Saturday, 18 August 2018

Wild in the country.  Or a tale of five villages.(Northumberland) August 17th.
After the heat we are back to normal British summer. Showers. Again a planned walk has been postponed and four of us: Ben, Dave, John H. and me are off for a walk in a gentler part of Northumberland, starting at the village of Ingoe and visiting several other hamlets and settlements.
The map to use is OS Explorer 316, Newcastle upon Tyne and to reach the start take the A69 west, join the B6318 at Heddon on the Wall and turn north for Matfen then follow signs for Ingoe, except  that in Matfen the signpost cheerfully omits Ingoe but it's the road on the left.
Possibly the prettiest car park we have used in a long time. Hope the locals don't mind too much.
Parking spot is approximately at OS GR NZ 038748
Ingoe (means Ing's Hill; it is on the top of a small hill.) is another attractive Northumberland hamlet. Little to offer other than its own attractiveness and a prehistoric standing stone nearby which we couldn't find in spite of it being over  six feet high.
Booted up, and with jackets too as the temperature has dropped to a low 16Cwe went back down the road in a westerly direction to a signpost near the point marked 206 on the OS map. From here we headed across fields in a north west direction to the farm at Kearsley. Some of the fields are arable land, recently harvested, we were surprised at the amount of grain left on the ground. Gleaners required.
Going round the farm at Kearsley we passed a number of sheds housing hens, several of which seemed to have escaped. They do have access to a run outside the sheds but some had made it through the wire fences too; Chicken Run.
 Crossing Kearsley Fell and observing a old water filled quarry on our left, we came to the village of Kirkheaton (Settlement on the hill with a church).
            The village green at Kirkheaton, bigger than the village
Kirkheaton manor, started life as a 16th century bastle(Fortified house) to defend against the Scots.
We chatted to an elderly gentleman who lived in the manor. He was walking his collie which seemed to want to come with us.
Following the road west from the manor house we soon arrived at Kirkheaton Wind farm. Three turbines, and very noisy in the strong breeze.
              John and Ben go tilting at a windmill.
Leaving the whirling turbines we spotted the signpost on the left that pointed the way across fields to the farm at Moot Law and the beacon on top of Mootlaw. Dave, who understands these things, climbed the low hill and admired the ancient remains, we three wandered down the farm track, turning at point 204 on OS and heading for the village of Ryal. (=Rye Hill). Here we called a Herbie and sat on a bench outside the village church, sharing PORK PIES, Eat natural, nature nutties and ginger biscuits.

   All Saints, Ryal. 12th C chapel of ease rebuilt in 1870. It's most interesting feature is the interior west wall, into which have been built 19 medieval cross slabs ,several with fascinating carvings.
The medieval slabs in the west wall of All Saints, Ryal. Need a better flash.

              Ryal village green, another small Northumberland village.
                                 Dave and All Saints, Ryal
A few yards down the road going south from Ryal, just beyond East Farm, we took the footpath across fields arable and pasture, much to the interest of small herds of cows, to a point marked Grizzly Hill on OS map and then on the road a short way into the village of Matfen (=Matties' Fen)
  Approaching Matfen village
                              Holy Trinity Church Matfen. 19th C and it doesn't really lean.
Matfen Hall is a popular eating place, spa and wedding venue. It also has a golf course.
 We walked past the village pub, The Black Bull and headed east along the road labelled Jingling Gate on the OS map. This brought us to houses at Fenwick Shield where the road turned north to Fenwick itself, a small hamlet.
From here we crossed more fields, watched with great interest by more cows, until we came to the farm at Moralees where we followed the farm track back to Ingoe.
Worth noting that because of the recent spell of dry weather the fields are dry, normally crossing the ploughed fields would be claggy to say the least. (The ancient footpaths do cross fields and don't follow the perimeter. They are clearly marked too.)
After a fruitless search for the Warrior Stone we headed back to Matfen and called in at the Black Bull to rehydrate. A very cheery, and very Geordie, landlord offered us a choice of four hand pulled ales:, Abolition, Theakston's Black Bull, Collingwood and Galatia. I enjoyed the Collingwood.

Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2018.

