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Friday, 8 July 2016

Lovely Greta......(Durham) July 8th

  Holidays have struck again and numbers are low, three; Brian, Dave and me. We are heading south to do a walk we spotted in The Times Saturday column a "A Good Walk". It starts and finishes at Greta Bridge I thought was in Yorkshire but seems to be in Durham. To get to Greta Bridge from Newcastle take A1 south to Scotch Corner, the A66 west and turn off when you see the sign. There is some parking across the road from the Morrit Hotel. A sign says parking is for patrons only but I asked in reception if we could leave the car and the receptionist said it was not a problem.
About 98% of the walk is on OS OL 31 North Pennines and Greta Bridge is at GR NZ 084133.
A word of warning, the walk goes along the river bank and it is slippy in places, at this time of year the grass in the fields is long and today it was very wet, we should have worn overtrousers! Some of the vegetation is very tall too, take a machete.
                                  The Morrit Hotel (and car park)
                                The walk starts here.
We walked back towards the old Greta Bridge and climbed the wall at the above sign. (There are steps on the field side but not on the road side) From here the footpath crossed fields above the river until we reached the ruined  St. Mary's Church and graveyard.
                        We walked through fields of gold, well barley anyway.
                               The footpath follows the fence line above the river.
                            The path is well marked
                                                      St Mary's Church ruins
Just beyond the old church the path enters Tebb Woods. The path is narrow and slippy because of the recent rain and it is necessary to take care, particularly as you can't see the path half the time the undergrowth is so thick. The path leaves the woodland for a short time before returning, finally emerging into a field near Brignall Mill.
                        It would have made a good Herbie Spot. Approaching Brignall Mill
                            Brignall Mill
                                                and its interesting activities.
             The path wanders round the mill to a footbridge across the River Greta and we turned and headed east. We called a Herbie Spot in the wood and settled down for lunch.

                                          The River Greta at Brignall Mill.


                                Brian eats his lunch. It is not raining but the midges were out in millions. Today's offerings were almond slices, Racer bars from ALDI and scones from Mrs A.
The midges ensured a brief lunch stop and soon we were off again close to the river and wading through high Cow Parsley and other plants. Brian, who has recently been on a trip to Machu Pichu reckoned the undergrowth here was thicker than that he had seen in the Amazon Rainforest. And wetter.
At one point Brian was well ahead and at a point where the path forked Dave and I climbed up to a gate we had spotted and came out into fields. The edges of the fields are pheasant rearing patches and probably not an official path but we crossed them anyway and a passing farmer didn't seem to mind. We found the footpath in Gill Beck (Beck, not Burn!) and walked up to Gilbeck Bridge. (mile 5) We followed the road for a short way before turning off by Coronation Plantation, crossing fields where we thought we saw a Merlin, before rejoining the road for a short distance. We spotted the Bridleway marker (mile 6) and crossed fields to Crook's House.  From here we followed the road past Wilson's House, turning left at the entrance to Saunder's House Farm. Just beyond the entrance to Eastwood Hall there was another sign post that took us through woodland, across fields and back to Greta Bridge, where Brian was waiting!
                         Almost back.
It was a warm sunny afternoon so we were tempted to take the traditional refreshment in the garden of the Moriott Hotel. They had Timothy Taylor's Landlord and Blacksheep on tap. The tea was nice too.

The Matrix MMXVI  RR
                                                                        steps                            miles
NAK                                                              26111                           11,53
3D misbehaved
etrex                                                                                                     9.15
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                 8.9
Dave's 3D                                                     20815                             9.57
  ""      USB                                                   19179                            9.08
  ""      NAK                                                  18983                            8.98
Brian                                                                                                   8.9

Next Thursday we set off on the annual gentlemens' week in Scotland. This year we are walking the West Highland Way from Milgavie to Fort William. It will be written up in a couple of weeks!

This week's gallery