Friday, 13 December 2013

A walk with the Common Broads..... Dec13th
(and it was a Friday.

  Whenever Frank Sinatra visited Britain he said he was going to Norfolk for the broads. How we laughed, the first time.
Today, five gadgies are out and we are walking from Langleeford in the Harthope Valley. The team consists of Brian, John, Ben, Dave and myself.  To get to Langleeford  from Newcastle take the A1, turn off at Morpeth on the A697, turn into Wooler and turn almost immediately into Cheviot Street. Follow this road to the fork, and take to the right, which now has a brown sign* directing you to the Harthope Valley. Turn right at the sign for Langleeford, drive past the still wonderfully named Skirl Naked and drive as far as it is permitted up the valley. There is a grassed parking area on the left.
A map is advisable, OS OL16 The Cheviot Hills, and the parking area is at NT954225.
The jovial Jock had promised us a cloudy day with the occasional shower and an unseasonally high temperature of 12 degrees C. He was right.
And of course we stopped at the Terrace Café in Wooler for breakfast but having added at least seven pounds to my weight recently I resisted the bacon and had a cup of tea.

                                                      Preparing for the off in the car park.

 We took the footpath directly opposite the parking area which leads up the Hawsen Burn and across moorland to a fence. The footpath, according to the map goes directly to the gate  and stile in the fence but we have always had to struggle the last few yards over boggy heather. Over the stile the footpath, wet in winter, leads downhill until it meets a well made track. It gives a great view of the College Valley, still my favourite Cheviot Valley, even on a grey day like this.
                                                The Cheviot, shrouded in cloud.
                                                   The College Valley ahead.

       We turned right and followed the track to the farm at Goldscleugh. If you follow this walk go past the farm and follow the signpost just beyond it which takes you across a ford onto a good farm track. Some of us tried a short cut and had to climb several fences, something that seems to be getting harder. Brian took off on a track before he got to the farm which took him to the plantation. The rest of the team followed the track uphill for a while  until we spotted the yellow marker that took us into the plantation.
                                          And a distant view of Dunsdale Farm.
                                           And a little yellow marker. Now you know what to look for.
The path through the plantation is a public right of way but is difficult to follow until about half way through where it joins a forest truck.
 Once out of the wood we followed the path in a north east direction. At a fork in the path we took the left fork, although there was some muttering about this being the wrong one. However as we came to a stream running down to the Common Burn a voice hailed us. It was Brian who had found an easier route. A Herbie Spot was declared. Apart from sandwiches we had ASDA flapjack,mince pies, Ben's famous ginger biscuits and Mrs A's cinnamon flavoured  muffins. Quite rightly Brian observed we were the only people who went out for a walk to put weight on. So much for declining the bacon sandwich.
Lunch over we continued on our muddy way towards Commonburn House. If you follow this walk look at the map. Shortly before the farm a footpath dips down towards the Common Burn, there is a ford and then a well made farm track leading uphill and over the moors towards Broadstruther.
                                    Look carefully, Commonburn House is visible
                                               above the wall in the background.
At Broadstruther, or near it, the footpath leads south before turning south east and coming to a fence.
On the south side is a boundary marker.
                                    Broadstruther, behind a large black box
                                             Moss covered boundary stone.
 At the fence  we turned left and followed the fence line  north east up Cold Law. There is a path on both sides of the fence, some took one side, some the other. Normally the path is boggy and it is a long slog to the top but today the trail was dry, an indication of a rain free week or so, and a tail wind drove us to the top.
                                                   Another Trig Point!
Should you follow this walk be careful on the way down from the top of the hill. There is a very good path leading approximately south south east from the top directly down to Cockshaw Syke and the car. Some of us, accidently I suppose followed a vague path across some Lauder Grass  and finished up near Back Wood (see the OS map) which meant we had to climb uphill one last time before finding the real path down to the valley bottom and the car where Brian, who had taken the proper route, was smugly waiting. Good day out though.
Just for a change we called in at the Anglers Arms on the way home. Today's beers were from Brains, a Welsh company, Adnams from Suffolk and a pint called Old Hooky. There is always  a warm welcome and a good pint at the Anglers.
Driving home we were entertained by a selection of carols sung by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Van,** at least that's what I think he said.


                                                                 steps                          miles
LIDL3D                                                  25897                         10.72
Higear                                                     23835                          11.27
Dave's 3D                                               24228                          11.14
LIDLUSB                                               23792                          11.26

OUTDOOR GPS                                                                         10.65
Ben's Bragometer                                                                         10.75
 Pretty good.


No bird or beast of the blog this week, plenty of grouse, (and grousing) possibly an owl but not a definite.
However a new feature:
I married a vegetarian and survived
My wife is a life long vegetarian, obviously I am not. But ever willing to try new things we bought some Quorn "bacon" and made sandwiches. I awarded one flitch and that was for the bun. If by any chance Carol Midgely, Times columnist and writer of one of the better articles on the struggle to be a veggie reads this, be warned, there is no substitute for a real bacon butty.
* On the first edition this was spelt as  "sine". Spotted by daughter who thought it might be an early indicator of a form of dementia, I prefer it to be the result of teaching sums for forty years.
** Should have been Band, deaf as well as demented.
Gadgie distance 453.3