Friday, 17 June 2016

 A walk from Garrigill...........June 17th
(North Pennines)
     I could not join the team last Friday as I was needed for domestic duties. A much reduced team walked the "John Martin Trail" from Haydon Bridge. A good walk, it is covered by "A happy nook in Northumberland  April 12th 2013" and "Martin in the Fields, May 5th 2012".
 The forecast for Friday June 16th is pretty much the same as it has been most of the week for the North East of England; wet. The south of the north looks a bit more promising so we are walking from Garrigil, in Cumbria. To get there take the A69 west from Newcastle, the A686 just west of Hexham and turn off into  Alston, drive up the steep village street and turn off for Garrigil at the sign post. In Garrigil drive south through the village and at the end of the road there is a Yorkshire parking area for several cars. The map to use for this walk is OS OL 31 The North Pennines and Garrigil is at GR NY 746415 approx.
There are four of us: John Ha, John C, Harry and me.
                           Today's car park in Garrigil

Heading south out of the village we took the track on the right and headed steadily uphill on what is part of The Pennine Way (Long distance footpath from Derbyshire to Scotland). After about a mile, near a finger post that says "Pennine Way" we entered a field on the left. On the map there is a footpath, in reality it is difficult to follow and is a bit boggy to say the least. The path goes south west, passing grouse butts and eventually rejoining the Pennine Way on a track.. (Mile 2) We followed the track for about two miles. It started to rain so we halted briefly to don waterproofs. The cloud was very low and there was little to see in the way of scenery, although we new Cross Fell, the highest point of the Pennines, was close by.
This is a grouse moor, grit trays abound and also, across ditches, there are traps designed to catch weasels and stoats which go for the eggs of the ground nesting birds and their young. The only trap we saw with a victim contained a young, dead rabbit. Not exactly vermin.
                  Looking back at Garrigil, a beautiful little northern Pennine village, with a pub!
The track, most of it has better metalling
                                          A trap, unbaited and empty
Just after four miles we left the track and turned left to go east into a very boggy field. The path is on the right side of the fence but we noticed that on the other side was a track of sorts. It was made of a heavy plastic mesh, designed presumably for 4x4s to get to the butts. We followed the track which eventually ended, and we continued along the fence line through peaty hags and bogs. And it was raining heavily. At about mile 6 the fence was transformed into a high dry stone wall which looked very unsafe.
                      Turning off the track to hit the boggy field
                        Misty and wet, nice wall but unsteady.
At mile 6 we parted company, the two Johns  heading east across the wall to go down to the South Tyne Trail at Tyne Head. Harry and I chose to follow the wall north east across Round Hill and Noonstones Hill. The track we followed was not too clear but eventually we came downhill, passing old mine workings and a pool with more butts and a bird trap, and reached the road at  West Ashgill. And it was still raining.
                                          Bird trap near the pool
                              The pool with butts. Every evening a herd of water buffalo come down to the pool to drink. The hunters have easy targets.
We turned left on the road and walked the two miles back to Garrigil. The two Johns were not there so we headed for the village pub, The George and Dragon. Sadly it was closed and it was still raining so we sat on a bench under a large tree on the village green and finally had a Herbie Spot. It had been too wet to stop on the walk. Not long after the other two arrived and we set off home, calling at The Elks Head in Whitfield for a beer or two. They had Allendale 1757 and Shepherd Neame Spitfire on offer, Both fine ales.
                               St. John's Church Garrigil

Garrigil, Post Office open, pub closed.
The Matrix  MMXVI  T

                                                                    steps                                   miles
LIDL3D                                                     29009                                    13.21 (generous)
NAK                                                          29177                                     11.05
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                      10.3
GARMIN                                                                                                  10.1
John C                                                                                                       10.8
The route fo
                  The route followed by Harry and I. No arrows, but miles. No Herbie Spot. Raining