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Monday, 10 February 2014

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I could not join the team on January 31st but punmeister Brian has kindly written up the gadgie walk and I add it to the blog with pleasure.
Drofleb to Evac S’trebhtuc Ts

This is a repeat of a Gadgie favourite, Belford to St Cuthbert’s Cave (see Sept 13, 2013), but walked in the opposite direction.  Today’s forecast was for snow by 2:00pm followed by heavy rain, so we changed from our pre-planned walk in the Cheviots. Your gadgies for today are Harry, Dave, John, Ray and Brian.

Starting Point: park at and start from the War Memorial in Belford - GR106338
Predicted Distance: 10 miles
Map: OS Outdoor Leisure Map 340, Alnwick

We started the day, in inevitable manner when Brian is driving, with a visit to the Well House Coffee Shop (www.wellhousehayloft.co.uk/shop.html) on Belford High Street. The café appears to be up for sale but not, it appears, due to lack of custom or the quality of its products or staff.

There was a chill wind blowing when we set off.  A short way up the road towards Westhall we turned left, following the Northumberland Coastal Path signs to Swinhoe Farm.  Here was a left turn along a substantial bridleway up past Dick’s Oldwalls. It was in a hedgerow just passed the farm that  we saw the only substantial number of birds during the day – a flock of chaffinches.  This path continues on all the way to St Cuthbert’s Cave (c3.75miles).  Whether the saint’s body was ever there is open to speculation but many other people were, as evidenced by the cases of, in some instances stonemason quality, vandalism of the sandstone that makes up the cave area.
                                            St. Cuthbert's Cave.

From the cave the path leads up onto Greensheen Hill and past the trig pillar which is the highest point of the walk (205ft). We continued in a north westerly direction and did a loop round Holburn Moss.  The lake here is usually alive with ducks, waders, gulls etc but today there was a solitary heron (almost a gadgies emblem) and a small flock of what were probably teal.

Back into the woods, with evermore threatening clouds, we declared a herbiespot and in a felled glade we each pulled up a stump on which to take lunch.  In the absence of Mike and Ben we had reduced calorific delights but Dave provided some McV***** confectionery and Brian some of Mrs A’s chocolate covered, low sugar, non fattening muesli bars. 

It was then that the snow began to fall.  It was wet and only lasted about 30 minutes before turning to rain.

The last 4 miles back to Belford via Swinhoe Lakes (2 Mute Swans) and Craggyhall is probably the wettest and muddiest that the gadgies have encountered for a very long while.  We knew it was coming as the BBC Weather Forecast has become remarkably accurate in their timings.
                                              This could be near Swinhoe Lake. I took the photos from a walk in 2013
                                                but of course I never label them.

We arrived back at 3:05 and changed in increasingly wet weather.  Dave, as ever, sartorially presented carried out a full clothing change to the delight of Belford residents peeping from behind their curtains.

The Angler’s Arms (www.anglersarms.com ) was duly visited on the return journey and as well as the usual warm welcome they had Abbot Ale, Spitfire and Old Speckled Hen on offer, all in good condition.  We are back there next week for the Annual Gadgie Meeting.
                                                       Anglers Arms, preparing themselves for the AGM

There was a shortage of measuring devices this week!

Brian’s GPS                         10.1 miles
Dave’s Pedometers        sadly weren’t recorded at the end of the walk and with all the shuggling in the car showed about 17 miles at the pub.  However, had they been recorded I’m sure one would have shown 9.9 miles and the other 10.3.

Obviously Dave can't operate his pedometers without my assistance.
Gadgie distance 66.7