Friday, 15 September 2017

We felt the chill, On Crawberry Hill,
Allendale Town, Northumberland Sept 15th
 As Fats Domino almost sang. It is officially autumn and the temperature has fallen after a cool summer. Today we six are off for a walk from Allendale Town in the hills of South Northumberland. Allendale owed its existence to lead mining, long gone so now it relies mainly on tourism. It is a pretty little town with several cafes and hostelries, a good centre for walking.
From base take the A69 west and beyond Hexham the A686 south and follow signs for Catton and Allendale. There is parking in the town centre, Yorkshire stile.
The map for this walk is OS OL 43 Hadrian's Wall. Hexham and Haltwhistle.
Today's turn out consists of John x 3, Dave, Brian and me and we had breakfast in the Tea Rooms.
Highly recommended, friendly staff who addressed Dave,John H and me as riffraff. They had been forewarned and so were forearmed.
                       Allendale Tea Rooms. A warm and friendly welcome.

Town centre car park, true Yorkshire style.
Breakfast over we finally decided to move on the walk. We walked down the main street, past the town's first school and fire station and  took the left fork after the County Council Depot. Almost immediately, on the right hand side of the road, we found the marker that would lead us on our way. Down some steps, across a footbridge, up more steps and into the fields.

                       Footbridge at the start and looking back over Allendale.
After crossing a few fields we turned sharp right and walked towards High Struthers. Just before the farm house a finger post pointed roughly west along a well made track, obviously built for the benefit of grouse shooters. We followed this track   on the side of Crawberry Hill for approximately  two miles before turning through a sharp angle, almost reversing our direction, and followed what started as a track but became a boggy footpath, across the moor. There are several lonely sign posts on this path, mostly the worst for wear and in need of some TLC. If you do this walk ignore them, stick to the path to Knightscleugh Head where it becomes a farm track and then a road, at Sinderhope.
                              Westburnhope Farm, well isolated 

                                    One of several broken finger posts.
At Sinderhope we took the road directly opposite the road sign.
Take the lane opposite.
After a few hundred yards we followed the finger into a field above the river and settled down on an old wall for a Herbie.
                        Herbie Time. Feasting on sandwiches, Club biscuits, ginger cake from Mrs A., chocolate cake, chocolate from Hungary and pork pie.
Herbie over we walked down to the river, the East Allen. The footpath along the bank is narrow, muddy, slippy and needs care. Some stretches have boards laid  which help the ageing walker.
                                    Holms Linn on the East Allen. Marked as a waterfall on the map.
Eventually the path leaves the bank and crosses fields.

               Old mine workings close to the river.
Poor selection of gate fastenings this walk. This is a standard one, frequently spotted. Lots of "Kissing gates" though.
One farm we passed seemed to have cornered the market in old snow ploughs and gritters;

And there is some evidence that we are on part of Isaacs Tea Trail, another popular and fairly long trail in this part of the world, named for a 19th century gentlemen who sold tea to outlying farms and cottages.
Post Isaac advert. And what happened to the CWS?
Golden Lion, Allendale

There are giant chickens in the area, beware.
Isaac was here.
The path across the fields is well marked with the usual yellow arrows and eventually we found ourselves back in Allendale near the old corn mill. Up the hill and back to the town centre.

Once changed we headed for the Golden Lion pub in the square, it had Timothy Taylor's Landlord ale on draught. It also sold coffee for drivers.      
Matrix MMXVII  Z to n+2

steps                                                miles
NAK                           24170                                                   9.62
iPhone                          24937                                                           10.3
trek 20                                                                                            10.2
OUDOOR GPS                                                                                    10.2
Dave's 3D                       23467                                                               9.62
""USB                            22116                                                                 10.12
"""NAK                         22027                                                                      10.08
Sylvia's mother             22416                                                                          10.29


