Friday, 28 February 2014

Spring is here......another Sinatra classic Feb 28

  We were promised a fine clear cool day and that was exactly what we got, well done that man at the BBC.
  Today's walk, in the company of six gadgies, Brian, Harry, Dave, John, Ben and me is another old favourite starting at Hethpool in the beautiful College Valley. To get there: A1 North, A697 at Morpeth and turn left a few miles beyond Wooler on the road for Kirk Yetholm. Turn left beyond the board informing you that Gefryn, Saxon Palace once stood on this site, at the signpost for Hethpool and after a few miles pass the cottages on the right and pull in at the car park just over the cattle grid. The college Valley is private and unless you have a permit (obtainable at John Sales in Wooler £10) you can not drive beyond the car park.
A map is useful, OS Explorer 16 The Cheviot Hills covers the whole walk. The car park is at NT893280
Hethpool is so called after the Hethas or hill forts that top several of the hills around it. Hethpool House dates back to 1687 although most of the present building was erected in the early twentieth century. For a time it was home to Admiral Lord Collingwood, second in command at Trafalgar, but rapidly promoted on the death of Nelson. Collingwood's wife planted oak trees in the area, perhaps for the next generation of warships, if only she had known what was to happen.
 The car park is much later but has an interesting and recent information board telling about the forts and wildlife in the area.
                     Information board about the College Valley. It is quite large and on either side has a bench which, had we noticed it, would have been handy for changing into boots. We only saw them as we were leaving after the walk. Typical gadgies.

                                               Car park at Hethpool.
The first part of the walk follows the valley road in a southerly direction (College means the boggy area where there is a stream, nothing to do with study). A pleasant and fairly level walk in. After approximately two miles the valley hall, Cuddystone, is on the right, painted white and preparing for the farmers' spring dances no doubt. Here the road divides, the right fork going to Mounhooley YHA, the left, the one to follow leading eventually to the last farm on this side of the valley, Goldscleugh. Close to the hall is a memorial  to allied airmen who lost their lives in WWII as a result of crashes in the hills.
                                                           Cuddystone Hall

                                                  Looking towards the Cheviot with the memorial stone
                                                         The other side of the memorial. On the top 
                                                        a map lists the type of plane and where it crashed.
Not far from the hall, having crossed a bridge we reached Southernknowe and turned off the road to take the steep climb up the hill on a grassy path, heading roughly east. Leaving the path after about a mile we headed north across boggy moorland until we joined the fence line that took us upwards to Hare Law. Appropriately named, we past a deceased hare. Hare today, gone tomorrow. Hare Law has an excellent cairn and shelter which prove useful in bad weather but not today.
                                                           Looking down on College Valley
                                             The cairn on Hare Law.
Leaving the Law, having admired the views, we headed north east before finding the path that brought us to a well deserved Herbie Spot, Wester Tor.
                                                    Still life with sandwich, apple pie
                                                    hobnob, Bakewell slice, Mrs A's 
                                                    chocolate cake, ginger biscuit, tomatoes
                                                           and an apple. By  Vincent Von HundertundNinetyPund
                   Looking down on Hethpool from Wester Tor.
Lunch over we left the tor and headed  east before turning north east on a track that led to Easter Tor. From here we followed the low level sign post towards Yeavering Bell (Hill of the goats) before turning north west and going down hill on a section of St. Cuthbert's Trail which in places doubles as the Hill Fort Trail, there being an absolute plethora of Iron Age settlements in the area. At the bottom of the hill we joined the track past Torleehouse.
There are at least three herds of feral goats in the Cheviots, today we saw three goats who were not separated from the sheep but were grazing with them.
                                                 Feral Billy, smelly too but the sheep don't mind.
Following the marked path rather than the farm track we walked through the woods at Hethpool Linn, across fields and soon we were back at the car park.
                                                       College Burn
                                                           Hethpool Linn.
Back at the cars we changed and headed for The Anglers Arms where we given the usual warm welcome and invited to partake of Directors, Youngs Gold or that nectar from Keighley, Timothy Taylor's Landlord. Heaven, we should have checked in for the night!

The Matrix  MMXIVG
                                                                      steps                           miles

LIDL3D                                                         24977                         11.24
Higear                                                           23141                         10.95  (all is forgiven)

Dave's LIDL3D                                             24418                          11.24
LIDLUSB                                                      23437                          11.09

OUTDOOR GPS                                                                               10.56
Brian's GPS                                                                                       10.5
Ben's bragometer                                                                               10.6

Gadgie distance 95.6 miles

Good set of results
This really is a classic Cheviot walk. 10.5 miles, mostly fairly flat with only one steep ascent. On a day like today the views in all directions are well worth the effort too. North into Scotland, East to the sea, Bamburgh Castle visible in the distance, South to Simonside, Hedgehope and the Cheviot and west to the lesser hills on that side of the valley. A few lambs around and the first primroses of the year too.
                         Contains OS data, Copyright  Crown Copyright  database right 2014