Friday, 29 April 2016

Harnisha Hill, Nookerley Hill, and Catterick Moss - Weardale 28 April 2016

Harnisha Hill, Nookerley Hill, and Catterick Moss
Distance 20km
Thursday 28 April 2016

It was good to get out, my last planned wandering earlier this week was scuppered due to the bad weather. Today although cold started off clear nice and a lovely day for walking, but the forecast said it would change. I was in an area that was new to me and I was keen to get going. I had picked a roadside parking place on the B6278 from the map and left the car there (290m) and headed west along the road for a few hundred meters.  

As the road turns north I continued west along a grass path up a small rise towards a walled enclosure.

At the enclosure I adjusted my kit and put my gloves on. Although nice it was cold, I could see patches of snow lying on the hills to my north east.

As I was moving up hill I continued slightly north up to Stony Hill to follow the edge of the hill west. I was on open moorland.

After a small steep stretch I reached the trig point at Carrs Top (540m), the views were stunning.

After a quick cup of drinking chocolate I moved across the top of a very wide ridge that was very open and exposed before contoured around to the south west gaining height as I went. I had decided to come this way as it would be easier than dropping down to the valley bottom and climbing the other side.

The ground started becoming very undulating, I was walking up and down peat troughs and boggy ground with humps of moss that you had to step over and around, as I moved further south west to join a fence line running up Snowhope Hill. Although the going was easier nearer the fence there was still a number of peat troughs and bog to negotiate.

I followed the fence line south to the boundary line at (650m). Where I turned left and followed the boundary line east. Again there were many peat troughs, stream lines and boggy ground to cross, very hard going. Before the ground started to rise onto soft stony ground at (584m).

It was along here I started to feel hail stone flurries hitting me, coming from the south and they stung. I could see rain falling in the valley where I had left the car.  Another small dip and climb up again to the Raven Seat trig point (589m) on Harnisha Hill.

I sat in the shelter of the trig point and had a cup of chocolate, at first there were good views but as I sat there the wind picked up blowing clouds fast which soon obscured my view back across to the west, and bringing with it more hail stones. The wind was also pushing cold air I could feel the drop in temperature. I had my sandwiches in my little shelter and checked my map, I decided I would get to the road and reassess the situation. If the weather became too bad I knew I could follow the road down hill back to my car.

Visibility was greatly reduced due to the low cloud and hail stones when I reached the road. Should I go on with my route or turn south down the road.

I decided that there was time to go a little further and see if visibility improved. If it did not I could just turn back to the road. So I crossed the road and climbed up to the currick (535m).

There is no fence along the boundary here so I was using a bearing to walk on keeping me heading in the right direction. Visibility was poor, but opened up a little as I walked to a rise from where I could see Pawlaw Pike down to my right, the footpath I was after was to the left, east of the Pike.

The map shows a footpath running south west to north east beside Pawlaw Pike, it is a very good track that I followed for approx 1 km until it reached the bottom of Five Pikes. From the track I headed north east up to the Five Pikes trig point (478m). Walking along the track the hailstones stopped and gave me a little relief. Climbing up to Five Pikes trig point it started to snow, cold and wet. I did not hang about.

From the Five Pikes trig point I headed north over Nookerley Hill as the snow came down. Every now and again the clouds lifted and the vista would open up below me.

I was moving north, down hill towards the reservoir at Whitfield Brow.

In places the grass was slippery and I had to take care walking down. Reaching the track at the bottom. The weather lifted a little and it was no longer snowing.

Here I could walk west along the road back to the car or try and get another hill in.  As the weather had lifted and I still had time I would push on with my original plan. I crossed the bridge (240m) over Bollihope Burn and walked up the rise north of the stream, walking west behind the wood.

I was looking for the footpath north. As I climbed I joined another footpath that crossed at a track junction with the two paths, from here I took a bearing for Catterick Moss. It had started snowing again.

The higher I climbed the heavier the snow was falling. The weather although it had eased when I was at the bottom was turning bad again. I climbed another small rise and I could see the trig point high to my right, I was walking on a good line. After a few more minutes climb I reached Catterick Moss trig point (426m).

I did not hang about, after a couple of photos I was walking directly south, facing straight into the snow. A couple of times snow flakes or hail stones hit my eyes and I had to stop and wait for the sting in my eyes to clear so I could proceed. As I cleared a rise I could see my car, not that far away, now.

I soon reached the track near a disused quarry near some trees, I walked west along the track. Down here the snow was falling as rain. It was only a short step across a ford, and up the bank on the other side to reach the road and walk the few meters back to the car.

Although wet I had had a really enjoyable day out. I had walked approx 20 km with 635 m climb. I like it here and would like to come back again, hopefully sometime soon.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Dod Hill via Reaveley and Heddon - Northumberland 21 April 2016

Dod Hill via Reaveley and Heddon
Distance 16km
Thursday 21 April 2016

It was a beautiful day and I was looking forward to my walk. I parked the car just over the bridge (140m) and walked along a path east on the north side of the River Bremish. This turned into more of an animal track and was slippery in places.

It was very warm as I was followed the stream up the re-entrant heading north east.

At the top I was near what we used to call the cafe, on Reaveley Hill. When my children were young this was where I said there was a cafe, just to get them up the hill. It is an old farm building, but when we got there I would pull out the sandwiches and a bottle of pop from my bag. Simple things but I don't think the children were impressed. Anyway a lot of water has flowed down Shivers Cleugh since then.

