Friday, 26 June 2015

Windy Gyle - Northumberland 23 June 2015.

Windy Gyle
Distance 11.5km Climb 450m
Tuesday 23 June 2015

It looked like the weather today was going to be similar to the weather yesterday, wet and cold. It was overcast and there as a strong cold breeze, despite the forecast saying it was going to be good.

I parked the car at the parking area Trows Road End (250m) where the Rowhope Burn joints the River Coquet, on the road from Alwinton to Carshope. It was overcast and I felt a few raindrops as I started up the road north west through the valley.  I had been up and down Windy Gyle from various directions a number of years ago but I could not remember walking this route.

The road follows the burn up the valley, turning north, through Rowhope Farm and on to Trows, there are footbridges across the burn as the path crosses the burn on its way up the valley.

At a stream junction I took the footbridge over the left, westerly stream and followed a grass path that I could see stretching north.  As I climbed it twisted around a few rises up towards Trows Law.  Unlike yesterday, visibility was good and it was along here a fell runner passed me. It started to get warm and a warm gentle breeze was now blowing, I decided that I could now remove my waterproof jacket.   

Looking South West towards Trows

Another km further north and I took a path to the left which headed northerly.  

Looking North East

Looking South West

I started the climb and as I moved up I turned further west across country until I came to a fence. A turn right, over a style and it was a short climb up to Russell Cairn and the trig point 619m. 

A number of Belgian soldiers were in the area along with the fell runner. I could see a number of other groups of Belgium soldiers heading here.  After a short stop where I collected my thoughts and made a decision as to where I was going next, I turned west and followed The Pennine Way. The ground drops and climbs a couple of times before I reached the point where The Street crossed The Pennine Way.  The sun was out now and any cloud had long disappeared, it was very warm and the views beautiful.

At the junction I turned south down the Street which is an old drovers route. 

Looking North East from the Street to Windy Gyle
Looking South West
Looking North towards Mozie Law
The Street

A short climb up Black Braes before it drops to the bottom of Swineside Law. The Street then climbs the east side of Swineside Law and has some tremendous views before dropping again to the south. The Street now turns south east then directly east as it starts to head for the valley and where I had parked the car.

A brilliant day walking and even running down the hills of beautiful Northumberland - excellent. I had covered approx 11.5km with 450m climb.

Loved it.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to Day 14 of my Pennine Way
Follow link to another walk up Lamb Hill

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Cheviot from Hethpool - Northumberland 22 June 2015.

The Cheviot from Hethpool
Distance 24.5km Climb 975m
Monday 22 June 2015

This was the first time I had looked at walking this route.  Although dry when I started I could see the mist on the Cheviot.  It had been some time since I had last walked in the rain and mist so it would be good to practice my navigation in poor visibility.

I had left my car at the car park at Hethpool 120m and headed south along the road.  Through The College Valley.  The map shows the road as a bridleway but it a private tarmac road.

It was interesting along here, as I walked I saw something dip down to the left of the path.  It had a fur tail but when I looked closer I saw a pheasant wandering in the ferns, perhaps it was something stalking the pheasant, I was sure I saw a fur tail.  I continued south and passed Whithall another km and I was at Cuddystone Hall where there is a memorial to the airmen who had died in plane crashes in the area during the Second World War. 

I turned south east and took the road down across Sutherland Bridge this took me passed Coldburn then Dunsdale Crag reaching the bridge.  

This was where I was going to turn off the road.  Mist was low but I could see the features Bizzle Crags and Bellyside Hill. I took a bearing and headed off up Mid Hill.  

Looking back down Mid Hill

As I climbed the mist turned to rain and the gentle breeze at the bottom turned into a strong wind as I slogged up. Visibility became very poor my navigation was being tested.  Saying that I knew my direction was up, over edge and ridge another piece of highland was to my front, so up and up I went.  Any path I had started following disappeared, I moved right to handrail the large feature Bizzle Crags. 

I continued climbing and as the ground levelled or as best as it can with bogs. I continued on my bearing and in the mist Bellyside Crag appeared. The rain was almost travelling horizontal directly in my back. I took a further bearing just to a point west, right of the Cheviot top 815m. My catching feature was the path and fence just south of The Cheviot Top.

I knew that I with aiming off to the right, I reached the fence and turned left I was only a few meters off the top, but due to the visibility I could not see it until I was about 10 meters away.

There was only a little shelter from the rain on the west hand side of the monument, so I had a quick cup of tea, pulled up my pants tucked my shirt in, checked my map and set off again. It was not very pleasant hanging about, it was very cold now and the rain would be in my face going down. 

I continued down the stone path east until I reached the path junction.  Another bearing almost north and I set off along a grass path. 

It was still very cold and the wind was strong blowing the rain straight into my face.  As I dropped in height the wind blow an occasional gap in the mist, I could see the valley below me, but it was always covered again by the time I could get my camera out to take a photo.  Continuing down the mist fully cleared as I approached the wood south of Coldscleugh.