And a matrix of considerable size
                                                                                                 steps             miles
NAK                                                                                      32972            12.48 (ridiculous)
Dave's  NAK 2                                                                      24562             11.62
"""   USB                                                                               24698             11.69
""" NAK 1                                                                             24612              11.62
""" SM                                                                                    25224             11.55
iPhone                                                                                     25982             11.6
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                            11.5


Saturday, 4 August 2018

Oh! Bro******ther. (Northumberland ) Aug 3rd
  The BBC and the Met office have said that the north east of England would experience heavy rain and thunderstorms today so we are, again, having a local walk in the Cheviot Hills, namely that old favourite Carey Burn.
To reach this lovely spot A1 north, A697 at Morpeth and after about twenty miles turn into Wooler, turn left up Cheviot Street, follow this road, take the right fork when you reach it and turn right at the sign post for Langleefordand the Harthope Valley. Pass the cottage at Skirl Naked, drive carefully down the steep hill and park on the right, just before the Carey Burn Bridge.
But first call at the Terrace Café in Wooler for tea/coffee/bacon roll. Popular café, good service and used by locals and walkers.
Back to Carey Burn Bridge and the walk, which is covered by OS Explorer OL 16, The Cheviot Hills. The parking area is at GR NU012300.
Off road car parking at Carey Burn Bridge. We had hardly booted up when more cars arrived with a team of Morpeth Wanderers. They were doing a similar walk. Brian recognised one man as a fellow bridge player and he was also the guide who had taken us, and others, to see The Winter Gibbet near Elsdon some years ago. (See Five go off to Winters Gibbet, an early blog.) He had read the blog and liked our style.
WORD OF WARNING: Don't park parallel to the road. Once, on this walk, one of us parked in parallel and when we got back to the car it had been generously sprayed by passing cows.

We walked towards the bridge, just before it on the right, is a gate which is the entrance to the footpath that follows the Carey Burn.

Harry demonstrates gate opening technique. This is the way to the Carey Burn footpath.
The footpath sticks close to the stream and is mostly easy walking with one or two places that require a little scrambling. If you are lucky you may see peregrines and kestrels and dippers. All was quiet today.
                  A collection of beehives brought to the valley. The heather is in bloom now, good pickings for bees.
 This small fall on the burn is usually a torrent but the last few weeks have been very dry.
This shed is shelter for shooters from August 12th onwards when the grouse season starts. Sometimes it provides a home for swallows, but not this year.
Further on the footpath enters woodland through a gate with an interesting notice.

This is a popular walk but none of us have ever seen HIGLAND castle, or black game. In the past we have spotted adders and various birds though not today.
The footpath crosses the Carey Burn by footbridge and the path continues over grassy land to a second footbridge marked as a Ford on older maps.

 Low water in the Carey Burn.
                             Second footbridge on the walk.
 Having crossed the bridge we followed the gravel farm track to Broadstruther.
Broadstruther. Once a farm, then a ruin and after renovation it is now used as a refuge/diner for the grouse shooters.
On a sunny day like today  a ruined wall next to it provides a fairly comfy Herbie Spot.

Herbie time at Broadstruther. Today's share was lemon drizzle cake, Cadbury's brunch bars and frangiepans.
The Morpeth Wanderers caught up with us but dined behind the house.
Early lunch over we continued along the farm track for a short time before taking the marked footpath on the left which crosses rough ground until it reaches another track. which goes to Langleeford.   There is a gate where we usually turn left and trudge up Cold Law to admire the views from the top, which are worth the effort, and also to see a trig point, always exciting. However, after some discussion we had a change of plan and continued walking on the track.                                                                                                                                      Some way along this track we turned left on a footpath which contours round the side of Cold Law before coming down Hawsen Burn to the valley road. Hawsen Burn is the home of summer visiting Ring Ousels, but they were resting today.
Once on the valley road we walked north east for a while before crossing the bridge to Langlee farm.
     The footpath goes round the farm, not through the yard.

 Harthope Burn from Langlee farm.
Through a gate a track climbs quite steeply up Brands Hill . We took a footpath on the left close to a row of shooting butts which goes downhill towards the section of Harthope named Happy Valley.
Turning left we headed west through oak woods above the stream towards another footbridge.
Once over the bridge we crossed a field and were back at Carey Burn Bridge, yards from the car.
Last footbridge of the day

Harthope Burn near Carey Burn bridge.

 Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2018.

As we were changing the Morpeth Wanderers arrived too, they had taken a slightly shorter but equally enjoyable route.
We headed home, pausing at the Anglers Arms for rehydration. Three beers on, Atlantic Ale, Farne Island and a Blonde Beer. A man at the bar offered me £20 for my Toronto Blue Jays T shirt but I wouldn't part with a memory.

Dave is back so we have a whole matrix

                                                                               steps                            miles
NAK                                                                      22186                           8.4  (little legs)
Dave's 3D                                                              19581                          8.42
""" USB                                                                 17089                          7.82
""" NAK                                                                 17005                          7.78
Sylvias mother                                                       17299                          7.64
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                        7.77
iPhone                                                                                                         7.9
Brian View Ranger                                                                                     7.63

We suffered a short shower