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Thu 12th June 2014

Housesteads to Allendale

Housesteads to Allendale

Had Sundance done enough to influence the Rain Gods?  He had soft shoe shuffled, he had even washed and reproofed his over trouser.  Sunday dawned bright and warm, question was would it stay this way?  By the time all the group had assembled at Allendale it was still bright with sunny periods BUT the wind just had an edge to it.

On arriving at Housesteads the first order of the day was a loo stop and after walking about ten meters or so it was group photo time.  It was only now that the walk proper started, except we were walking northwards and uphill when we should be going south and down into the Tyne valley!  On reaching Housesteads Roman Fort the track swung south and downhill. It was here that  Mike took great delight in pointing out two radio mast in the far distance, Why?  Although Mike had assured us it was downhill all the way,  yet we still managed to have at least five uphill sections.  On the positive side we have now managed to train Mike into stopping for 11 oíclock ish coffee break.

Crossing the A69 was time consuming and was no were as pleasant as crossing the R. South Tyne by the bridge leading to Ridley Hall.  Crossing the Tyne also meant we were leaving the Cheviots behind and entering the North Pennines and whole new set of geology for Mike to get excited about.

A short walk brought us to the National Trustís estate of Allen Bank.  The woodland path followed the west bank of the R. Allen up to Planky Mill, where we stopped for lunch.  After lunch we crossed the wooden bridge to the east bank and now followed that side of the river heading for the hardest climb of the day.  After 2Km the path splits and we took the one up to Staward Peel (remains of) it was very steep and slippery.  When we got to the peel the remains are somewhat disappointing to say the least.  Continuing on the narrow ridge allowed glimpses through the trees back to where we started the day and forward to the end of the day.  From here we were back in to the open with views all round.  We crossed a couple of fields before crossing the A686 at High Staward.  

After we reached the high point of the minor road we now realised why Mike had pointed the radio masts we were only a couple of hundred of meters away from them.  We now began to descend back down into the valley for the final stint along the banks of the East Allen river towards Allen Dale Town the last mile seemed to take forever and then to top it off we had another steep uphill section back in to the town centre and the coffee shop (just managed it 15 minutes before it closed).  Yes Sundance had pulled it off a dry Day.

Sun 25th May 2014

Blencathra Challenge 2014

Blencathra Challenge 2014

The Shepherds Walks Blencathra Challenge took place on Saturday 24th May 2014.

This epic route taking in one of the most iconic mountains, Blencathra, and is second to none.

Well done to everybody who completed the walk!

Please enjoy the YouTube film and you can view all the official pictures taken on the day underneath it.

Mon 19th May 2014

Nordic Walking - Take your skills to the next level

Nordic Walking - Take your skills to the next level

Even though I have been Nordic Walking for years and teaching for a couple of years, this was the first time that I had taught this course.

The small group met promptly and were chatting in the shop ready for a 10.30 start.  We headed down to the riverside to start on the next chapter of their Nordic walking technique.
Everyone was asked to walk using their normal Nordic walking technique so that I could establish the level that they were at.  Everybody had a good basic technique so we started on steps 6 to steps 10 that go to make up the full technique.

We used training drills in pairs to learn and practice the necessary skills before trying it on our own.  It created a lot of laughter, talking points and questions.

John asked if your wrist should be straight, which of course it should be as the pole should be an extension of your arm.  Ray came up with an interesting way to remember to keep your wrist straight - he said to pretend you had broken your wrist and had a plaster cast on!
As everyone had picked up these techniques quickly, I decided we should take them for a short walk.  

The pace was a relatively fast one but the pace wasnít the most important part of this course as the technique was central to what we had been working on.  
We passed Jane who was taking a beginnerís taster session hopefully those participants saw the way Nordic walking looks when you get past the beginnerís stages.

The techniques were looking very good especially the rotation - Judith and Valerie said they thought of a manís swagger to encourage their shoulders to move.
We walked back to the riverside where we had started and finished with a cool down and stretches.

A few were going to do the 6 mile Rothbury Railway Walk that afternoon but others werenít I thanked everyone for coming along and hoped to see those who werenít joining us in the afternoon very soon.

I hope I will see you all soon and keep up the good work.