Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Grand Cunyon...................November 29th
   When I was small my parents had several Burl Ives records on 78s. One of my favourites was "The Grand Canyon Line":
On the Grand Canyon Line I was riding along,
On the grand Canyon Line I was singing no song,
On the Grand Canyon Line I was riding along,
Couldn't go back to Texas 'cos I knew I'd done wrong.
Sitting alone in a box cars four walls,
Because of a breaking the rich man's laws,
I thought of my sweetheart and began to cry,
When I am caught by my neck I shall die.
I think my life long love of corny country and western started here,  the song has everything, a train, a lost love and a death. Mind you I also liked "Froggy went a Courtin'" for the guitar playing.
Then I grew up and discovered Rock n Roll, but how is it I can remember these words after 60 years and have already forgotten the headline story in yesterday's Times?

There are five gadgies on the walk today, Brian, Dave, John, Harry and me and we are walking from the old Ingram info centre car park. To get there: A1 north, A697, turn left at the signpost for Ingram, drive over the bridge across the Breamish, turn left and past the holiday cottages and St.Michael's church and park outside the centre.
 The centre closed two years ago, (Government cuts) but has very recently opened as The Muddy Boots Café  and, not surprisingly, we decided to field test their bacon butties. The café is run by some ladies who live in the valley and they are "getting organised." They were a bit short on the bacon, the delivery man had not yet arrived, so we settled for a bacon and sausage sandwich. It came in a white bun, too soft for my liking, with brown or tomato sauce and a generous helping of tea. John opted for coffee and had a cafetiere made with freshly ground coffee from The Ouseburn Coffee Company. I sampled it, really good. The ladies made us very welcome, service was excellent but only four flitches because of the bun. We wished them success in their venture, it should be a popular place in summer.

                                             Muddy Boots café  sells books of local interest too,
                                          The inevitable car park picture.
The walk. I would recommend a map for this one if you do not know the area

OL Explorer  16. The Cheviot Hills.
The Muddy Boots is at NU 020163.
In the corner of the car park a footpath leads through a small wood to another car park. This was the beginning of our walk. Leaving the second car park we turned right on the valley road and after a few hundred yards turned left towards the farm at Reavely. Just beyond the farm a sign post on the left pointed us in the direction of Threestoneburn Wood.The path across the fields was quite muddy and deeply rutted.
                                                    Deep ruts the wagons made
The path across the fields climbs steadily across several fields before reaching open moorland. Brian and I chose to go in a direct line and the other three took the footpath towards and past Reavely Hill.
                                                       A classic
                                                 Round 'em up, move 'em out.
Reaveley Hill was inhabited until the 1970s when the last family left. It was used a s a shepherds hut until the 1980s, the last shepherd tragically killing himself. Now it seems to be used as a store for animal fodder and a home for owls. Herbie, on past walks, has always climbed in and produced some owl pellets as evidence. Something for the nature table.
                                        Isolated Reaveley Hill.
Continuing in a line slightly north of west we all met up at the south east corner of Threestoneburn Wood and continued up the steep path along the side of the wood to Cunyan Crags where we stopped for lunch.
Cunyan Crags, an excellent Herbie Spot.
From the top of the crag we had panoramic views of the county,east to the sea, south to Simonside,
west to Hedgehope . And, as well as a sandwich, we dined on pork pies supplied today by both Brian and Dave, Mrs. A's home made muesli biscuits with chocolate icing, Ringtons ginger snaps. as Ben was away, and home made peanut butter fudge, courtesy of Well, on a cold day with a bitter wind from the north west you need energy.
Usually from this point we continue westwards to Dunmore Hill and down to Grieves Ash at Linhope. Grieves Ash is an ancient settlement and reminds me of Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, but that's another story. Instead we headed due south down the steep side of the hill towards Hartside. From here we took the road towards Alnhammoor Farm.
At the farm I made an executive decision and chose to follow the path on the north side of the Breamish. After a few  yards along the river bank the path, alongside a fence behind which there is a forest in the making, climbs steeply up to Hartside Hill. Hartside Hill is an archaeologist's paradise. It has Roman-British settlements, homesteads and cairns as well as a fort and evidence of ridge and furrow ploughing on the slopes.
At the east end of hill we waded through dying bracken down a steep path to the river and turned north until we hit the valley road. Turning east on the road we made our way back to the car park, arriving just before dark.
                                                Distant Cunyan Crags from the river Breamish
                                             St. Michael's Church, Ingram
                                                          Church Gate.traditional style.
A good walk for a cold and windy day. We decided to call at the Plough Inn, former coaching inn, at Powburn on the way home, just  for a change, but it was closed so instead we were forced on to the Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge which served Black Sheep, Speckled Hen and Ruddles County. Almost heaven Weldon Bridge.
                                                                                  steps                        miles
Higear                                                                        20701                      9.79
LIDL3D                                                                     22448                      10.1
Dave LIDL3D                                                            22609                      10.4
Dave LIDLUSB                                                         21777                       10.31
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                          9.3
Brian's GPS                                                                                                   9.4
Best day for pedometers for a long time!
Beast of the blog.
Quiet day for birds, probably because of the wind although we saw a kestrel and some finches but the award today hoes to the hare.
                                                        Hare joins the Home Guard.

Total gadgie walk this year  441.4 miles