Saturday, 26 November 2016

Gannin' for a walk from Wark is better than gannin' to work. (Northumberland)  November 25th.
 In the north east of England the three  words above all sound pretty much the same. A translation is as follows: "Going for a walk from Wark is better than going to work." As an alien from Yorkshire/Lancashire it took me some time to understand the locals but now I act as interpreter when needed.
Today's walk, therefore, is from Wark, a village on the North Tyne. A69 west, turn north just beyond Hexham. The map is OS OL 43 Hadrian's Wall.
On the way we stopped at the tea room in Simonburn. Star tea room, lashings of tea as the famous five might have said, served in teapots and with cups and saucers, four flitch bacon sandwich and the friendliest staff. The tea room also serves as a small shop but don't expect to find quinoa on sale! If you are in the area stop and visit. The café/shop also had a small dog which sat near the phone. The phone rang and was answered.
"What would happen if the phone rang and only the dog was there?" asked John.
"He would put it on pause." replied Brian.
Across the road from The Battlesteads Hotel in Wark there is a small parking area, a Yorkshire one.(GR NY 860768) We parked there and the six of us booted and gaitered: John C., John H., Brian, Ray, Dave and me, set off for the walk from Wark.
  The car park opposite the Battlesteads, which is being renovated.
The weather forecast had promised us a cold bright day, temperature never exceeding 3C and it was correct. No wind either, a perfect day for a winter walk. Most of the walk was across muddy fields topped with a thin glazing of ice which gave a little extra grip.
Leaving the cars we walked north up the main street of Wark, turned left and kept our eyes open for a finger post that pointed the way across fields towards Woodley Shield. If you follow our walk look out for one of the markers on a telegraph pole, and follow it.

                     Turn left near this shed.
Looking back at Wark on a cold and frosty morning.
                                 watch out for this marker.
Across the fields we came to Ramshaws Mill. now a very attractive holiday let with interesting art works.
              Mill race and signs of the position of the wheel

                            Ramshaws sheep
From here we continued uphill to High Moralee Farm, along to Pea Hill and then to Catleas. beyond Catleas we crossed a monor road and took the footpath alongside Ravenheugh Crags, passing unnoticed a stone circle, before we arrived at Great Longbrough where we declared a Herbie Spot.
                             Ravenheugh Crags
Great Longbrough which looked deserted although we heard a dog bark. Short sharings today bas someone forgot his offering but I brought mince pies , John H. brought hobnobs and Dave brought Chocolate cakes.
From here John C. led us across fields to examine a possible Neolithic site with a ceremonial way and some hut circles, Neolithic or bronze age. Hard to tell unless you are an archaeologist.

Ceremonial way and hut circle, who knows?
We returned to Great Longbrough and headed east across fields toFenwick Field, another farm on the walk. Here we turned north and headed for Allgood farm, continued across the fields and a road to Conshield from where the footpath heads downhill to Latterford and a path which finally joins the main road into Wark. Turning left we were soon back at the cars, changed and into the pub which had Rivet Catcher, Magus and Hobgoblin on draught and some very nice coffee too.
This is another good walk, especially on a cold bright day. Much of it in fields but plenty to9 see and the panoramas are superb. To the south, and not far away we could see the line of the Roman Wall and Cross Fell in the distance. To the north the snow covered Cheviot range was visible and occasionally the noise of guns from the army range at Otterburn could be heard.

                                                                         steps                           miles
NAK                                                              25483                            10.5
Dave's 3D                                                      26316                            12.1
  ""       USB                                                  25414                             12.03
   ""      NAK                                                 24894                             11.78
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                 10.9
Etrek                                                                                                     11.0
John C                                                                                                   10.5

Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and data base right 2016

The gallery. Especially for Doris. No great pictures from Harry today, I am just a snapper.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Thrunton, Coe and a Running Fox.. (Northumberland) November 18th.
             In winter the walks tend to be nearer home, daylight and driving distance are the reasons. Today the seven gadgies who have made it are walking another old favourite, Thrunton Woods. Thrunton possibly means Thursine's Farm. To reach the start, a picnic area and car park on the edge of the plantation take the A1 north, the A697 at Moprpeth and turn off when Thrunton is signposted. The seven of us are; John x 3, Harry, Dave, Brian and me. The map for the walk is OS Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble and the start is at GRNU085097
On the way we stopped at  anew to us café and bakery, The Running Fox in Longframlington. Selling artisan bread, gluten free and normal cakes and scones it also provided bacon sandwiches, sausage rolls, a variety of tea and coffee. Well worth a visit.
 This week's car park at Thrunton Woods
                     View from the car park. It used to be a brick works, then it became a dump for old carpets, then it caught fire and couldn't be put out without polluting the water in the area so it was allowed to slowly die down.
The walk:
  We booted up in the car park and headed south on the road that skirts the plantation. At the point marked 101 on the map we entered the woodland and followed a trail that climbed slowly uphill to a footbridge on the left hand side.
                                     On the trail
                                Cross the footbridge and head uphill.
       Like many a late 60/early 70 year old we realise that we are nearer the end than the beginning,(Research done by a highly thought of University department has shown this to be true) and occasionally we discuss the matter. Harry has a fine engineer's workshop in his garage and he thinks he might dismantle it to save his family the bother when he goes to that great workshop in the sky. Brian suggested he have his lathe buried with him so he could keep turning in his grave.
The footpath is steep on this section and muddy today although a hard overnight frost has hardened it a little. Near Coe Crags the wood opens up to give splendid panoramas, south to Simonside, north to the Cheviots, west to the sea and east over farmland. It also offers the opportunity for scary looking photographs.
                 This is getting to be a habit.
Moving on on a fairly level open footpath we passed the trig point at Long Crag and started on the long, steep and slippy narrow path down to the infant Coe Burn.
John H., a freshly painted Trig Point and a vie w across Northumberland on a bright, cold day.
I know the footpath is slippy because I slipped on a rock, tore my Rohan trousers (worn in an attempt to be a celebrity like Ben) and bloodied my knee. At the bottom we passed a septet of gadgies from another tribe, doing the same walk in an anticlockwise direction. Strangely, one of them asked me what goodies I had brought to share today. Do all gadgie tribes do it?
Not far from them we hunkered down in the bracken for a Herbie Spot.
Dave, Brian, John Ha. and John C.. We shared out the goodies: mince pies, Hobnobs, flapjacks and savoury tarts topped with cheese from Mrs A. Strangely I lost 2 pound weight on the day.
Lunch over we continued on our way up another muddy track through the heather until we came to a fine new gate.
                                         A fine new gate with traditional fastening, chain and nail.
Once through the gate we were in woodland again, in the area with Macartney's Cave, Hobs Nick and Callally Crag marked on the map. Part of the day's outing was to find the cave, we even had a 10 figure reference point, NU 06077 09389 and several GPS systems with us but the cave proved elusive. We did find a bivouac;
                   Cosy resting place for some outdoor type, but not today.
At this point we were wandering in small groups seeking Macca's Cave, hoping for a rendition of Yesterday. Instead we got split up in the woods. Harry and I found ourselves out of shouting distance of the others and decided to make our way back to the car park. Following a path we came to a small gate and continued in an east direction through Thrunton Wood. We met another couple, the man was another retired teacher, ex colleague of Harry's. It's a small world. We continued on our path which is marked as the Red Path if you wander these woods. The path climbed steeply to Wedderburn's Hole where we turned left and walked down a forest track to the road, taking a marked short cut near the end. Turning right on the road we were soon back at the car. John H. was already there, alone. Like us he had been separated from the rest and had made his own way back. The other four soon appeared, having walked further than us. There is a lesson here for the inexperienced; stick together, especially in woodland as dusk approaches.
On the way home we called in at the Anglers Arms which offered Youngs London Gold, Theakston Bitter or Poppy Ale. Always well kept beer at the Anglers Arms and the tea and coffee are good too.
Later that evening Dave sent me a picture of Macartney's Cave.
                         Looks like a rough practise for Mount Rushmore.

                                                                      steps                            miles
NAK                                                            24510                          10.3
iPhone app                                                  21879                           8
etrex                                                                                                 8.84
walking time 3 hours 7 minutes           talking time 1hour 40 minutes

Dave's longer walk
3D                                                               24005                            11.06
USB                                                            22722                            10.75
NAK                                                           22295                            10.55

Contains OS data copyright. Crown Copyright and database right 2016

Cloud over Cheviot (by Harry Nagel)
 Me, and not a selfie. It's by Harry Nagel