Saturday, 21 September 2019

Alas poor Tomlinsons.(Northumberland )               Sept 20th
For years we have fed in Tomlinsons of Rothbury when having a gadgie walk in that area. But the café and bunkhouse that has provided bacon sandwiches, tea, coffee and on occasion cake, has closed. Bunkhouse and café, gone, to be converted into apartments, no doubt luxury ones too.
Instead we are eating at the Vale on Rothbury High Street, tea, coffee, bacon...……...
Today's walk is one we have not covered for a couple of years, Copper Snout, a fairly gentle stroll in the Cheviots from Alwinton. To get there take the A1 north, A697 at Morpeth, turn left at Weldon Bridge, drive through Rothbury and turn right on the minor road signposted Alwinton. Parking on the grass verge on the right as you get to the village is free! Parking in the village at the National Park park is not. Guess?
There are six of us, Harry, Dave,Brian, John H., John Ha. and me. 
The map that covers the walk is OS OL 16 Cheviot Hills and of course it's on a fold.
The portly gentleman from Caledonia who gives the weather forecast on local TV before joining the giggling matrons on the couch at the end of the programme promised us a dry day with sunshine. He was right, a temperature at one point probably in the low twenties and blue skies offering unclouded panoramas of the hills we walked through on an early autumn day. farmers getting in the last of the crops and preparing for the Alwinton show, ewes on the hillsides, preparing for the release of the tups and swallows gorging on flies before they start their journey to Africa.

 This has to be one of the most beautiful car parks in Northumberland if not the UK, so it gets two pictures.
Behind the car park is a small stream, across it is a footbridge, the start of the walk.
                            Cross the bridge and turn left.
Having crossed the footbridge we turned left on Clennell Street. Looking nothing like a modern street it is an ancient drove road, dating back to iron age times. Once called "the way of the eagles", but there are non around today. The road goes through the Cheviots from Morpeth to Kelso and this section is a grassy track, firm underfoot.

A good section of the walk is on Clennell Street which is marked clearly on the OS map in Gothic script. There are a number of tracks going off it but it is quite easy to follow. On the left at the start is Castle Hills which has an Iron Age fort which we didn't visit, and there are a number of ancient settlements and homesteads, not too easy to identify. There is also a Cross Dyke whose purpose is unknown.

                                 Out in the hills
There is a steady climb out of Alwinton followed by undulating country until we reached the ruined Youth Hostel near the Cairns marked on the map close to the East West line marked 09.
Although we had only walked a little under three miles it seemed a good spot for a Herbie so we pulled up a few stones and sat in the sun for lunch.
                              This is the site of the Youth Hostel, not the remains.

                      Post Herbie preparations. We shared Wackos, Hobnobs, Titans and Mrs A's ginger cake. Dave forgot his contribution but still took the offerings.
After lunch we carried on along the track which turned into a forest road, gravelled and lined with timber which is to be used to grow further forests apparently!
If you follow this walk watch out for a marker on the left (between 89 and 90 on the map). It marks the start of the footpath  which heads roughly south down Copper Snout.
                                                                    Turn left!
 Initially the path is a bit boggy, but today not as bad as previous occasions, an indicator of the recent lack of rain.
                                Sheepfold or Stell as they are known
                          Rolling Hills, the skyline is the Anglo Scottish border.
 Once through a gate the path changes to a grassy track, easy walking, and it goes mostly down hill to the farm at Shilmoor.
                              Looking down on Shilmoor
                                  Shilmoor farm. The house is used by the army which has a large range nearby and a lot of signs advising you not pick things up, they may kill.
At this point the party divided. (A bit like our present political ones!) John Ha. harry and I opted to walk back to Alwinton on the valley road; Brian, Dave and John H. chose to take paths over "pass Path" which passes medieval settlements.
We all met back at the car park and once changed headed for the Rose and Thistle in the village.  Friendly pub and it served Timothy Taylor's Landlord ale, from Keighley, like me. My favourite but I had some driving to do.
                                             Rose and Thistle Inn, Alwinton

          Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and data base right 2019

The walk is about 9.5 miles, some climbing but not difficult.
It took us 4 hours and 15 minutes walking, excluding the lunch break.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

We must go down to the Tees again (Yorks/Durham) Sept 13th.
An extra walker, John Hall has returned after a summer's bowling and Paul had driven over from Grange over Sands to join us.  Six of us are off to do a familiar walk from Middleton in Teesdale to Barnard Castle. A proper gadgie walk requiring a bus pass. We drove to Barnard Castle, lovely old market town on the north side of the river Tees and parked in an all day place at the bottom of the high street, (turn left at the beautiful old Butter Market built in 1747) Only £1.50 for a full day, a bargain.
               Bargain all day car park in Barnard Castle. Thanks to the two of you who follow my car park shots, signed copies of the book will be yours.

                                                 The Butter Market in Barnard Castle.
We intended, after breakfast, to catch a bus from Barney, as the town is known to the locals, to Middleton in Teesdale. They run  at five minutes before the hour from the high street numbers 94 or 96.
The whole of the walk is covered by OS Explorer  OL 31 North Pennines and is fairly easy going as it follows close to the river which in parts is the boundary between Durham and Yorkshire.
There are two walks down the Tees, on the north bank in Durham the Teesdale Way and on the south side in Yorkshire the Tees Railway Path. We have chosen the former.
The day almost got off to a bad start, it is Friday the 13th, as I was driving to John Hall's house to be picked up. Not sure where he lived I used my Sat Nav. Either she got it wrong or I wasn't listening but I arrived twenty minutes late which meant we were twenty minutes late picking up Joh Hampton and twenty minutes late arriving in Barnard Castle. We though we had missed the 10.55 bus but it too was late, saving the day.
Once in Middleton in Teesdale we headed for a café, the Tees-Pot, great name, lovely staff dressed in some traditional costume that made them look like extras from A Handmaid's Tale but in black and white. As it was late everybody tucked in to bacon or sausage sandwiches, scones or teackes and tea or coffee.
                                         About to leave the Tees Pot
Fed and watered we set off down towards the river. Just before the bridge we took the footpath on the left. It clings to the river, pleasantly flat to start with but as it crosses a number of small streams joining the Tees there are a series of steep up and down steps, the treads are compacted earth, the risers thick blocks of wood.
At one point the path leaves the river bank and crosses fields before returning to the Tees. (The path is well marked with the usual yellow markers or the special Teesdale way markers.)
                                               The Tees
                             Out of focus. The bird is a dipper, not that we saw one.
                                           One of the steep steps.
Near Ornells Farm the path leaves the river and crosses fields and a road towards Egglestone. About a quarter mile before the village the path turns downhill but we decided to stop for a Herbie at a conveniently placed picnic table and bench.
(Hobnobs, Titans, Lemon slices from Mr Kipling Caramel Wafers and lemon and chocolate cake from Mrs A.) "This is the only walk I know where I put weight on," as somebody said.
                               Close to the Herbie Spot. Hard to imagine there was once mining round here.
Lunch over we followed the signpost into the village of Eggleston. Walking downhill through the village, turning left at the road and then right at the next junction we were soon at Egglestone Bridge. On the north side of the bridge the footpath joins a road for a while before heading uphill again, more steps. We followed the path markers across several fields to Shipley Wood. There was no marker as we entered the wood but after a few hundred yards a stile, with marker, took us out of it and then downhill to the caravan park at Cotherstone.
At this point John h and I were beginning to suffer aching hips and/or knees and decided to end our walk. We headed across two footbridges into Cotherstone and after a wait of about ten minutes caught bus back to Barnard Castle.

                                           Cotherstone, the pub was closed.
The other four continued on the Teesdale Way back to Barnard Castle, a further three miles on the river bank.
John and I were, not surprisingly, first into the Golden Lion on the main street. We were joined just over an hour later by the others. The pub had Hobgoblin. Sneklifter and Lancaster Bomber on offer, between us we sampled the lot.

       Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and data base right 2019>

John and I walked just over 8 miles, the others completed a walk of 11.75 miles.
For John and I the total walking time, excluding Herbie time was 3 hors, 25 minutes.

                               Middleton in Teesdale
                                   Easy start
                        Strengthening the bank
                                                              The Tees

                                        View over Teesdale
         Eggleston war memorial
                                               The Tees again

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Wark is a four gadgie walk. (Northumberland) Sept6th
Still not a full turnout because of holidays and family commitments, four of us are having a walk from Wark in the North Tyne Valley. Easy to find, head west on the A69 past Hexham and turn right for Acomb. Drive through Acomb and Wall to Chollerford and take the second exit at the roundabout and head north for Wark. There is parking opposite the village pub, Battlesteads,
 which also goes in for star gazing, don't we all. As with the best walks it is covered by two maps:
OS OL Explorer 43 Hadrian's Wall and OS OL Explorer 42 Kielder Water and Forest.
On the way we stopped at Brockbushes farm shop and restaurant for breakfast. It also has a van where you can learn the art of sausage making.
                      Learn to make sausages
                              Admire an ancient tractor like my uncle had
                             Or have something to eat and drink.
                                         Limited parking in Wark, but free.

Once changed into boots we set off down the village street, past the village green and over the bridge which crosses the North Tyne. Plenty of water in the river today.
                            The waters of Tyne.
Once across the bridge we turned left and walked the path alongside the river, partly wooded it was pleasant, and out of the wind too. We stuck close to the river, following the well posted route until we were directed away from the water towards Low Carry House.
       Daft as a Brush is a charity that helps cancer patients. They have devised walks close to the North Tyne, the South Tyne and after the confluence, the Tyne, all the way to the mouth. Part of our walk is on one of theirs. They have a guide book describing the walks.
Beyond the farm we followed a metalled road for a distance before following a footpath across fields to the remains of a bastle and barn.
                            Bastle ruin on the left.
And from the ruined farm buildings we crossed fields before reaching Countess Park, close to the river again.
                                   Ticks are on the increase, possibly as a result of climate change. They come from deer and maybe sheep. Lymes disease is very unpleasant, don't wear shorts and t shirts!
At one point in the park we came across a fine looking wooden building and as there were a couple of benches outside and nobody around we called a Herbie.
                   Today's feast included flapjacks, French fancies (Mr Kipling), frangipanes and chocolate cake from Mrs A 
                              Could be in Canada, no bears or moose though
                                     Raised on stones, no rotting and no flooding.
Having feasted we walked on, soon joining the dismantled railway at Redesmouth station and then, in the village crossing the road and taking the track to Rede Bridge.
                              Once it was the Redesmouth station
At Crossings Cottage we took the right fork and headed South East to Buteland.

                          Crossing Cottage and topiary.
Buteland farm supports outdoor art and also has accommodation of the type supposedly popular with one of our ex prime ministers.
                         For the want of a shoe..................
                   Caravans at Buteland
                                                       Close up of the horse.
At Buteland we turned east across a field to a minor road, turned right and on the first corner crossed a stile which was in the centre of a bed of nettles and walked south east over boggy fields with Lauder Grass until we hit the track to Lowshield Green Farm
We followed the track for some distance before turning into  a field close to the Holywell Burn. If you follow this walk, the path we took goes alongside a wall originally and not across the field, otherwise you miss the Holy Well which is marked on the OS map as a waterfall.
 Brian and I, heathens, did not visit it but John and Dave did. They emerged, wreathed in white and haloed.
The road past the well took us into Birtley, a very pretty Northumbrian village, unknown to us.At the south end of the street is the village church St Giles, dating back to Norman times but with much 19th century renovation. Across the road from the church is a footpath which goes alongside a wood, across fields and joins a road above Wark.
                               St Giles, Birtley
Changed we went for a drink in the Battlesteads Hotel, restaurant and bar. They had the following on offer, plus soda and lime for the driver.
                 Second left is Tyneside Blonde, always reliable.

               Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2019

The walk is approximately 13 miles of woodland, riverside and rough grassland.
And a few more pictures.