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Thu 11th June 2015

South Middleton to Ingram

South Middleton to Ingram

After the winds of yesterday Sundance had danced the night away a least in his dreams.

Sunday was bright but breezy but and a big BUT not as windy as yesterday.  The group and mini bus left Ingram by 10.00 and drove round to S. Middleton, what a difference when we were dropped off last month it was cold windy and wet (very).

Leaving South Middleton we followed a good farm track that climbed up away from the cultivated fields and on to the open fell side.  We left the farm track at Middleton Dean Farm.  And followed a good footpath over fairly non-descript fell until we descended a little to a small footbridge over a small burn and being fairly sheltered from the wind we stopped for our first lunch stop.

After lunch we followed the path uphill passing the Dodd Farm and once more ended up walking over non descriptive fell.  We drifted a little of the path and Mike decided to walk up hill into a very wet boggy area and much to every ones delight ended up with wet feet as his boots leak.  Passing the site of a medieval village the path gradually descended to Green Law.

After a couple of K’s walk along the road and then a farm track we arrived for lunch stop number 2 again sheltered from the wind and sitting next to the R. Breamish (were some one paddled there feet).  Leaving the Breamish behind we past Alnmoor farm and then climbed the steep path up to Chesters.  The path slowly descended into a small wooded valley before a steep climb brought us to Brown Hart Law.

It was now all down hill to Ingram village and very quickly to our cars  and the end of a pleasant days walk with some stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Sun 7th June 2015

Holy Island The Pilgrims Way June 2015

Holy Island  The Pilgrims Way   June 2015

Sundance had done the soft shoe shuffle and put on his oldest pair of shoes and it worked (nearly) only a few spots of rain right at the end of the day while waiting for the mini bus to take us home.  Yes it did not rain while we were walking but boy did we get wet.

The Group all met for a coffee and a biscuit before climbing on the mini bus to be taken to the mainland end of the causeway.  After Mike had wittered a bit and taken a group photo we set off.
The gentle gale helped us navigate the causeway road until we crossed the bridge over the South Low.  From here on we were supposed to walk over some muddy sand with occasional hollows of water.  The SW gale was pushing the water over the sands so now the terrain was water with very occasional semi dry bits.  

As we plodged our way across the Pilgrims Way the spray from the upwind walkers quickly wet any one foolish to be down wind.  Mike kept on saying to anyone who would listen “I’ve never seen it like this before”.  

With the winds help we managed to complete the crossing in double quick time and most of us were wet to a least knee level.  

It was really mind blowing to watch the whole of the surface of the crossing form into ripples of water moving away from the sea and the occasional gust lifting a fine spray into the air.
Good fun in a masochistic way, made slightly more pleasant as the water was not freezing cold.

Sun 24th May 2015

Nordic Walk - Alnwick

Nordic Walk - Alnwick

On waking up this morning.  I was undecided whether to wear shorts or trousers for this fabulous walk.  I had recce'd it last weekend and decided to opt for shorts and get the scary white legs out.  After I put a comment on Facebook a few others decided to do the same.

This walk has a great memory for me because it was the walk at which Jon asked me if I was interested in becoming a Nordic walking instructor for Shepherds Walks.  I jumped at the chance and have never looked back.

We met outside Tourist Information in the market place.  A young girl asked her dad "why do those people have poles?", always keen to introduce people to Nordic walking I went over to explain and asked if they wanted to join us, her dad and grandad politely declined.  After checking everyone's name off the list I turned around and someone had moved away from the group, either to use the facilities, to have a quick look at a stall or they had seen someone they knew.  It took 4 attempts to get everyone together.

We headed down to the car park next to Alnwick Garden, gave out poles to those who needed them, we were all in the car park about to do a warm up when a car was leaving, we all put our poles up as if it was a guard of honour, we got a wave from the driver and the children in the car, we did the same for a car coming in and the same happened with the people in that car.  It is obviously a regular occurence in Alnwick as the people didn't appear surprised.

I had been showing off my new Garmin fenix 3 GPS watch and someone said "does that mean we won't get lost?"  I hastened to add we haven't been lost before!. We went to leave the car park and I headed to the corner which of course wasn't an exit this made everyone laugh as this was our first "detour".  

We started our walk towards Alnwick Gardens, where we nearly lost Mary R who was headed in, luckily Ruth stopped her.  Once out of the crowds going into Alnwick Gardens we headed off, Martin was at the front at quite a pace.  We got to the first (of many) kissing gates and we came across 2 black dogs, one of which was carrying a fencepost!  Not part of a fencepost but a whole fencepost!  We stopped for a quick pet of the dogs and carried onto where there was a choice of 2 paths both of which came out at the same area, some people took the high path and the others the low path. At the fence there was the choice of a stile or slightly upwards a gate.  The group split to their choice and met on the other side.  We stopped here in front of Alnwick Castle for the group shot, Mary R said she hoped that this could replace the one we had had taken a few years ago but seemed to pop up on Facebook and the Shepherds Walks website quite regularly.

We met 2 springer spaniels, Lily had a flourescent coat on to tell us she was blind (you would never have known it as she was very excited running to everyone for a pat), the other dog was making sure she wasn't missing out, after a few minutes the dogs headed into the river and we completed our walk along this lovely field.  We got to the gate and I told everyone we were turning left (over Lion Bridge) at which point everyone said in unison "isn't it right?"  I explained I was just testing them as we had a few people who lived in the Alnwick area.  Of course everyone believed me NOT.
At the next kissing gate (yes there were a few on the route) we walked along a path with nettles on either side of the path, Sharon and I were really surprised at how much they had grown along with the red campion from just last Sunday.

The next photo stop was standing on the bridge next to a field full of forget me nots and red campion which was stunning.  We crossed the road and started up an incline up to Hulne Park.  Everyone headed up at their own pace and when we reached the top we had another group shot.  At this point I explained to everyone about the next 2 Nordic walks, the first being Copper Snout on Sunday 21st June and the next being Cresswell and Druridge Bay on Saturday 25th July.  Everyone was very keen on these especially Copper Snout and a few were asking about the Cragside Challenge on 27th June which I explained that I always Nordic walk.

We were nearly finished the walk and continued uphill (very slight) passing a coop with chickens and cockerels, and a field on the right with lambs and sheep and the field on the left with cows and their calves who were very interested in us but ran away once we got closer as our poles clicked along the road.  We got to the top and resisted the Shepherds Rest pub.  We continued back to the centre of Alnwick.  Funnily enough no one was keen to do our cool down stretches in the middle of a very busy Alnwick.

Our walk was 4.75 miles and I had done 11,300 steps, my new clever watch tells me so much.  Once I figure out how to use it properly I will be able to bore everyone with sooooooo much information.

I explained some stretches people could do once they were away from the centre of Alnwick, thanked everyone for coming along and that I hoped to see them all on another walk.  
Some of us went to the Nood Food Emporium (yes Sharon and I recce'd this too) for the now customary refreshments.  We pretty much took over the cafe and  and all enjoyed various meals from veggie burgers, beef burgers, vegetable soup, paninis, tea, coffee, healthy fresh drinks and some of us enjoyed cakes, lemon drizzle and banana coconut and date cakes.  Sorry there are no photos of the cakes - they were gone too quickly.

Everyone headed off home shouting their thanks for a great walk.

Fabulous weather, great walk and amazing company.  Thank you everyone

See you soon
Julie x