Tuesday, 31 May 2016

While I was watching the Test Match*......May 27th    (North Pennines)
 The second Test match, England versus Sri Lanka started on May 27th at Chester le Street in County Durham and as a fan I chose to attend rather than go out with the gadgies. John Hall kindly sent some details of the walk and photographs, and here they are.
 The walk started at Hartside Café, Hartside Cross, in Cumberland. To get there from Newcastle take the A69 west and near Haydon Bridge turn onto the A686 which goes south west through Alston before it begins the long climb to Hartside. It is a long climb, I've cycled up it, many years ago. It is also quite a spectacular drive through moorland country. The view from Hartside café, where you can park is one of the joys of northern England, looking out over the Eden Valley to the Lake District and Galloway.
The walk starts here, a map would be useful and the one to use is OS OL 31 North Pennines.
The walk. The team headed down a track near the café which is posted C2C (Coast to Coast cycle route), crossing the A686 and continuing on a track to Selah Bridge and on the road  to Haresceugh, passing the ruins of the castle.. On a footpath heading north the team walked through the very aptly named Flowering Wood.

                                        Tales from the Flowering Woods.
Once out of the wood the walk continued across Raven Beck to Outhwaite  and then by means of paths across Renwick Fell To the trig point on Thack Moor.
                                Renwick Beck, could be a place for John C.'s plastic bags

                                   Views on Renwick Fell
 Herbie spot on Thack Moor. Half naked Ben and a Trig Point
Lunch over the team headed east to Watch Hill and examined some strange stones. I expect Dave had a field day!

               John has found that the Lowthians were maltsters in nearby Renwick. A noble trade. Later one was foreman of the Manor Court Jury.
From Watch Hill the footpath goes south east to a second Trig point  on Black Fell and then heads south back to the café by way of Hartside Height.

                     Two views covering most of the walk. (And a car park)
On the way home the lads called in at the Elks Head hotel and enjoyed some "Force Majeure" ale from Allendale Brewery.

Contains OS data copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2016.

I have roughed out this map from the information John gave me, it might not be too accurate.
The actual route. Pleased with my guess work. The lads missed out the castle ruins at Haresceugh

* For those not familiar with our national summer sport:
Cricket is a game played on a large field between two teams of eleven men or women, each has at least one innings.
My parents, Yorkshire folk for whom cricket is obligatory had a tea towel with the rules printed on it.
There are two teams, one in and one out.
The out team goes onto the field.  The in team sits in the pavilion and eats sandwiches.
The in team send two players out to the wicket. The out team bowl at them and the in batters try to score runs by hitting the ball.
 Runs can be scored by running up and down the wicket or hitting the ball across the boundary to save your legs.
They can be out in several ways; bowled, LBW (crickets version of soccer's offside rule and understood by some women), caught, stumped, run out, hit wicket, obstructing the field and allowing your hat or helmet to fall on the wicket.
If you are out another man comes in. When ten men are out the other side goes in and tries to score runs too, without getting too many men out. The winners are the ones with most runs.
The highest form of the game is a Test match which can last five days and still end in a draw, but very rarely a tie.
It is a simple game. It must be, the Australians play it, and they play very well too. It is not soft, a top class bowler delivers the ball at a speed approaching 100mph (160 kmph) and the wicket is roughly 20 metres long.(The wicket is the strip of grass  the game is played on and also the three sticks (stumps) inserted at each end.

The test match at Chester le Street.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Hunting Ospreys again.......May 24th
  Another midweek ramble for Dave and I, along the north side of Kielder Water, hoping to spot the ospreys. For this walk you need either a car at both ends or catch the 694 bus that leaves Kielder Castle but only on a Tuesday and a Friday, for Hexham. It's the locals shopping bus and our intention was to take it to Tower Knowe, walk across the dam and up the north side of the lake.
Easy to do without a map but if you need one, choose OS OL 42,Kielder Water and Forest. Kielder Castle is at the north end.  Formerly a hunting lodge for the Duke of Northumberland it is now a café and small exhibition centre.
Kielder Water was constructed by damming the North Tyne. One village was submerged. The water was intended for industry, which declined immediately after the dam was opened. Kielder water has become a leisure centre, boating, water skiing, fishing and walking or cycling. A good path has been constructed all the way round the lake, popular with walkers and cyclists. The complete circuit is about 26 miles and there is an annual Kielder Marathon. We are walking.
There is a car park just beyond the Mountain Bike Centre, £4.50 for a day but there are some Yorkshire parking areas if you drive to the Youth Hostel.......
                             Yorkshire car park.
Dave and I arrived outside the castle at about 8.40 and waited until 9.15, no sign of the bus. A dog walker told us he had seen it near the village post office, down the hill. A man in a Forestry Commission truck stopped and asked if we were lost. When we explained about the bus he offered to take us to a starting point for our walk. He suggested that instead of going to Tower Knowe he take us to a point near Bellinghamburn Head from where we could walk through the forest down to the dam. We accepted his kind offer and off we went along a forestry road until we came to a halt at NY697908 where we said offered our thanks and said our goodbyes. (It would be difficult to start from here, the forestry road is closed to private vehicles although it is permissible to walk there.)
From our starting point we took the forest path in a direction  just east of south until we came to a forest ride (trail). As informed by our driver, on our left we spotted a footpath going through the wood, emerging at the north side of the dam.(Mile 2 on the map) On the way we walked over Black Belling, which gave a view of the water seldom seen by walkers.

