Friday, 26 February 2016

Catherine of Aragon was here.......(North Yorks Moors)February 26th
After last week's large turn out we are down in numbers today, there are only five of us
    The five are  John H., John C., Brian, Dave and me and we chosen to repeat a walk from Osmotherley in North Yorkshire, land of the brave, home of the free and Timothy Taylor's Brewery. (On the square at Solomon's Temple, June 13th 2014)
 To get to Osmotherley from base take the A19 through the Tyne Tunnel (toll £1.60) and head south beyond Teeside before turning left at the signpost for the village. Alternatively cross the Tyne Bridge, turn left at the first roundabout, head for Sunderland and turn south when you reach Testo's roundabout. Join the A19 and head south as above.
 Osmotherley is another pretty village with several pubs and cafes. We were quite early for once and non of the cafes were open so we booted up and set out.
The walk. A map is useful and the whole walk is on OS OL 26 North Yorks Moors, Western Area. It's one of those double sided OS productions, most of the walk is on one side, a short section on the other. A good reason to photocopy and laminate if you can stand your daughters' jeers.

         Osmotherley does not appear to have a car park, we left our vehicles on the street, nobody seemed to mind.
  We walked up the village street in a northerly direction for about a quarter of a mile until we spotted a finger post on the left hand side that directed us up a lane with a few smart looking houses until we reached the footpath to the Lady Chapel.
               The Lady Chapel officially The Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Grace. Originally built in the 15th century but greatly restored in the 19th. Catherine of Aragon visited on her walks too but didn't write a blog.
Beyond the chapel the footpath returned us to the Cleveland Way, a long distance path on the North Yorkshire Moors. After crossing a few fields the path entered, just, the South Wood which later becomes Arnecliffe Wood. About half way along the path, which is on the edge of the wood, we passed a TV station as it is described on the OS map.
                      Personally I think it is an essential link in national defence, disguised as a TV station.
At the station we crossed a road and continued along a grassy part of the Cleveland Way until we came to a sign post that gave us the choice of leaving the long distance path and heading south across Scarth Wood Moor.
                                           Go this way

                         like Brian and John H did
      Much of the path has been flagged with stones from closed Yorkshire woollen mills, otherwise it would probably be really boggy. At the edge of the moor we came to a road and headed south west along the narrow road side path towards Cold Beck Reservoir. A popular place for dog walkers and others too, we followed the footpath on the east side and at the dam called a halt for a Herbie Spot. Early but here had been no pre walk cafe stop.
A picnic table made the lunch break almost civilised, today's goodies included carrot cake slices, Hobnob flapjacks, Trackers, Mrs A's coconut and lime cake and for a change something savoury too: PORK PIES, yippee.
                           Cold Beck Reservoir, quiet apart from Mallards, coots and a single cormorant.
We did see a dog wearing shoes on his front paws. His owner explained he was arthritic and the shoes made walking on a hard surface more bearable.
                                         Human disinterest
                         Cold Beck from the dam
  We headed south from the picnic site, following a deer fence and several markers until we arrived at Rocky Plain, a farm suffering from a surfeit of mole hills. A tarmac drive took us to a road and we turned right, passing Solomon's Temple. There is little evidence of a building that stood here and even Google hasn't been much help but we suspect it has something to do with an old drove road.
Beyond the non visible temple we came to Chequers:
                             True Yorkshire wit
                                                           Evidence that we were on a drovers road
                   Not to be confused with the Buckinghamshire Chequers.
Johns Wood near Chequers.  Nice idea for a memorial, a whole wood.
Walking on we came to Square Corner, a car park and a turning point. Turning right we headed down a flag stoned path to Oak Dale.

                                          Information at Square Corner
                         Oakdale Mini Reservoir
                Beyond the reservoir the road climbed steeply, we followed the markers to Whitehouse Farm, passing a bamboo field and a good looking Nissen Hut.
                              Not a panda in sight.
                                                  Whitehouse Nissen Hut. (Left over from WW2 for foreign readers)
                         And a rickety rackety bridge before the last steep but short climb.

                                                   Not a stile but it keeps the horses out of the lane.

                                         The end of the walk, back into Osmotherley.
We intended to have a post walk in the Queen Catherine pub but a funeral party arrived as we did so we changed plans.
                             Supposedly Catherine of Aragon stayed in the area on her way to a shrine. Would the country have been different if she had produced a son for Henry VIII? Discuss.
Instead we headed back up the A19, through the tunnel (I managed to throw the toll money into the basket this time, saving embarrassment) and stopped at the Cannon in Earsdon which  had Doombar, Clockwork Orange, Jack the Devil and Wylam Gold, plus coffee for the driver.
A good walk but we need to look carefully at the map and try and cut out the walking on the road.

