Friday, 26 June 2015

It has not been a flaming June.............June26th
  Those of you who know the north east of England will be aware that during the last week of June one of the largest travelling fairs in England assembles on the Town Moor in Newcastle for the annual "Hoppings", a festival of fun and rides,wrestling and chips, fortune tellers and shuggy boats. And usually it rains. This year is no exception, the forecast for Friday has made the four gadgies available (Brian, John H, Harry, me)  to stay relatively close to home and have a walk in Allendale, starting at the town of the same name.
To get there, A69 west  A686 just west of Hexham and the B6295 through Catton. 
A pretty little town with a history of lead mining, Allendale has several cafes for breakfast and several pubs for apres walk refreshment too.   We called in at the Allendale cafe and tea rooms, for tea, coffee or Bacon sandwich. Brian awarded it five fletches, I must admit it looked good but the weight is slowly, very slowly going down.
Use OS OL43 Hadrian's Wall
                                      Free parking!
                                                     Allendale high street
We started the walk in the west corner of the town square, following the road downhill  until we reached a footpath that took us alongside the river East Allen. A wooded footpath, close to the stream, we followed it until we came to a bridge which we crossed and, passing the local brewery, joined the footpath on the south side of the East River, heading vaguely north west through unmown hay fields, rich in flowers , passing renovated cottages  with wonderful flower and vegetable gardens until we came to Oakpool.

                                                   Cottage garden , beautiful        
                                  River East Allen at Oakpool
                                         When I was a child most meadows looked like this, full of flowers. There was a movement to mow earlier, before the flowers had chance to bloom but this is now being reversed, in some places. The photo does not give the meadow full justice, it was awash with colour.
(Need a better camera, might win the Times competition for one!)
At Oakpool we left the footpaths and climbed a fairly steep metalled road, turning right at the next, slightly more major road. Having passed two houses we followed the sign that said Private, Harlow Bower (There was a sign saying public footpath). 
        There were three Shetland ponies at Harlow Bower, not too keen on being photographed.
Beyond the bower the footpath crossed more fields, going downhill, to Monk.
Whitfield church from Monk. It is a large church for what appears to be a small village although there are several hamlets in the area. Perhaps it was funded by the owners of nearby Whitfield Hall.
From Monk we followed the track through the woods  above the river West Allen, heading south. At the end of the wood we called a Herbie Stop. Today's goodies were chocolate iced biscuits from Mrs A, iced cake and peanut flavoured fudge, courtesy of www.
( I fool myself I walk the calories off)
At this point it looked like rain, as promised, so we donned waterproofs and headed across fields up Keenlyside Hill, joining a very minor road after a pleasant chat with a passing farmer on his quadbike, and taking the path across Dryburn Moor. Before we started on the moor we took the waterproofs off, the threat of rain having passed. The path across the moor is grassed and leads upwards, but fairly gently until it reaches a road. Weturned left and after a few hundred yards took the path that led past the old chimneys and old mill flue.
                                                   Remains of the chimney..............
......................................and the flue  (Look carefully, see the cuckoo's nest)
The lead industry in this part of the world goes back many years, possibly to Roman Times. The very long flue was built to provide a strong draught for the smelting of the metal. The work that went into it is quite remarkable, it's built of stone.
At the bottom of the hill we joined a farm track  which joined a road that brought us back into Allendale, eventually. Changed we headed for the Carts Bog pub near Hexham where the non drivers enjoyed their beer and we alll enjoyed a chat with a couple of young brickies who had just finished their week's labours.
This is what the Times would call A Good Walk, it has fields, woods, moorland and a bit of industrial arcaeology, shame Dave wasn't out.  And it didn't rain.
Not a bad day for the birders, we saw lapwings, curlews, dippers, wagtails, wrens, a kestrel and the usual lbjs but the bird of the blog was a pair of woodcocks.
                                                     Woodcock, keeping warm, not taken yesterday.

The Matrix MMXV  PPP
                                                                steps                                  miles
LIDL3D                                              31038                                   11.04
OUTDOORGPS                                                                              11.4

Both maps. Contain OS Data Copyright. Crown copyright and Database right 2015