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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Hunting Ospreys again.......May 24th
(Northumberland)
  Another midweek ramble for Dave and I, along the north side of Kielder Water, hoping to spot the ospreys. For this walk you need either a car at both ends or catch the 694 bus that leaves Kielder Castle but only on a Tuesday and a Friday, for Hexham. It's the locals shopping bus and our intention was to take it to Tower Knowe, walk across the dam and up the north side of the lake.
Easy to do without a map but if you need one, choose OS OL 42,Kielder Water and Forest. Kielder Castle is at the north end.  Formerly a hunting lodge for the Duke of Northumberland it is now a café and small exhibition centre.
Kielder Water was constructed by damming the North Tyne. One village was submerged. The water was intended for industry, which declined immediately after the dam was opened. Kielder water has become a leisure centre, boating, water skiing, fishing and walking or cycling. A good path has been constructed all the way round the lake, popular with walkers and cyclists. The complete circuit is about 26 miles and there is an annual Kielder Marathon. We are walking.
There is a car park just beyond the Mountain Bike Centre, £4.50 for a day but there are some Yorkshire parking areas if you drive to the Youth Hostel.......
                             Yorkshire car park.
Dave and I arrived outside the castle at about 8.40 and waited until 9.15, no sign of the bus. A dog walker told us he had seen it near the village post office, down the hill. A man in a Forestry Commission truck stopped and asked if we were lost. When we explained about the bus he offered to take us to a starting point for our walk. He suggested that instead of going to Tower Knowe he take us to a point near Bellinghamburn Head from where we could walk through the forest down to the dam. We accepted his kind offer and off we went along a forestry road until we came to a halt at NY697908 where we said offered our thanks and said our goodbyes. (It would be difficult to start from here, the forestry road is closed to private vehicles although it is permissible to walk there.)
From our starting point we took the forest path in a direction  just east of south until we came to a forest ride (trail). As informed by our driver, on our left we spotted a footpath going through the wood, emerging at the north side of the dam.(Mile 2 on the map) On the way we walked over Black Belling, which gave a view of the water seldom seen by walkers.

               Kielder Water from Black Belling.
                      The signs make it so easy to follow. There are mile markers too, telling walkers how far to Kielder or the dam. Some of them seem misplaced.
From the dam we headed up the north side of the lake, back towards Kielder. It was warm and sunny, the forecast had been for light cloud all day and a cooling northerly breeze. The lakeside path goes round several inlets, adding considerably to the distance. There are several works of art along the shore, the first being the Wave Chamber which gives sort of camera obscura view of the water. A second is 55/02 which marks a spot 55 degrees north and 2 degrees west. We ignored them both but continued to Belvedere (mile 6) where we called a Herbie Spot.
Belvedere is an interesting construction, it is possible to sit inside and watch the lake through a large window. However, as it was so warm we sat on the grass in front of it, sharing few delights as there was only the two of us; almond slices and digestive chocolate snacks.
                           Belvedere. There is a ferry landing close by. Tickets must be bought in advance

A very distant ferry, the Osprey
Lunch over we continued on the walk, passing Robin's Hut, a wooden structure that looks across the water to Freya's Cabin. There is a sort of Running Bear story about the two but it ends happily, he gets a boat and crosses the lake to see his beloved.

                                                 Robin's hut, very well made.

Lunch over we continued on the walk, passing Plashetts, once a thriving coal mine, now nothing, the railway lines and village site being somewhere under the water.
                           Once there was a coalmine.............
Beyond Plashetts we came to the Janus Chairs, used as a Herbie Spot on other occasions but we passed it by, the same with Viewpoint which looks like some giant "cheeses " from Trivial Pursuit but represents an Ordnance Survey viewpoint.

The Janus Chairs are good fun, heavy for gadgies but they can be turned to face either way.
                     The salmon scales and a cyclist.
The most enjoyable piece of art on the north shore is Silvas Capitalis, or forest head to non Latin speakers. A large head made from wood, stairs inside allowing you to look out through his eyes it is most impressive.
              A sign said Silvas was closed today but that doesn't stop Dave from looking out.


It looks like one of those things made for a scout camp that turn out to be totally useless.
              Looking through Silvas' eye.
Beyond Gowanburn it is possible to leave the lakeside way and take a footpath along the old raiway line. Approaching Kielder the path crosses the old viaduct, preserved by the Northumberland and Newcastle Society after the closure of the railway. It is decorated with wrought iron.


The viaduct and some of its decorative art work
Once over the viaduct  we took the path down and back to Butteryhaugh where we had left the car. Having changed footwear we walked up to the castle and had tea, no visit to the Anglers Arms today, it's pub night when I get home.
The purpose of the walk was to spot an osprey, fish eating birds that return to Kielder every year.
We spotted a flycatcher, siskins, swallows, martins, chaffinches, goldfinches, buzzards, crows, robins geese, cormorants, several sort of duck and a red squirrel, but there was no sign of an osprey, apart from the ferry which bears that name!


The matrix MMXVI  S
                                                                steps                    miles

3D                                                           34992                  18.65 !!!!!!! Must shorten stride
NAK                                                       36830                  13.95
Dave's 3D                                               28337                  13.88
  "        USB                                            27517                  13.89
  " NAK                                                  27753                  14.01
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                13.2
etrex                                                                                    13.2    4 h 24 min walking 1 h 24 talking
This is as close as we got to an osprey. In the café at Kielder there is a TV screen showing activity on one of the nests.

(No blog this Friday for regulars, I am going to a test match. (A superior form of cricket))