Friday, 17 October 2014

The Leader of the Pack........October 17th
To slightly misquote the bard I am neither a leader nor a follower, I just wander along somewhere in the middle. But today I have been told by my fellow gadgies that I am leading the walk. Hope we get there.
There are five of us out today, Brian, Dave, John H, Ben and me. We are going in Brian's new car which has a variety of bells and whistles like built in Satnav, something called Bluetooth and the ability to play tunes directly from his mobile phone. It has a radio too.
The walk is on familiar territory, from the Muddy Boots Cafe in the old National Park Centre at Ingram. A great cafe, well stocked with tempting cakes, bacon sandwiches, breakfasts and tea, or coffee.
To get there from base take the A1 north, the A697 from Morpeth and turn off for Ingram just past Powburn. Drive along a few miles, cross the bridge, turn left past the cottages and the church and there is the cafe and car park.
                                                  Two for the price of one, car park and cafe
The walk starts from the cafe, the map to use is OS OL16 The Cheviot Hills and the cafe is at NU019163.
 I led the gadgie patrol from the car park, past the church and cottages, most of which appear to be holiday lets, and very nice too. At the top of the lane we turned right and walked past Ingram Farm before turning left on a good farm track.  Almost immediately there is a fork, keep left. We followed the track past the cottage at Ingram Hill. The track shrank to a path through bracken in Middle Dene and then went through Little Cleugh. There is a Hill Forts Trail in the valley, not surprising when you see all the ancient hill top forts and we followed the trail across Cochrane Pike, a bit of a misnomer as it is fairly flat.
                                            Looking back down Middle  Dene
An interesting gate fastener, look carefully it is double locked. Fortunately we have Ben, the gate expert.
Once through the gate and across Fawdon Dene we started the climb up  Old Fawdon Hill, which is a bit steep but not too long a haul. On the top, which has a Trig Point we declared a Herbie Spot, partly because of the views and because it was lunch time anyway.
                                                Old Fawdon Hill Trig Point, John H and Brian
                                          Gibbs Hill fort and settlement from Old Fawdon Hill
                                                  Cheviot View, with walking pole
                        This is why we come out walking the Cheviot Hills
   The usual lunch time political or philosophical discussions were dropped today, perhaps it was the views and the warmth. Instead we confessed our TV likes and dislikes, Ben likes Strictly Come Dancing, John likes a comedy called the Detectorists. Brian and I can't stand Bargain Hunt. I confessed to enjoying Songs of Praise provided they had proper hymns, Wesley tunes or Victorian songs of hope. I explained that my wife, although not at all religious knew the  numbers of a good many of the Hymns we all sang in morning assemblies from "Songs of Praise." Brian said his favourite was number 666, The Devil wants me for his fireside. 
Today's treats: ALDI Chocolate, Chunky flapjacks, Ginger nuts slice, Ben's home made ginger biscuits and Mrs A's almond and cherry slices. (13 stones {182lb} this morning, going down, slowly.)
Lunch over we headed downhill in a north east direction to the farm at Fawdon. Following the signpost we crossed several fields of bracken before turning east through a clover meadow and came out on the road near the entrance to Branton Ponds. Once gravel pits these excavations are now a conservation area and, having been flooded, attract a number of birds, otters and snakes. Not really warm enough for the adders to be out today.
We headed for the bird hide and watched the activity on the water; Canada Geese, Grey Lags, swans, coots, teal and some other ducks.

                                                     The Branton Ponds
                                                 Some of their occupants

                                   Water horse.
 Binoculars away we completed the walk round the ponds and crossed the River Breamish by means of the footbridge.
                                                      The Breamish from the footbridge
                                                    Modern cowboys, and dog
                                 Cultivation terraces on the north side of the Breamish
                                                  St. Michael's church in Ingram. Saxon origins
Once across the bridge we turned left and walked along the road back to the car park. The walk can be extended by going up the lane towards Brandon and turning left over the fields past the cottage at Heddon and on to Reavely, but not today.
Changed we headed for the Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge. Only two beers on, Bombardier and Bombardier Gold. There was  a problem with the pump on Timothy Taylors Landlord. Oh Woe.
But nobody got lost.

The Matrix MMXIV  T
                                                                                  steps                            miles
LIDL 3D                                                                    25045                          11.6
New Hi Gear!!!!                                                        22143                           10.47
Pinky                                                                          22518                           10.6
Dave's 3D                                                                   21268                           9.99
USB                                                                            20863                           9.87

OUTDOORS GPS                                                                                           9.5
Brian's GPS                                                                                                      9.18
Ben's bragometer                                                                                              9.33

Adjustments needed.

Gadgie distance 362

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