Saturday, 27 August 2016

Once around the lake and back for tea
(Or Dave gets in a flap) (Lake District)......  August 26th

 Family commitments and visitors have kept me away from my boots for two weeks but today the gadgies are back on the hills. Brian has suggested a circumnavigation of Derwent Water in the Lake District and the man on the TV promised a warm and sunny day so off we went. Five of the team; Brian, Harry, Dave, Ray,  and me, meeting at the Coffee Lounge in Keswick for morning tea or bacon sandwich. From base to Keswick: A69 west, M6 south, A66 west and there are several car parks to choose from. The first, on the left, is short term but on the right is a long term park, £7 for six hours, which we decided might be pushing it today, or £9 for twelve hours, OK for five sharing but a bit steep if you are on your own.
The whole walk is on OS OL4 The English Lakes North West Section
                         Another in my series "Car parks of the north west."
    The walk.
     Leaving the car park we headed north west up Keswick high street, passing the gear shops, cafes and a book shop. After about half a mile we spotted the gate to a footpath on the left hand side of the road, walked across fields before turning south west (mile 1) and crossing the River Derwent by the footbridge.
                      Skiddaw from the footpath to the footbridge.7
Once across the bridge we walked south along a street in Portinscale village. The marker on the left for the footpath is a bit difficult to spot but eventually we entered woodland at Ullock Moss and continued south along the Cumbrian Way/ Allerdale Ramble/Derwent Walk beneath Cat Bells, a very popular family walk in the Lakes. Steep but worth it for the views.
The path we followed was a good one, a short stretch shared with a road  before heading downhill to Manesty.
                            Follow the sign
             Derwentwater with Blencathra in the background
                      Manesty house, Cat Bells beyond.
Just beyond Manesty (Not to be confused with Mandalay in Daphne Du Mauriers "Rebecca") we turned north east (mile 5) and followed a footpath close to the south end of the lake, stopping in a shady spot for a Herbie Stop. Mrs A had sent some top class chocolate cake, the icing going deliciously soft in the warmth, and we shared almond slices and Rington's ginger biscuits.
             View from Herbie Spot (1)
                             Duckboards across the boggy area south of Derwent Water.
Lunch over we continued on our way east to the Borrowdale Road and turned right for a short distance to High Lodore BnB and café. (mile 6).
Here we made a slight error and headed south to Troutdale Cottages before realing the possibility of a mistake and retraced our steps to High Lodore. Behind the farm a steep path presented the first climb of the day. Look out for the path off to the right after a few hundred yards. The footpath, through woodland passes a waterfall (Not Lodore) and on the ridge we turned and headed north through Ashness Wood.
At one point the path joins the road down to Ashness Bridge where we made a second Herbie Spot, it was a hot day.
                                                  Ashness Wood
                                     Ashness Bridge.
Just beyond the bridge we took the footpath on the right for the second climb of the day. A good path took us across Falcon Crag to the wood at Walla Crag. From here we could see in the distance  the Castlerigg Stone Circle and decided to head for it. (Dave likes piles of stones)
Unfortunately, near Rakefoot Dave suffered a gear malfunction, the front of his sole became detached and floppy. Fortunately Ray had a spare pair of laces and Dave was able to make emergency repairs but we decided it would be sensible to return to Keswick by a shorter route.

                    Derwent Water from Falcon Crag
                                    Keswick and Skiddaw
                                  Emergency repair to Dave's boot
We stopped at a café in Springs Wood for a well deserved ice cream and then headed back into town, calling at Mickledore to thank them for the brilliant way they had organised our West Highland Way walk and to pick up a leaflet on the Rob Roy Way, a possibility for next year.
Changed we headed home, calling at The Elk in Whitfield but they had run out of real ale so we carried on to Carts Bog, a pub near Hexham which sold Secret Kingdom, it went down well.
This really is a good walk, two short steep climbs but generally easy going. It would be possible to cut it short at High Lodore and take a bus back to Keswick.

