Saturday, 7 May 2016

Teesdale III, revenge of the gadgies. May 6th (North Pennines)
  After a couple of walks in Teesdale the gadgies have agreed on a third, a true walk as it requires a bus pass.  The walk starts from recently visited Barnard Castle on the Durham side of the Tees. To get there from base take the A69 west, the A68 south at the Corbridge roundabout and the A688 into Barnard Castle from West Auckland. (Proud winners of the first soccer world cup, honest). Parking in Barnard Castle is a bargain, £1.50 for a day in the long stay park, down the high street, left at the Market Cross (1767) and left again.
The walk is covered by OS OL 31 the North Pennines and we are starting at Middleton in Teesdale. To get there take the bus 95 from B. C .. It leaves at the top of the high street at four minutes to the hour or further down the street where we caught it and the ride takes about 30 minutes.
Eight of us out today, (two car job) John C., John Ha., Ben, Harry, Dave, Brian, Norman and me the Invisible Man.
The forecast is good, sunny, light breeze but no rain, makes a change from our recent outings in the rain
Barnard Castle is  a fine old town, wide main street, small shops, pubs and cafes, plus plaques to tell you who or what has been going on. And the wonderful Bowes Museum. As we had over half an hour to wait  we called in at Penny's cafe and restaurant, almost opposite the bus stop, for tea or coffee and bacon sandwiches or scones.
                          Barnard Castle main street, shame about the cars but..........
                                                    Outside a mens' outfitters!
  The bus arrived on time. A mini bus run by "Scarlet Band" with one of those cheery drivers who knew all the locals, let them off at their doors and promised to see them next week. And gadgies were welcomed aboard too. The journey up the valley took about half an hour and by 11.30 am we were ready for the off, pedometers and GPS's switched on.

Middleton in Teesdale, another pretty Durham village, mostly 18th century but with some much earlier  bits and pieces in the church. (St Mary).
The walk at last:
  From the main street we headed south west down towards the river . At the bridge, on the village side, we turned left and started on our way down the Teeside Way.  For the first three miles or so the narrow footpath clings to the river bank, with a few short climbs up and then down. At this time of year the wooded banks have a carpet of flowers, wood anemones, Celandines and primroses and bluebells, the last fighting bravely against the Spanish invaders. Remember the Armada!
                                                 Follow the Dipper

                                 Along the Teeside Way
At one point, near Egglesburn Farm on the map, the Teeside Way leaves the river and heads north east but we chose to follow the public footpath to the footbridge near Ornella Farm. From here we crossed the fields, well stocked with sheep and their lambs, , south of Swinkly Knoll, until we came to a road. Crossing the road we took a track lined with small yews to a farm where a very large and very black dog lay waiting. Everybody slowed down but he was friendly, just took an arm or two.

 His mistress came to our rescue and told us that the footpath we wanted was immediately after the last farm building. Good job she did, it wasn't marked. We followed the path across fields which had some strange type of trap against the fence.
                                        Answers on  a postcard please, but no prizes.
A few fields further on we rejoined the Teeside Way and at the entrance to a caravan park called a Herbie Spot. We had walked just over four miles.
Coffee, tea, sandwiches, two varieties of biscuit, cheese scones from Mrs A, almond fingers and pork pies. Still 178 pounds though.
Lunch over we continued along the T. W. (Don't go down into the caravan park) and crossed several fields past New Town, Eggleshope House before hitting the road just outside the village of Egglestone, another beautiful village.. The gardens of Egglestone Hall are open to the public. We walked through the village past the hall and at the bridge turned left along the T.W.
                                    Waterfall near Egglestone Hall
                   Norman has a thing about sheds. We thought this one was a cricket pavilion
  The footpath leaves the river and climbs out of the valley across sheep stocked fields. At one point farmer Dave and farmer Norman persuaded two lambs to go through a gate to rejoin their slightly stressed mother. Farmer Dave and farmer Norman persuaded two distraught lambs to return through a gate to rejoin equally distraught mother. Farmer Brian (B Sc agriculture from Newcastle University) looked on in sympathy or admiration.
                                A string of gadgies
                  Dave examines a "homestead" which he thought could have been a Roman fortlet.
The path goes alongside Shipley Wood before heading  back down towards the river at Cotherstone.
                                         Tees at Cotherstone
                 Wood anemones at Cotherstone
 The river Balder joins the Tees at Cotherstone.
            A second Herbie Spot at Cotherstone, after about 8 miles
From Cotherstone we followed the Teeside Way on the south side of the river. Partly through woodland high above the river with impressive views of the cliffs on the north bank, partly across fields  it reaches Pecknell wood where it begins a slow descent to the Tees again.
   I know a bank where sweet primroses grow, to slightly misquote the bard


                           Teeside views, gadgies and the old railway bridge.
Approximately four miles further on we were back in Barnard Castle, crossing into the town by means of the footbridge.

              Barnard Castle, Crazy Golf and more ruins.
For a change we went straight to the pub, the Golden Lion, which claims to be the oldest pub in Barnard Castle, (1679) possibly the oldest pub in County Durham and possibly the oldest pub in the north east. Regardless of that it sells fine real ales, the Marstons' New World being particularly refreshing after twelve hot miles.

The Matrix MMXVI  P
                                                                              steps                       miles
LIDL 3D                                                            29273                      15.17  (mmm)
NAK                                                                  35947                       13.61
Dave's 3D                                                          28800                       13.25
  "        USB                                                       26912                       12.74
  "        NAK                                                      27127                       12.84

etrek            3.54 hours walking    1.45 hours hanging around          12.46
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                12.08 with 2133 feet ascent
John C                                                                                                 12.7
Ben                                                                                                      12.12

Contains OS Data Copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2016