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Mon 27th July 2015

25/07/2015 Nordic Walk - Cresswell and Druridge Bay

25/07/2015 Nordic Walk - Cresswell and Druridge Bay

This Nordic walk is another one of my favourites for two reasons. 

One is the fantastic Druridge Bay beach which is amazing to Nordic Walk along and the other is the Drift Cafe in Cresswell.

Unusally for one of our Nordic walks there were very no men and only a few regulars but we had 4 ladies who had never tried Nordic walking before, a couple who had tried it before and a couple who had only been walking with us a couple of times.

I met up at 10 am for a teaching session with the newbies and some people who wanted a quick refresher on the technique.  I handed around poles, (as you don't have to have your own) and we headed down to the sand as it is a great place to learn.

Everyone picked up the routine really well and we met the rest of the group ready for our day ahead.

As always we did our usual warm up as I explained the route, basically this was straight up the beach with the sea on our right!

We headed off and the group soon got into their stride with everyone going at their own pace and chatting away.  They soon noticed that it was more difficult walking on the softer sand and walked as near to the waters edge as they could get without plodging.

Some of the new members of the group asked me to check their technique (as everyone knows this is my favourite part of being a Nordic walking instructor).

We stopped to let everyone catch up and have a drink when Glynis said she had 2 left gloves.  I swapped with her and I walked with only one glove.  This is not easy as the glove is the most important piece of equipment.

As we were walking along one of our new members, Irene, ended up sitting on the sand with her sister Christine laughing at her.  Cue photograph!  I asked how she had fallen over and we soon found out it was because she had fallen over her pole.  This was because she had brought her pole too far forward.  I walked along with them to explain how this had happened.

We reached Druridge Bay Country Park for a half an hour comfort break, some ate lunch others just had a cup of tea and used the facilities. 

A quick call to Sharon (one of our regulars) who was going to meet us for tea and cake and we headed straight back down to Cresswell, interestingly people were walking quicker back, I would like to think it was the harder sand we were walking on but perhaps it was the lure of cake???

We met Sharon at the point of us turning off to head up to Cresswell.  We did a few stretches and headed back to the cars and the Drift Cafe.

We had the opportunity to sit outside as it was warm enough and dry and when everyone had their refreshments.  Apple cake, Date and walnut scones, chocolate brownies to name a few.

I let everyone know about the walks I was planning up to the end of 2015, ie Holy Island (August), Humbleton Hill (September), Craster (October), Herrington Park and Penshaw Monument (November) and a December walk with mulled wine and mince pies.

I hope everyone had a fantastic day and enjoyed the walk.  I know I did and I really look forward to seeing you all very soon.


Julie x

Mon 20th July 2015

Goats and Forts

Goats and Forts

We squeezed into the small amount of car parking available in the centre of Humbleton village. Expecting a dry but overcast day we were delighted to see the sun and blue skies.The walk was entitled Goats and Forts and we saw two of each! The hillforts were guaranteed but since feral goats have a will of their own it was a real bonus to see them walking through the tall bracken below Yeavering Bell.

Views from the top of the hill forts and along St Cuthbert’s Way were quite spectacular. Along the way we noted points of historical and natural interest. Any member of the group would happily explain the origins of ‘Tom Tallon’s crag’ !

The group was a mix of people from the North East and people from as far afield as Lincolnshire. We walked as a group easily covering the distance and ascent in the time available. At the end of the day we made for the Terrace Cafe for tea and cakes and listened to a rock band playing just off the high street. It was ‘festival day’ in Wooler. They gave good renditions of songs by ‘Free’, Springsteen and the Stereophonics! We enjoyed our day together.

Roy Kennard (Guide) Andrea Harrison (Volunteer)

Sun 19th July 2015

Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike 978m above sea level (3209ft) was first ascended by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and….

ascended by a Shepherd’s Walk group on 18th July 2015.

The geography, or more accurately the geology, of Scafell being the highest mountain in England means that it is part of a huge massif. For those who seek to climb it, this means that a long day out is needed because it is remote and involves a long walk in and a long walk out.

The starting point for today’s walk was Seathwaite and the start is a gentle stroll along the valley of the River Derwent to Stockley Bridge. Here a crossing of the river, which is now Grains Gill, a source of the Derwent, allows access to Sty Head Tarn which is nestled on a bowl surrounded by Great Gable, Great End and Seathwaite Fell.

The weather was not great for this day out but it was also not going to prevent an attempt on Scafell Pike  by the Corridor Route which is the most direct route to the summit from Sty Head. This route cuts across some dramatic gullies which provide a sporting character to the route. The first of these comes shortly after leaving the tarn and involves a scramble down to the gully floor and up the other side to a well trodden path that winds its way across and up the hillside.

The scenery in this part of the Lakes is dramatic, awesome and inspiring and it certainly provides a distraction from the long slog. Another distraction is the second gully crossing which is a bit more challenging because it means scrambling down a 15m rock wall which is made more entertaining because of the views of the valley below. The group tackled this calmly and steadily and for some it will remain a stand out part of the whole day!

It is comforting to reach the path again and what remains is a long slog to the summit. On this day the summit was covered in mist which obscured the fantastic views over the whole of the Lake District, out to the Isle of Man and into Scotland!! You will have to take it on trust and return…

So our objective had been achieved. Or at least half of it had been as we now needed to descend and get back safely. The descent took us over the ridge of Ill Crag and Broad Crag and a descent over very rocky ground to Esk Hause. This is a meeting point of several paths and is exposed to the elements. So it was no real surprise that at the time we arrived a vicious wind and rain storm blew in. So we simply turned our backs to it and headed to Sprinkling Tarn and then made our way down to Sty Head Tarn and then retraced our steps back to Seathwaite in typical Lake District summer rain.

The joys of the mountains.

On a personal note thank you to each and everyone of the group who were well prepared , well equipped and who had the determination to make this a truly great day out. I also have to, especially, thank Julie (and Martin) for tremendous support.

The route covered 11.3 miles, 1468m of ascent and took 5 hours 40 minutes with an extra hour or so for stoppages.

Best wishes to all.