Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Greenleighton (Northumberland ) October 29
   A midweek walk for Dave and I on the Wallington Estate. The walk starts in a disused quarry at Greenleighton. A bit off the beaten track to get there drive through Ponteland and Belsay, turn left into Scots Gap, turn right almost immediately and at Rothley watch out for the sign post on the left for Greenleighton.
The map for this walk is OS OL 42 Kielder Water and Forest.
There is a free car park as you near Greenleighton in a disused quarry. It is gated  and watched over today by a small herd of cattle.
    Car park of the day at Greenleighton……………!
Leaving the car park, having closed the gate of course, we turned left and followed the sign posts on this well marked walk.
Initially passing a quarry we turned left once through a gate and into a field, walking down the side of the wall and turning through a right angle at the plantation. A gate led us into the wood and the footpath follows the edge through a couple of gates before emerging into a boggy field.
The path across the field is marked at regular intervals and heads north before turning east  towards Fontburn Reservoir.
                                                They thought we were the farmer with feed.

                    The day started well but there was one short heavy shower
                                      Wall crossing with stile
                                   Fontburn reservoir
Once inside the reservoir perimeter fence we turned left on what was designated a Waterside Walk. A muddy path because of the recent rain, it is a walk through a nature reserve but all we saw were several mallards.
At one point the path emerges into a field near Newbiggin Farm. This section is closed to the public between April 10 and May 10 because of lambing.
Soon we were back on the track running alongside the water, there were several fishermen trying their luck. The track brought us to the north end of the reservoir dam. In the field on the left were two deer, quietly feeding before being disturbed by a post van heading to a farm.
               Look carefully, the deer are at the bottom of the picture!
We crossed the dam which has a good view of the railway viaduct on the dismantled line and the waterworks before we came to the visitor centre at the south end of the dam.
                Centre shop, mainly fishing stuff
                                          Viaduct and works

As there were several picnic tables and the sun had come out we decided to have lunch. Trackers and Oh Henry bars were on the menu.
Lunch over we continued on the path round the water's edge until we came to a gate.
                                             Through the gate and head south.
The path across the fields is well marked , passes a fine example of a shake hole and eventually comes to the top of the cliffs above the quarry. From here we walked to the trig point and then down to the track we had started out on and  back to the car.
                                   View of Simonside
                        Looking down on Fontburn
                                      Disused quarry

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

A relatively short walk by gadgie standards but also a bit of an exploration to see if it can be extended for a future day out for the team.
 A Matrix
                                                                           steps                                   miles
NAK                                                                17668                                      6.41
Dave's NAK 1                                                  15395                                      7.28
""""""""""""""2                                                15378                                      7.28
S M                                                                   15372                                      7.28
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                              6.47

And some photos

Saturday, 26 October 2019

The Doors, (Northumberland ) October 25th.
After a break of two weeks entertaining the colonials I am rejoining the team. Nine of us are going on a variation of the popular walk from Belford in Northumberland. (John x 3, Brian, Harry, Dave, Ben, Ray and me.) Belford is easy to find, straight up the A1 in the direction of Scotland and turn left at the road into the small town. Breakfast at Sunny Hills farm shop just before the town.
                               Sunny Hills, farm shop, restaurant, classy
The map for the walk is OS Explorer 340 Holy Island and Bamburgh.
The forecast is not too promising, the gentleman from BBC North East and Cumbria suggests heavy rain in the afternoon by which time we may be in the pub.

     The walk starts from the parking area by the Community Hall on the road to Wooler, just off the Belford main street.
                Not really a car park but space for several cars by the Community Hall. On the left of the hall is a lane: walk starts here.

   The lane is part of the Northumberland Coast Path, St Oswald's Way. After a few hundred yards a gate on the left took us to a path alongside a stream close to Westhall, an old, fascinating farm house.
                        Narrow footpath by a narrow stream
                        close to Westhall.
The footpath, muddy today, goes in almost a straight line north west to Swinhoe Farm.
At the farm there is a cross roads of tracks, we took the left hand , no longer with St. Oswald but heading towards Cuthbert's Cave. However, at the delightfully named Dick's Old Walls we turned right through a gate. The footpath keeps close to the fence of a plantation and eventually emerges int  fields. 
  Still heading roughly north west we eventually joined St. Cuthbert's Way. (The saint whose body was carried round Northumbria until it reached the spot that is now Durham Cathedral.)
Crossing into the wood we walked the short but steep path down to the very cave and decided it deserved contemplation and a Herbie.
                                                The cave
                                      and some fine graffiti outside it

                   Three gadgies and a pair of feet enjoying the break.
We shared Ben's ginger biscuits, chocolate brownies, caramel wafers, Savoury scones from Mrs A and Oh Henry's, a Canadian chocolate bar brought from Canada by my sister on her recent visit. Should you wonder why there are only five lots of goodies but nine gadgies, some people, conscious of their figures, do not participate. Fridays are the only day we walk and put weight on.

Lunch over we walked downhill to the track, turned left and after a short distance turned right down another track, heading towards but not to, North Hazlerigg. After a short while we turned left and followed St. Cuthbert's Way towards Old Hazlerigg.

