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Friday, 2 September 2016

Tilley goes to sea (Teesdale)..........................September 2nd.
On Bank Holiday Monday (National holiday in England and Wales for non Britons)  my wife, elder daughter, niece and I went for a walk on one of Northumberland's beautiful sandy beaches. It was warm with a light breeze, children buried their fathers in sand, threw pebbles in the sea and generally enjoyed themselves. As we walked I spotted a hat lying on the beach. On examination it turned out to be a Tilley hat and the owner had sensibly written name and phone number on the label. I rang the number and told the lady who answered I had found her Tilley hat. She was delighted. It had blown away a few days previously several miles down the coast and had sailed north, passing a harbour mouth before beaching where I found it. We arranged a meeting place and handed over the hat. She explained it was the second one she had owned and it had great sentimental value, she was thrilled to get it back. A happy ending.
Next day, out on my bike, I stopped at a road junction and there was a £1 coin. A reward! I should, of course, have taken it to the police station.
And this is it, I had forgotten that somebody took a photo of it.
(In case you don't know, Tilley hats are made from American cotton, British brass and Canadian pernickityness and are very expensive. My much loved one is 24 years old and is decorated with ribbons in Durham CCC colours. They are also famed for durability; one has been known to pass completely through an elephant and when it emerged, a quick wash and it was wearable. Mine has not had such adventures, been in Polish Tatras, Austrian Alps, French Alps, lower Canadian Rockies and many a sleepy afternoon watching Durham.


  This has nothing to do with today's walk but I am after a spot on BBC Radio 4 Thought for Today.
  Today five gadgies, Brian, John C., John H., Dave and I are off to walk in Teesdale again. This time by driving to Barnard Castle, bussing to Gainford and walking back. To get to Barnard Castle from Newcastle take the A69 west to Corbridge and the A68 south to West Auckland and follow signs to BC. Car parking all day for £1.50. The bus to Gainford is either the 75 o76 run by Arriva and they leave BC at 27 minutes or 48 minutes past the hour from the top of the high street.
              Not the start of the walk but a car park has become a must.  £1.50 for a day!
A two map walk, OS Explorer 304 and OS OL 31 North Pennines.
And yes we had breakfast in BC at The Teesdale Coffee Shop. Lovely warm cheese scones straight from the oven or a bacon butty that came with chips.
We got off the bus at Gainford and crossed the road, walking down the street next to the Cross Keys to the village green.
                  The green at Gainford.
We turned right down a road that went to the village school, a man was practising his skills on a unicycle in the yard. Continuing past the Scout Hut we came to a road on the right that informed us the bridge ahead was not to be used as it was in a dangerous condition, but we went to it anyway. It was blocked so, spotting the gap in the fence on the right, obviously made by other walkers, we crossed a field to Gainford Bridge, narrow but passable.
            Gainford Hall, built in 1600 and restored in the 19th century.
Having crossed the Tees we crossed a field that had recently been harvested. Amazing how much grains had been left on the ground, no wonder there used to be gleaners.
     The Tees at Gainford

We continued on the footpath on the south side of the river, mainly across fields until we came to Winston Bridge where we crossed to the north side and joined the Teesdale Way path which follows the river bank.
 Artwork on the bridge at Winston. Spitfire?
                               More art on the bridge. It signifies man's attempts to be at one with the elements.


                           Not a work of art, but interesting.
Near Osmond Croft we left the Teesdale Way and walked along a track to the next village Whorlton.
Whorlton has a village green with a large tree circled by a bench, an ideal Herbie Spot. Today's treats were a fruesli bar, a PORK PIE, a special from Mrs A, she had made and baked a cake of beetroot, carrot, oats and something else, which I have forgotten. We also had a ginger flapjack courtesy of www.jesmondcakecompany.com.
My wife, the gadgette, had three aunts who owned this cottage. When my girls were small and we were poor we had a few holidays here. Wish it was still in the family!
Lunch over we walked down the road out of the village towards the river. Two signposts just outside the village pointing to either the north or south bank. We opted for the south bank and continued downhill to the Whorlton Bridge.
                      Whorlton Bridge, built in 1829/31, the first chain suspension bridge in the country
                       Turnpike charges. Unfortunately I missed the prices which were all in pence, proper pence at that, the ones we had before decimalisation. It cost 4d (abou2p) for twenty sheep or part of twenty sheep to cross.
GD on the bridge. The fight between Robin and Little John in the film "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves" was shot just to the east of the bridge.
Having crossed the bridge we turned right and were back on the Teesdale Way, crossing fields to Mortham Tower.
Mortham Tower. Fortified manor and pele tower dating back to Henry VII (1485 -1509)
A half mile further west we came to Meeting of the Waters, where the River Greta joins the Tees.


The Greta at Meeting of the Waters, a beautiful spot.
We walked on across fields and through woodland, always close to the river until we reached Abbey Bridge near the ruins at Egglestone.
                        Abbey Bridge
Back on the north side of the river we walked across fields and through woodland back to Barnard Castle. Changed we headed for the Morrit Hotel at Greta Bridge, rapidly becoming a favourite watering hole, especially as the have Timothy Taylor's Landlord, one of the world's great beers.
This is another good walk in Teesdale, we seem to have covered most of the middle section of the river in the last few months and every walk has been worth the effort it's a beautiful valley, hard to believe it emerges into an industrial area!


The matrix MMXVI  YYYYYY

                                                                           steps                        miles
NAK                                                                  28141                        9.77
Dave's 3D                                                          21575                        9.92
  ""       USB                                                       20758                       9.82
   ""      NAK                                                      20679                       9.79
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                9.9
Brian's GPS                                                                                        10.01
John C.                                                                                                10.5