Saturday, 28 April 2018

A walk on the south side. (Northumberland) April 27th
Back to Kielder so soon! Five of us planning to walk from Kielder castle at the north end of the lake to Tower Knowe visitor centre at the south end.  Two cars, one left at Tower Knowe and one in Kielder.
Same route to Kielder as last week and same map OS OL 42 Kielder Water and Forest but it is not essential, the path on the south side is as good as the one on the north. We are; John C., John H., Brian, Dave and me. The weather forecast suggests a breezy day with showers.
As we are starting from the castle we can have morning coffee and bacon, as required.

                Two car parks this week; top is Tower Knowe where I left my car and bottom is at Kielder where Brian left his.
                     Kielder castle and visitor centre. TV screen with camera aimed at one nest. Small museum, good bacon.
We left the castle and walked down the hill past the maze, called the Minotaur, and found the sign post that directed us to the south shore.
                  The walk is well posted.
The south shore is quite different from the north. It runs close to the road from Bellingham to the depths of Scotland, it has, including Kielder Castle, three visitor and activity centres and several car parks. A better side for short walks and family outings.
The first stop we made was at the Bakethin Bird Hide. Two rooms, one for the lake and one for the forest. There was not much happening on the lake, a few ducks, a distant heron, several cormorants and a RAF plane.The forest was even quieter.

                                     The lake from the bird hide.
Moving on we followed the path as it wound its way past Mirage, art installation looking like decking, and round Lewis Burn, crossing the stream on a fine modern bridge.

                 The bridge over Lewis Burn.
About half way into the walk we came to the visitor centre at Leaplish Waterside Park and called a Herbie Spot, making use of a picnic table.
                Leaplish. We shared red onion and mozzarella buns from Mrs A. Snickers, Mcvities Chocolate biscuits and Czech Chocolate.
Brian works as a volunteer osprey guide and pointed out one of the platforms on the horizon on the far side of the lake. Fortunately we had binoculars. Each platform has a camera attached to an arm and sometimes the mummy or daddy osprey sits on the camera, after a selfie probably. We could just make out a shape on the camera so at least we can claim to have seen an osprey today, even though it was a distant spec. There is a shed at Leaplish with a record of sightings of the birds, their activities and of course, a TV screen showing live pictures of one of the nests.
Moving on we walked through the Enchanted Wood, mostly ancient beech trees. There is a Squirrel hide too, but we only saw chaffinches and bluetits, no little red rodents.
                 Crumb eating chaffinch
                                                      Squirrel hide
                                    Enchanted beech tree.
Beyond the hide we came to Freya's Cabin. Her cabin compliments Robin's Hut on the north shore, they did eventually get together and lived happily ever after until the dam was built and their farm was flooded.
                                Freya's cabin, but he isn't Robin.
Close to the cabin is a sign post. One arm points along the shore and claims seven miles to Tower Knowe. At rightangles to it an arm claims four miles to Tower Knowe by cutting off the walk round Bull Crag Peninsula. The pub was calling, we took the shorter route and eventually returned to my car at Tower Knowe. I took Brian back to Kielder for his car and we all went to the Cheviot Hotel in Bellingham for refreshment. Four ales on offer in  a very busy and friendly pub. The boys had Tyneside Blonde or Reivers ale. I was driver and had coffee!
Walking the south side is generally easy going, not as many short steep hills as the north but the north feels more isolated from civilisation unless you can hear the forestry workers and their machines cutting down Kielder Forest. South side is better for short walks, sailing, fishing, visiting gift shops and so on.


