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Sunday, 3 November 2013

Follow the yellow round signs.....November 1st

Emmett's first law of washing up liquid states that if you buy a new bottle
your existing one will last for at least a week.
Emmett's second law of washing up liquid states that if you have actually run out the first law is relegated to a hypothesis.
This has nothing to do with gadgie walks but it is true and can be proved, empirically.

After a couple of weeks off because of the poor weather four gadgies, Dave, Brian, John and I, have decided to have a walk in upper Weardale, an area we rarely visit but one with its own beauty.
Weardale is a wide valley with many streams, called Sykes, Cleughs or Burns joining the main waterway as it wanders through County Durham to its mouth at Sunderland.

Upper Weardale has a scattering of small farms, many of the farmhouses are now derelict. I suspect, but do not know, that the small farms have been abandoned as uneconomical and have been amalgamated into larger units. Weardale was also a mining valley for centuries and there is much evidence of that activity left. Have a look at the map; Shafts, (dis), Level (dis) Mine (disused) appear all over.
The walk starts at a hamlet called Daddry Shield, shield meaning hut or shelter.  To get there look up Wolsingham and Stanhope on the map and continue west through Eastgate and Westgate before arriving at Daddry Shield. At the west end of the main street there is parking space for three cars.

Naturally we stopped on the way for breakfast at No 10, a coffee shop in Wolsingham which serves a quality bacon sandwich and a generous pot of tea. Brian and I only awarded four flitches as the bacon came in brown bread although we did admit we had not asked for buns.


The Walk.
A map is advisable for this walk and the complete circular route is covered by OS OL31 North Pennines and the parking space is at NY894379.
                           No walk is complete without a car park. Brian prepares for the day.
It was a sunny day, not a cloud was in the sky as the weatherman had promised, as we started.
Next to the car park a sign say Pinderhouse Farm, we followed the rough farm track uphill for about three quarters of a mile before finding the yellow marker on a stile on the right hand side of the road. The path crossed several fields, (1 mile) close to the walls, and was quite boggy, giving a lie to the claim that it would be a dry walk. It crossed the Harthope Burn before reaching the road that leads to St. John's Chapel.
However we crossed straight over this minor road and followed another in a north westerly direction. John quite rightly pointed out that although walking on roads, something we gadgies do not like, there is very little traffic on these above the valley. (2m) Just then a car appeared. Friendly diver, gave us a wave.
At one point the road turned right through 90 degrees and headed downhill for Ireshopeburn but we turned left and followed a rough track for a short distance before spotting the yellow marker on the right hand side of the road that led down to a footbridge on the Ireshope Burn and on to an isolated cottage called The Hole.
Ireshope Burn, possibly.

The owners of this cottage have put neat little signs directing walkers round their home rather than through it. And why not, who wants a trail of grumpy old men tramping through their back garden?
 Following the footpath across another stream we soon came to the Causeway Road at  Ling Riggs and turned left. (3m)
Having walked along Causeway Road for about  three quarters of a mile we spotted on the right hand side, the yellow marker that indicated the track down to Burnhope Reservoir. We declared a Herbie Spot on the south side of the dam. Dave had brought Thorntons Caramel shortbread and I had brought peanut butter fudge from www.cakepoppins.com which was greatly appreciated. A sugar burst is good for a gadgie.
                                         This dilapidated lime kiln is by the path leading to
                                          Burnhope Reservoir.
                                 One of the old farmhouses. Could be renovated for a
                                               country home.
                                                      Burnhope Reservoir

                                               A view from a dam. Spot the Lancaster.
At the north end of the dam is a large house called Burnhope Lodge. It looks very new but was deserted. The cottage by the gate had a "Wesleyan Chapel" plaque on it and we thought maybe the lodge was a Methodist retreat. When I got home  I Googled it and it turns out to be an upmarket           "shooting" lodge available for parties up to 18 in number for a weeks outdoor activities, and much more expensive than a Youth Hostel.
                                              Burnhope Lodge. All mod cons.
Leaving the lodge we took the road north east that heads down the valley to Cowsgreen a village on the Wear where we joined The Weardale Way a longish distance walk that does exactly what it says alongside the river.
                                                         Cowsgreen bridge over the Wear
                                                       And a waterfall.
 The way back to Daggery Shield is easy to follow as it is well marked with little yellow discs. The route crosses and recrosses the Wear and passes through some interesting villages. Not long after leaving Cowsgreen we observed a murmuration of fieldfares, thrush sized birds that winter in Britain. We also spotted a heron, making it a proper gadgie walk and watched three Roe Deer grazing in a field.
At Ireshopeburn there is a museum and old chapel. Sadly both had closed for winter on October 31st!
Nearby a marker explained that John Wesley had preached several times on this spot as he went on his travels inspiring Methodism trades unions and the Labour Party! At an Outdoor Education Centre a group of children were being taught archery,
On the hillside above the village is a fine looking building, New House, built in 1700 as the headquarters of a mining company and a place where the miners could buy candles to help them see underground!
Along the Weardale Way

                                                            New House
                                                         Further along the Wear

                                                   And more decaying farmhouses.
Back at Daddry Shields we debooted and headed for The Punch Bowl at Edmondbyers which had three ales on: Uncle Fester, American Cocker and Nellies Dimples. Nellies Dimples was a fine pint.
Unfortunately I have managed to lose all the Matrix data from my mobile phone but Outdoor GPS has the walk at 9.35 miles, Brian's pedometer which I was roadtesting said 9.04 and Dave has measured the walk at 8.8 miles ,as have I.
More important is that it was a different walk from our usual expeditions with a variety of terrain and things of interest, like "Shake Holes" which abound and have nothing to do with mining but are formed in boulder clay over limestone when water causes the clay to sink. Geology, history, it's all in Weardale. Great walk, recommended.

Late update from Dave

LIDL 3D                                     19864 steps                                   9.45 miles
LIDLUSB                                   20144                                            8.9


Bird of the blog:
                                                              Fieldfare, a winter visitor.

 Contains OS data Copyright. Crown Copyright and database right 2013