Saturday, 8 March 2014

RETURN OF THE PIES II...........March 7th
  We had intended to make our first trip to the Lake District today but the forecast for the west side of the country was for rain so we headed for the Coquet Valley with the intention of doing the ever popular Windy Gyle walk along, in part, the Scottish border. However, when we got to the car park at Rowhopeburn in the Coquet Valley the sleet was coming down in sheets and the wind was very strong so we chickened out and went to the comparatively low level Thrunton Woods.
 A man made plantation, Thrunton has a choice of country walks, marked with different coloured arrows. It has car parking and even picnic tables. To get there follow the A1 north, turn onto the A697 at Morpeth and watch out for signs for Thrunton on the left a fgew miles after Longframlington. (Watch out on the right  two miles before the turn off. The wigwam at Wellhope has returned)
The walk is covered by  OS 332 Alnwick and Amble and the car park is at GR NU 085097.

                                                 The inevitable car park. Thrunton Woods.
A few yards north of the car park a forest road leads off on the left. (Unless you park on the other side of it in which case it would be on your right of course.)
We followed this road for a few hundred yards, climbing gently uphill until we came to a junction and turned right.  We followed the road due north before it turned  south west. At this point it is close to the edge of the plantation and quite high up giving good views of Hedgehope and the Cheviot.
                                             Looking north.
The track here is quite muddy this time of year  but we soldierd on past Thrunton Crag until, after only two miles we came to the edge of the wood and, although we had not walked far, declared a Hebie Spot. (2 mile marker on the map) In fairness we had started off late because of the drive up the Coquet and so it was some time since breakfast at Tomlinsons Cafe and Bunkhouse in Rothbury where I had fought off the bacon sandwich and just had tea.
 This week's food scares are sugar and processed meats  so we stuck up our fingers to the health experts and ate Mr. Kipling's Almond Slices, ginger biscuits, dark chocolate and, most important, Brian had brought Pork Pies! Mrs A must have been too busy to bake. We had a sandwich too.
There are several tracks to follow from here, we chose the very muddy footpath  heading roughly north west in the direction of Hob's Nick and Macartney's cave. Turning south west at the cairn we headed  across Hard Nab turned south at the next cairn and shelter and went downhill to the Coe Burn.
                                               Meat pies in the sunshine.
                                                            Neatly framed view looking north.
  From the burn the path climbs steeply up to Long Crag. The path is quite rocky too and requires a little scrambling in places but once on the ridge the views back to Simonside make the effort worth while. There is also a redundant trig point on Long Crag

                                                    Heading for the crags.
The path meanders on the ridge  to Coe Crags, well worth a stop for the views.
                                                           Coe Crag
Another well framed view.
Beyond the crags the path heads downhill through Coe Crags Wood until it reaches the wooden footbridge across the stream and shortly after comes to a forest road.
Using our native tracking skills Ben and I decided that Brian, who had been well ahead, had turned left. Then we saw him, sitting at the side of the road. So much for tracking then.
                                                      Cross the bridge and turn left, roughly west.
The forest road leads through the wood, much of which has been recently cleared and approximately two miles later reaches the car park
It had been a dry afternoon, the clouds over the distant hills suggested we had probably made the right decision. For a change we retired to the Anglers Arms which had Directors, Speckled Hen and Timothy Taylor's Landlord which sadly ran out.

The Matrix MMXIVH
                                                         steps                         miles 
LIDL3D                                           20985                      9.44
HiGear                                            20104                       9.51
Dave's LIDL3D                               20115                       9.27
Dave's USB                                     19828                       9.38

OUTDOOR GPS                                                              8.43
Brian's GPS                                                                      8.43
Ben's Bragometer                                                             8.6
Consistent or what.

Gadgie distance105 miles