Kielder Challenge Walk 2016
On Saturday just under 100 walkers undertook the stunning Kielder Challenge Walk.
After registering the walkers set off along the North Shore to Checkpoint 1 before skirting around the top of the reservoir before heading down to Checkpoint 2.
A few showers kept everybody refreshed as they headed onto Checkpoint 3 and 4.
A good day was had by all.
Hadrian's Wall - Steel Rigg to Housesteads
Our party of seven keen walkers – five men and two springer spaniels (Jumble and Smudge) – met on time at 10.00am at Steelrigg car park and in glorious sunshine and with no wind set off following the Hadrians Wall path to the roman fort of Housesteads. An early climb quickly had our hearts pumping but the breathtaking views in every direction made the exertion worthwhile.
The iconic spot that is Sycamore Gap was reached and photos taken. The trail closely followed “the wall” to Housesteads - towering over Crag Lough lake and undulating in line with the contours of the whin sill. Lunch was enjoyed at the point where the return journey began in the lea of the wall and with a fine view of Kielder forest in the distance.
The mainly level path back to the car park afforded wonderful views of the wall and gave Mark the opportunity to lead us through a reed bog – for the benefit of Jumble and Smudge he explained!
A thoroughly enjoyable walk in excellent company was capped with a well deserved drink in the Twice Brewed inn.
Wall Nordic Walk
The forecast was for heavy rain until about 11 am so a quick ring around changed the start time to 11 am to give the rain a chance to stop.
We all met up and the 3 newbies, Frankie, Lynn and Donna were introduced to the group.
Anne had very kindly agreed to be my unofficial volunteer for the day.
Annabelle joined us for a quick tutorial on technique which everyone picked up quickly. The usual group photo was taken before the warm up and we were ready to go.
We started walking through the village green, many of the houses were former fortified farmhouses (bastles) to protect people and livestock from the Border reivers (raiders). There is a cast iron fountain and trough on the green which were installed in 1858 and are supplied by a spring.
Next was the rough track which was full of stones and not easy to nordic walk up. When we got to the gate everyone regrouped and Russell was at the front, I pointed out the route and everyone headed off at their own pace.
We got to the gate at the top of the hill unfortunately there was a big muddy puddle and as I held the gate open, Russell, ever the gentleman, offered a helping hand to everyone. The route was diagonally across the field towards a stone stile some of the the group decided to head towards the gate until I pulled them back to the right route.The stone stile proved no problem for everyone until Sue had to help Russell over!
We walked through the small wood and up the lane through Fallowfield, which has an industrial past that dates back to Roman times.
Continuing along the lane we reached Heavenfield, the end of St Oswald's Way. The Battle of Heavonfield took place in about 634. On the night before the battle Oswald and his men built a large wooden cross which they erected on high ground and prayed to God for success in their fight. The cross in place was erected by a group of local people in 1927.
We headed towards St Oswald's Church and some of the group went inside, which has lots of information about Oswald, the battle and the Church. Anne pointed out a blue rope to Carol and said "I wonder what that is", so Carol duly went over and pulled the rope which, of course, was attached to the bell! Luckily it wasn't loud so didn't call everyone to church.
We had a short stop to look at the view, we could hear a call of what we thought was "moo" but was actually "Sue", the noise was coming from up a tree from Carol! Apparently Sue had dared her to climb the tree. Poor Annabelle had asked Anne if she could climb the tree to be told she wasn't allowed to, so she was on the lookout for Pokemon.
Calling the group together we started back down the hill towards Planetrees which is an extant section of Hadrian's Wall and followed the Hadrian's Wall Path back to the village of Wall. We had a quick cool down before some of us went to the Hadrian Hotel for lunch.
Thank you for coming along on this walk and I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to seeing you soon.