Saturday, 24 June 2017

A Northumbrian Mystery Tour..(June 23rd)
Back to normal Fridays after the great Rob Roy Way walk nobody can decide definitely where to go. The last few days in the UK have been very hot causing all the usual reactions, advice on keepin g indoors, drink plenty of water, put on lots of sun cream and read articles about the heat. So six of us, Harry, Ben, John H., Dave, Brian and I  are meeting at the Sunny Hills Farm Shop Belford to decide on a walk on a day that might be wet, might be hot.
Decision. Over coffee/tea/bacon we chose, not surprisingly, to do the familiar St. Cuthbert's Cave walk from Belford village centre.
Belford is easy to find, north up the A1 well past Alnwick and turn off left at the sign post.
The map to use is OS Explorer 340. Holy Island and Bamburgth.
              Sunny Hills farm shop and cafĂ©, Belford.
                We parked near the Community Centre just off the main street on the Wooler road.
The walk starts on the road to the left of the centre, where the front end of a car is visible in the picture. After a couple of hundred yards there is a footpath on the left which goes alongside a stream and past the tower in the picture below.
              Belford West Hall, built on a Norman Motte and Bailey, rather exotic farm house.
From here we followed St. Oswald's Way footpath across, or alongside fields some of which had a crop of barley, until we reached Swinhoe Farm.
         Follow St. Oswald
                Cottages at Swinhoe. Last time we were here each one had an oudoor netty, although probably not used. Not used now for sure, they have all gone. (netty; dialect for toilet)
At Swinhoe farm there is a cross roads, cross tracks really, and we chose the path heading north west towards the lakes, called, not surprisingly, Swinhoe Lakes. There were a pair of swans on the water today.
                                      Swinhoe Lake, and swans.
From here the track continues in a north west direction mostly through plantations until it turns west at Raven's Crag and emerges on to open land which on a clear day gives the walker a panoramic view of the Cheviots. Today the hills were covered with cloud, much of which was heading in our direction.
                         There's rain in them thar hills.
The track turns south and looks over Holborn. It is not easy to spot the footpath going south of Holburn Lake, it is not marked, but watch out for the old railway sleepers that mark the start.
                          Watch out for the wood, and follow the path.
The path goes past Holborn Lake which seemed to be home to gulls, and follows the ridge on Greensheen Hill, past a trig point and to the edge of a wood. Do not cross the large style that leads to a cairn, go down the side of the wood to a much smaller style, cross it and follow the short but steep path to St. Cuthbert's Cave.
As we walked Greensheen Hill the rain started so the cave offered not only shelter but also a Herbie Spot.

                               Herbie Spot in the cave. A feast of vegan fruit cake, ginger biscuits from Ben, Mars Bars, Pork Pies, yippee, and ginger and prune cake from Mrs A. A young lady walking St. Cuthbert's Way (qv) accepted vegan cake but declined Dave's offer of pork pie.
          Lunch and rain over we went on our way following the footpath below the cave in a south east direction, turning north east and bringing us back to Swinhoe Farm. We took the track just north of east and in Square Wood turned right on a footpath that crossed fields and went below Sunniside Crags and back to the farm at West Hall and into Belford.
                   Lime Kiln near Sunniside
                                                   Sunniside Crags.
Changed we took the road to Wooler, turned south and headed for the Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge, a much loved watering hole. The pub had Youngs Gold, Caledonian Edinburgh Rock and reliable Black Sheep.
Another good gadgie day out, this could make a fine family walk, there is little climbing, the paths are all good and the scenery is pure Northumberland, provided the weather is right.

The Matrix MMXVII                   TTTT
                                                                                                     steps             mile
iPhone                                                                                        23683            10.8
Dave's 3D                                                                                  21839             10.34
  ""   USB                                                                                   20900             10.25
  ""  NAK                                                                                   20762              10.16
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                               10.3
Brian                                                                                                                   10.31
Ben                                                                                                                      10.85

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