Once more we met at Shepherds Walks Shop in Rothbury and then staggered down to the bus stop to get the Spiritbus to the start of the walk. The bus driver was not sure whether we/ he could get up to the start of the walk as there were rolling road works from Hepple to Elsdon, fortunately we were able to get to the start of the walk without any problems.
A short walk downhill took us across the Grasslees Burn and then it was uphill all the way to Darden Pike. Mike took every opportunity to stop for a breather to look at the scenery the trees, the flowers (Cotton Grass at Millers Moss) and a lone Sand Lizard, as well as stopping to give the little dog a breather.
Eventually Darden Lough came it to view and we were greeted by a family of Canadian Geese. The last stretch uphill brought us to the trig point and cairn on Darden Pike. Just as mike was picking the best spot to have lunch on of the ladies fell over and cut her elbow. Mike immediately dived into action (well he decided he better do something to help before eating his lunch) treating the injury with care and sympathy. By time lunch was over the patient was feeling fine.
Leaving Darden Pike behind we now had a long steady decent with grand views all the way round. Eventually Mike stopped to show us the Frog this was a small outcrop of rock and when viewed from a certain angle look a bit frog like! The gentle decent continued until we crossed the Grasslees Burn once more and reached the bus stop in time to see the bus going to elsdon. So we jumped on the bus and went to Elsdon and immediately turned round to head back to Rothbury.
A good walk, that fits in very well with the Spiritbus timetable. Well worth thinking about.
Netherton to Alwinton
The group all met up At Shepherds Walk’s Shop and walked down to the bus stop to catch the local Spirit Bus that goes to Alwinton on a Tuesday. This is a circular route going through Thropton, Snitter, Netherton (where we got off the bus) before arriving at Alwinton.
We set off westwards through the village of Netherton and at the junction next to the First School we took the road to our right and after a hundred meters or so turned left on to a farm track. This farm track runs all the way to Biddlestone the going under foot was quite good.
Passing Biddlestone we then took another track that lead to Biddlestone Chapel and passes the “Biddle Stones”. Once at the Chapel Mike dived into his rucksack for the chapel keys so we could have a look inside and somewhere comfortable to have lunch.
After lunch we had a quick tour of the outside and then set off into a wood where the path was lost in plants growing to waist height. But this lasted only for 100m or so before we back on a farm track and then a road.
When the road did a hard left turn we kept straight on following another farm track. By now the sun was peeping through the clouds and it had really warmed up. The first views of the Army Range came into view and in the foreground Clennel Street. A very pleasant and easy walk downhill took us to Clennel Hall. Having walk round the Hall and Clennel Farm we crossed the Alwin River by a foot bridge and did the hardest climb of the day (all of 20ft).
Having crossed a couple of field we reached Clennel Street and a short walk downhill we reached Alwinton and somehow we all ended Sitting in the pub with a very welcome shandy. On time the Spirit Bus arrived to ferry us back to Rothbury.
Fontbury to Rothbury
The group all met up At Shepherds Walk’s shop and walked down to the bus stop to catch the local Spirit Bus that goes to Wallington on a Monday.
We got off the bus at the entrance to Fontburn Reservoir as the starting point of our walk. We had to wait a short while Mike got himself sorted with waterproofs switching on GPS, eventually we were off.
The walk to the reservoir was a long a single width tarmac road, the dam for the reservoir has a massive overflow hole. We continued over the dam admiring the railway viaduct and followed the road towards Newbiggin Farm. After pointing out some landmarks which could be vaguely seen the rain and mist Mike decided we will start walking over the open fields heading approximately to Blueburn Farm.
All was going well until we hit the first bit of boggy ground and a couple of us got a wet foot each. Much to mikes delight as by now he had two wet feet due to his leaky boots. By now the rain was fairly steady and being driven into our faces by the wind. We had a bit of a respite from the wind as we walked around Blueburn but decided to walk on to see to Spylaw burn and see if we find a sheltered spot for lunch, we did just.
After lunch we headed off in rough the direction of the path (or a least that’s what Mike claimed).
Although after a mile or so of what seemed aimlessly walking along we did come to a style with a footpath sign. After another encounter with a herd of beasts we reach Lordenshaw road end and a stretch of road walking. By now the rain had eased and occasionally the hoods came down. Mike then took us round Lordenshaw Hillfort on another non-existing footpath that eventually joined a more well-trodden path. That led us to Sharps Folly and then down into Rothbury.