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Saturday, 7 February 2015

Pennypies are in my mind.......February 6th
  The forecast, as given by the usual jovial jock on local TV was for a grey day with little or no wind and a temperature of about 5C. Spot on Paul, you were right.
After some discussion we opted for a walk from Baybridge just beyond Blanchland. It is a slight variation on the walk "We're going to Blanchland... 11th November 2012".
Five gadgies out today, Dave, Harry, John H, Brian and me.
The walk starts from the hamlet of Baybridge (possibly meaning the bridge where the river is banked up), a pretty spot on the border with County Durham. To get there take the A69 west, go almost through Hexham  but turn left by the Tap and Spile pub, following the sign for Blanchland. Unless you are me it is easy to follow, but we enjoyed a mystery tour of Northumberland before finally reaching the car park at Baybridge, just on the north side of the Beldon Burn. We had called in at the Wentworth cafe in Hexham's large car park near Waitrose for bacon sandwich, coffee or tea first.
A map could well be useful but as with many walks two are needed OL 43 Hadrian's Wall and Explorer 307 Consett and Derwent Reservoir The car park is at NY957499;
                                                       NY957499, one for the album.
Having booted up we turned left out of the car park and after a few yards spotted the yellow marker sign sending us on our way. The first three  miles of the walk are easy to follow, tarmacked road past the old Methodist Chapel, quirky gothic with gable headed windows as Pevsner says, Newbiggin Hall is on the right, complete with polygonal chimney. The road becomes a farm track across fields and  through plantations until it reaches the tumbledown farmhouse at Riddlehamhope. (3 miles on the map)
There had been snow and it was both melting and freezing which made progress a little difficult at times so we called a Herbie Spot at the farm and settled down with backs to a wall to feast.
                                         The track towards Riddlehamhope


                                    Kathy from Goole, this is a human interest shot just for you, but I don't 
                                                     think we look very interesting.
Apart from the usual sandwiches today's lunch included McVities Hobnob flapjacks, Almond slices, Mrs. A's fabulous chocolate topped flapjacks and PORK PIES!! The good times are back.
                    The farm house is deserted but the hemel is in a good state, nice door.
The usual philosophical discussions took place. Brian remembered that on his trip to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro he had been in a nature reserve and had watched a couple of men burying the carcases of Widebeests. When he asked why bury them he was told it was to discourage vultures as the carcases were beginning to decompose. A good day to bury bad Gnus then.
Lunch over we continued the walk. (Hadrian's Wall map now). Through a gate beyond the farm and s short distance up hill and beyond a wrought iron sign saying NRUBYREHTAEH. Looks a bit Russian but once past it it read correctly, looking back. Not far beyond this sign a marker on the right took us over a stile on to The Carriers Way. The British Isles are criss crossed with ancient drove roads, Green lanes, Salters Roads and such. This is one of them. The track was difficult to follow in the snow but we trudged cheerfully on. At one point Dave pointed out we were crossing one of the finest glacial melt water channels in the north. It had a sheepfold (stell) too, but I don't suppose it was there when the hydraulic action of ice could force the ground water beneath uphill. At about the 6 mile marker on the map we came to the small stone hut used as a refuge by grouse shooters. Sitting in front of it, enjoying the sight of white smoke from distant Eggers factory in Hexham were four like minded, like aged people. They were from Ponteland, a large village north west of Newcastle.


                              The hut, inside and out.
I told them that the first date I had with the young lady who became my wife was in the Blackbird Inn, Ponteland some fifty years ago. Brian told us that his wife had been born in the same hospital as him within days of his arrival They could have met as mewling infants!
Somehow the chat got round to those adverts at the back of The Times and The Daily Telegraph on a Saturday morning. Why we asked, do the ads for walk in baths and showers always have pictures of young women who don't look as if they need help getting into a bath? And why do they bathe in swimsuits? And why does the man advertising chair lifts look as if he should be out with us. And why are the beauty counters in John Lewis usually deserted? I said that I had never been stopped by the young women on the beauty counters and persuaded to buy men's fragrances or anti wrinkle cream. One of the Ponteland Four looked at me and said it was impossible to improve on perfection. Don't you meet nice people when you're out?

The Carriers way continues through a gate in front of the hut,, we ignored the first cross roads but turned right at the next track, (Just under Bulbeck Common on the map. After about 0.75 of a mile we turned right again onto the track labelled Pennine Journey on later editions of the map. The track went downhill to Pennypie house, a farm which allegedly gets its name from selling food to passing carriers and offering accommodation when the road was used as a Carriers Way.
                                                No chance of a penny pie today. Health and 
                                                Safety would close it down!
At Pennypie we crossed the stream by the footbridge, walked the slushy track over the hill and joined the tarmacked road back to Baybridge, pausing to do a bit of snow walking on the way.
                                               Brian conquers a snow drift.
The Matrix MMXV  F

                                                          steps                          miles
Higear                                               17967                        8.16  ( Long shanks me today)
Dave's 3D                                         21447                        8.15
Dave's USB                                      20935                        7.92

OUTDOORGPS                                                                9.1
Briab]n's GPS                                                                    9.21

Both maps:
Contains  OS Data, Copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2015.

On the way home we stopped at The Boathouse in Wylam. It has fourteen beers on hand pull and I was driving.
Pictures from Harry, who is an excellent photographer and a fine gadgie
Approaching Riddlehamhope


                           Another for Kathy from Goole
                                                 Lunchtime at a Herbie Spot
                                                 Brian and John H crossing in stile
                                   The Ponteland Four  plus a gadgie or two