The Matrix MMXVI H
                                                                                steps                           miles
NAKOSITE                                                                 22529                          9.42
LIDL3D                                                                      20519                         8.04

Dave's LIDL3D                                                          19149                         8.62
  "        USB                                                                 18368                        8.4
  "        NAK                                                                 18134                        8.29
Etrex                                                                                                              8.7
OUTDOOR                                                                                                   8.3
John C                                                                                                           8.3
Brian                                                                                                             8.4

Walking time 3 hours. Stopping time 1 hour 13 minutes.
Contains OS data copyright Crown copyright and database right 2016

Friday, 19 February 2016

Eight gadgies on a wet day in Allendale.........(Northumberland) Feb 19th
Allendale is a small town in Northumberland, its 19th century prosperity based on local lead mines. It has several pubs and cafes and is the starting point for today's walk. A good turnout, three Johns, H., Ha, and C., Brian, Harry, Dave and me, plus a guest, Dougie who lives locally.
To get to Allendale from base take the A69 west, a few miles beyond Hexham turn left for Alston and after a few more miles watch for signs for Allendale.
A two car job, we met in the Allendale Tea Rooms, a busy cafe which, by all accounts, served a good bacon sandwich. The coffee was fine too.
The walk starts in the town, a map is advisable and the one to use is OS OL 43 Hadrian's Wall.
Allendale parking area in the town square.
  Take the road in the north west corner of the square, pass Peth Cottage and go downhill towards the river East Allen. Just before a bridge there is a footpath on the right  which follows the north bank of the east river (confusing) for about a half mile. The path passes some industrial relics and a stone thing with a wren, reminding several of us gadgies of the farthing of childhood.
(Before decimalisation in 1972 when we had proper money; a pound was made up of 240 pennies, divided into 20 shillings, 12 pennies made a shilling. A penny was divided into four, a quarter of a penny being a farthing and it had a wren on it. To be fair they had no value and had dropped out of use but there were 960 to a pound.  Nobody had trouble with the money but we had to modernise.
                       Probably connected to mining
                              Stone thing with wren
                                                       River East Allen
                     After a half mile the path comes to a road, turn left over the bridge, pausing to admire the Allendale Brewery and then take the footpath on the right which follows the south side of the east river.
                                  Allendale Brewery

                        Part of the path on the south side of the east river. The original path, close to the river has been crumbling for years and the recent heavy rains haven't helped.
Leaving the wood the path crosses fields and goes through somebody's garden, although you can, like John C. cut across a field. The cottage garden is beautiful in summer, a bit quiet today.
 The footpath goes right through this garden.
                                  Approaching Oakpool
Beyond the pretty garden is another cottage, Oakpool. Beyond the buildings turn left and walk up the steep track to the road. Turn right and after a few hundred yards take the  path on the left that  goes to
                              Take this road, it is allowed!

                               Shetland ponies at Harlow Bower.
Beyond Harlow Bower the path crosses fields to Monk. Good view of Whitfield Hall and Whitfield Church in the valley below.

Not very good photos of Whitfield Hall and church. It was getting greyer and wetter at this point, just as the local weather forecast had promised.
Shortly after Monk the path contours through a wood and towards the end of this stretch we called a Herbie Spot. (5.5 miles)
Today's treats included lemon slices, iced buns, soft baked cookies, hobnobs, ginger flapjacks from and chocolate covered biscuits from Mrs A. She has been on holiday, we have missed her cake and biscuits. She is pleased to hear that people as far away as Russia and Canada have read about her offerings.

 Hobbit feeding time.
Lunch over we continued on our now wet and very windy way, the gale coming at our sides as we walked across fields which got increasingly muddy too. The path, churned by a million hooves of the local sheep, turned uphill at Keenleyside Hill and met a road. Turn right , at the junction turn left and on the right hand side spot a finger post saying Dryburn Moor. This footpath was very muddy and climbed in a south east direction, in part along what looks like a "Green Lane". It does have markers, and mud, and rain, and a following wind. Eventually the path reaches a road, turn left and after a few hundred yards follow the finger post across the muddy moor past the chimneys, relics of the lead mining days.
                                             One of the chimneys
                         Remains of the flue which provided draught for the lead smelters. Remarkable structures, best part of a mile long.
The other chimney, too wet and windy to get closer.

                                  Another stretch of flue and  distant gadgies.
 The footpath becomes a track and eventually joins a metalled road leading down into Allendale. At the only fork take the right road and having crossed the river the road, lined with February Fair Maids, leads back to the town.
Having removed very muddy boots we headed for the Golden Lion pub in the square. It had a roaring fire and Timothy Taylor's Landlord, what more could a damp and cold gadgie want?
A good walk, hard work because of the weather and the mud but well worth the effort.
In Harry's car on the way home we played "guess the customers" in the Fenham Fish Bar, Cowgate Newcastle upon Tyne. I have explained this before but as a reminder the starter chooses the number of customers he thinks will be in the shop. There are many factors to be taken into consideration, time of day, season, weather and so on. I went for twelve. Player number two must choose a number at least three more or less than the start. Dave chose fifteen, Harry chose nine and we considered he was nearest as we drove by. My wife and daughters think this is a stupid game. It's a gadgie thing.

