Friday, 27 January 2017

From All Saints church to the Cathedral of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and St. Cuthbert. (Durham Jan 27 )
  A greatly reduced team has decided to go on a railway walk, along one of the old tracks in County Durham. And the chosen one is the walk from Lanchester to Durham which runs alongside the River Brownie.
A proper gadgie walk as we are catching a bus to the starting point in the village near the old Roman camp of Longovicium. A pretty village, its church (All Saints) is Early English and Norman, much of the stonework taken from the nearby fort. Some call this recycling, others call it vandalism.
There are five of us out today, John H., Ben, John C., Dave and me. The walk is easy to follow, can be done map free but for purists:
OS Explorer 307 Consett and Derwentwater
OS Explorer 308 Durham and Sunderland
cover the journey.
The wee jock on local TV promised us a cold day with a bitter breeze blowing in from frozen Europe and he was spot on, if the temperature climbed above zero the "feels like " factor kept it below and kept us clothed in fleecy jackets for the day.

We met at Eldon Square Bus Station in Newcastle and caught the X30 to Stanley from where we caught the 30 to Lanchester.
Eldon Square bus station and car park on the right.
        All Saints, Lanchester. It was not only cold, it was misty all day too.
From the bus stop in the centre of the village we walked down Station Road in the direction of Wolsingham until, not far away we found the start of the walk, The Lanchester Valley Walk.
There is a large stone at the start with an engraved Roman soldier, easy to find.
 The sign has fallen over for some reason. 14 refers to the number of the cycle route, not the distance to Durham.

                                 Nil carborundum illegetorum, an old Roman military saying.
The path is easy to follow from the start, it is a well made walking/cycling/riding path built on the top of the old rail bed. Mud free and pretty level for the whole route. In the beginning it passes houses in Lanchester and then comes into open country but because of the heavy mist there were no views today. Shame, to Langley Park the track follows the River Brownie with fields on both sides. The path is lined with trees and brambles, not many birds venturing out on a cold day. Neither would I if I thought about it.
          Easy walking all the way.

                                       He needs that heavy coat
                             It's a popular cycle track, very few have bells. They should have by law.
Cyclists assume walkers have eyes in the back of their heads.
At Langley Park there is the entertainment centre known as Diggerland. Closed in winter. It has a vast collection of diggers, back hoes and cranes you can drive or ride on. Land Rover "safaris" and burger bars. A great day out for small children, parents and grandparents. Can hardly wait for summer!
                                Entrance to the fun palace. Doesn't look much but my Canadian nephew nephew loved it, "Best thing in England" he claimed at the age of five.
Beyond Langley Park, birthplace of Sir Bobby Robson, much loved manager of several football teams including England and Newcastle, we called a Herbie Spot. The mist ensured there was not a great view so we got on with the business of sharing Snickers, flapjacks, ginger biscuits and sausage rolls. Sadly Mrs A is on holiday.
Lunch over we continued on our freezing path, passing Bearpark. Bearpark is a pile of stones, we did not bother to stop today. It was originally named "Beau Repair" and was the Bishop of Durham's weekend retreat. The Scots knocked it about a bit, all that remains is a few ruined walls.
                              The government is aiming to improve the health of the over 50's. Cheek

                                       The River Brownie
 Bearpark in the misty moisty morning

Approaching Durham we had to make choices.
 At this point you can turn left, go through the farm at Baxter Wood, follow the river bank on a muddy track, cross a muddy field and emerge at Nevilles Cross, site of a battle  between the English and the Scots in 14th century, or carry on along the Lanchester Valley Walk, as we did.
The track goes alongside the main London- Edinburgh railway, there is a short steep path that brings walkers lout onto a bridge over the line. We headed downhill to Stone Bridge roundabout, turned left, then right, past what was Neville's Cross college and came to the view that makes the day worthwhile.
         The Cathedral of Christ, The Blessed Virgin and St. Cuthbert. Usually known as Durham Cathedral. Magnificent, even in the mist. A World Heritage Site and a must to see.
We caught  a bus back to Newcastle and visited the Three Bulls across the road from the bus station. A friendly pub which had Belhaven 80 shillings, Lancaster Bomber and  Doom Bar on offer.
This walk is easy, mud free and completely hill less, a good one for the family but needs a bit of organising as it is linear.
Contains OS data. Copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2017

The Matrix MMXVII E
                                                                              steps                            miles
NAK                                                                     23599                            9.67
Dave's 3D                                                            18913                             9.27
  ""     USB                                                           18565                             9.37
  ""  NAK                                                             19804                             9.33
iPhone                                                                                                         8.8
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                        9.7