Friday, 31 July 2015

We walk the Line................July31st
   The first time I saw and heard Johnny Cash was on a TV programme in about 1959/60. I was hooked, he sang "Stripes" and I rushed off to buy his records. This has nothing to do with today's walk
Holidays and family commitments continue to reduce the squad, injuries are ruling out steep climbs  and the weather has been so wet the hills and hollows would be more like bogs so today is another old favourite usually reserved for winter, the disused railway line from Lanchester to Consett and the other railway line from Consett to Rowlands Gill, the Derwent Way. Five of us are out today, Dave with a broken elbow which is on the mend, Brian with a bad back, John H and me with dodgie knees and super fit Ben.
It  is a bus walk too, we caught the X31 from Newcastle's Eldon Square bus station, stand F, 10.15 am and arrived in Lanchester at  11.10  .
                             Eldon Square Bus Station. The circular building is a car park. My daughters, when they were young, loved driving round and round to the roof, and back down again. Toon is the local way of saying town.
Lanchester is a pretty village with its very own playing card shaped Roman Fort, Longovicium  which was on Dere Street, the Roman chariot way from Eboracum (York) to the wall and beyond.
The map for the walk, which is easy to follow, is OS Explorer 307, Consett and Derwent Reservoir.

Newcastle Keep, taken from the bus. All that is left of the "Newcastle", apart from the Black Gate

The Tyne Bridge, taken from the bus

              Lanchester. The church, All Saints, has a Roman Altar built into it, taken from the fort long ago probably.
The start of the walk is easy to find, walk down Station Road and look out for the sign saying Consett, 6 miles. The cycle/footpath is on the old railway bed and is quite hard, good for bikes but jarring of the spine for gadgies. The verges have been allowed to go wild and have produced an abundance of flowers, making the walk even more interesting.
                       Level but hard on the feet!
After about four miles we stopped at Knitsley Farm Shop which is in East Knitsley Grange and not where I have written "coffee shop" on the map. Fresh looking produce and lots of sausages. We had tea or coffee, but Brian had an enormous bacon sandwich which came with chips.
                                            After the last few days of rain it's good to be able to eat outside at Knitsley Farm Shop.
Moving on we came to a cross roads of footpaths, on old railway lines too, although not far from the farm shop we called a Herbie Spot and sat on a wall near an old railway truck, a reminder of the days when Consett produced iron and steel. And what a feast we had.  Apart from a sandwich we ate Hobnob Melody, Ben's ginger biscuits, Mrs A's chocolate covered biscuits, Miss E's flapjacks ( and PORK PIES from Dave.
                                     Built for the Cosett Iron Works which closed in 1980
                                                                                                                                                                        There are clear sign posts, we followed the one to Rowlands Gill.  The first part of this walk crosses the land that was once the steel works. Now a housing estate for workers in local light industries.

 This impressive work of art commemorates the town's industrial past
 A map showing the layout of the iron and steel works. A nearby information board told us the works opened in 1840 and were closed in 1980, although making a profit. The steel for Blackpool Tower and nuclear submarines was made here.
                                                 Housing on the old steel work's site

  The walk is now on the Derwent Way, another cycle/footpath on an old railway. It is quite high up and passes Ebchester which has a Roman Fort, Vindomora, Hamsterley and Linzford. The verges of the path are wide, the trees have grown and made a tunnel for much of the way so at this time of the year there is little to see but trees. We did stop near Linzford to watch for Kites. Red Kites were reintroduced into the area in 2006 and are slowly spreading across the area, as far as Ponteland I am told.
                                              We saw some of these "flying dusters" in the distance
                                                               River Derwent from one of several viaducts
Eventually we reached Rowlands Gill and went to Maguires Fish and Chip shop for a well deserved meal.  Only the British can make proper fish and chips, and tea for that matter. We sat at a table outside the shop to eat and having finished caught a bus back to Newcastle from where we went our separate ways.
                                               Heaven can be a fish and chip shop after about 14 miles walking.

Matrix               MMXV  pp
                                                   steps                            miles
LIDL3D                                     32698                        16.7 ridiculous
Dave's USB                               28472                         13.48 Spot on
Measured on map: 13.5 miles
No GPS today, I kept my phone on for scores from the Test Match. England beat Australia by 8 wickets!!!!!

   All maps;contains OS data copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2015