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Wed 6th May 2015

South Middleton to Wooler May 2015

South Middleton to Wooler  May 2015

The forecast for days had been heavy rain and no matter what steps Sundance used the rain god was determined to have the last laugh.

Woke up front windows dry hopeful went to the back windows rain spots all over and constantly being renewed, weather forecast had got in correct.

We all met up at Wooler Common car park and immediately put on full waterproofs and jumped on the mini bus only for Mike to discover he had misplaced his GPS after a frantic search of his rucksack and van it was on the ground just under the van.  We could at long last go.

We arrived at South Middleton made sure we were wrapped up against the wind and rain and set off.  Fortunately the wind was on our backs as we plodded on wards to the ruins of Old Middleton.  After a steady climb we wandered in to the mist, we all hoped that Mike new were was going!  Mike did and as we descended we came out of the mist to the valley below was the one we wanted to be in.

After a short walk along the road we stopped in a sheep stell for lunch.  Of course it was still raining.

Afteer a quick lunch we head up the Hawsenburn until the track swung away and headed over the ridge.  The next port of call was the old farmstead at Broadstruther.  Unlike Old Middleton this was in good repair.  

The route now went downhill but unfortunately we were now walking into the wind and rain.  After crossing the Carey Burn we climbed up out of the valley back into the mist before dropping down back to Wooler Common car park having passed Wooler Common Farm.
It had now stopped raining!!

Tue 28th April 2015

Private group - Pilgrim's Route to Holy Island

Private group - Pilgrim's Route to Holy Island

Lindisfarne   The Pilgrims Way or A walk across the sands, clarts and water.

The group meet at the car park on the Island.  The first problem was that the the mini bus was missing after a couple of phone call we were told the bus was waiting in the coach park. So after a quick walk to the coach park we piled on to the mini bus and we were off back to the mainland

The first part of the Way is some 10 to 15 meters from the road and runs parallel to the road for a while before heading directly to the main part of the Island.  We waited for a while as Mike started whittering about the tank blocks! Which allowed several groups of walkers to get a head of us and out the way.

We walked along the road until we reach a bridge that crosses the stream South Low, here Mike pointed out another good reason for following the road the stream being in the region of 3 or 4 feet deep.  Having crossed the bridge we left the road and started to follow the poles that mark the route across the sands.

The sand quickly gave way to a very thin layer of mud which was very slippy, it was like walking on an icey pavement.  The going under foot now regularly changed for mud to sand to large areas of sand under shallow water.  Mike regularly stopped  to chunter about some geology or changes in the flora as we slithered along.

By now the sense of isolation is quite strong even though way in the distance cars could be seen using the road to get to the island.  Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, actually more like a third of the way across we came across the first of two shelters for those caught out by rising tides.  I use the word shelter loosely as it is four poles sticking upright with a stout open wooden box like structure on the top with a rough vertical ladder to help you get to the box.

The next issue to impede our progress was an area of mud flats with lots of deep holes filled with black water.  The final hazard was just a few hundred meters from reaching dry land this was a fast flowing stream, fortunately it was not too deep and failed to fill any ones wellies.

At last we had made it we had reached Holy Island, to be met by lots of cars and then crowds of people.  After such an inspiring and sense of space it was surreal to be hemmed in by some many people.  Eventually we arrived back at the cars and changed footwear and then went to a Hotel for a buffy lunch before being taken for a guided tour of the Priory by one of the English Heritage people.

Sun 26th April 2015

Nordic Walk - Druridge Bay Country Park

Nordic Walk - Druridge Bay Country Park

After watching the weather forecast all week, which changed from raining all day to not raining until 12 noon.  i had arranged the weather to stay sunny, bright and dry (with a chill to keep us from overheating) until we had finished our walk.

My day started with picking up a couple of new Nordic walkers who wanted to join us on this walk to drive up to Druridge Bay Country Park for a quick teaching session before the walk.
We had a lovely surprise as since the 1st April 2015 there is no charge to park at Druridge Bay Country Park - result!  

I taught Laura E and Glynis the basic Nordic walking technique and they picked it up very quickly.  We waited for the rest of our group to join us

Everyone was ready by 10 am and we began with introductions and a warm up.  We started with a 1.5 mile walk around the lake at Druridge Bay Country Park which is excellent to Nordic walk on.  Some members of the groups had never been to the Country Park before and were amazed at the beauty, even those of us who had been regularly drank in the beauty and tranquility.  We missed out the stepping stones (mainly because I would probably fall in) and took the safer route.  The group soon settled into little chatty groups and got to know each other or caught up with each other.  Once we completed the lap of the lake we came out of the Country Park and headed to the beach.

My first job was a group shot.  It takes some organising making sure everyone could be seen on the photograph.  A few of the ladies (as usual) tried to hide behind other people!  Unfortunately for them everyone was around the same height and I'm very tenacious.

Once on the beach we moved to the slightly firmer sand as this is the best place to really put Nordic walking to the test.  I explained that they would be able to stop and look at the holes which their poles made and we could work on techniques (if needed).  

We watched some little birds (we think are Dunlins) at the waters edge for a few seconds as when a wave comes close to them they run away.

The group soon stretched out as everyone walked at their own pace. We stopped to look at the holes in the sand and I corrected (very small) parts of techniques.  

We walked 2 miles along the sand towards Cresswell just before we turned back towards Druridge Bay Country Park a conversation started up  about the "proposed" open cast mine which is busy going through the system.  I mentioned that the Drift Cafe (where we were stopping at on the way home) have a petition to try and stop this if anyone wanted to sign.  Everyone was very keen to do this as the Druridge Bay area is stunning.

We got to the cars and had a cool down/stretch and jumped in our cars and headed to the Drift Cafe.  I had rang them and asked if they could make carrot cake (especially for Sharon) and their chocolate orange cake (for me) and they were delighted to do so and didn't actually put the chocolate orange cake out until we had arrived.

We all (except for Laura F) tucked into their delicious hot melt wraps and a hot drink before Sharon, Ruth and me ate our pieces of cake.  Glynis and Laura E took theirs home and Mary didn't have any cake (I promised I would mention this) although she did take some home with her.

Everyone said goodbye and promised to meet up at the next Nordic walk on 23rd May in Alnwick.

Thank you everyone for a fab day.  See you all in May

Julie xx