Friday, 6 January 2017

Wedder Leap to The Cheviot - Northumberland 4 January 2017.

Wedder Leap to The Cheviot
Distance 26km Climb 710m
Wednesday 4 January 2017

Number 48 on ITV's Britain's Favourite Walks shown January 2018.

It was very cold when I left the car park at Wedder's Leap (240m). I had walked this route in reverse a few months ago as part of my Northumberland Challenge Day 2.

I crossed the road to the footbridge. My route over the stream followed the wall east. Moving through the gate, I followed the footpath north towards Barrowburn.

At the top of the field, through a gate the footpath joins a farm track heading north as it moves up by a small wood and drops down to run by a small stream. After a few hundred meters it then climbs steeply away from the stream.

After the climb, it drops down slightly to a gate into the wood on Middle Hill. The style was slippery due to the frost and cold. Through the wood the air was a lot warmer.

Following the footpath left, west through the trees it turns right and north again following a forest trail.

Since my last walk through here, a lot of the wood has been harvested on the eastern side. This has opened up the views across to The Middle and Hazely Law.

The path was muddy but firm due to the cold. Walking down hill to a style and across the side of The Middle, I continued to follow the footpath north. Over another a style, a track and I was walking along the western side of Hazely Law.

The higher I climbed I could see that ice had formed in the puddles, parts of the path would have been slippery with mud, fortunately with the cold the path was solid and on the whole good underfoot.

After a steep climb the path crested a rise before dropping down over a small stream, Hazely Slack, that runs into the wood on the left, the path then climbing again.

The Cheviot appeared to the right, a beautiful orange and brown colour, it looked stunning, unfortunately none of the photos did it justice.  A gentle, steady climb leads up to The Pennine Way (542m). The sun was shinning and the views brilliant. On reaching The Pennine Way I turned right, north east and headed towards The Cheviot.

Walking along the path was good in places but in others I had to take care as water had turned to ice. In some places due to the brightness of the sun I slipped on patches of black ice. Fortunately where I could see the ice on the path, the once deep, soft, bogs on the sides of the path were solid enough to walk on.

With a cold wind, very cold icy wind, direct in my face, I was concentrating so much on my footing I walked right passed the King Seat trig point (531m) without noticing it. The sun disappeared and it looked like it was turning cloudy as I climbed higher, typical. From a distance The Cheviot looked clear of cloud and now it was changing as I approached.

Reaching the style where The Pennine Way heads right, north west, towards the Mountain Refuge Hut, I used the style that continued right, east towards The Cheviot.

I was just about on time with my time estimation as I approached Cairn Hill (777m).

The views east was brilliant.

On the last part of the climb, just before The Cheviot came into view a few parts of the path were sheets of solid ice stretching far into the bogs on each side, so extra care was needed. I reached The Cheviot trig point (815m) which had stayed amazingly cloud clear.

The Cheviot trig point has been repaired since my last walk in August. A new concrete base, all the stones reset and the trig point stone mended. Really good work, thank you to those who did this work.

While having a hot cup of tea from my new flask, and a sandwich I was joined by a couple, who had walked up from Langleeford. The only people I had seen on my walk. After a few minutes they walked on west and were going back to their car along the footpath south from Cairn Hill.

Once I had finished my tea and sandwich, I set off returning by the same route I had come in on.

In places where there are no stones, the ground was solid, no give at all. In places I had to take care as the grass was like glass, so slippery. It was along here I noticed that I could not get any water from my Camelbak as the water in the drinking straw had frozen.

I saw King Seat trig point (531m) on my return journey.

A little lower down the hill the temperature had risen a little and in places the ice had melted a little and water was now lying on ice, making it slippery and I had to be careful. On reaching the footpath junction towards Wedder's Leap I turned left and started heading down hill.

In places what had been solid ground on my walk up was now muddy and slippery on my way down. It was really quite warm compared to my walk up. Even the water in my Camelbak had defrosted.

At the bottom of Hazely Law, I crossed the track to walk the eastern side of The Middle. I could see the area of wood that had been harvested on Middle Hill.

Dropping down from The Middle, through the gate and up the forest track on Middle Hill. Turn right along the footpath, along another forest track, then turn left for a short step through the trees to reach the track that runs up to the gate on the south edge of the wood.

In the open follow the path up a short rise before dropping down to the stream.

Follow the stream a few hundred meters before climbing up beside the small wood. Then follow the path down to Barrowburn.

A left, south along the wall and a right, west over the field and footbridge back to Wedder's Leap and the car park.

A great day walking, cold but dry I had covered 26 km with 710m climb.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Roker Pier to Seaham - Tyne and Wear to Co Durham 29 Dec 2016.

Roker Pier to Seaham
Tyne and Wear to Co Durham
Distance 30km
Thursday 29 December 2016

It was an early start today, as I parked the car near Roker beach. I walked to the Roker Pier, to start my walk. The pier was closed so I could not walk down the pier.  I decided that today, as I had not walked south of this area before, I would just wander along the coast and see where it took me. I was looking forward to it.

A number of people were walking and standing around Roker Pier and the beach, all waiting for the sunrise. I took a good photo of a sunrise the other day, you can check it out by following the link to my walk South Shields to Roker Pier.

From the Roker Pier I headed south down Marine Walk to the start of the North Pier.