With the mist cleared I could see the path I was heading to climb on the other side of the valley. A number of timber lorry’s where on the road to my left, west and they were working a large area of the wood which had been felled.  I could see that the wood to my front, north had been completed harvested and was cleared.  I took the path down through the wood to Coldscleugh 304m.  

After another short stop I walked through the farm, crossed the ford and climbed north west on the west side of the felled wood.  

The felled area north of Coldscleugh 

At the top of the path I crossed the fence and walked to the top of the wood where I turned north west again along the fence line towards Hare Law.  The mist was low on Hare Law as I started walking across the area.  The rain was easing a little, by the time I was at the fence junction at 430m the cloud had lifted and although the ground was sodden it had now stopped raining.

I climbed the leeward side of Hare Law, some of the rocks were slippery due to the wet.  I moved up to the cairn on the top 518m and had a short break in a little shelter from the wind in the dip of some stones.  

Looking south up College Valley

I dropped back to the wall and turned north east and followed the wall towards The Newton Tors.  Over the fence I walked over rough ground up to the trig point.

After a few photos I continuing north east, dropping down south then east around Easter Tor to a stream which I followed down a steep side north.  Along here I saw a number of wild Cheviot goats that I had spooked and saw them run down the hill. 

Near the bottom I looked to join the St Cuthberts Way path.

On the St Cuthberts Way I walked west approx 2km and crossed the footbridge  towards Hethpool, where I turned left down the road and returned to the car park.

Looking back to Easter Tor and Wester Tor

It had been quite a challenging walk especially through the mist and rain on The Cheviot, never mind it was good. I had covered approx 24.5km with a 975m of climb.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow links to other walks up The Cheviot.
Harthope Burn to The Cheviot via Mountain Refuge Hut 12 May 2016
The Cheviot from Langleeford 8 October 2015
The Cheviot from Langleeford 1 April 2010. Look at the snow.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Blencathra - Lake District 11 June 2015.

Lake District
Distance 11km Climb 750m
Thursday 11 June 2015

I have wanted to walk up Blencathra for some time now and today I took the chance and opportunity to do just that.  I had left home early and drove across to The Lakes.  I knew from previous trips across to the Lakes that I could park my car at Scales at no cost, providing I was early enough to get a parking space.

This was the first time I had walked in this area and I was looking forward to the challenge.  I had an old 1:50,000 map.  I walked passed the front of the pub (210m) White Horse Inn and down the narrow road that leads to Mungrisdale.  About 1km down the lane I turned left onto the footpath that heads north west, which lays west just before a stream.  The lane and fields had plenty of young rabbits running about on them.  The sun was very warm and once I reached the turning for the footpath I had a short stop to take off some clothing and apply sun cream to my face.  I took the footpath north west that was up by Mousethwaite Comb.

It was a steep climb and the path turned north east by the side of the fell before turning north west again as it crosses the ridge.  It was bright and clear and I could see for miles.  A number of other walkers were out today.  

Looking south down the footpath

Looking north west to Sharp Edge

I took a track that continued north west and continued climbing onto Scales Fell.

Looking east from Scales Fell

Looking west up Scales Fell

I continued climbing up the ridge which turned further west then there was a slight dip where I turned right and headed north. There was a steep drop to a steep path that dropped down about 100m to Scales Tarn.  

I could see walkers coming down off Blencathra across Scales Fell and others on Sharp Edge.

I continued north on the path that took me passed the tarn and to the bottom of Sharp Edge.  I packed my sticks took a deep drink of water and an even deeper breath and started up Sharp Edge.  The stone was dry and the conditions good so I took my time and climbed on.  I could see someone walking up the edge of the fell to my right.  The views were brilliant.

Once on the top I found a place and had a stop to have a quick bite of lunch and a well deserved cup of tea, well two cups of tea.

View west to Skiddaw

After my short stop I turned south and to the ridge of Blencathra 868m. There was a distant haze on the far horizon but other than that the views were clear. I could see back along the A66 where I had driven earlier that morning.  I could see the footpath up across Scales Fell.  I could see a windfarm to the far north west.  To the west was the impressive Skiddaw.  The only sound was from a few crows who were hovering just over the ridge.  After a few minutes taking in the sights I turned south west and followed across the top of the ridge.  

I passed Middle Tongue, and then onto Knowe Grags. I took the steep footpath that twisted and turned down hill.  A number of para gliders were flying overhead.

After about a drop of 250m I took a grass path east, the path then dropped further towards Blease Farm.  I took the path across Blease Gill that ran by a wall. It was very warm and sheep were trying to keep cool lying in the shade of the wall and the trees along this part of the route.  Along here I could hear a cuckoo, the sound was either bouncing around the valley or it was moving around. 

After another 1km I was at Gategill.  It was nice along here and I could see up to the high ridge where I had walked earlier.   

I crossed Doddick Gill and there was a little climb up onto the path back to the path.  A little further I reached the next gill where there was a steep climb down and a little climb back out.  It was then a steady walk to the footpath junction that I took back down to where I had parked the car.   

I had covered 11km with 750m of climb. A very good day walking.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.