                          Well sign posted walk

Rain approaching over the Cheviots
We turned left and walked some distance along the road before turning right at a marker post into fields. The footpath, not at all clear at this point, climbed steadily onto Raven's Crag, below the impressive Bowden Doors. Once a very popular climbing area but very quiet today, not so much as a carabiner in sight.
                                A section of Bowden Doors
                                Brian demonstrates his climbing skill
                        watched by an admiring herd.
Past the Doors we came to a road, turned left and walked some distance until we spotted the sigh post for Belford Mains.

                            Spelling mistake!

              An unusual cattle grid. Quad bikes can cross, animals won't, although some sheep have apparently learnt the art of walking on the bars.
We walked across very muddy fields, especially at the gates, to Belford Mains, turned left down the road then right and back to the cars in Belford.
At this point in time as they say, the rain started, just as the portly gentleman on TV had said it would, so well done to the Look North team.
On the way home we called in at The Cook and Barker in Newton on the Moor, they had four ales on offer, and coffee for the drivers.
                        Cook and Barker
Contains OS data, copyright. Crown Copyright and database right 2019

The walk is about 10 miles, fairly easy going with few climbs.

Some pictures from Dave;

1. Pile of real stones 2 WW2 pill box, 3,4 and 5. Large mushroom 6 Bowden Doors

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Twixt Wear and Tyne October 4th
 A goodly number of gadgies are still holidaying, leaving three (John C., Harry and me) of us to enjoy a local walk which may be affected by the tail end of hurricane Lorenzo. We are walking the coast north from Sunderland to South Shields. Easy to follow; going north the sea is on the right, going south it is on the left. No map required but if needed the walk is covered by ;
OS Explorer 308 Durham and Sunderland and OS Explorer 316 Newcastle upon Tyne.
No cars either, we met at the Haymarket Metro Station in Newcastle and took the metro to St Peter's just north of the river Wear.                                                                                                                              St Peter's church has Saxon origins, is one of the oldest churches in England, started in 673 AD and is where the Venerable Bede spent some of his time as a monk and historian. He also lived at St Paul's in Jarrow for some time.
The portly gentleman on the local TV station said the morning would be wet but the afternoon would be dry, with a breeze. He was wrong, it rained lightly most of the day, clouds coming in off the sea.

                No car park this week but this is the metro station at St. Peter's and a metro train.
 Having got off the train at St. Peter's we crossed the road and went down the bank to the promenade along the river Wear.
                  Picture of a picture. St. Peter's church. We didn't visit it today but should you be in the area it's well worth looking into. Saxon tower at least.
The promenade winds its way past Sunderland University buildings, the glass museum where you can watch demonstrations of glass blowing, the Sunderland yacht club marina and finally reaches the sea near Roker Pier.
                          Art at the university
                           and on the walls of the marina
                                               Roker Pier on a grey day.
Just north of the pier the walk turns away from the sea and climbs up to Roker Park but almost immediately returns to the sea side. (This section of the walk is on the Weardale Way).
There are some interesting rocks in the area if you are a geologist.
                  Looking like badly made concrete it is a natural form of conglomerate, boulders embedded in the magnesium limestone. Information anybody?
Sticking close to the coast the walk continues past Seaburn and Whitburn, both looking like typical English coastal towns, bnbs and hotels. There is a large school at Whitburn overlooking the sea, must be heaven in those boring algebra lessons.
                                   The school at Whitburn, a Church of England Academy
Beyond the school the path (Now the English Coastal Path) passes a Rifle Range but as there were no red flags flying we assumed it was safe. There were about twenty horses grazing on it too, must be the cavalry. At the north end of the range we found a hut, unfortunately well locked, but we sat at the back of it for a Herbie Spot. Sandwiches and coffee, no sharing today!
Beyond the range is Whitburn Coastal Park, a small nature reserve, and then we arrived at Souter which has a lighthouse and rather fine foghorn, both National Trust properties.
                                    Souter Lighthouse and foghorn

    From here the footpath meanders close to the sea, above cliffs which seem to be crumbling. Every few yards a notice warns that it is dangerous to cross the low barrier and wander near the edge.
At Marsden there is a lift down to the famous Marsden Grotto, a café.
                                                  Grotto entrance
This area was once a mining village, all gone now although the lime kilns remain:
                                       Lime kilns at Marsden
                                  Sea stacks.
  As we walked along the cliff tops, passing Frenchman's Bay and Graham's Sand Harry spotted a school of Dolphins not too far from shore. There were at least half a dozen, heading south for the winter. They added wonderfully to the day, along with the curlews, turnstones, herons, oyster catchers and a single solitary Goldcrest that we had seen.
Soon we  were at the sports ground at South Shields where the Great North Run ends, half a marathon from Newcastle. We walked through South Marine Park and down Ocean Road, that long line of curry houses until we near the station.
For refreshment after the walk we went to the Wetherspoon's pub, The Woodhave. It is named for William Wouldhave, a boat builder from years ago. Good beer, good fish and chipsand then the metro home to Newcastle.
According to my GPS this walk is 10.5 miles, easy going.
We walked for 3 hours and 36 minutes, talked for a mere 36 minutes as we lunched. Not a  day for hanging around.
                   Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2019