Sunday, 19 July 2015

Shill Moor - Ingram Valley - Northumberland 15 July 2015.

Shill Moor - Ingram Valley
Distance 19.5km Climb 690m
Wednesday 15 July 2015

For years I had been telling my friend Ian about how lovely I had always found Ingram Valley.  A few weeks ago when I was talking with Ian he suggested we go and I could show him how lovely it was. We arranged a date and time and today was the day, brilliant.  

I always enjoy walking in this area I call Ingram Valley, but is Breamish Valley.  It was a lovely day and the sky was a brilliantly clear blue, I could not remember when I last saw the sky so clear.  We arrived at the Bulby Wood car park (130m), where they are still working on the toilet block.  From the car park we took the path west up Brough Law.

On our way up Brough Law, I pointed out the old farm building on Reaveley Hill.  Years ago when I used to walk my children in the area, I used to call the old farm building the cafe on the hill, it was one way to encourage them walking up the hill.

Brough Law (300m) is one of a number of old settlements in the area, this place had always felt like coming home, I don’t know why, it just does.  I pointed out Cunyan Crags on the side of Dunmoor Hill and a number of other features including our possible route. It was good to share the details with Ian. 

The cafe from Brough Law

From Brough Law we moved south east across Ewe Hill on grass tracks. We were moving towards another old settlement shown as a fort on the map, passing through a gate we crossed a field with high ferns covering most of the paths. The last time I was here it was very wet with patches of snow and it was slippery in places. Today it was very dry.  

Ian at the fort

From the fort we moved west up and across the side of the hill, towards Chesters Burn. Coming across the edge of the hill we moved down towards the burn among high ferns.  At the bottom of the hill we walked through the gate on the east side of the wood and crossed the stream with no problem, very different to the last time I crossed the burn.  We then walked up a narrow steep path through what had been a felled wood, which had high grass and ferns, where nature was now taking over.  Passing through the gate on the west side of the wood we started the gentle climb west towards Chesters 

Ian with Chesters behind
 In the past I had always found this ground to be very wet, even when the weather has been very dry, it was very dry today.  

From Chesters (270m) we headed up and over the ridge, continuing west.  I enjoyed pointing out a few of the distant features to Ian and how they looked differently from this view, before we continued on the path downhill towards the wood next to Cobden Burn.  We then moved downhill, as we moved out the wood the ground levels off, we continued west towards Alnhammoor (210m), we could hear jets flying in the area.  

Ian heading towards Alnhammoor
At Alnhammoor we crossed the bridge over the stream and continue west along the path. We stopped for a short break and a little lunch.

Looking towards Shill Moor
After passing through a gate there is a small drop down to another stream, crossing the stream over a narrow bridge made out of two wooden railway sleepers.  The path we followed took us by Shank Burn before we started up a steady climb up the Scaud. 

The higher we moved the views were brilliant.  We soon reached Shill Moor (528m) and could see for miles, we could see the big white ball at Boulmer.  

After taking a few photos we turned back and walked down the hill the way we had walked up.  Moving down the hill we could get a better view of the countryside.  It did not take us long to reach the footbridge to Alnhammoor.  From Alnhammoor we walked the footpath on the east of the farm and over the road bridge where we turned south on the other side of the River Bremish and took the footpath on the south side of Hartside Hill.  

This starts with a climb and we took a path towards the top and turned south east a little towards the south east corner. 

At the bottom again we turned north and followed the stream.  The area was full of young grouse.  Years ago I used to bring my children here and we would splash about in the water in a few deep pools.  This area had changed a lot since I was last here.  We tried to follow a low path by the stream but had to move back and climb a little over a rocky area before dropping again to the stream.  

We continued north by the stream and reached the road.  At the road we turned right, north east and walked back to Bulby Wood car park.  We had covered approx 19.5km with 690m climb. 

Thanks Ian I had a good day walking, looking forward to our next wander.

More to follow

Boz North

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

South Shields to Roker Pier - Tyne and Wear 13 July 2015.

South Shields to Roker Pier
Tyne and Wear
Distance 30km
Monday 13 July 2015

It had been some time since I last did this walk, today I would start on the Lawe Top at the Arbeia Roman Fort. I put my waterproof on as it started raining. I headed north to the road that I could follow round east towards the two old beacons.  

Across the river I saw HMS Tyne that was here to support the Mouth of the Tyne festival last weekend.

Passed the old Pilot’s house and walked down through the North Marine Park. This took me near to the Little Haven Hotel.

I passed the figures and took the path to the beach, the sand was wet from the rain and I could see the path I was making. Someone had pitched a small tent, and used wine bottles as pegs.  Probably still sleeping it off. 

Once on the beach I turned left, north again towards the Groyne. 

After taking a few pictures, I returned to the sand and followed the low tide water line of the Little Haven beach south towards the pier.  This area had changed such a lot since I was last here.  There was now a new promenade.

On reaching the start of the pier I turned left off the sand and headed east along the pier. The tide was out and many of the rocks were exposed. There were only a couple of people fishing but they appeared not to be having much luck, while the black headed gulls and cormorants were constantly diving for fish. I presume they were having more luck than the fishermen.

I found the weather at the end of the pier, fairer than at the start, so I took a few photos and turned round and returned to the beach. No sign of the seal today.

In May Anne and I visited Chatsworth House and in one of the rooms it has a number of oil painted panels of Tynemouth Castle and Priory.

At the turn I turned left and headed south along the cleared path, the last time I was here the sand had been blown high across this walkway.  This took me to the covered promenade which I continued by south.  Some sort of sand cleaning, litter picker vehicle was being used and the sand did look lovely.  I passed a number of RNLI stations which had not been there before, all ready for the holiday visitors when the weather turns nice.  Not today though, although showery it was still warm. 

On my way passed Trow Rocks I walked up to see the gun. I thought the gun emplacement was from the war, but the notice shows guns had been positioned here since the end of the 19th century. Trow Rocks is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. As I moved south from Trow Rocks a man stopped me and asked about an owl that was now living on the cliff face in the area.  Unfortunately I did not know anything about it so could not help him.  

I continued south on the path along the coast line beside the Leas. The path twists and turns, following very close to the cliff.  

I took the path down to the beach that leads along to Marsden Grotto. I could see the tide was starting to come in.  I could also see the effect of erosion on the coast as I noticed holes and gaps in the rocks that I had not noticed on my last walk along here.

I took the steep stairs up by the Grotto back to the cliff path and continued heading south towards Souter lighthouse. 

North of Souter lighthouse there is still the markings of a carpark, which is now closed due to the erosion of the cliffs below.  Another sign also shows in this area a community used to live and work here but were moved out due to the erosion threatening the area. 

I continued south along the path towards Whitburn and the now disused rifle range. 

Continuing south I passed Whitburn cottages and walked along the promenade. I could see the tide was coming in on Roker beach so rather than take to the sand I took the cat and dog steps up to the high path and walked passed St Bede’s Cross. 

I took the path down to join another promenade that took me to the start of the Sunderland pier. Along here I passed people eating fish and chips and the chips smelt so good.  I had a short break with my salad before walking along the renovated pier.

After a few photos I retraced my steps most of the way back to South Shields. Occasionally I had my coat off then on due to the showers. I did not go down to Marsden Grotto as the tide was in and I would not be able to move along the beach. 

After a look at the new promenade I took the steps up to the Lawe Top and my car.

I had had a really good day and learnt a few things about the area that I had not previously known, in all I had walked over 30 km, and was looking forward to my tea.

More to follow  

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to another walk from South Shields to Roker Pier 23 December 2016
Follow link to another walk from South Shields to Roker Pier 16 March 2013