Friday, 24 July 2015

Two Saints and a lost soul..............July  24th
  Back on home territory after the "gentlemen's week" in Scotland but down to a team of four (Harry, Brian, John H and me)  we are off to rewalk an old favourite from Belford in Northumberland. Easy to find this pretty village, head up north on the A1 past Alnwick and turn left at the signpost for Belford. It is about a mile off the A1. On the way we stopped at The Running Fox" in Felton for breakfast. I weakened and enjoyed  a bacon sandwich served in large thick slices of brown bread. A definite five flitches, and Brian agreed.
There is limited parking outside the Community Hall in Belford. The map that covers the whole walk is OS Explorer 340, Holy Island and Bamburgh and the Community Hall is at  GR NU 106338.
                                 Today's parking spot in!
On the left hand side of the Community Hall there is a lane, the start of today's walk. The path heads  northwest and crosses some fields alongside the impressive Sunnyside Crags and past a ruined lime kiln until it reaches Swinhoe Farm.
Lime Kiln, once used to make fertiliser.
                                                                                                    Normally we follow the rest of the walk in an anticlockwise fashion but, being rebels we chose to go in the opposite direction and headed  on the path going initial south west. Passing  fields of golden corn Harry stopped to take photographs and was never seen again. We three walked on following the grassy track that circles round the woods called Cockenheugh on the map, past some more impressive rock formations to the path that leads the short distance to St. Cuthbert's Cave. Not surprisingly this part of the walk is on St Cuthbert's Way, a familiar fairly long distance path.
                                                          Impressive outcrops
                              St. Cuthbert's Cave, with visitors.
 We  didn't bother stopping, partly because of the swarms of flies which bothered us and other walkers  but continued past the cave and turned right uphill immediately through the next gate. At the crest of the ridge, Greensheen Hill we turned  northwest and walked the short distance to the trig point where we called a Herbie Spot. Settling on the rocks and safe from the flies because of a strong breeze we ate and watched for Harry, in vain. However Mrs A had sent some chocolate shortcake, novel and nice, we shared chocolate and Golf bars too, We waited for fifty minutes without seeing the errant snapper. Should you come this way pause and enjoy the views, Cheviots in the west, distant Simonside to the south and Holy Island in the east.

                                                              Be warned
                              Look carefully and you can make out Holy Island
Having rested and eaten we continued on our way walking past Holburn Moss and the small lake before entering the plantation  near Rabbit Hill.  Eventually this path joins St. Oswald's Way, partly metalled with what is obviously the burnt off remains of some major road as at one point we found a cats eye. When I remarked it was not usual to find these on country farm tracks Brian pointed out that there was one near Helvellyn in the Lake District, namely Catstye Cam. Work it out. The path goes through woodland and across fields. At the junction which leads to Greymare farm we turned right on a grassy track which crosses Virgin Hill, passes Swinhoe Lake and arrives at Swinhoe Farm.

                                                    Swinhoe Lake
Swinhoe Farm is a riding centre and has a large number of horses, some of which are obviously large work animals. We walked through the farm, past the car park and across field back to Belford. Having changed we waited for the lost boy who appeared after about 10 minutes having taken a slightly different rouite.
                                                  The horse on the hill

Near Belford we past this umnusual looking house. at Westhall. It's a 19th century Gothic farmhouse built on the site of a Norman motte and Bailey
Although slightly out of our way we visited the Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge. Dawn the manageress asked if we would be having our annual meeting there in January! The pub offered the usual selection of good beers, Camerons Galactico, Youngs Blonde and Black Sheep.
My LIDL3D recorded 24644 steps and 8.9 miles, my GPS claimed 10.3 and Brian's said 10.2 miles. Another good day out, warm, dry with a light breeze.