Friday, 20 March 2015

On the borderline again.......March 20th.
  Today's walk is another popular gadgie stroll, The Schill from KirkYetholm in Scotland, just.
There are five out, Ben, Ray, Harry, John H and me.
To get to Kirk Yetholm from base take the A1 north, A697 at Morpeth and north of Wooler, at or near Millfield turn left for Kirk Yetholm, passing the ancient palace site of Gethryn, the sign for Hethpool, the village of Kirknewton and park on the side of the road by the village green and next to the Border Hotel. The walk starts from here and is covered by OS OL 16, The Cheviot Hills.
Today is a special day, there is to be an eclipse of the sun at about 9.30 am but we were cheerfully driving along and although the sky darkened slightly we did not stop to watch, not having all the protective gear the BBC had warned the nation to use.
The very young man who did the local weather forecast, taking part in the BBC "School report" did his job brilliantly and promised early sunshine followed by cloud but little or no rain. He was spot on.

                                The Border Hotel. If you finish the Pennine Way here you get a free half pint,
courtesy of the estate of Alfred Wainright, author of the famous Lake District Guides.
                                                     Is it the beginning, or is it the end ?
Kirk Yetholm is a pretty little town, once home to a group of Gypsies, commemorated on a plaque by the green.
The walk; A road by the green leads uphill past a row of whitewashed cottages, one of which was the home of the Gypsy King. This is also the Pennine Way and much to our delight a signpost points to The Penial House, whatever that is.
We followed the tarmacked road for about a mile until we reached a cattle grid. A choice; take the higher Pennine Way route or the Lower Pennine Way. We chose the latter, having decided the climb would be a little more gentle for ageing limbs, and headed for Halterburn, passing the Penial house on the way. It looks like an outdoor centre of sorts and probably is.
                                                      Penial centre.
The grassy track climbs steadily, looping round an area which has recently been planted with native deciduous trees to help prevent water running off into the burn and flooding the valley. In twenty years or so a woodland of ash, birch, willow, alder and beech will cloak the valley sides.
Eventually the upper and lower paths join together (just before mile 4 on the map) and the path continues to climb up towards Black Hag, a top we ignored and continued on our way up the final, fairly steep climb to the summit of the Schill.
                                                   Target for today, the Schill.
                                                          For the last few yards to the summit
                                                     it is necessary to cross a fence. The stile
                                                    has been rebuilt in memory of Ian Coquhoun
                                                  What a nice way to be remembered.
                Old rocky top, it provides shelter from the westerly breeze and mad a good Herbie Spot.
Lunching on the top at a recorded 5.4 miles we dined on ginger biscuits, snickers and chocolate, with a sandwich and an apple for healthy eating.
I like the Schill for the views; east to the sea with Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands visible, north into Salmon land and the College Valley, south east to the Cheviot.
On the way back from the Schill we spotted the first frog spawn of the year, in a puddle on the track. Not the brightest of frogs I thought, maybe it was French.
                                                       Mes enfants sont morte

                                             Views from the Schill, injton the College Valley worth the effort.
We started back down from the Schill on the same path we had used for the ascent but at a point shortly after the two Pennine Way paths diverge, and following the lower one again, we turned left down a grassy track that follows the Curr Burn. The path is well made, in places it looks as if it may once have been metalled, possibly it is an old drovers road. It is easy to follow as it is well posted with yellow markers and also markers for St. Cuthbert's Way. It passes close to several farms where the track has been heavily ploughed by animals and eventually it becomes a surfaced road that joins the slightly more major road at Primsidemill.
                                                       Friendly heiffers
                             Bowmont Water at Primsidemill
At Primsidemill we turned right and walked on the road for a short while, turning right just after the cemetery. Having crossed the bridge we turned left and took the footpath across fields towards Kirk Yetholm. Emerging from fields we turned right, crossed the bridge and immediately went down a few steps on the left and walked across fields before coming to the Youth Hostel and village green in Kirk Yetholm. Changed we headed homeward, stopping at the Anglers Arms, Weldon Bridge, which offered Timothy Taylor's Landlord, and two other beers. The Landlord was excellent so I had another.
Another great gadgie day.

The Matrix MMXV H
                                                                           steps                    miles
LIDL 3D                                                         31427                    14.05  Ambitious
Higear                                                             26204                     11.894
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                            12.04
Ray's GPS                                                                                       12.1

My mother died last Saturday at the grand old age of 99. She was a keen walker and had me and my sister tramping the moors round Silsden in West Yorkshire when I was about five and the hills in north west Lancashire when we moved there so thanks mother for introducing me to a lifelong pastime. You taught me well and this walk is dedicated to you.