The Matrix MMXVI   WWWW
                                                                                   steps                miles
NAK                                                                         35813               12.43
Dave's 3D                                                                 28272                13.00
  "     USB                                                                 26706                12.64
   "     NAK                                                               26713                12.64

OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                 12.24
Brian                                                                                                    12.25

                         Contains OS data, copyright. Crown Copyright and Database right 2016

Sunday, 7 August 2016

A rural route round Rothbury... August 5th
  Not a bad bit of alliteration that.  Holidays and family commitments have again reduced our number to four; Brian, John H., Dave and me. We have gone for a relatively local walk in Northumberland, starting at Tomlinsons Café and Bunkhouse in Bridge Street. To get to Rothbury take the A1 north, take the A687 at Morpeth and turn left at the Anglers Arms, Weldon Bridge and continue to Rothbury.   A small Northumberland town with a very wide main street. Nearby is Cragside, the home built by Lord Armstrong who made  his fortune out of guns and ships, once employing several thousand men on Tyneside. The house is now a National  propertyand is well worth a visit. It was the first house in England, if not the world to have electricity from its own hydro-electric plant. It also has a lot of trees and rhododendrons.                                                                                       About 10% of the walk is on OSOL42 Kielder Water and Forest. The other 90% is on OS Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble. Clever marketing.
                       Reflections in a wing mirror. Tomlinsons, Rothbury.
After breakfast we drove over the bridge turned right and went to the car park by the river. A Yorkshire car park, with benches to sit on as you get booted up.

                                           A freebie in Rothbury.
 The walk;
We crossed the River Coquet to the north bank using the footbridge just visible in this week's car park photo. Turning left we walked along a good path alongside the river for about a mile before crossing a field and then, using another footbridge, crossed to the south bank of the river. Following close to the river, the path across the fields took us to another footbridge and we were back on the north side and in the village of Thropton. (pton on the map!)

                                                           Up to the main street and we headed right, back towards Rothbury, passing The Three Wheat Heads and The Cross Keys before turning left on a road called Physic Street. We followed the street, which became a track very similar to a "Green Lane", both sides lined with bracken, one side with a wall too. The path climbed slowly, on the left we had superb views of the Coquet Valley and the Cheviot Hills. Shame it was a cloudy day.
                                  Across the Coquet to the Cheviots
                            Thropton from Physic Street.
At the end of the lane we came to a gate and turned left, once through it. We were now on one of the carriage drives of the Cragside estate. They are good walking tracks and there are very few carriages these days. Ignoring the first marked footpath on the left we continued to the second (about 4.5 miles), headed downhill and into a wood. At mile 5 we came to a good track and turned right, following it roughly east before turning south and entering a plantation. At this point we called a Herbie Spot and shared ginger biscuits (Rington's in Ben's absence) Hobnob bars and beetroot and cheese tarts from Mrs A. (Somebody forgot his contribution).
                             Human interest for Kathy and Sue.
 Light lunch over we followed the track in a semi circle round the edge of the plantation to Primrose Cottage.
                                            Debdon Valley
                                                   Primrose Cottage.
From the cottage the road winds up to the B6341 road, which can be busy. Almost directly opposite is the exit to the Cragside Estate, but it is also a public footpath and we walked through the grounds.
                         Walking through the park we saw this piece of art..
                      .... and one of the few thatched cottages in Northumberland....
                                        the ornamental lake
                  and an Archimedean Screw which was being turned by electricity, and the wrong way too

                           Cragside, built by Lord Armstrong who made his fortune from making guns and battleships. Supposedly he supplied both sides in the 1905 war between Russia and Japan. His Tyneside works have gone, but the swing bridge he built to allow ships to pass from his works to the sea remains as one of the Tyneside bridges.
 A slender water wheel. Lord Armstrong built  a hydro electric system to light his house. The original equipment is on display in the Power House.  The grounds are well worth a visit, as is the house, a large variety of trees, many neatly labelled too, always useful. Plenty of bird life and displays of flowers, trails for children to follow too.
Having strolled through the estate we emerged on another busy road. Almost directly opposite, by Thrum Mill, a finger post pointed us back towards Rothbury on the north bank. Crossing by the footbridge we were back in the car park.
                                                       Approaching Rothbury.
On the way home we called at the Anglers Arms, Weldon Bridge. The usual three real ales were on offer, one being Black Sheep and another being Marstons Pedigree. The third one? Can't remember.

This is a really good walk, about 9.5 miles of easy walking with beautiful views and a place of interest.

                                                                     steps                                miles
NAK                                                         26812                                  9.3
Dave's LIDL3D                                        20361                                 9.36
  "        USB                                              19605                                 9.28
  "         NAK                                            19567                                 9.26
Etrex                                                                                                   9.61
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                 9.5
Brian                                                                                                    9.47
Walking time             3 hrs 4 mins     talking time 1hr 32 mins