward Law (3m) dipping down to the muddy Scotchman's Ford and then following the path to the border fence. We went through the gate and settled down in the large cairn by the trig point (and Russell's Cairn) for a Herbie Spot. (4m) Dave had brought an item which I think he called Yorkshire Cake, which was sweet and sticky, and we had Ben's ginger biscuits and some chocolate from Tescos. No wonder some of us put weight on.
It was too misty to enjoy thye views, either south to England and north to Scotland but Brian ,punmeister, did remind us of the old days when the border reivers fought and pillaged in the area. The travelling Scots built small piles of stones on which to prepare their meals. What were they called A Dinner Cairn!. (think about it.)

                                                   Russell's Cairn in the mist.
 Lunch over we headed north east along the border fence to the point where there is a sign post pointing towards Cocklaw Foot in Scotland and Alwinton in England. (5m)
                                              Cross the border in stile
                                                         Carrefour or croisee  des chemins!
At this point we headed southeast in a generally downhill direction, Hazely Law (6m) on the left until we reached the track that goes to Uswayford. But we kept heading south across the moors above Usway Burn (7m) until we came to a plantation. Following the track through the wood we came to Fairhaugh, an isolated farmhouse that is a holiday let. We have never seen it occupied, the windows are always shuttered, maybe we always come at the wrong time.
                                                       Fairhaugh farmstead.
We took the track  on the west side of the burn(8m) across more open moorland  and past the bunkhouse at the old school below lounges Knowe.
                                                 The old school house, rented out!
Not far from the school house we turned right across  a field to Wedderleap, site of a tragedy when a sheep rustler, trying to evade capture attempted to leap the stream but was weighed down by his haul and drowned. In the field on the right were some orange sheep. It is done to make them highly visible in the snow. Presumably the non orange ones all get lost.
                                                       Too much time under the sun lamp.
 And then we were back at the car park.(9m)

Changed we headed home, calling as usual for a warm welcome and liquid refreshment at the Anglers Arms, Weldon Bridge. Timothy Taylor's Landlord, Speckled Hen and Directors.

The Matrix MMCMV
                                                         steps                          miles
LIDL3D                                         21359                         9.61
ASDAPED                                     12167                         5.71  ridiculous
Dave's LIDL3D                              20585                         9.46
LIDL3D                                          20381                         9.00
OUTDOORS GPS                                                             9.24
Ben's bragometer                                                               9.4
Brian;s GPS ran out of battery.

Ripley's Believe it or not.
Driving back on the road from Barrowburn Dave observed that it was a long time since we had seen a stoat. Five minutes later one ran across the road.  So this little creature gets  Beast of the Blog. How did we know it was a stoat. It's because a weasel is easily recognised but a stoat is totally different.
                                                 Stoat. It turns white in winter and becomes an ermine.