Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Simonside - Northumberland 27 March 2016

Distance 8km
Sunday 27 March 2016

Following my walk in the area earlier in the week I brought Anne along today Easter Sunday, you will see from the photos it was very blowy and started cold. It was going to be a short walk just to get a start for our family walk later in the year.

I left the car in the car park at the foot of The Beacon. First I took Anne north along the part of The St Oswald's Way up to the hill fort to see the famous cup and ring stones.

It was then back down the hill and we followed the path south east towards the Beacon. Passed the junction where the St Oswald's Way turned south west, we continued west and up.

From The Beacon it we walked along the ridge.

Over Dove Crag Cairn and towards Old Stell Crag. The wind was picking up and blowing in flurries of rain.

Today walking passed the cairn I noticed old carvings and graffiti on the rocks. It was only on the rocks in this place and included Crosses. I did not notice any marks on any of the rocks on the ridge.

Rain was starting to fall heavy as we reached Simonside so after a few photos we turned back and walked the way we had come.

On the way back the rain was getting heavy, and stung like hail as we sought shelter amongst the marked rocks which is near the lion head.

After a few minutes the rain cleared and the sun started coming out, still windy mind.

Whether it was the weather or not there were certainly a lot fewer red grouse in the area than there had been earlier in the week. We continued back the way we had come. Walking down from The Beacon it turned warm and we could then hear red grouse. I am sure I also hard a skylark.

It had been good to get out stretch our legs. We had covered approx 8 km with 200 m climb.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Tosson Hill Rothbury - Northumberland 23 March 2016

Tosson Hill Rothbury
Distance 15km
Wednesday 23 March 2016

I had originally looked at this as a way to check out part of the St Oswald's Way but found I would look further around the area.  I parked my car at a carpark shown on the map at grid NZ 064 987 (200m). Crossing the road I climbed the gate and headed along a little gully north. Climbing a slight rise there was a slight drop before starting a climb up to the trig point Garleigh Moor (268m).

Looking west I could see a cloud of smoke from where they were burning heather. This was where I was now going to head.  I could see a number of similar fires all over the areas. Wednesday must be burning day.

Looking at my map I saw the details of a hilltop fort to my west so thought I would take a look and try and find one of the cup and ring marked stones. Walking across heather and open country.

From the fort I headed south west to the car park at the bottom of The Beacon. I crossed the road and started up the track up The Beacon.

There was a lot of Red Grouse in the area. Walking up The Beacon I decided to continue up and along the ridge west rather than follow St Oswald's Way south west. On my way up I saw this fellow near the track.

A little further another Red Grouse was sitting by a rock pool.

As I climbed The Beacon (360m) I took the opportunity to look back and I could see the markings on the hill of the hilltop fort where I had been previously.

I continued along the ridge up onto Dove Crag (393m) and passed a couple of runners on their way down.

Continuing along I climbed Old Stell Crag. Along here the path has large stones to walk on to protect the peat.

Where I saw the lion in the rocks on the far side. In parts this area reminded me of some walks I had done in the Peak District.

Then I was up onto the cairn at Simonside (430m). I could see part of the wood to the west had been harvested. This was where I was heading after taking the steep path down.

From the bottom of the hill I continued west up the path next to the felled wood. Passing through a gate at the top of the rise. Then I was walking in open moorland.

I continued along south west towards Tosson Hill (440m).

After a short break and a look at my map I had a quick think about where I was going to go next. Should I continue south west or walk back the way I had come. As they were burning heather if I continued south west I decided to keep away from that area and turned south east and headed across country to Lamb Cairn.

I could see large areas of the woods had been harvested, again as the other day a lot of replanting had also taken place. From Lamb Cairn I continued along a path south east to a track. I crossed the track and walked a gravel track south east, the track turns sharp right, I continued up a grass rise to Blackcock Cairn.

I walked east to Coquet Cairn and joined the St Oswald's Way, which had been my intention to walk originally. I would like to come back another day and check this out.

I was enjoying walking this part of St Oswald's Way, it seams unspoilt as I walked down hill to cross the ford walking up to Spylaw.

Spylaw the internet shows me is a scout ran building which can be booked and used by other groups for walking in the area.

The map shows the St Oswald's Way moves across country however the signs keep you on the track as it heads east then turns north east.

Where it joins the path I had walked earlier up The Beacon. On the way I felt a few splashes of rain which just stopped as soon as it started.

