Saturday, 27 September 2014

Seven go off to Russell's Cairn.  Sept 26th.
  The holiday season is just about over, Autumn approaches and it is time for gadgies to resume their normal Friday activities, which means that today we are back in the Cheviots, walking to Windy Gyle from Blindburn in the Coquet Valley.
To get to the start, A1 north, turn left at Morpeth on the A697, follow the diversion signs for Rothbury and stop at Tomlinsons Cafe and Bunkhouse for a fortifying bacon sandwich and tea. Continue through Rothbury, turn right on the minor road for Alwinton and drive past the farm at Barrowburn until you come to a small car park on the right hand side at the point where the Rowhope Burn joins the Coquet.
The map to use is the OS OL 16, "The Cheviot Hills" and the car park is at NT 859114.

There are seven of us out today, the usual crew of Harry, Dave, Brian, Ben and me having been joined by Ray, who has not been seen for a while, and John Clarke, qualified gadgie, who has managed to escape the duties of grandparenting for the day.

                                       Suited and booted in the car park on a beautiful day.
The path starts on the south side of the Rowhope Burn and soon climbs up a grassy hill over Hindside Knowe, goes alongside Swineside Law and over Black Braes. The scenery, as always, is magnificent, especially on a day like this, almost cloudless but with a stiff breeze from the west.

                                           Two views of the Cheviots on a bright late September day.
Just beyond the Black Braes the grassy trail continues but we turned down a path heading east towards the target. However it was agreed that in the first dip, just low enough to be out of the wind, we should declare a Herbie Spot. Close by was a small herd of the  feral Cheviot goats, five of them.
As a treat for the day Dave had weakened and brought along some mini pork pies which went down well with some of us, Ben had ginger biscuits and I had my Czech chocolate.

                                                  Still life with bins, sandwich and pies
                                       Only two Billy goats gruff, maybe the troll had struck
Lunch over we continued the steady climb to Windy Gyle and Russell's Cairn where we stopped to admire the views; north into Scotland East to the sea and south to Simonside, west to more Cheviots.
Russell's cairn is so named because either it was named for Sir John Russell by the king of Scotland in 1252 or it was named for the murdered Francis Russell in 1585.
At the cairn we chatted to a couple from Wales who were enjoying their first trip to Northumberland (or Scotland at this point) and thought it was absolutely awesome and beautiful. How right they are.

                                                A couple of young lads had cycled up,
                                               Harry admires their kit.
                                                      Russell's Cairn and trig point.
We went through the gate south of the cairn and turned left to follow the path that runs alongside the border fence to the gate that could have been a border crossing point if the Scots had voted Yes.
                                              The gateway to Scotland.
Here we followed the path south east before turning south and walking between two plantations on the west side of Hazely Law. The path met the road to Uswayford Farm but we turned right and followed the road  south west to Trows and Rowhope before arriving back at the car park. Unfortunately, somewhere along the road Brian twisted his ankle. Fortunately a soldier was in the area with his Land Rover and very kindly took the hobbling Brian back to the car.
 We changed and headed for our favourite watering hole, the Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge. Dawn the manageress saw the hobbling Brian and immediately offered to make up an ice pack from the cubes on the bar. Neatly wrapped in a tea towel they gave some relief. But what service! How many other pubs would offer no more than sympathy. The beers on offer were Speckled Hen, Pedigree or Theakstons Bitter, all well kept of course.
Over re-hydrating we discussed the next AGM, which will be held in the Anglers of course. I remarked that the pub had a good website with lots of information on accommodation, menus etc.. Brian suggested we go instead to the Duck and Spider as that pub had a really great website. Obviously not in too much pain.
A great walk on a beautiful sunny day, give it a try.

The Matrix   MMXIV  P

                                                     steps                                    miles
LIDL 3D                                    24812                                    11.4
ASDA PED                                15652                                     7.35    rubbish
Dave's 3D                                   23780                                   11.63
Dave's USB                                23310                                   11.4
GPS                                                                                          10.96
John Clarks GPS                                                                       11.1
Brian's GPS                                                                               9.75 before he got a lift.

Gadgie distance 330


                                                 The track through Trows Plantation

Contains OS Data, copyright. Crown Copyright and data base right 2014.

An few exras photos from Harry:
                                         The author, having ascended Russell's Cairn
     My wife says I look like a farmer. I don't know whether it is a compliment or not
                           Ray         Brian             John C     Moi     Ben                  Dave
(Photos by kind permission of Harry Nagel who isn't on it because he took it)