                                                                    steps                        miles
NAK                                                           24089                      10,7 needs adjusting again
iPhone                                                         33335                      12.5
Dave's 3D                                                   25153                       12.33
""" USB                                                      25299                        12.27
""   NAK                                                     24339                        12.29
Sylvia's mother                                           24033                        12.14
NEW GARMIN                                                                            12.32

etrex         3hrs 38 mins walk 1hr 48 mins talk                             11.94
       Contains OS data. Copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2019

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

And still not seen an Osprey.. (Northumberland )April 24th
A midweek walk for Dave and I, hoping to catch sight of the Ospreys on Kielder Water, Northumberland. (A69 West, turn north just beyond Hexham and follow signs for Kielder.)
There are several ways of doing this walk; you need two cars, one at either end, or you can walk all the way round the lake (26 miles), or you can do what we did, get up early, drive to Kielder Village and catch the 9am bus that goes to Hexham but get off at the dam. The  problem with this is that the bus runs on Tuesdays and Fridays only. The plus side for gadgies is that you can use your bus pass.
A map is not necessary as the footpath/cycle track goes all the way round the lake and is well marked, including mileposts. The area is on OS OL 42 Kielder Water and Forest should you want a map. There is also a map of the lake available at Tower Knowe and Kielder castle.
                 I received a sarcastic comment for not having a car park for the boys last week. Here is my car in Kielder Village, cheekily parked for free. There is a free car park in nearby Butteryhaugh infront of the YHA and a pay park beyond the castle.
            The bus driver, ex-squaddie, was very chatty, probably because there was nobody else on the vehicle and he wanted to complain about his mother in law.He dropped us off at the dam although it isn't a real stop and about 9.30 we set off.
                        Kielder Water from the dam. Looks cold.
                About half a mile in we spotted this sign.
The path was constructed for walkers and cyclists, it is well made and is usually close to the water.
About two miles in we came to "Gordon's Walls", a ruin that was once a bastle house, (Fortified house) b ut apart from low stone walls there is little to see.

                     Gordon's Walls, information board and pretty forest view.
Some distance on we came to Belvedere, one of the art installations on the north side of the water. A shiny room with windows overlooking the water and seats. Having had an early start we had an early lunch, sandwiches, PORK PIES and Czech chocolate.
                        Belvedere, top quality Herbie Spot offering shelter and a view.
                   Unfortunately several of the mile posts have rotted and fallen. They are accurately placed, as our pedometer readings informed us.
Lunch over and having waite3d for a shower to stop we continued on our way, always keeping a look out for an Osprey.
                                          A wren's nest.
Next installation on the footpath was Robin's Hut. It is lined up with Freya's hut across the water. They were lovers and finally managed to get together with the aid of a boat. Unlike Running Bear and Little White Dove as related by Johnny Tillitson.

                  Robin's Hut and the tale of him and Freya.

The top photograph is all that remains of the railway track that ran down to the station and coal depot at Plashetts, once a thriving coal mine.

                         More art works beyond Plashetts, Salmon cubes and scales.
Further along the Janus Chairs are off the path and down by the water. They are three large metal chairs that can be rotated but as we have seen them before, several times, we gave them a miss.
                                      Janus Chairs.
Finally we came to the last work of art, Silvas Capitalis, Head in the forest or wooden top. This is the best of the art works, a large wooden head. You can go inside and climb up to look out of his eyes. However, as with the Janus Chairs we have seen it before so gave it a miss today.

Can you see old wooden top?

 Beyond wooden top the path goes alongside fields to a point where the path divides. Go left and cross the Kielder viaduct which once carried the railway line, or go right and arrive at the village of Butteryhaugh from where  a few minutes more brings walkers to the visitor centre in the old "castle" which was built as a hunting lodge for the Duke of Northumberland.
We decided to have tea and watch the TV screen showing live action on one of the Osprey Nests. Mummy osprey was sitting on one egg as daddy was presumably out fishing. We had seen crossbills, cormorants, varieties of tits, whitethroats, chaffinches and blackbirds, but not a hint of an osprey. A couple came into the café, they had had perfect views of an osprey hunting. It is not fair.

Matrix MMVIII A3
                                                         steps                                       miles
NAK                                                  21925                                    13.04
iPhone                                                27960                                    11.41
Dave's 3D                                          26616                                     13.04
"" USB                                               26023                                    13.14
""" NAK                                            26023                                     13.14
Sylvia's mother                                 26318                                      13.29

We claimed 13 miles

Contains OS data. Copyright. Crown copyright and databaseright 2018