Saturday, 3 June 2017

Greta River walk. (Durham)  June 2nd
After the heat of Helvellyn and the gloom of Great End six of us are returning to Teesdale to walk along the River Greta. We are; John H., John C., Brian, Harry, Dave and me. Two cars so we met in Barnard Castle (A69, A68, A6880 and had tea/coffee/bacon in Penny's café.
                    Top; Penny's bacon sandwich, five flitches. Bottom picture; Barnard Castle market cross and Penny's café on the right. Highly recommended.
Breakfast over we drove past the Bowes Museum, well worth a visit, turned onto the A66, turned east, turned south into Greta Bridge which is not much more than the Morrits Hotel and a bridge. We parked near the hotel and booted up.
There are two maps of courses OL 31 The North Pennines and OS OL 30 which I haven't got so I can't tell you the name. However we parked (free) at NZ085133 approx.

The Morritt Hotel at Greta Bridge.
The walk:
We walked back along the road past the hotel, over the bridge and towards a fine looking building on the right, could once have been a mill. We walked through the farmyard and across a couple of fields, one of which sported a fine looking tent.
                A fine looking tent.
This part of the walk is on the Greta way and is well posted. Leaving the fields we walked through a wood, emerging on to a road. At a corner near Saunders House we spotted the sign post that pointed across fields, one with a fine crop of barley, until we reached the small village of Barningham. The walk goes up the main street of the village before, on the left hand side of the road, a farm track leads up to Barningham Moor. The track turns off and we followed the line of grit containers across the heather, disturbing several ground birds and their young.
          Beyond this small lake, unnamed on the map, we came across a quad bike track that ran along a wall and brought us to Black Hill Gate on the edge of a plantation, so we called a Herbie Spot, after about five miles walking, some of it across heather which can be hard going.
          Herbie Spot at Black Hill Gate. Today's goodies were Snickers, Racer bars, Yorkshire flapjacks, tha' knows, and home made chocolate flapjacks from Mrs A. (Sorry about the mistake last week Mrs A., I was tired)
Lunch over we headed into the plantation, going north on the track, turned right at the first junction and left at the next, emerging at East Hope Farm, which had a collection of old Vauxhall Novas.
From Here we wandered north across fields, there being a very distinct lack of markers for the walk, the only indication we were heading roughly in the right direction being Gutter's Footbridge (Marked on the map) and John's GPS.
                                           Gutter's Footbridge.
Eventually, near Thwaite we past what appeared to be an old chapel, including bell tower, crossed a stream near Lodge Farm, walked across a field and found ourselves on the south bank of the River Greta.
For the next few miles we walked along the river bank. Part of the official Greta walk it goes through deciduous woodland but the path is narrow and covered in slippery stones, needing care in some places. A few muddy stretches too. At one point we climbed out of the valley, crossed a field which had a bird trap to protect the pheasant crop, and reentered the riverside path until we came to Crook's House.
              Bird trap, not very successful at the moment!
After crossing several more fields we were back on the road near Saunder's House where we had been earlier. We retraced our steps down the road and across fields back to Greta Bridge.
Once changed we headed to the Charles Dickens Bar in the Morritt Hotel. The room is decorated with large paintings of Dickens's characters, but more important it sells Timothy Taylor;s Landlord, probably the best beer in the UK if not the world.
                 Start the day with bacon, but end with beer.
This is another good walk, adapted from a Christopher Somerville "Good Walk" in The Times Newspaper. A bit hard going across the moor and alongside the river. If you do it, cross the river near Brignall Mill using the footbridge, and return to Greta on the north bank, it's a bit easier going.

                                                                                       steps                         miles
NAK                                                                            317167                         12.9
iPhone                                                                          30080                            13.3
Dave's 3D                                                                    29080                             12.79
  "" USB                                                                      27252                             12.9
  "" NAK                                                                     27072                              12.81
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                                12.51
Brian                                                                                                                    12.52
John C                                                                                                                  13 at least