Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Referendum Walk........June 24th.
(Lake District)
  Yesterday, June 23rd, the UK held a referendum, to decide whether to remain or leave the European Union. The leave vote won by 51.9% to 48.1%. Of the five gadgies out today two voted to leave and three to stay. The leavers thought this should be the  "Independence Day Walk" but it isn't, so you can guess how I voted.
There are five of us out today, Brian, John Ha., Dave, Harry and me and we have decided on a good old standby stroll round Watendlath and Dock Tarn in Borrowdale, The Lakes. The start and finish are at Rosthwaite. To get there A69 west, M6 south (or take the scenic route over Hartside), A66 west and at Keswick follow signs for Borrowdale. On the right at Rosthwaite there is a car park run by the National Trust for which one of us has a free parking pass, otherwise the fee is several pounds sterling.
The map to use is OS OL 4 The English Lakes, North West Section and the car park is at GRNY257148.  The village hall next door also offers parking for £3 for a day, with an honesty box and a polite sign saying "please park facing wall". The walk was last covered in "The barn at the end of the Lake, April 25th 2014.,

 The National Trust car park in Rosthwaite, prettiest one this year.
A few yards down the lane, opposite a farmhouse is the "Flock Inn",  this morning's café, supplying us with tea, coffee, scones and one bacon butty. The café sells souvenir mugs and tea towels, plus frozen meat from Herdwick Sheep.*
                                 The Flock Inn, great café, lovely people.
Breakfast over we started the walk heading east to the hamlet of Rosthwaite (The name means clearing of the roses), turned left on the  road and almost immediately turned right towards Hazel Bank, crossing the Stonethwaite Beck. We stopped on the bridge to admire the clear water and the fish swimming in it.
Both sides of the bridge, the Stonethwaite Beck.
The footpath starts to climb almost immediately, going in front of the Hazel Bank Hotel, and between Yew Crag and Belt Knott. This part of the walk is probably the steepest, there is a well named Resting Stone about halfway up the hill. Here we met four Yorkshire folk out walking with their dogs. Not sure how I recognised they were from God's acre so quickly!. At the top of the slope we got the first glimpse of Watendlath, prettiest site in the lake district, chocolate box cover.
The farmhouse has a tea shop,  it is possible to drive to it from the Borrowdale Valley road, but it is better to walk it. The small lake is home to fish and a variety of water birds.

                     The path up from Rosthwite is steep and stony in places.

                                  The farm and tea shop at Watendlath.
At the lake we turned south, following the arrow and sign that said "Path". The path wanders generally south. In places it is track, in places path and in places a footpath with large flat stones across the boggier bits.
                             Looking back at Watendlath.
The trail took us over Great Crag before heading down to Dock Tarn. The path here is rocky and needs a little care. At the tarn we called a Herbie Spot, sitting on rocks looking out over the water. The tarn was home to water birds and also had a large patch of water lilies. Being witty and old we sang Lonnie Donegans "My Old Man's a Dustman". "How do you know they're lilies? Cos Lilies wearing them!" My Dustbin's full of toadstools. How do you know it's full? Because there's not mushroom inside"
Having just returned from Ireland Dave was telling us about the basalt columns on the Giant's Causeway. (And the many piles of stones he had seen) They are hexagons somebody suggested, hexagons tessellate. Pentagons don't tessellate said Brian, they isolate.

               Dock Tarn, today's H.S. Ginger biscuits, flapjacks, biscuits and from Mrs A cheese scones.
    Break over we continued  south west across open land before reaching Ling End. Here the footpath starts a very steep descent through the woods. Most of the path has been paved with large stones but it is tricky, thankfully it was a dry day otherwise it could have been slippy.
                Dave, John Ha. and Brian on one of the level bits before the wood.
                           Wonderwall, climbing the hillside
                              The footpath down, Harry takes care, and rightly so.
Out of the woods we crossed the Stonethwaite bridge and walked along the road before taking a short cut across a field and emerging on the Borrowdale Valley road. Crossing the road we headed down the lane towards the Youth Hostel at Longthwaite. Crossing the River Derwent we walked along the bank until we reached a set of stepping stones. I'm a bit nervous but as the others crossed I followed and we walked down the lane, past the Flock Inn to the car park.

 I love that; "The sons and daughters of simplicity" It's as bad as Nigel Farage's "Victory for the ordinary people"
Changed we drove as far as the Elks Head hotel in Whitfield for some refreshing Shepherd Neame Spitfire or Allendale Brewery 1757.

