Friday, 18 March 2016

Hill forts, Hobgoblins and piles of stones   March 18th (Northumberland)

   Thrunton Woods is a Forestry Commission plantation north of Newcastle. Before it was used for timber it was probably used for grazing sheep as it is pretty rough ground. It was also said to be inhabited by Hobgoblins who played tricks on people passing by, not that there would be many. Today we gadgies are off to find the Hobgoblins, or anything else of interest. Simple to get to, A1 north, A697 at Morpeth and turn off at the road sign for Thrunton Woods. There is a parking area, picnic spot and Hobgoblin holding bin. The whole of the walk is covered by OS Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble, the car park is at   GRNU 086097 approx.
We have done this walk before, see The Searchers in the blog for June 2012. A good turn out again, John C., John H., John Ha., Dave, Harry, Ben, Norman,Ray and me. (A nonect?)Tea or coffee in the Heighley Gate Garden Centre just north of Morpeth on the A697. Nice garden centre., popular with older folk for coffee and a read.
The weather forecast for the north east was the same as yesterday, and the day before; overcast, drizzle and cold. The lads got fully kitted out.
                             Trout fishery across the road and field from......
                                                 .........the car park
  Leaving the car park, which was quite full today, several vans with All Terrain Cyclists preparing for a muddy day, and turned north along the road. We turned left and passed the Forest Office as marked on the map, not that I could see anything even vaguely resembling an office. We encountered the first mud of the day going through a gate on the right (complete with marker). We crossed several fields before coming to what is obviously an embankment, remains of the Roman road that once crossed here. There was some dispute as to its authenticity as we had noted a slightly raised line as we crossed the fields which some of us thought was the line of the ancient via. At this point we turned south and entered the wood by means of a dilapidated stile, turned right and followed a track onto Humbleton Hill, a stand of Beech trees in the area would have made a quality Herbie Spot but it was too early, even by our standards.
     Some thought the line in the centre was the track of the Roman road. It is straight. Norman said it was possibly the line of an old coach road and definitely not of the empire
                                                            Best track of the day, much of the rest was muddy
The Hobgoblins hiding behind a gnarled old beech.
The next point of interest was the outline of an ancient settlement/fort on Castle Hill. It made use of a natural ditch on one side and remains of ramparts could be made out. Pushing on, uphill too we looked out for Macartney's cave, nothing to do with Paul (had it anything to do with him it would have been a Cavern) but a part time hiding place for a man who had been the vicar or curate in a nearby village. We found one cave but could not be certain it was the right one.  We did however decide it was a Herbie Spot, and only three miles.

Hobgoblins' feast: pork pies again, ginger biscuits, chocolate and oat cakes from Mr Kipling, biscuits and millionaires chocolate and caramel shortbread. Sandwich and tea for me too, going off coffee.
  Back on the walk, the next section, although flat, was boggy and the path had been churned up by Mountain Bikers. They should not be allowed!  Pausing at the cairn on Hard Nab to admire the views over Northumberland in spite of the light mist we then headed downhill again, still on muddy track before climbing a narrow footpath up to Long Crag which has a well preserved and painted trig point.

                                Cairn on Hard Nab

                                Misty view across the county, good heavens, are there no mines?

                                                           Admiring the trig point. When mapping was digitised it was possible to adopt a trig point. This one has been lovingly cared for
From here the path along the ridge was fairly level but muddy and we were strung out in a line, or gadgeton as Dave called it as we had been discussing bikes and Victoria Pendleton.
 The path continued past Coe Crags, a suitable place for a team photo;

                                 Hobgoblins on Coe Crag
The footpath from the Coe Crag winds downhill and was quite slippy, kept us on our toes. At the foot of the hill we crossed the footbridge and turned right on the forest track.
                         Today we turned right having crossed the bridge, on other occasions we have turne left and taken a different route back,

                    Frog spawn in a puddle on the forest track, not many will survive 
We followed the forest track back to the road, turned left and were soon back at the car park. Not surprisingly we called at the Anglers Arms on the way home. The beers on offer were Blacksheep, Taylor's Golden Best and Bombardier, two of them went down well for me.

The Matrix MMXVI     L  
                                                                                    steps                           miles
NAK                                                                            24717                         9.36
LIDL3D                                                                       20627                         9.31
Dave's 3D                                                                    20997                         9.3
  " USB                                                                        19831                         9.07
  " NAK                                                                       19664                         9.0

Walking time  3 hours 5 minutes   Hanging around time  1 hour 50 minutes                                                                                                             8.9
Consistent or what.

I am off on my annual jaunt to Czechia and will not be blogging for a couple of weeks.Read the back numbers.
 The new printer doesn't scan as well as the old one, I should look at the manual but as you know, men never do.Contains OS data. Crown copyright and data base right 2016