               Kielder Water from Black Belling.
                      The signs make it so easy to follow. There are mile markers too, telling walkers how far to Kielder or the dam. Some of them seem misplaced.
From the dam we headed up the north side of the lake, back towards Kielder. It was warm and sunny, the forecast had been for light cloud all day and a cooling northerly breeze. The lakeside path goes round several inlets, adding considerably to the distance. There are several works of art along the shore, the first being the Wave Chamber which gives sort of camera obscura view of the water. A second is 55/02 which marks a spot 55 degrees north and 2 degrees west. We ignored them both but continued to Belvedere (mile 6) where we called a Herbie Spot.
Belvedere is an interesting construction, it is possible to sit inside and watch the lake through a large window. However, as it was so warm we sat on the grass in front of it, sharing few delights as there was only the two of us; almond slices and digestive chocolate snacks.
                           Belvedere. There is a ferry landing close by. Tickets must be bought in advance

A very distant ferry, the Osprey
Lunch over we continued on the walk, passing Robin's Hut, a wooden structure that looks across the water to Freya's Cabin. There is a sort of Running Bear story about the two but it ends happily, he gets a boat and crosses the lake to see his beloved.

                                                 Robin's hut, very well made.

Lunch over we continued on the walk, passing Plashetts, once a thriving coal mine, now nothing, the railway lines and village site being somewhere under the water.
                           Once there was a coalmine.............
Beyond Plashetts we came to the Janus Chairs, used as a Herbie Spot on other occasions but we passed it by, the same with Viewpoint which looks like some giant "cheeses " from Trivial Pursuit but represents an Ordnance Survey viewpoint.

The Janus Chairs are good fun, heavy for gadgies but they can be turned to face either way.
                     The salmon scales and a cyclist.
The most enjoyable piece of art on the north shore is Silvas Capitalis, or forest head to non Latin speakers. A large head made from wood, stairs inside allowing you to look out through his eyes it is most impressive.
              A sign said Silvas was closed today but that doesn't stop Dave from looking out.

It looks like one of those things made for a scout camp that turn out to be totally useless.
              Looking through Silvas' eye.
Beyond Gowanburn it is possible to leave the lakeside way and take a footpath along the old raiway line. Approaching Kielder the path crosses the old viaduct, preserved by the Northumberland and Newcastle Society after the closure of the railway. It is decorated with wrought iron.

The viaduct and some of its decorative art work
Once over the viaduct  we took the path down and back to Butteryhaugh where we had left the car. Having changed footwear we walked up to the castle and had tea, no visit to the Anglers Arms today, it's pub night when I get home.
The purpose of the walk was to spot an osprey, fish eating birds that return to Kielder every year.
We spotted a flycatcher, siskins, swallows, martins, chaffinches, goldfinches, buzzards, crows, robins geese, cormorants, several sort of duck and a red squirrel, but there was no sign of an osprey, apart from the ferry which bears that name!

The matrix MMXVI  S
                                                                steps                    miles

3D                                                           34992                  18.65 !!!!!!! Must shorten stride
NAK                                                       36830                  13.95
Dave's 3D                                               28337                  13.88
  "        USB                                            27517                  13.89
  " NAK                                                  27753                  14.01
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                13.2
etrex                                                                                    13.2    4 h 24 min walking 1 h 24 talking
This is as close as we got to an osprey. In the café at Kielder there is a TV screen showing activity on one of the nests.

(No blog this Friday for regulars, I am going to a test match. (A superior form of cricket))

Friday, 20 May 2016

Walking from Holystone again.....May 20th
This is not a walk, it is an adventure.

