Saturday, 18 February 2017

The one after 300..................February 17th (Durham)
There are six of us out today: Brian, Harry, Dave, John H., John Ha. and me. We are heading for Stanhope in Weardale, bussing to Wolsingham and walking the Weardale Way back to the start.
To get to Stanhope from Newcastle take the A69 west, A68 south near Corbridge and the B6278 thr5ough Edmondbyers over the moors to the small Weardale town. There is a Yorkshire car park at the back of the Durham Gift Shop and information Centre near the church. And it has a cafe. The map to use is OS Explorer31 North Pennines. There is an hourly bus service down the valley so it's a part gadgie walk. And most of the Weardale Way is well posted.
         Car park at Stanhope. Not the start of the walk but the café was nearby.
            St Thomas's church Stanhope. origins in 12th century
We had tea/coffee/bacon in the centre café and caught the bus to Wolsingham, the start of today's stroll. From the village centre we walked down towards the river and railway, crossed the river and found a set of steps on the right that led down to the footpath alongside the Weardale Railway.
                                  Down the steps by the railway.
After walking alongside the railway for about a mile we came to a notice advising us not to follow the riverside track as it had suffered flood damage but to take the diversion to Holebeck House and the Weardale Outdoor Centre, which we did. Holebeck had a very friendly horse.

                       Holebeck's friendly horse
From Holebeck we walked across fields, following a public footpath that was not very well marked, to the farm at East Biggins, home of Balbo. Following the farm track we reached West Biggins, home of Sam, and continued down the farm track to the Weardale Way at Harehope Quarry near Frosterley.

            Disused quarry, now a nature reserve.
We were now following the Bollihope Burn which consists of one ancient lead mine, quarry or lime kiln after another.
                     Mine information board.
We stopped just beyond the ruins of the Harehope Gill lead mine and declared a Herbie Spot.

             Lunch time at Harehope. Today's offerings included, chocolate cake, oaty biscuits, Jaffa Cakes, Rocky bars and home made flapjacks made by Mrs E with some little help from her kitchen bitch. (me) The idea, a good educational one, is that having seen the demo, I can make them in future. I shall need a second demo. They came from a recipe of Nadia Hussain, Great British Bake off winner and were excellent. Thank you Nadia and Mrs E.
Moving on we made it to White Kirk farm, turned down the road a short distance before following the very narrow and muddy path past Gill Barn. Eventually the path opened out and we walked in some comfort past old mine workings and quarries to Pye Close

Lime Kilns beyond Pye Close.
      Brian and John hold up the quarry walls so we could scuttle through

Beyond Pye Close we walked up a short steep road and downhill almost in to Hill End before turning left to follow the Weardale Way along the edge of the moor. After about half a mile the way turns sharp right, the gate is in a corner, not to easy to spot, but the path goes downhill passing a fenced off shaft and yet another quarry before heading across fields towards Stanhope.
                          Yet another quarry.
We crossed the river and the railway, followed a footpath, crossed and recrossed the railway before heading uphill to the main street and back to the car park.
               The Polar Express in Stanhope. The railway runs for tourists in summer and has a santa special at Christmas.
On the way home we stopped at the Punch Bowl in Edmondbyers which served Wainwright, Pennine Gold and some quality tea.
This is another good walk, muddy at this time of year, but interesting too for those who like piles of stones.

                                                                           steps                                   miles
NAK                                                           26562                                         10.89
Dave's 3D                                                  22249                                          9.79
  "" USB                                                    21120                                          9.66
  "" NAK                                                    21050                                         9.63
iPhone                                                        22105                                         9.9
Brian GPS                                                                                                     9.69
Brian View Ranger                                                                                       9.5

Contains OS data. Copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2017
The walk round Hulne Park was number 300