Friday, 11 March 2016

The Battle of Humbleton....1402.         March 11th (Northumberland)
During the long border wars between England and Scotland, which some say are still going on, the English, with Harry Hotspur as one of the leaders, beat the Scots with the Earl of Douglas in command in a battle just a few miles north of Wooler. The English archers, those everyday country folk, are usually given credit for a crushing victory over the old enemy, which sent them home, tae think again.  Lessons over for today.
  There are  9gadgies out today, (me, Harry, Dave, John H., John Ha., Ray, John C., Ben and Norman, who hasn't been seen for a while but is very welcome.) and we are revisiting a popular walk which starts on Wooler Common. To get there, A1 north, A697 at Morpeth, turn into Wooler and turn left just beyond the Terrace Café at the sign for Wooler Common. After a mile or so pull in to the parking area and picnic spot bon the right, known to us gadgies as Who let the dogs out. This has been explained previously but for an SAE and £1 a full and merry retelling is obtainable.
The weather man has said fair today, he knows that spring is on its way.
A map is useful OS OL 16 The Cheviot Hills covers the whole route.
Naturally we visited the Terrace Café in Wooler for tea or coffee before heading up to Wooler Common and the walk.
         Follow this sign which is next to the Terrace cafe on Wooler main street.
    Once at the car park we soon booted up, picnic tables and benches are a big help.
                                         Human interest and a car park

                              This little memorial to Sheila is on the information board in the car park. A number of planes crashed in and around the Cheviots during WW2. This particular one was a B19 I think. Several of the crew perished in the crash. There is a considerable amount of wreckage left still, near the top of the Cheviot itself. There is a memorial to the crews in College Valley.
                      We started the walk by crossing this footbridge on the north side of the car park. Look carefully and you can just see a marker above the left hand timbering on the bridge. We followed this path uphill through the wood for a short distance before reaching a gate. Fortunately Ben, who is the expert on gate opening, has returned after a few weeks absence so we had no problems. We crossed a field and came to this;
                   The old trailer van; it used to sit on its wheels, perhaps it's a victim of Abigail or one of the other storms. 
 There is a choice of path at the waggon, we took the right hand one downhill along a muddy farm track before finding the gate on the left that took us on a path to the top of Humbleton Hill, it's quite a steep pull. On the summit is a hill fort, just one of the many in the area. The perimeter walls are clearly visible although over the centuries they have fallen down or been used for dry stone walls.
               Humbleton Hill, site of an English victory.
                                A bivallate fort, inner and outer wall clearly visible.
                     Misty and snowy Cheviot
   Having had the battle described by Dave in detail we headed downhill in a roughly north west direction before hitting a grassy track  that took us north east for a while  then turned just north of west again along the side of a wood. The path became a foot/sheep path on the north side of Harehope Hill. (Please note; I have cheated a bit on the map, it is an old one. Today we did not go over Harehope Hill as shown but round it, the slope of the hill down to Gleadscleugh is a bit like a scree.)
We followed the path down to the isolated farm at Gleadscleugh.
                                      Gleadscleugh Farm
 At the farm there are three track, the one on the left follows Akeld Burn, the centre goes up the rocky Gleads Cleugh and the one on the right, which we took, climbs relatively gently uphill on to Akeld Hill and then to White Law. Downhill from here to the sheepfold where we made a Herbie Stop.

   This is a trap for predator birds who may pinch a grouse or two. It can only be used at certain times otherwise the door must be kept open and the trap checked regularly.

The stell (sheepfold ) at the bottom of the picture is today's Herbie Spot. In this photo the outlines of a substantial enclosure with hut circles is clearly visible.
                            Today's Herbie Spot. The feast included pork pies, ginger biscuits, other biscuits, cake and orange flavoured cake.
Lunch over we headed for Yeavering Bell (Yeavering = goats but there were non out today.)
Instead of climbing to the top, which has a very large hill fort we followed a grassy track for a while before turning left at a marker which took us down to St. Cuthbert's Way.
Take the path towards Commonburn house.
                                      Human interest
                                        Yeavering Bell, with fort.
 From here we followed St. Cuthbert's Way back across the moors, close to Tom Tallon's Crag, round Black Law and back to the upturned wagon and then across the field, through the wood and back to the car park.
On the way home we felt obliged to help the economy by spending a few grey pounds in the ever welcoming Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge. Today they were serving Tim Taylor's Golden Best, Bombardier and Everard's Tiger, all well kept as usual, especially the Tiger.

The Matrix MMXVI   J

                                                                          steps                          miles
  NAK                                                              26815                         10.15
LIDL 3D                                                          25508                        10.0
Dave's LIDL3D                                               22355                         10.06
  "        USB                                                     21421                          9.8
  "         NAK                                                   21307                          9.75
etrex                                                                                                     9.83
Norman's GPS                                                                                     9.25
John C GPS                                                                                         9.79
Ben's GPS                                                                                           9.1

Good  set of results!
Contains OS Data Copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2016