Passing the Yacht Club I was at the North Pier, I turned west and followed the walkway along by the River Wear.

I passed the marina, and realised I was following the signs marked ECP, (English Coastal Path).

This took me down by the National Glass Centre and the University of Sunderland.  It was along here a number of years ago my brother David and I had an opportunity to do some rowing, but I cannot remember the exact place.

Continuing by the river I followed the ECP signs up a road to the Wearmouth Bridge.

After crossing the bridge I walked back down towards the river on the south side of the river and headed east along the southern bank.

You can see how low the river is, compare this with photos later down the post.

The path leaves the river by the Fish Quay and climbs up a grassy bank joining the High Street. A little along the High Street the ECP turns sharp right and the path runs between houses to come out at the Town Moor.

I continued south by a wall by the Town Moor and came out at an industrial area. I had missed the ECP sign across the Moor, but it didn't matter. Continuing in a southerly direction I came out of the area onto Commercial Road Hendon. Where I found I was back on the ECP and followed the sign left down a road, under a railway bridge, signposted to Hendon Beach.

This was interesting, all new to me, a great walk. At the beach the ECP signs go on the high path, while I walked down to the promenade. The tide was out, a number of dog walkers were out on the beach. In places there was ice on the promenade making it slippery, so I had to take care. The air was cold and the weak sun was not clearing the frost. Fortunately the wind was a lot calmer than it had been the other day.

At the end of the promenade I considered walking the beach and rocks below the cliffs however the seaweed on the slipway was slippery and I did not knowing how far there was to walk before I would reach the next path from the beach, so I decided to walk along the tops. I walked back along the promenade a few hundred meters to a path that took me to the top. It is an easy climb to the tops and I rejoined the ECP.

The ECP follows near the cliff edge, the path gently twists and turns south. Nearly each turn provided a brilliant view of the rocks and beaches below, up and down the coast.

The path moves off the coast as it turns inland around a small dean and crosses a path that runs from Ryhope Village to the beach. The ECP moves east again on the top joining the coast on Halliwell Banks and continues south. After about 1 km the path moves west from the coast again along the north side of Ryhope Dean. Joining the road B1287, passing the County Durham border sign, after approx 50m the footpath turns left down a few broken steps to follow the top south edge of the dean. Back on the coast the path continues along the top of the cliff, the path drops down to cross a stream. On the other side after a short climb the path joins a set of steps that lead from the beach to a car park. Walking down onto the beach I continued along the beach.

In the past glass factories in the area, tipped spoilt glass straight into the sea off the coast here. Now it gets washed up on the beach, people pick it up, some make jewellery out of it. A number of people were out today all along the beach picking pieces of glass. Although this was the first time I have walked along to here, we have had the bairns here a few times, treasure hunting.  

I collected a few pieces as I walked along the stones and pebbles. I walked as far as I could on the beach before moving up onto the promenade.

I walked the promenade, looking to see if I could walk around the coastal rocks. No, I had to walk back along the promenade and took some steps up to the park that runs by North Road.

Following the path back down to the next inlet, where the HM Coastguard were practicing their drills. I looked at finding a way down to the beach. There looked like a path but I found the rocks were slippery only after I slipped and fell on them. So returned back up the bank to North Road I followed it around to North Terrace, I was glad I had to come this way as this was where I saw the famous War Memorial.

From the North Terrace I turned left at the roundabout and followed the road down towards Seaham marina. It looked interesting here so after a little wander about and a few photos I returned back up the steep bank to the roundabout.

I would have liked to walk the pier but there is a notice showing only members of the Seaham angling club have access.

Back at the roundabout I checked the time and saw I had time to go a little further south. I passed the docks and continued up the gentle incline. At the top of the incline, where the road turns down towards Nose's Point, I stopped and had my sandwiches.

After my sandwiches it was now time to turn and head back.

On my way, I dropped back down to glass beach to walk along and picked up a bit more treasure, the washed up glass. The tide was starting to come in now. I was returning north the way I had come south along the ECP.

On the B1287 crossing the County Durham to Tyne and Wear border the sign welcomed me to Sunderland.

Coming back along the tops I saw a couple of lads fishing from the top. On my walk south I did not think the tide would have come this far in.

There were loads of people on Hendon promenade now, mostly fishing. I followed the ECP across the top, back to the road passing under the railway bridge and at the top of the road turned right onto Commercial Road Hendon. I followed the ECP sign all the way back. Along here I met my friend Stan who I had not seen for a long time. Which made a brilliant day even better.

I followed the ECP signs that took me back on the Town Moor.

Down the road between houses, then left onto the High Street and down the bank, passed the fish quay onto the river side. Up to Wearmouth bridge and down the steps on the other side. Lads were fishing from both sides of the river. Compare how low the river was on earlier photos in this post.

As I passed the National Glass Centre, there was still enough light, so I thought I would walk around the back and have a quick look at St Peters Church, Monkwearmouth Abbey. This is the site of a twin monastery with the Monastery at St Pauls Jarrow.

Returning back to the river I followed the ECP sign back to the marina where I turned to follow the alternative ECP route sign back to Roker beach. Reaching the end of the C2C marker just as the light was fading.

It had been a good walk, I had covered approx 30km.

More to follow

Boz North 
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to walk from South Shields to Roker Pier. 23 December 2016.
Follow link to walk from Seaham to Blackhall Rocks. 12 July 2017.