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Mon 9th September 2013

Kielder Challenge Walk 2013

Kielder Challenge Walk 2013

What a day, after a wet day on the Friday the sun joined us on the Saturday, the day of the Kielder Challenge Walk.

Well done to everybody who took part. 

I very much hope you enjoy the YouTube film and pictures from the day and I look forward to seeing you all again in 2014.

Wed 4th September 2013

St Oswald's Way, part 6 - Weldon Bridge to Lordenshaws

St Oswald's Way, part 6 - Weldon Bridge to Lordenshaws

St Oswald’s Way part 6 - Haugh’s  (HOFF’S) and Heugh’s (HUEFF’s)

Weldon Bridge to Lordenshaw

Sundance was worried 6.30am it was not looking very promising had the magic of the old soft shoe shuffle worn out?  By 9.00 it was slightly brighter so we live in hope.
All the group and mini bus had gathered at Lordenshaw car park and were ready to roll.
Mike took great delight in showing us where he lived and as usual was wittering away as we drove passed and so missed his wife waving at us.  After a short drive we arrived at Weldon Bridge and piled out of the mini bus.

Ian was designated as photographer for the day and of course Mike went straight into witter mode as we crossed the bridge looking down on the old mill race.  As soon as we crossed the bridge we left the road and had a pleasant walk along the river bank through woodland and eventually came across the old weir for the mill race.  Emerging from the wood we entered a field with a herd of bullocks with accompanying apprehension in the more faint hearted walkers.  In the next field we crossed the Roman Road known as the Devil’s Causeway but did not see any trace of its line.  We had by now passed Thistleyhaugh and were on route to Brinkheugh.  Looking at Brinkheugh farmhouse allowed Mike to speculate on the history of the building as it appeared to have at least four to five extensions.  

The route skirted a woodland through which we caught tantalising glimpses of Brinkburn Priory.  Eventually we passed Middleheugh and just as we were crossing a footbridge over the Maglinburn, Mike had to overcome a serious 11’s revolt probably lead by Ian (Famous for his huge packed lunch and constant grazing) by promising to stop at Pauperhaugh for dinner and that it was only 30mins away.  Mike overcame the revolt and we reluctantly continued on.  After passing Thorneyhaugh we again were walking close to the river when Mike spied a big bird and said it was a buzzard even though it was not flying as a buzzard flies, one of the more birdy members of the group said, “No it was an Osprey!”  Wow. Only the second one Mike had seen on the River Coquet in a lot of years.

After lunch we crossed the Forest burn by a small footbridge and headed for Pauperhaugh Bridge along the road Mike pointed out flood debris caught up in the hedgerow about 5ft above road level.  After a short walk along the river we left the river to climb up towards West Raw farm.  As we walked to join the old railway line we passed several orange sheep! Why orange?  The route now took us along the old Rothbury railway line right in to Rothbury and a coffee stop.  As part of the bribe to keep walking before lunch Mike had also promised to take us to a coffee shop. So leaving the route we crossed the refurbished Rothbury Bridge and had a pleasant break.

The final stretch of the walk is all uphill.  We re-crossed the bridge and immediately started to climb to Whitton.  After Sharpe’s folly the climb is quiet gentle until you pass Whittondean Farm.  From here it is a steep climb to Lordenshaw’s hill fort.  From the crest of the hill the cars are only a couple of hundred metres or so away.  Mike took us on a short detour to see a stone with pre-historic rock carvings on, and after a few photo’s we headed for the cars and home.

Oh by the way we also passed by Gyllheugh, Westerheugh and Cowhaugh (the car park next to the river in Rothbury).  A heugh is a steep riverbank next to the river and a haugh is the very flatland (flood plain) next to the river.

Mon 2nd September 2013

GPS in the Hills

GPS in the Hills

Our GPS in the Hills course is very practical and is aimed at those people wanting to get out in the hills and get to grips with their Garmin GPS unit.

Thankfully we were greeted with some great weather as we met at the Coquetdale Centre, the home of Shepherds Walks. After transferring a ‘route’ onto everybody’s GPS unit we set off climbing up out of Rothbury, stopping to enjoy the view on the way.

It was great to see the GPS units working to their full potential as we past Sharps Folly on the track to Whitton Hillhead. But before we reached the farm we stopped following the pre-programmed route and started to manually programme the units.

By inputting waypoints we made our way up to Lordenshaws Iron Age Hillfort and found a sheltered spot for lunch just before the hill fort itself. We then climbed up to Lorenshaws and visited the cup and ring marks.

We then descended back down St Oswald’s Way stopping on route to refresh everything we had done so far before setting our units away again to guide us on a lovely walk first to Whitton Hillhead and then along the River Coquet back into Rothbury.

Here we did a bit of geocaching before sitting in front of Garmin BaseCamp for a while, which is the free piece of software used to manage the routes on your Garmin GPS.

I hope a good day was had by all, a really good group who quickly picked things up and best of all they always had a smile on their faces.