 After the last successful walk from Holystone we are making it a starting point again.  The forecast promises an overcast day but no rain until late afternoon, a change from last week's sun. Six gadgies, three Johns, Ben, Dave and me leaving the village for another ramble round Northumberland. Holystone is a village beyond Rothbury, reached by taking the A1 north, the A697 at Morpeth, turning off and going through Rothbury, turning right on the road to Alwinton and then following signs for Holystone.
Use OS OL 16 The Cheviot Hills for the walk. We parked at NT 954027 in the village. No car park, just on the road side. A bit cheeky.
Holystone was home to a Benedictine nunnery opened in 1124 and taken over by Augustinians in the 13th century. The church of St. Mary was the chancel of the nunnery church, some of which is medieval, some the result of 19th century rebuilding.

                        Car parking in the friendly village of Holystone.

          Start the walk following the sign post for Forest Walks. (Where there is more parking)
  We left the village and followed the track towards the Forest Walks. But having passed St. Mungo's well we took the footpath on the left hand side, crossed a footbridge and followed an almost non existent footpath across fields, Lauder Grass (qv in Glossary), old heather and climbed steadily up to the top of Daw's Hill. Half way up mother nature defied the weather forecast and started to rain, heavily but gadgies can take it and, having donned waterproofs we continued over Daw's Moss and Black Hill to North Yardhope. (mile 3)  At this point we followed a finger post on the right that crossed fields and woodland, mostly without markers but John Clarkes trusty GPS led us on.
                 Taking a little shelter from the rain on Daw's Hill.
Having passed a couple of strange looking sheds and several discarded military items we emerged on "The Burma Road". This road has been built for the army. Much of the walk is close to the Otterburn Ranges. There are many signs advising walkers to keep out if red flags are flying and not to pick anything up, as if.
At mile 4 there is an information board describing the delights of the area. It had stopped raining too so we called a Herbie Spot, utilising one small bench and a couple of tree stumps.

                         Information board at the Herbie Spot
                             And one of several strange huts
                       Ginger biscuits, hobnobs, other bars, chocolate and pork pies today. Mrs A is in Peru.
Lunch over we followed the path across the road from the dining room and headed northwest along a good rough track to Harbottle Crag, passing a ruined farmhouse on the way, the stonework was quite remarkable.
                                           Ruined, but solid.
We followed the fence line across Harbottle Crags Nature Reserve, apart from a slight detour  to admire a trig point and a couple of round houses  for Dave.
                      I have turned this through 90 degrees but it is stubborn
                           Very old round house.
At mile 6 we turned north east and passed the Drake Stone, a monolith we visited a few weeks ago (Get thee to a nunnery lads) so didn't bother again but continued downhill to Harbottle. A visit to the ruined castle proved well worth the effort of climbing the motte.
 Harbottle lake just before mile 6
                           Harbottle village
    Not much left of a castle built for Henry II in 1157 by the Umfravilles. Very active in the border wars that went on for centuries but decayed by the 17th century.
We walked back to the road and through the village, turning off the road at "Harbottle Castle", going down a lane and crossing the River Coquet on a footbridge. By The Peels at mile 8 we spotted the gate on the right that had the ominous sign "Deep Ford Ahead". Nevertheless we followed the footpath across fields to the river. On the bank we decided the water was a bit on the deep side. (In future, John said, bring plastic bags, put them over your boots and cross, quickly). Naughtily we ignored a private no access sign and crossed fields to Sharperton, crossed the river by the road bridge and walked up to Wood Hall. Turning through a farm gate (with finger post) we crossed fields, passed Lady's Well and were back in the village.
                     Alpacas at Wood Hall farm
                          Lady's Well. An ancient watering hole close to a Roman Road. A sort of service station of its day.
Changed we headed for the Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge which was very busy but served Speckled Hen, Youngs Gold and Jennings Cumberland.  e are always welcomed here, great pub and restaurant and site of the AGM of course.

The Matrix MMXVI R
                                                                  steps                      miles
NAK                                                       31620                     11.92
3D                                                           29675                     11.66
Dave's 3D                                               25191                     11.5
  "   USB                                                 23485                     11.11
  "   NAK                                                23076                      10.9
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                   10.2
eTREX                                                                                   10.5

Walking time  4h 19 mins     hanging around 1 h 57 min
Height climbed 2035 feet

Contains OS data copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2016

                                                  St Mary, Holystone. It doesn't really lean