Saturday, 27 October 2018

Partridge Nest, Wool House, Kingswood, Plankey.
(Northumberland ) October 26th.
The TV weather forecast promised a cold day with a northerly wind, showers on the coast. So we decided to head inland and follow a new walk devised by Brian, starting from a National Trust car park near Ridley Hall, near Bardon Mill in the Tyne Valley. To reach this spot follow the A69 west and turn off near Bardon Mill at the sign post saying Beltingham and Ridley Hall.
We stopped for breakfast at Brockbushes Farm shop, bacon sandwiches, tea, coffee and Bovril for Dave, a beverage usually served at soccer matches with pies.

Heading for a Bovril.
The walk is covered by OS OL 43, Hadrian's Wall and would be useful.
There are six of us braving the cold today: Brian the divisor, Harry, Dave, me, John H., and John Ha., making a welcome return after some month's absence. He expected some intelligent conversation but probably went home disappointed.
The impressive National Trust car park with bays marked out by split logs! Free to members displaying their annual pass, otherwise there is a charge. It is at NY 798640.
Leaving the car park we headed back towards the river, turning left to stroll along the south bank for a while before crossing a field to Beltingham.
This small but perfectly formed village has a connection with the Bowes family, ancestors of the late Queen Mother. It also has a small church, St. Cuthbert's, with 12th century origins and 19th century restorations. In the churchyard is a large yew tree, supposedly 700 years old. It is said that its branches may have supplied wood for the English long bows used against the French. (OK, the Welsh helped)
Ancient yew, ancient graves, old church and Dave.Having admired the church and the tree we followed the road passing near Partridge Nest and reaching Willimoteswick.
Willimoteswick, a fortified manor belonging to the Ridleys. Dating back to the late 15th century, it offered some defence against Scots. The building is on the map below but the name, printed in Gothic Script on the OS map as an indication of age, is missing. The building is at the spot height 107, near The Mill.
From this farm we crossed fields to High Barn and on to the Shaws, turning south to the Wool House. Some of the fields we crossed had a crop of maize, some had a flock of sheep.

Not quite as high as an elephant's eye. The crop is grown for animal feed. Some farmers cut a maze in the field and make witty signs.

A rather tired looking tup. It's that time of year. One still wore his score keeping waist coat.
Somewhere in this area we stopped for a Herbie, sitting against a wall or tree stump in the sun.
Today's feast included home made cookies from John. Ha., cookies, carrot cake, frangepanes and chocolate iced cookies from Mrs A.
Moving on, with difficulty we crossed fields to Winshield Side, a minor road, turned east and at point 184 on the map turned into fields to Farnalees Burn, a short but steep descent to a footbridge, followed by a short but steep ascent to Midgeholm, thankfully free of the little pests as it was too cold.
Dipping down and climbing up again we came to Kingswood Farm.

Kingswood Farm and machinery.
From Kingswood the footpath crosses fields, going gently down hill until it enters the woods at Brarwood Banks on the west side of the River Allen, opposite the strangely named Plankey Mill. This is certainly the prettiest part of the walk. A couple of miles of easy footpath, covered at this time of the year with fallen leaves, wandering through woodland with all its autumn colours and next to the river which sparkled in the sun. We met several people out walking dogs or photographing the woodland. Soon we were back at the car park.

Autumn on the Allen
Changed we headed for the Boathouse pub at Wylam, a favourite. It offered at least ten hand pulled local beers and some rather fine soda and lime. It also offers Thai food.
The Boathouse, Wylam.
Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2018
Walk starts in top right corner by the footprint. We went anti clockwise.

