Friday, 24 February 2017

The day after Doris  (Northumberland) Feb 24th

Doris Day made some fun films with Rock Hudson; Pillow Talk, Send me no flowers, Lover come back, usually about sophisticated New Yorkers with large cars. She sang The Deadwood Stage too.
But our Doris, the latest storm, hit much of the northern half of Britain on February 23rd, blowing down trees, disrupting rail, road and air services and causing one tragic death.
As the storm deposited rain and snow on the hills we decided to abort our proposed walk from Kielder and stay on the relatively low Rothbury Terraces where the paths and tracks are firm.
There are eight of us; John x3, Dave, Ray, Brian,Ben and me and we are meeting in Tomlinsons café and bunkhouse, Bridge Street, Rothbury for breakfast. There is a Yorkshire car park just across the river. 
For Rothbury take A1 north, A697 at Morpeth and turn left at Weldon Bridge following the Rothbury sign post.
The map to use is OS Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble. 
Breakfast over, tea/coffee/bacon and various combinations served in this café that is always worth visiting we headed back to the car park, booted up and set off.
          The now familiar Rothbury car park
               And the familiar Tomlinsons café. Well worth a visit if you are in Rothbury
Crossing to the north side of the River Coquet by way of the footbridge we turned east and walked along the riverside path. Doris had brought a great deal of rain, the river was full.
                                            Thrum Mill
                             River Coquet near the mill.
Just beyond Thrum Mill the footpath meets a road, we crossed it and entered the Cragside Estate through the gate which says No Entry. This refers to vehicles.
Cragside House and estate was developed in the 19th century by Lord William Armstrong, arms and ship builder. For the Russo- Japanese war of 1905 he supplied both sides with ships and armaments, that's business. There are miles of footpaths in this National Trust property, most well signposted and we followed the paths to the big house.

Cragside Hall, designed by Norman Shaw and eleven years in the building. The extensive grounds were planted with seven million trees and acres of rhododendrons. Lord Armstrong designed a hydro-electric system to light the hall and power various items.
Once beyond the house we followed the sign posts uphill through rocky paths until we came to Nellie's Moss which were, I think, the reservoirs used to power the hydro-electric machinery.
                                      Nellie's Moss lake.
Having admired Nellie's Moss we continued on the metalled road north then west until we came to the entrance to the park, where we called a Herbie Spot.
It is very close to John Hall's birthday so we celebrated with buns with candles, buns without candles, ginger biscuits from Ben, chocolate biscuits and home made flapjacks from Mrs E.
                              Gadgie birthday party, I don't remember it being sunny.
Party over we crossed the road and almost immediately entered a plantation, following the road to Primrose Cottage.
                                       Primrose Cottage.
We turned right at the cottage, through a gate and along a good track initially heading north before turning west then south again near South Cartington.
             We followed the track south at the above forestry commission sign. After about a mile we spotted the footpath marker on the right hand side of the track. The marker post has been pushed over, look out for it if you go this way. No longer on a track we took the muddy footpath uphill to the trig point at the 249 marker on the map.
              There's something about a trig point, redundant now thanks to satellites.

                      This is an outdoor art installation
We continued through the heather until we hit the track that took us east past the radio mast and standing stone to the plantation at Addycombe. There is a point here which looks directly down on to Rothbury, worth pausing and enjoying the view.

                  Rothbury and the Simonside Hills.
We took a well hidden and precipitous footpath down through the woods to Hillside Road, lined with bungalows, and followed the signs back into the town.
Changed we headed for the Anglers Arms. It being nearly John's birthday he followed the old gadgie tradition of buying a whole round, we could choose from Adnams, Bombardier or Black Sheep.
Another good day out, especially considering the amount of water Doris had left behind. The Cragside stretch was particularly good, I had never been to Nellie's Moss before.