The matrix MMXVI  H 
                                                                          steps                         miles
   LIDL 3D                                                       29266                         11.91
NAK                                                                32002                         13.63
Dave's 3D                                                        26961                         12.41
  "        USB                                                     26215                          11.99
NAK                                                                25948                         11.87

etrex GPS                                                                                            11.91

Walking time 3 hours and 49 minutes
Stopping time        1 hour and 41 minutes (surprising considering the weather)

                  There is some overlap.
Contains  OS Data copyright Crown copyright and database right 2016

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Back on the tracks........ (Durham) February 16th
  I have not had a railway walk for some time so when Dave suggested we enjoy an extra, midweek stroll on one of the several old Durham tracks that have been converted into cycling/walking paths I needed little persuading.
 We opted for the Deerness Valley walk from Crook, a small town south west of Durham, to the cathedral city itself. It's a bus walk, unless you have cars at either end so we met on Eldon Square Bus Station in Newcastle and caught the X21 to Durham where we changed to the 46 service to Crook. Total travelling time an hour and half but thank goodness for pensioners bus passes.
                                                No car park, Eldon Square bus station, Newcastle
     Crook is a small market town, today the market was in full swing in the small town square. On the north west side, left of "The Original Factory Shop" a street lined with small shops, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, just like the old days, morphs into the B6298. This is the start of the walk.
It is possible to follow the walk without a map as the trail is well marked but if you want a map be warned; a classic "buy more maps" ploy by Durham CC and the OS spread it over three Explorer maps; 305 Bishop Auckland; 307 Consett and Derwent Reservoir; 308 Durham and Sunderland. You can of course photocopy, use a Pritt stick and laminate.
                                               Crook on a cold day.
   Once out of town look for the grassy footpath on the right. It is on an old waggonway and some of the original track has been left, the sleepers have been carved into art works.  The path leads uphill quite steeply but this is the only hill on the walk.
Near Stanley Crook is a memorial to a young man;
                               Much loved footballer.
Cross the road at Stanley Crook and the Deerness Valley Railway Path leads all the way to Durham.
                                          Horses are allowed, cyclists too.
  It was, as promised, a cold day with a strong wind that helped blow us along. The path is one of the prettier railway walks, wooded on both sides and not passing through any other big towns. The first settlement we came to, an old pit village like so many in Durham, was Waterhouses.
                      Waterhouses celebrates the Queens golden jubilee
                      Waterhouses, typical pit village housing, beautifully maintained.
   The path continues down the Deerness Valley, passing Esh Winning and entering Rag Path Wood where we stopped for Herbie, after about 5.3 miles of walking. Being only the two of us there was not the usual goodies to share but we did have ginger flavoured flapjacks fro and Yorkshire flapjacks too.
Lunch over we continued on our easy way. Approaching Ushaw Moor we turned off the main path onto the old mine sidings to look at what little was left of the old colliery where Dave's greatgrandfather had worked. (And possibly mine too). The pit head gear has all gone except for the pumping house. The shaft has recently been capped but the whole site has been planted with deciduous trees and has become a park.
 Information Board explaining the regeneration at Ushaw Moor pit

                                     All that remains. The pit pump house next to the capped shaft.
Walking on we reached Broompark outside Durham. Just beyond is the junction of the old railway lines which are now walks: The Deerness Valley Railway Walk, The Lanchester Valley Railway Walk and the Brandon Bishop Auckland Railway Path.
                                     The junction at Broompark
We walked up to the road, crossed the East Coast Railway Line (This one has trains) and walked down to Stonebridge. Turning left onto the A690 we soon found the footpath leading to the old Neville's Cross College buildings, some of them have been demolished. We followed the footpath down towards the river, passing several school buildings before turning left to meet one of the most glorious sights in England, Durham Cathedral.

                           Always worth a second look; Durham Cathedral from the west
Once in Durham we ignored the siren call from Wetherspoons and went home by bus. In my case it was pub quiz night.
    A really good walk on a cold winter's day. should make the Times on  a Saturday.
The Matrix MMXVI G

                                                             steps                                miles
LIDL3D                                             25626                                10.02
NAK                                                  31497                                 13.42
Dave's 3D                                          24432                                 12.22
  "       USB                                        24064                                 12.15
  "    NAK                                           23936                                 12.08
etrex                                                                                              12.5
OUTDOORS                                                                                12.4

Journey time  4 hours 15 minutes including 48 minutes stopped time

For some reason I can't rotate the last map. It should be turned clockwise 90 degrees

Contains OS data copyright Crown Copyright and Database right 2016