Cragside Challenge Walk - guided group
Tue 7th July 2015
The day started sunny and everyone met near the start and I checked them off the register. Everyone started chatting to each other, some people knew each other and were regular walkers with Shepherds Walks whereas some were new walkers and had travelled from the Wigan and Warrington.
We headed off following the route through Cragside, this is relatively challenging as Cragside Estate isn’t flat and the terrain was varied. The route through Cragside is around 2 miles and is different every year.
We followed the Whitton Hillhead route (which is one of my favourites) passing Sharp’s Folly where we stopped for everyone to catch up and take layers off if they needed to. The next part of the Challenge is relatively flat before the hill heading towards Lordenshaws cup and ring. Some members of the group kept up their fast pace and made the hill in one go, which is quite an achievement, whereas some members “stopped to admire the view”. At the top of the hill we waited for everyone to catch up before we headed to Checkpoint 1. A few people were Nordic walking and one of the ladies (Laura) was amazed at herself as she didn’t stop.
Next stop was checkpoint 1 where we were checked off by Sharon and Moira and had the opportunity to top up our water and Edith very kindly handed around chocolates.
Once everyone was sorted I pointed out the next part of the route up to Dove Crag part of the Simonside range. This part of the route is like a set of stairs but very challenging. We met at the top and some members took the opportunity to have a sit down, Ruth had her picture taken to prove she had made it that far.
Next we headed down towards the Firebreak road where one of our group was struggling and decided to withdraw from the walk, along with her companion for the day. I asked everyone to make their way to the top where there was a viewpoint and I would catch them up once I had summoned Jon in the support vehicle. Once the ladies were picked up I ran up the hill to rejoin the group. A lot of the group had taken the opportunity to have a sandwich. Everyone packed up and we headed towards the Forest and down the path heading to checkpoint 2 at Tosson Lime Kiln where we would stop for lunch. Funnily enough the pace picked up at the mention of lunch.
At checkpoint 2 we were welcomed by Bev, Lois and Paul. We all sat down with cups of tea/coffee and our lunch in the sun and chilled out.
We were heading off towards Thropton when we heard Harry over the radio worried about the drone. Everyone was listening intently and laughing as Harry was very concerned that the drone was coming down and he had no control and he was worried about the hedge. Panic over the drone landed safe and sound.
We were just coming up to Thropton Bridge when one of the group had an issue with his shoe, the sole had come away and he was unable to continue on. Again Jon in the support vehicle was summoned and we left Chris (the sweep) and the member of the group waited to be picked up as the rest of us carried on.
Everyone was still in great spirits and when we got into Cragside Estate we waited at the little bridge so we could wait for Martyn and Chris, who were both raising money, the RVS (Royal Voluntary Society) and RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) respectively and we could finish together and the drone would be ready to get live shots of us finishing. Once the finish was in sight I did my usual sprint to the end so that I could cheer everyone over the line.
Well done everyone on completing the Challenge. I hope you all had a fabulous time and hope to see you all again.