Walking from the very centre of the island. Northumberland, November 26.
Haltwhistle (from OE Hautwisel meaning the hill near the fork in the river) claims to be the geographic centre of the island of Britain, so does Darwen in Lancashire. Today's walk is from the town, partly one of the "Haltwhistle Rings", a series of walks provided by a group of people from the town. It is covered by OS OL 43 Hadrian's Wall.
A team of eight are making the trip; me, Harry, Dave, Ben, Brian, Margaret, John H and John C. Going with out breakfast as days are short this time of year we met on the Bellister Road. Reached by travelling west on the A69, taking the Haltwhistle by-pass for a short distance before turning right onto a minor road that is also a dead end. There are two bridges across the South Tyne on the road, both closed to vehicles. We parked near the most westerly on the side of the road.
Almost ready to go from the car park, maps being consulted I think.
Walkling back along the road we s[otted the sign post that led us across fields to the A69. A busy road needing care. It is a section of the main route across northern England from Newcastle to Carlisle. It needs dualling but it is in the north.
Having safely got over the road we continued following a defined footpath that crossed the dismantled railway that is now part of the South Tyne trail and climbed up to Broomhouse Common. Not so much a footpath, more a struggle through tussocks of tough grass with hidden bogs and ditches, several stiles with slippery steps too, until we reached the Park Burn.
Waterfall on the Park Burn. The stream meanders at this point too, aboon for Geography teachers, there is the hint of an ox-bow lake forming.
We crossed a footbridge, carefully avoiding the group of men out shooting on the hillside, and took a straight lane heading west of south for a few hundred yards. At the end of the lane we turned right, climbed a stile and continued our battle with the tussocks and ditches. At one point I heard a cry from harry who was behind me: "Oh gosh, I have fallen into a ditch and my feet are soaking" he cried.
Skirting a small wood we headed downhill to Featherstone Rowfoot. a hamlet close to The Wallace Arms. A good pub, but not today. A short distance beyond the pub we settled in a car park for a Herbie. No benches but a short series of steps made a reasonable picnic spot.
Herbie time: Festive bakewell, bakewell slices, ginger biscuiots, flapjacks and savoury and cake from Mrs A.
After lunch I decided that the knee had had enough and I intended to take the soft option, walking back to the cars by way of the South Tyne Trail, a walk that descends gently on a dismantled railway line back to Haltwhistle, Harry chose to return with me and we covered the three miles back at a gentle pace.
The other five noble walkers followed the loop shown on the map. Eventually we all met up at the Wellington pub in Riding Mill and enjoyed hand pulled beers or coffee.
Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2021.
The short walk was 7 miles, the long version about 11.