As the ground levelled of I turned west. Walking across the open fell I heard a buzzing sound to my right and an old propeller plane flew overhead, north to south. It looked good and was too fast for me to get a photo. A number of bees were in the area and sounded like the plane. I soon reached the Reaveley Hill trig point (301m). Stunning views. I could see that a large part of Threestoneburn Wood had been harvested, since I was last here and work was continuing today.

After a cup of tea and a biscuit, I set off again north. My route took me down hill and through a gate. I was crossing rough open countryside, I could not fault the views. At the next fence I turned left onto a grass footpath down to the corner of the field.

Turning north I followed the fence line next to a stream. At the north end of the field I passed through a gate and joined another footpath that headed north east. The footpath crossed another small enclosure but I could see most people had walked around, as there were a few sheep with lambs lying down enjoying the warmth of the sun, I walked around the enclosure.

Passing the fence the ground dropped steeply down to a stream, although the ground was soggy it was not to bad as it would have been had it been raining. Up the bank on the other side I joined another track which crossed a road then I went through a gate up to Heddon Hill . A sign on the gate shows where they would like you to walk. On Heddon Hill (277m) I sat and had another cup of tea and ate my sandwiches enjoying the views. There was a little cloud forming on The Cheviot.

I returned back to the gate at the bottom of Heddon Hill following the route I had taken up as shown on the sign. I turned west and walked the path towards The Dod. Passing a few sheep pens with a number of sheep and lambs, it made me feel really happy. I had never walked north passed the cafe, in this area before and was enjoying it. At the footpath sign I turned right, north.

I crossed over the rise, crossed the fence and dropped down to the footbridge over the stream.

Over the stream I turned right and follow the stream before turning left and starting the climb up Dod Hill. I found it very steep. At the top the views were brilliant, fantastic. I was really enjoyed it and took loads of photos.

From Dod Hill I dropped down west over some rough ground, crossed a track that was being used to move the wood from Threestoneburn Wood. Over a style and the track I followed a grass path up to Middleton Crags (404m)

Here I found another beautiful spot. Time was now passing and I should start thinking about heading back. So I dropped downhill to Steel Crag.

I decided to follow the wood line south. It was nice and cool in the shade of the trees.

The walking was easy as it first dropped down. Then as I passed the edge of the harvested area the way was not so easy and the ground was very rough as it dropped down to a stream. The route did not become any easier as it started climbing again. Work was going on in the wood so I moved south east away from the fence line. I followed a track which soon disappeared and I was soon walking across very rough heather ground with bog and many holes. In part no worse than some of the rough ground I had already crossed. Not to worry I soon reached the fence junction at the bottom of Cunyan Crags. From there it was easy walking down, south, near the Knock Burn.

Where I joined the road and turned left and followed it back to my car.

Great Day, brilliant so good. 16km walking with 570m climb.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow links to other walks in this area.
Shill Moor - Ingram Valley 15 July 2015
Cochrane Pike - Ingram Valley 30 Dec 2013
Great Standrop via Hedgehope Hill - Ingram Valley 2 Feb 2013
Hedgehope Hill - Ingram Valley 12 Jan 2013
Shill Moor Cairn - Ingram Valley 27 Dec 2012

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Westernhope Moor - Weardale 1 April 2016

Westernhope Moor
Distance 16km
Friday 1 April 2016

I left the car at a picnic/carpark site at Haswicks (270m). I turned left east at the road and walked to the road junction.

At the junction I met a local and he talked about the rain that was to come, I had seen the forecast and knew it was coming, but for now it was nice and dry and clear. I had seen the path which was on my map and took this south off the junction.

The path follows a narrow lane that turns south west by a stream beside some caravans, the lane turns east over a narrow bridge next to a waterfall. Unfortunately the photo of the waterfall has not come out very well.

Over the bridge the path starts to climb east then south east. After approx 500m it turns south west and continues to climb. A Lapwing greeted me in the field on my right.

At the top of the bank there is a gate. I crossed through the gate and continued south along a grass path beside a fence.

After crossing open steep ground I followed a wall along Blackhill End.

At the top corner I had to cross the wall to reach the trig point at 559m.

After a short break to pull on some warm clothes. I headed south along the wall, the ground dropped a little before climbing up again, I followed in the direction south by a fence line.  The ground changed, it turned very mossy over peat ground, soggy in places. Not easy to walk on.

I could see a line I wanted to follow up to the top ridge, it had snow in places.

After crossing boggy soft ground which gave me the impression not many people had walked here I reached the snow patches, which I followed up hill south across Westernhope Moor to the boundary line. It was hard going in places.

The temperature was dropping and the wind picking up as I moved east along the fence line. I saw a number of curricks. That I had to take a closer look at.

I returned to the fence line across the rough ground walking up hill I crossed the fence and reached the 675m trig point. It was very cold on the tops, after a short stop I turned west along the boundary.

I walked the south side where there was a rough wooden track, very wet and in parts some of the wood was rotten.

After a couple of km I crossed back over the fence, the wind was very strong at times so strong I could not open my eyes. I found a little dip on the leeward side where I had a quick snack, part of my salad blew out the box. During my break, I could see the rain clouds blowing over from the south, fortunately I was now heading north. A total change in how the day started.

Walking north east back across Black Hill the rain clouds were following.

A few meters down the hill from the trig point the weather changed, it turned warm and it appeared that the rain clouds has also lifted a little.

I followed the wall down Blackhill End, climbed a gate on my left, crossed the field west, climbed another gate and joined the lane I had walked earlier in the day up the hill.  I followed the lane back down hill.

Crossed the bridge and walked the path back to the road junction and on back to the carpark at Haswicks. I had covered approx 16 km with approx 450 m climb. I will have to come back, although hard going in places a very beautiful area.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.