                                                                          steps                                miles
NAKOSITE was left at home, accidently
Dave's 3D                                                        21218                              9.77
  "" USB                                                          20617                              9.76
  "" NAK                                                         20328                              9.62
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                    9.6
Brian's View Ranger                                                                               9.5  ?
John C                                                                                                     9.7?
Contains OS data. Copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2017


Saturday, 18 February 2017

The one after 300..................February 17th (Durham)
There are six of us out today: Brian, Harry, Dave, John H., John Ha. and me. We are heading for Stanhope in Weardale, bussing to Wolsingham and walking the Weardale Way back to the start.
To get to Stanhope from Newcastle take the A69 west, A68 south near Corbridge and the B6278 thr5ough Edmondbyers over the moors to the small Weardale town. There is a Yorkshire car park at the back of the Durham Gift Shop and information Centre near the church. And it has a cafe. The map to use is OS Explorer31 North Pennines. There is an hourly bus service down the valley so it's a part gadgie walk. And most of the Weardale Way is well posted.
         Car park at Stanhope. Not the start of the walk but the café was nearby.
            St Thomas's church Stanhope. origins in 12th century
We had tea/coffee/bacon in the centre café and caught the bus to Wolsingham, the start of today's stroll. From the village centre we walked down towards the river and railway, crossed the river and found a set of steps on the right that led down to the footpath alongside the Weardale Railway.
                                  Down the steps by the railway.
After walking alongside the railway for about a mile we came to a notice advising us not to follow the riverside track as it had suffered flood damage but to take the diversion to Holebeck House and the Weardale Outdoor Centre, which we did. Holebeck had a very friendly horse.

                       Holebeck's friendly horse
From Holebeck we walked across fields, following a public footpath that was not very well marked, to the farm at East Biggins, home of Balbo. Following the farm track we reached West Biggins, home of Sam, and continued down the farm track to the Weardale Way at Harehope Quarry near Frosterley.

            Disused quarry, now a nature reserve.
We were now following the Bollihope Burn which consists of one ancient lead mine, quarry or lime kiln after another.
                     Mine information board.
We stopped just beyond the ruins of the Harehope Gill lead mine and declared a Herbie Spot.

             Lunch time at Harehope. Today's offerings included, chocolate cake, oaty biscuits, Jaffa Cakes, Rocky bars and home made flapjacks made by Mrs E with some little help from her kitchen bitch. (me) The idea, a good educational one, is that having seen the demo, I can make them in future. I shall need a second demo. They came from a recipe of Nadia Hussain, Great British Bake off winner and were excellent. Thank you Nadia and Mrs E.
Moving on we made it to White Kirk farm, turned down the road a short distance before following the very narrow and muddy path past Gill Barn. Eventually the path opened out and we walked in some comfort past old mine workings and quarries to Pye Close

Lime Kilns beyond Pye Close.
      Brian and John hold up the quarry walls so we could scuttle through

Beyond Pye Close we walked up a short steep road and downhill almost in to Hill End before turning left to follow the Weardale Way along the edge of the moor. After about half a mile the way turns sharp right, the gate is in a corner, not to easy to spot, but the path goes downhill passing a fenced off shaft and yet another quarry before heading across fields towards Stanhope.
                          Yet another quarry.
We crossed the river and the railway, followed a footpath, crossed and recrossed the railway before heading uphill to the main street and back to the car park.
               The Polar Express in Stanhope. The railway runs for tourists in summer and has a santa special at Christmas.
On the way home we stopped at the Punch Bowl in Edmondbyers which served Wainwright, Pennine Gold and some quality tea.
This is another good walk, muddy at this time of year, but interesting too for those who like piles of stones.

                                                                           steps                                   miles
NAK                                                           26562                                         10.89
Dave's 3D                                                  22249                                          9.79
  "" USB                                                    21120                                          9.66
  "" NAK                                                    21050                                         9.63
iPhone                                                        22105                                         9.9
Brian GPS                                                                                                     9.69
Brian View Ranger                                                                                       9.5

Contains OS data. Copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2017
The walk round Hulne Park was number 300