The Matrix MMXVIII  10c
steps                                               miles
20000                                                   8
For technical reasons there is no huge matrix today.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

On the Tees again. (Yorks/Durham) Oct 19th
                          I just can't wait to get on the Tees again
                           Out walking with my gadgie friends,
                          I just can't wait to be on the Tees again
 As Willie Nelson almost sang.
  Holidays seem to be almost over. There are six of us out for a wander in Teesdale today.  (John .C ., Harry, Dave, Ben, Brian and me)The little Scot has promised a warm day for October, no rain and a light breeze (which turned out to be a little heavier) so we are off to start from Middleton in Teesdale, a village surprisingly, in Teesdale. From Newcastle we went west on the A69, south on the A68 near Corbridge  and on several minor roads through Stanhope then followed signs for the destination. (You go near Muggleswick which has recently attained some notoriety thanks to Harry Potter)
The map for the walk is OS Explorer OL 31 The North Pennines, and it's advisable.
Although there is a sign for long term parking in Middleton the site seemed to be closed and locked so we left cars on the high street before going to the TeesPot for breakfast. Really friendly little café, bacon sandwiches, sausage sandwiches, scones, tea or coffee and pleasant chat with the ladies running it.
Car parking in Middleton in Teesdale

Tees Pot café. Muddy boots welcome. It is vertical really
The walk.
    From the high street we walked down to the bridge, crossed the river and turned right down a lane immediately after the cattle mart.
Cattle mart.

Three mini gadgies in the distance.
The path here crosses a number of fields, occasionally close to the river bank. Going from field to field requires climbing a stile; this gets more difficult as time goes by and has helped me formulate my third law of walking which states that "There is a very strong correlation between negotiating stiles and age." Or, as old men put it, it's difficult to get your leg over as you get older.
After a couple of miles the footpath is right next to the River Tees, the prettiest part of the walk.

Autumn by the Tees.
     Eventually the path reaches Wynch bridge, a footbridge across the river just below Low Force, one of the two falls on the river near Middleton.

Low Force above, information below.

Having admired the fall and absorbed the information we went through a gate and walked across fields almost due south. A couple of fields later we were on the road that took us to Holwick Scars, a very impressive rock face. We decided it was a fine place to eat and settled down facing the scars on a grassy bank just out of the wind.
Herbie Time near Holwick Scars. We shared Titans, M&M cake, Ben's ginger biscuits and savoury scones from Mrs A. Lunch over we scrambled down the bank, crossed the stream and headed up the path visible   in the picture going from centre left. The only climb of the day really.                                                                                                                          

Feeding time.
Once we had climbed to the top of the scars we headed south across moorland, Lauder Grass, heather and several streams to cross. Mostly too wide to jump and too deep to wade through but several had a couple of stepping stones to help the aged.
The path, not always too clear, turned south east over Brown Dod and from here we took the metalled track that passed a line of grouse butts.
                                Track, with grouse butts.
The track met the Pennine Way, long distance footpath, and turned south. We followed the Pennine Way north east across fields and eventually reached Middleton in Teesdale.
Approaching M in T. Not foggy, unfocused.
Changed we headed for the Forresters pub and hotel in Middleton. Disappointing, it had only one hand pulled beer on, Battle Axe. As a driver I suffered a pint of refreshing soda and lime.

Forresters Hotel
My wife and I have an indigenous lady staying with us. She lives in Indian Head, Saskatchewan.
Intrigued by the idea of older men going walking in the hills she sent messages to her fellows back home. This is the response from one of them.
The gentleman has a point I suppose.
But Eileen brought me this terrific baseball cap, worn with pride regardless of the comments of the other five.

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

 Matrix MMXVIII 10a
                                                                             steps                     miles
NAK                                                                    30068                     11.38
Dave's NAK2                                                      22176                      10.15
  ""USB                                                                22253                      10.18
  "" NAK 1                                                           22168                      10.14
S M                                                                      22970                       10.15
iPhone                                                                  25055                        10.3
etrex                                                                                                       10.65
(3 hrs walking, 59 minutes talking)
Ben                                                                                                          10.6
John C                                                                                                     10.6
Brian                                                                                                        10.68

And a few more pictures