Saturday, 9 September 2017

Pусские  Пришли * but that's OK because we are off to Warkworth (Northumberland) September 8th
There have been 2340 hits on the site this week, a quarter of them Russian, seeking insights of our little island home.
Another damp week in England. The forecast for the hills suggests a coastal walk might be more sensible so we six are off to have a walk from Warkworth, near Amble, near the coast. The best way to get there is to follow the Northumberland Coastal route, A189.
The six of us are; John x 3, Brian, Dave and me. The map to use is OS Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble.
We had a pre walk breakfast in Bertrams  on Warkworth high street, it's a small town, a village really, easy to find the café. and there is a car park in the village square and more parking beyond the church by the river. Both of the Yorkshire variety too. Great café, friendly staff and good coffee/tea/ bacon sandwich.
Warkworth is on a loop in the River Coquet. It has a fine castle, ruined now. Started in 1139 by Henry,( son of David I, king of Scotland) who had been made Earl of Northumberland. St. Laurence's church is an almost complete Norman church, well worth a visit too. And if you pay the ferryman it is possible to visit the cave-hermitage on the north bank of the river.
                     Parking by the riverside
                Warkworth Castle beyond the car park in the square. Two for the price of one this week, sarcastic one.
  Leaving the cafe we walked down the street to the two bridges across the River Coquet. One is a beautiful 14th century stone structure with a gatehouse. It is now for pedestrians only, but I dare say cyclists can use it. The other, more modern, is for traffic.

                  Gatehouse, information board and bridge.
Once over the bridge we crossed the road and walked along the minor road that leads to a caravan site and the beach. Before reaching the beach, spotting the Northumberland Coastal Path/ St,Oswald's Way marker we turned left and took the footpath alongside Warkworth Golf Course.

                                                            We have a sign.
The footpath stays close to the course, at one point going round a dune, under a footbridge and back on track, passing through National Trust land.
Approaching the estuary of the River Aln we called a rather early Herbie Spot, some of us had not had bacon sandwiches. A goodly feast, enough for five thousand probably as we shared Alpen biscuits, home made peanut cookies, home made cheese scones, carrot cake and PORK PIE.
After Herbie we left the official route, found a flag stoned path immediately after Sawmill Cottage, and crossed the boggy estuary, climbing, with some difficulty, barbed wire fences. It reminded me, and John, of the Lune Estuary. The only consolation was the view of Alnmouth, a pretty village on the north bank of the river, starting point for several walks.
Crossing the road and finding the footpath by the village school, we headed for Hipsburn and once there up the road towards the Alnmouth Station.
                 This is the entrance to a short cut on the way towards Hipsburn. Difficult to spot and difficult to get through.
                    Northumberland is very much an agricultural county.
Just before the station we turned onto a footpath that went under the main East Coast Railway and across fields waiting for the combine to Wooden Farm. From here we walked across more fields  to High Buston which has an orchard and a large house and several cottages.
  A new blog feature; gate fastenings. This is a fine example of a triple lock gate, quite rare.

 I resisted the temptation to go scrumping for apples
                    High Buston House
After walking a few yards up the road from High Buston we took the footpath on the left. It appears the farmer has ripped out many of the English hedgerows here to create large fields. We crossed a potato field and a field showing what seemed to be brassica plants, still very small. The path has been obscured but we walked carefully over the fields, turned right at the road we came to and then, almost immediately left into more open land. Following the "path" we came to a double barbed wire fence, crossing it very  carefully, not wishing to rip trousers or anything else. Once over we spotted the footpath over the railway, complete with a note from the Samaritans. On a sunny bank above a stream we called a second feeding halt of the day, immediately christened HS2*
Brian, revising his reputation as punmeister considered that any gadgie  who killed himself at a feeding station would be committing Herbiecide.
Break over we carried on across the field, pausing to chat to three horses before climbing a stile and heading down the road to Warkworth.
                 Dave has not lost his touch with the ladies.
Once changed we headed for the Sun Inn near the castle. The pub offered a choice of Consett English Pale Ale, Alnwick Gold and Bombardier. Having recently been told by a nurse that my consumption of beer was approaching government recommended limits I ignored her.

The Matrix MMXVII  Z to the n +1
(Dave has acquired a new wrist worn pedometer health check. It is made by Silva and in future will b e referred to as Sylvia's molther.
                                                                   steps                            miles

NAK                                                          15233                          6.25 (tech problem, fromHS1)
iPhone                                                        20620                          9.45
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                            9.2
Dave's 3D                                                  20533                           8.43
  ""        USB                                              19401                           8.57
  ""        NAK                                               19335                         8.54
Sylvia's mother                                         20239                            8.91

Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2017

And a few more pictures

                         The bell, a gas cylinder and metal bar!

* The Russians are coming
** The government is proposing to build a high speed railway from London to Birmingham and on to Manchester and Leeds. But not the north east.