Monday, 19 July 2021

 The flies so  numerous they did swarm.(Northumberland) Greenleighton July 16 

A team of seven for today's walk; John x 2, Margaret, Brian, Dave, Harry and me. 

The  walk starts at the old Greenleighton Quarry, found by going through Ponteland, Belsay, to Scots Gap. Turn right in the village and after a few miles turn left to Grrenleighton. There is a gate on the car park but it is free, an added bonus.

 The walk is covered by OS OL 42 Kielder Water and Forest. And it would be useful.

                   Parking free at Greenleighton quarry.

From the car park, having booted up of course but without so much as a sniff of waterproofs in bags because of the promised forecast, sunny, all day, we went through the side gate next to the car park gate and followed a path across the field, slightly west of north. At the next gate, obedient gadgies as we are, we followed the footpath down the side of the field, turned through 90 degrees at the wood and after a hundred yards or so took the path through the trees.

This path followed the edge of the wood, on the inside, through a couple of gates, before emerging into a field. Here there were two paths, the right hand goes almost directly to the west end of Fontburn Reservoir. We took the left, a mistake. The field we crossed  was boggy, with fairly deep holes to fall into. hard to see in the long grass too. Eventually we made it to the edge of a wood, just beaten by a fox.

We found a path of sorts in the wood, followed it and eventually came to a hard forest track, part of St. Oswald's Way. he gets around.

My fellow walkers pointed out that the forest flies were numerous and had taken a particular liking to my hat:

My parents had a collection of Burl Ives records on old 78s. before I discovered the Everly Brothers and Elvis I was very fond of "Blue Tail Fly" where the nasty stinging creature caused the master's death. As the song is about a master/slave relationship and dates back to the 1840s it is probably banned now but the flies sure did swarm today. Driven to distraction I swapped the hat for a baseball cap in blue and white. Not as popular with the flies. Must be the colour.

Following the track, avoiding cyclists, we first came to a deserted farm at Redpath. We considered stopping for a Herbie but it was deserted and overgrown so we continued on our way.

            Redpath.  The house is structurally sound, surprised nobody has bought it and made into a country second home.

The next farm we came to was Fallowlees. The footpath goes directly through the yard but the occupants had put notices by the gate politely asking walkers to follow a path round the farm. We did, obedient gadgies.

As dog lovers we did not wish to offend or upset. Well, Dave did.

Just beyond the farm we settled down in a gateway which had a few spare stones of suitable size and enjoyed a Herbie in the sun. Apple pies, ginger cake, almond slices, savoury tarts and biscuits. More than enough on a hot day.

Lunch devoured we headed east across a field, entered a wood, battled throgh bracken as high as an elephant's eye until we reached the farm at Newbiggin. Crossing another field and struggling over a barbed wire fence (Sit mats make excellent cover over the nasty barbs) we headed through more bracken to the path at Fontburn.

                                               An orchid
                        Newbiggin Farm
                                    Path on the north side of the reservoir, goes through a nature reserve too.

We followed the footpath alongside the reservoir, passing several fishermen, until we came to the dam.

                           Fontburn Resevoir

                       Old, unused railway viaduct by the waterworks.

At the southend of the dam there is a fishermen's hut selling gear and ice cream so we sensibly called a second Herbie. (Affectionately called HS2, explanation will be given on a postcard).

Cooled we followed the footpath past the rare breeds centre, so rare it seemed almost deserted.

                             Not very rare breed of geese

               Marked on the map as Rare Breeds Centre

After as hort distance following the south side of Fontburn we went through a gate and followed a grassy path up to a trig point and then back down to the cars.

On the way home we called in at the Ridley Arms in Stannington as it had been such a hot day and we needed a hydration session. Farne Island.

Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and data base right 2021

The walk is about 10 miles. easy going but boggy in places.

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