The Matrix MMXVI             UU
                                                                             steps       miles
LIDL3D                                                              13584        5.9
NAK                                                                   19251        7.29!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dave's USB                                                        13916        6.36
  ""      NAK                                                        14176        6.48
Etrex                                                                                     5.8      2 h 42 mins walk  1 h 37 talk
OUTDOOR                                                                           5.9
climb 1377 feet
Contains OS data copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2016
*Herdwicks are the hardy sheep of the fells. "The Shepherd's Life" by James Rebanks  is an excellent read detailing the year on a hill farm.

            80% of today's team, especially for Kathy from Goole, Sue in Forest Hall and a lady in Plymouth.

Friday, 17 June 2016

 A walk from Garrigill...........June 17th
(North Pennines)
     I could not join the team last Friday as I was needed for domestic duties. A much reduced team walked the "John Martin Trail" from Haydon Bridge. A good walk, it is covered by "A happy nook in Northumberland  April 12th 2013" and "Martin in the Fields, May 5th 2012".
 The forecast for Friday June 16th is pretty much the same as it has been most of the week for the North East of England; wet. The south of the north looks a bit more promising so we are walking from Garrigil, in Cumbria. To get there take the A69 west from Newcastle, the A686 just west of Hexham and turn off into  Alston, drive up the steep village street and turn off for Garrigil at the sign post. In Garrigil drive south through the village and at the end of the road there is a Yorkshire parking area for several cars. The map to use for this walk is OS OL 31 The North Pennines and Garrigil is at GR NY 746415 approx.
There are four of us: John Ha, John C, Harry and me.
                           Today's car park in Garrigil

Heading south out of the village we took the track on the right and headed steadily uphill on what is part of The Pennine Way (Long distance footpath from Derbyshire to Scotland). After about a mile, near a finger post that says "Pennine Way" we entered a field on the left. On the map there is a footpath, in reality it is difficult to follow and is a bit boggy to say the least. The path goes south west, passing grouse butts and eventually rejoining the Pennine Way on a track.. (Mile 2) We followed the track for about two miles. It started to rain so we halted briefly to don waterproofs. The cloud was very low and there was little to see in the way of scenery, although we new Cross Fell, the highest point of the Pennines, was close by.
This is a grouse moor, grit trays abound and also, across ditches, there are traps designed to catch weasels and stoats which go for the eggs of the ground nesting birds and their young. The only trap we saw with a victim contained a young, dead rabbit. Not exactly vermin.
                  Looking back at Garrigil, a beautiful little northern Pennine village, with a pub!
The track, most of it has better metalling
                                          A trap, unbaited and empty
Just after four miles we left the track and turned left to go east into a very boggy field. The path is on the right side of the fence but we noticed that on the other side was a track of sorts. It was made of a heavy plastic mesh, designed presumably for 4x4s to get to the butts. We followed the track which eventually ended, and we continued along the fence line through peaty hags and bogs. And it was raining heavily. At about mile 6 the fence was transformed into a high dry stone wall which looked very unsafe.
                      Turning off the track to hit the boggy field
                        Misty and wet, nice wall but unsteady.
At mile 6 we parted company, the two Johns  heading east across the wall to go down to the South Tyne Trail at Tyne Head. Harry and I chose to follow the wall north east across Round Hill and Noonstones Hill. The track we followed was not too clear but eventually we came downhill, passing old mine workings and a pool with more butts and a bird trap, and reached the road at  West Ashgill. And it was still raining.
                                          Bird trap near the pool
                              The pool with butts. Every evening a herd of water buffalo come down to the pool to drink. The hunters have easy targets.
We turned left on the road and walked the two miles back to Garrigil. The two Johns were not there so we headed for the village pub, The George and Dragon. Sadly it was closed and it was still raining so we sat on a bench under a large tree on the village green and finally had a Herbie Spot. It had been too wet to stop on the walk. Not long after the other two arrived and we set off home, calling at The Elks Head in Whitfield for a beer or two. They had Allendale 1757 and Shepherd Neame Spitfire on offer, Both fine ales.
                               St. John's Church Garrigil

Garrigil, Post Office open, pub closed.
The Matrix  MMXVI  T

                                                                    steps                                   miles
LIDL3D                                                     29009                                    13.21 (generous)
NAK                                                          29177                                     11.05
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                      10.3
GARMIN                                                                                                  10.1
John C                                                                                                       10.8
The route fo
                  The route followed by Harry and I. No arrows, but miles. No Herbie Spot. Raining

