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Nordic Walk - Herrington Country Park and Penshaw Monument

Nordic Walk - Herrington Country Park and Penshaw Monument

Sun 15th November 2015

Watching the weather forecast during the week I wasn't sure this walk would go ahead but this morning the forecast said it would be dry until 2 pm.

We met in the car park at Herrington Country Park, discussions took place around the amount of layers, whether we needed waterproof trousers and gaiters.  Once everyone was suitably dressed we did our warm up and headed off past the play park.

We had a few regulars and some people we hadn't seen for a while but as always you couldn't tell as everyone chatted to each other.

As is usual for a Julie Nordic Walk we ended up on the wrong path and nearly ended up back at the cars. Underfoot we had mud and puddles.  Made for interesting conversations.  Quick change of direction and we headed around the Country Park which was the old coalfield.  We visited two of the structures where we had a fantastic view of Penshaw Monument as well as the surrounding area.  John explained that we were in the Barrier Reef of the North East.  We walked past the new houses and up onto the footpath before reaching Penshaw Tea Rooms, just to tease everyone.

We headed up the bridleway at the side of the hill up to Penshaw Monument, queue lots of complaints due to the mud which would become the theme of the walk.

I explained the route we were going to take and we headed along the Weardale Way which runs alongside the River Wear.  The river was running very fast with a lot of debris including large pieces of trees.  The funniest thing to watch was the ducks who were floating down river before flying to go up river.  We spotted the heron which is always on this stretch of river and some red winged thrush which migrate from Scandanavia (information courtesty of John).

Debbie spotted the signpost which showed Penshaw was 1 mile away but was disappointed to hear that that wasn't our route.  We headed towards Offerton and onto the old railway line.  There were a few areas of water along the path which we could skirt around.  Unfortunately this didn't last as we came across a section which was totally flooded, there was no alternative so we just had to plodge through it.  We all had wet feet and it was up to our ankles unfortunately for the shorter members of our group, Debbie and Angela, were up to mid calf.  The flooded section was only 20-30 metres long but at least it cleaned our shoes.  We continued along the railway path to the spot where we retraced our steps back towards Penshaw Monument.

The group split in two with Laura taking one group straight down to the tea shop and I took the rest of the group up to Penshaw Monument which is a 70 foot high folly built in 1844.  Most people hadn't been to Penshaw Monument so they took some time to explore and look at the scenery before we headed down the stairs to the Penshaw Tea Room.

As there were lots of us we had booked a table as the Tea Room is usually packed.  They weren't bothered by how muddy and wet we were so we ordered quiche, pie, cheese scones, cherry and chocolate scones, Mars Bar pavlova, white chocolate torte were the order of the day with lots of tea. 
I hope you all agree it was a great and varied walk and that the Tea Shop at the end made the wet feet worth it.

Thank you as always to Laura for her invaluable support as back marker and more importantly listening to Debbie complain all the way around.

Our next Nordic Walk is on 13th December 2015 which is the Simonside walk were we will be visiting the Christmas tree at Dove Crag, I hope to see you there.

Don't forget to check the website in the next couple of weeks for our 2016 Nordic walking programme.

If I don't see you have a lovely Christmas and I hope to see you next year.

Julie x

comments
Posted By: Jon Monks | Mon 16th November 2015

Looks like a great Nordic Walk and can't believe you did not get wet!

Posted By: christine abbott | Mon 16th November 2015

Thoroughly enjoyed the day and the gorgeous pie and cake at the end, well worth it. Also enjoyed the unexpected paddle but never mind skin is waterproof, shame the boots weren't. Looking forward to December 13th. Thanks Julie and Laura.

Posted By: John Marshall | Mon 16th November 2015

Terrific variety again from Julie. So warm in mid November that I walked in shirt sleeves, so wet underfoot that I needed waders. Out of the breeze in the wood alongside the river the climate felt like tropical rain forest. Sadly what appeared to be parrots squawking turned out to be Julie laughing (probably at Debbie).The birds we saw were redwings, a small thrush. The barrier reef is part of a Permian limestone plateau,visible as the generally conical shaped hillocks on either side of the A19 from Sunderland down to Hart.Thanks Julie.

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