Housesteads to Allendale
Thu 12th June 2014
Had Sundance done enough to influence the Rain Gods? He had soft shoe shuffled, he had even washed and reproofed his over trouser. Sunday dawned bright and warm, question was would it stay this way? By the time all the group had assembled at Allendale it was still bright with sunny periods BUT the wind just had an edge to it.
On arriving at Housesteads the first order of the day was a loo stop and after walking about ten meters or so it was group photo time. It was only now that the walk proper started, except we were walking northwards and uphill when we should be going south and down into the Tyne valley! On reaching Housesteads Roman Fort the track swung south and downhill. It was here that Mike took great delight in pointing out two radio mast in the far distance, Why? Although Mike had assured us it was downhill all the way, yet we still managed to have at least five uphill sections. On the positive side we have now managed to train Mike into stopping for 11 o’clock ish coffee break.
Crossing the A69 was time consuming and was no were as pleasant as crossing the R. South Tyne by the bridge leading to Ridley Hall. Crossing the Tyne also meant we were leaving the Cheviots behind and entering the North Pennines and whole new set of geology for Mike to get excited about.
A short walk brought us to the National Trust’s estate of Allen Bank. The woodland path followed the west bank of the R. Allen up to Planky Mill, where we stopped for lunch. After lunch we crossed the wooden bridge to the east bank and now followed that side of the river heading for the hardest climb of the day. After 2Km the path splits and we took the one up to Staward Peel (remains of) it was very steep and slippery. When we got to the peel the remains are somewhat disappointing to say the least. Continuing on the narrow ridge allowed glimpses through the trees back to where we started the day and forward to the end of the day. From here we were back in to the open with views all round. We crossed a couple of fields before crossing the A686 at High Staward.
After we reached the high point of the minor road we now realised why Mike had pointed the radio masts we were only a couple of hundred of meters away from them. We now began to descend back down into the valley for the final stint along the banks of the East Allen river towards Allen Dale Town the last mile seemed to take forever and then to top it off we had another steep uphill section back in to the town centre and the coffee shop (just managed it 15 minutes before it closed). Yes Sundance had pulled it off a dry Day.