Monday, 6 June 2016

Billy no mates walks the Carey Burn..June 6th
  Regular readers may have noticed there was no blog last week. Nine out of ten gadgies were otherwise engaged with holidays or family commitments. I opted for a bike ride. However, as my wife has to visit the dentist next Friday for some uncomfortable surgery I have opted to take myself off alone today, Monday June 6th.  I need to keep fit for the up and coming gadgie assault on the West Highland Way, in July.
 I have chosen a shortened version of a favourite walk, the Carey Burn to Broadstruther and up Cold Law. I love this walk, particularly the Carey Burn. The walk starts at the Carey Burn Bridge in Harthope Valley. To get there from base, A1 north, A697 at Morpeth, turn into Wooler, turn first left into Cheviot Street and right at the first fork. Turn right at the sign for Langleeford, go down the hill past Skirl Naked and park on the side of the road by the bridge.
The map is OS OL 16, The Cheviot Hills and the parking area is at NT 976249.
              NT 976249 and a piece of camera cord. Carey Burn Bridge in the background
   One of the joys of walking in a group is that you can have different conversations with different members of the party. Like a lot of older people we grumble about our aches and pains but discuss politics, history, football, cricket and the wit and wisdom of grandchildren.
 One of the joys of walking alone is that you can have deep meaningful discussions with yourself, and you never lose an argument. You can think about all those things you should have done and all those things you shouldn't have done. Some people may like to walk alone tied to an ipod or something, not for me though, I prefer the silence or the bird calls. Enough philosophy, the walk:
 On the right hand side of the road, by the bridge a finger post set me off up the Carey Burn.
                    The start of the walk, just before the bridge.
                            The Carey Burn. The footpath is not marked on OS maps but seems to have been adopted, there are some yellow markers along the way.
                       An easy section, in some places the path is narrow and rocky.
                 There has not been much rain recently but the waterfall is always worth stopping for.
    R and R for the grouse shooters. The season starts on August 12th. In previous years there have been swallows nests in the shed, but not this year.
   Beyond the shed the path enters a plantation. In previous years we have seen adders here and I hoped they would be sunning themselves today but they were all in the woodpiles.
                     I looked carefully for the shaggy longhorns, but didn't see any.
                       The bridge over the Carey Burn. Cross it and follow the footpath.
The footpath continues across open land and eventually reaches a second footbridge, crossing the Broadstruther Burn.

               The Carey Burn, from both sides of the bridge
Bluebells on the side of the path

              Eweratio on the bridge at the Broadstruther Burn. "Those behind cried forward, and those before cried back"
   They moved and I walked up the track to Broadstruther.

                       Broadstruther. Once a farm, now a lodge for grouse shooters .Empty today.
Normally we stop at Broadstruther and declare a Herbie Spot, but as I had only been walking for an hour and a half I decided to carry on, having said farewell to the inhabitants.
                        The friendly folk of Broadstruther
                        Looking back at Broadstruther.
Cold Law
   Just beyond Broadstruther there is a marker on the left hand side of the road. A footpath leads across the moor until it meets a gravelled farm track which approaches a fence line.

                       Boundary stone at the foot of Cold Law.
  At the fence  line I turned north east and walked up Cold Law. It is possible to walk on either  side of the fence. If you choose the left you must, at some point, cross the wire fence.
       Follow the fence up Cold Law. The shapes on the hillside are areas that have been burnt off to encourage the growth of heather to feed the grouse.
                               Another boundary stone on the way up Cold Law.

Almost at the top of Cold Law this outcrop made an excellent Herbie Spot. I ate my sandwiches and flapjack, sitting in the sun, admiring the Cheviot Range in the west.
               Cold Law has a trig point at 1483 feet

Hazy views of the Cheviot and Hedgehope from my Herbie Spot.

From the top of the hill I continued north east along a fence line, passing Carling Grags.
                         He must drink Carling, the Crag is out of focus
                             Broadstruther in the centre

This track looks fairly new and I don't remember it. There is also a large parking area, for the grousers presumably.
They razed paradise and put up a parking lot.
I followed the track which went round a square shaped enclosure with a few trees. In the enclosure there is a bird trap. It is designed to catch harriers and other birds that might take a grouse. They can only be used at certain times of the year and must have a door permitting escape in the times when it can't be used.

                      Bird trap. The bird, tempted by bait, enters the trap through the open centre section and goes down a wire chute. Once in the trap it can not escape.
The track turned east and went downhill past an area replanted with deciduous trees that will make a change from the conifer plantations that dot the area.
At the foot of the hill I turned left on the road and within minutes was over the bridge and  back at my car.

                                                                           steps                        miles
LIDL3D                                                            16187                       7.2
NAK                                                                 16242                       6.15
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                               6.7

Contains OS Data, Copyright. Crown Copyright and database right 2016