Friday, 19 December 2014

Simonside from Tomlinsons......Dec19th
  The jolly jock on the local TV station forecast a bright but windy day with the possibility of showers late in the afternoon. As the days are about as short as they can be this time of year we opted for a slight variation of "Five go battling the duergers of Simonside July 5th 2013" so six gadgies set out in two cars to meet in the small Northumberland town of Rothbury (Hrotha's burg), at Tomlinsons Cafe and Bunkhouse on Bridge Street, an excellent cafe serving five star tea and five flitch bacon butties with a small salad to go with it. Friendly staff, crayons for the children (or gadgies) and a small library of books about the county.(
                                                           Tomlinsons five star cafe and bunkhouse
                                                 Car park on south side of the river.
 Today's crew consists of John H, Brian, Ray, Ben, Dave and me and after breakfast in the cafe we  started the walk from the car park on the south side of the River Coquet.
A map would be useful, use OS OL42 Kielder Water and Forest. The car park is at NU057015 and it's free, a bonus.
 Leaving the car park we immediately crossed the river by the footbridge, and walked along a well made path on the north side of the Coquet. Just short of a mile a sign post directed us across fields to a minor road near Newtown. Turning right at the junction we came to the pretty little hamlet of Great Tosson (tot-stan, a look out stone) which has a ruined tower, several holiday cottages, some B and B establishments and a farm.
                                                Tosson tower
                    Looking across the Coquet Valley from just above Great Tosson. Ancient earthworks
                     in the centre of the picture, ditch and earth wall or rampart says Dave the archaeologist
 At the entrance to the farm we spotted a signpost and followed it through the yard and across a couple of fields before entering a plantation. We started on a good forest track but shortly came to a sign saying the footpath ahead is closed, sorry for the inconvenience. Being illiterate gadgies we ignored it and plodded up a very muddy path before sinking more than ankle deep in the mud of another track. A lot of the timber had been felled, the area could have been used as a set for a film about the trenches. Emerging from the plantation we were at the foot of the west end of Simonside, Bob Pyle's Studdie on the map. The footpath here climbs to the ridge of Simonside (Sigemund's (gel)set,  a seat or settlement.) The path is rocky, a bit of a scramble but emerges near the cairn on Simonside. It offers vast panoramic views across the Coquet Valley which is very wide and flat. Ben donned the tweed jacket and pointed out the meanders and future Ox bow lakes below us. We walked on to Old Stell Crag and called a Herbie Spot in a sheltered break in the rocks. At least it was out of the wind which was quite strong but fortunately at our backs for the whole of the walk along the Simonside Ridge.
Last walk before Christmas deserved a feast and the Great Gadgie Food Exchange provided the following for the food bank: McVities Melody Hobnobs, Ben's ginger biscuits, almond slices, mince pies and Mrs. A's ginger and apple cake, plus sandwiches,fruit and coffee. (still 13 stones or 182 pounds)
One good thing about the Simonside Ridge is that the footpath was so popular it suffered from erosion, a problem solved by raiding millyards in Lancashire and Yorkshire and laying a good solid path across most of the way.
                                             Brian snowboards on the only patch we saw.
                                                        It started to rain at lunchtime, some donned
                                                waterproofs to stop it.
                                A duergars Christmas tree near Dove Crag. It appears every year.
As we walked the last section of the ridge it began to snow heavily, earlier than the forecast but  from The Beacon the path goes downhill and we were soon out of the wind and driving snow, which stopped anyway. At the foot of the hill there is the Lordenshaw car park and signs pointing to the Cup and Ring Marks near Lordenshaw Hill Fort. The footpath here is on St. Oswald's Way and we followed it across moorland and fields to the tiny hamlet at Whitton. Just before Whitton we came across Sharp's Folly: Spelt Sharpe on the map)

                                                     The folly
From Whitton we followed the road back to the car park in Rothbury, changed and headed for The Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge. They had Timothy Taylor's Landlord on offer and it being John's birthday the time honoured tradition of birthday boy buying beer was kept to.

     Both maps contain OS data (copyright)Crown Copyright and database right 2014

The Matrix
                                                                    steps                          miles
HiGear                                                        14543                        6.6
Pretty Pink                                                  19819                        9.3
Dave's 3D                                                    19036                       7.81
Dave's USB                                                 18621                        7.64
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                           7.9
Brian's GPS                                                                                    8.1
Ben's GPS                                                                                       8.11

Dave seems to have solved the pedometer problem
Gadgie Distance 424 miles
Boxing Day next week, everyone stays at home and plays Monopoly