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Tue 10th September 2019

Hartside to High Cantle

Hartside to High Cantle

Hartside to High Cantle – September 8th 2019

It was a glorious September morning as we drove up the Breamish Valley to Hartside – our starting point for today’s walk. Mark welcomed everyone – in particular those walkers new to Shepherds Walks – and outlined the route for the day.

As we walked down to Alnammoor farm and began the steady ascent up Little Dod to join Salters Road lovely clear views of the surrounding hills were enjoyed. At a coffee stop Mark talked about the old drovers and traders routes which traverse the Cheviots and in particular Salters Road. We passed to remote farms of Low and High Bleakhope ( the latter now sadly unoccupied) and stopped for lunch at a sheepfold at the foot of High Cantle. Unfortunately a huge number of midges forced us to quickly vacate the area and climb out of the valley to a much more comfortable rocky outcrop. It was after this short but steep climb that ongoing discussions began regarding Mark’s definition of a climb, an incline and a hill!

The remainder of the walk over the moor via Rig cairn to Linhope was quite simply stunning with magnificent panoramic views and the mass that is Hedgehope and Comb Fell rising above us. Mark took the opportunity to give a very brief history of the Border Reivers and Border Law.

Before returning to the cars at Hartside we made the short detour to take in Linhope Spout which is always a lovely spot although today the aroma of several BBQ’s spoilt the ambience somewhat! Mark thanked everyone for making the walk so enjoyable and wished all a safe journey home.


Thu 22nd August 2019

Windy Gyle - 2019

Windy Gyle - 2019

Windy Gyle  - 17.08.19

After the heavy rain of recent days, it was with some relief that as we gathered at Weders Leap it was a bright clear day, albeit rather breezy and the forecast for the day was good.

Mark welcomed everyone, introduced Martin our Shepherds Walks volunteer and outlined the route. He advised that Windy Gyle would almost certainly live up to its name and that it would likely be rather wet underfoot. Fortunately we were all prepared for this eventuality.

Before we started the long and steady climb to the border ridge via the old drovers road The Street, Mark talked briefly about these ancient tracks which crossed the Cheviots and also the existence of many illicit whisky stills in the area and in particular the wonderfully named Slyme Foot Inn. Visibility was excellent and wonderful views of the surrounding hills were enjoyed as we approached the border and joined the Pennine way. Sadly there was no sign of the wild goats today.

The wind was now much stronger and threatening grey clouds were gathering as we made our way to Russell’s Cairn and the summit. Fortunately the visibility remained good and the panoramic views of the hills were almost at their best despite a few spots of rain. With the wind behind us we made our way to join Clenell Street where we stopped for a late lunch and Mark outlined the history of the Border Reivers and the events which transpired here in 1585 when Sir John Russell was murdered.

We followed the well defined path to Murder Cleugh, the scene of another dastardly deed in 1610. Mark told the story of Robert Lumsdon and Isabella Sudden and the punishment eventually given to Lumsdon for his actions.

Just before we dropped down to Barrowburn and our starting point, Mark thanked everyone and wished a safe journey home. Everyone commented on what a wonderful walk and day it had been which only confirmed my own view that this is probably my favourite Cheviot walk.


Tue 23rd July 2019

Fremington Edge and Arkengarthdale

Fremington Edge and Arkengarthdale

Fremington Edge and Arkengarthdale - July 21st 2019

This was the first time Shepherds Walks had moved into the Yorkshire Dales for a day walk. As we gathered at Reeth market square on a fine morning with superb views of Swaledale and Arkengarthdale overlooked by the towering Fremington Edge everyone was excited and looking forward to a new and different sort of walk.

Mark welcomed everyone and outlined the route and asked Sue and Tony to be official photographers for the day! We began by crossing the river Swale via a suspension bridge and followed the river towards the picturesque village of Grinton. Then began the steady climb through the hamlet of Fremington on a well defined track to the steep limestone crag that is Fremington Edge.  A welcome coffee stop half way up gave Mark the opportunity to talk a little about Swaledale and its lead mining past and this industry’s impact on the countryside we now see. When we reached the summit of “the Edge” there followed a delightful level path for 3 miles or so before dropping down into Arkengarthdale. Over this part of the walk there was constant evidence of lead mining with many spoil heaps and the only disappointing aspect of this stretch was the stiff and chilly breeze.

Fortunately the weather on the return to Reeth was much calmer and warmer and the path which followed the Arkle Beck was simply delightful. The Reeth brass band was even playing as we approached our cars and some of us then enjoyed a wonderful and well deserved ice cream!

The general consensus from our walkers was that this was an area which affords wonderful walking opportunities and the request that Shepherds Walks returns here in 2020.