On reaching this car park, instead of turning down the road south east towards the car park where I left my car, I continued on The St Oswald's Way. I was looking for the cup and ring marked stones shown on the information board. There are a few stones with ancient marks on them, but this is the one shown on the panel.

Leaving the cup and ring marked stone I headed south east across country and climbed the ridges back to the car park where I had left the car.

I had enjoyed today, this was the first time I had walked this area. I had covered approx 15 km with 550m climb. I will come back.

More to follow

Boz North

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Shillmoor to Hazely Law via Shillhope Law - Northumberland 21 March 2016

Shillmoor to Hazely Law via Shillhope Law
Distance 17km Climb 820m
Monday 21 March 2016

This was another walk I saw on The Cheviot Hills walkabout website, from Geoff Holland. I have attached a link to his site, this one is titled High Above Coquet. 

I parked my car on the hard standing across the stream to Shillmoor (200m).

Walked west along the road and turned right, east, after crossing the bridge. Passed in front of the farm house and turned left, north, up the track walking up hill. I then followed a dirt grass path that followed the wall climbing north west towards Shillhope Law. It had been a number of years since I last walked up here. Too many to stop and think about.

The path continues to climb and the wall is replaced by a fence, after a short while I crossed a gate and continued climbing north, north west. As I reached Inner Hill I decided to take the path up and over rather than round to the right. The air was full of the sounds of singing Meadow Pipits, lovely.

Looking north from Inner Hill 436m
 After a slight drop of Inner Hill I was climbing again, northerly, by the fence. At the top there is a gate which I crossed to walk west up to the Shillhope Law trig point 501m.

Shillhope Law 501m 
 I took a few minutes orientating myself and getting my breath back. Then following Geoff Holland's instruction returned to the fence and headed north to a fence junction and gate.

Where I followed the path across open country to where it joins the track from Barrowburn.

I turned right and headed north east on the track. Geoff Holland's instruction does not come as far down as the path. The track starts to climb as I caught a flash of yellow, by the time I got my camera ready it had gone. Checking later I think it was a Grey Wagtail, it certainly moved like a wagtail, beautiful.

Looking south towards Barrowburn.

The track dropped slightly to a gate into the wood. I could hear birds singing as I approached.

In the wood I could hear movement across to my right in the trees, as I took the track to the left. Further on I passed an area of mud which had a number of animal tracks. I held my camera ready to take a picture of anything that moved, it has been awhile since I was last out in the fresh air on such a nice day and I did not want to miss a thing. Unfortunately I did not see anything, but felt a million eyes on me?

The track turns back onto the other path where I turned left and moved towards the gate leaving Middle Hill. Through the trees I could see The Middle which was where I was heading next.

On The Middle (399m), you can take a path to the right or as I did go up and over the top. From the top I could see my path north up Hazely Law and looking south east I could see my path back along Clennell Street which would be my return.

I continued north and crossed the gravel track that leads to Uswwayford.

Then I had the climb up Hazely Law (499m). At the top the views where stunning. I was sure I could see Great Staindrop and Hedgehope to the north east.

Shillhope Law to the south. After a look around I found a little dip on the leeward side of the hill which gave me a little shelter from the wind, where I had a quick break and snack.

Returning to the bottom of Hazely Law I took the footpath south onto Clennell Street. This crosses a fence before dropping down to a footbridge. Passed the waterfall shown on the map, this looks a good place to bring the bairns.

Then a short climb up to the woods. It had been nice all day but now I was starting to get a little too warm. In Geoff Holland's description he talks about the forest. However today much of the wood is being harvested and in places you can see where it has been replanted. 

I continued south east along Clennell Street passed a lorry loading up with wood.

At the second footpath sign on the right, on the east side of Saughy Hill, I turned south west. This took me over a fence to an area still very wet, but was no problem to cross. Over another style and towards another hill.

Then I was on the path south towards Copper Snout and Saugh Rigg.

The area was full of Meadow Pipits. Looking west I could see the massive bowl on the east side of Inner Hill next to Shillhope Law.

I followed the path round as it turned north west to Shillmoor and back to the car.

It had been a brilliant walk and I am pleased I have found Geoff Holland's website. Looking forward to doing a few more of his walks.

Today I had covered 17 km with approx 820m climb.

More to follow 

Boz North 
Details correct at time of writing
Follow link to another walk from Shillmoor - 14 Oct 2015