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Wed 14th August 2013

St Cuthbert's Way Challenge 2013 - guided group

St Cuthbert's Way Challenge 2013 - guided group

Well Sundance did it again the old soft shoe shuffle kept the rain away.  Well nearly we had a couple of spits and spots that did not even have you thinking about putting on the waterproofs.

08.00 registration; Mike trying to finish a cup of coffee made at home before the drive to Wooler register people in and trying to be less grumpy than normal at this time in the morning.  

0815 on the bus being driven to Morebattle for the start of the challenge walk.  Although

Mike was one of the first off the bus by the time he was ready we were at the back.  After gentle stroll to start off the day, we started on the first BIG climb of the day.  After a constant steady pull (drag) upwards we were rewarded with stunning views over the Tweed valley to the north and the Cheviots to the south.  

A rather steep descent brought us to a farm track and the first food stop of the day; it was Mike’s second breakfast, the one he had intended eating at Wooler before he got on the bus!  By now we were at the back as all the second bus walkers had stormed passed as we were having our food.  From here a stretch of road walking took us to checkpoint 1 leaving the road we walked over some fields and crossed the road bridge that joins Town Yetholm with Kirk Yetholm.  

After yet another short road section, either the last bit of the Pennine Way or the start of the Pennine Way we started on the next big climb which leads to check point 2 but more importantly the border between Scotland and England. It was on this section we overtook two ladies who were doing the challenge walk (they had stopped for lunch).  They did pass us again at checkpoint 2 as we had a longish lunch stop there.  It was now all gently downhill to checkpoint 3 and a hot cup of coffee.  We were now just over half way.  

We now climbed steadily up to the base of Yeavering Bell and then the last steep climb of the day up to Tom Tallons Crags.  From here the route gently undulates with the uphill sections even for tired legs are not noticable.  This section of the walk gives some of the most spectacular views over the Tweed valley to the north views of the North Sea to the N. east The coastal sandstone hills to the east and south and of course the Cheviots fill in the rest of the view with The Cheviot dominating the sky line.  A steep little descent brought us to check point 3 at Wooler Common and the start of the final leg this is downhill for most of the way on road through Wooler.  Eventually at about 5.30pm we turned the last corner and there was the finish with a seat, hot drink and a goody bag.  Of course Mike was the last one of the group to finish the walk.  

Overall a good day, mainly because Mike did not witter on too much.

Mon 12th August 2013

St Cuthbert's Way Challenge 2013

St Cuthbert's Way Challenge 2013

After checking in at Wooler the walkers and runners got moved by coach up to Morebattle to start their 19.5 mile walk.

Firstly over Wideopen Hill to Yetholm then up over the Cheviot Hills back to Wooler. The heather had just come out which was the icing on the cake for a stunning days walking through some of the best landscape this country has to offer.

Please enjoy the YouTube film and pictures.

Well done to everybody who took part!

Tue 6th August 2013

St. Oswalds Way part 5 - Warkworth to Weldon Bridge

St. Oswalds Way part 5 - Warkworth to Weldon Bridge

Sundance had been in a dilemma all week should he soft shoe shuffle or would it have the opposite effect put the rain gods in a really bad mood and make it rain?  The old soft shoe shuffle won and was duly shuffled.

Sunday dawned bright but the cloud was soon building up as the group met at Weldon Bridge.  By 9.15 all the group had arrived and we piled onto the mini bus for the transfer to Warkworth.  By 10.00 we were leaving the car park where we had finished last month’s walk.  After a short walk we crossed the river Coquet by the old Warkworth Road Bridge and passed through the gateway.  A brisk walk up Warkworth high street and we were standing under the walls of Warkworth Castle.

After a short walk we were through Warkworth and on a good farm track that lead South for 2km through New Barns before turning west. The route now follows a green lane that passes close to Morwick Farm (makers of ice cream).  

We continued to walk on a good path known as Rake Lane and had a late 11o’clockses before passing under the main North East Railway line (for the 3rd and last time).  It was along this stretch that we saw lots and lots of white butterflies.  The sun was now beating down and the heat was making the going tough but the occasional stretches under the trees were pleasant.  At the end of Rake Lane we turned south for about 1km.  Here it was decided to have a lunch stop in the anticipation of a coffee shop at Felton.

After lunch the track continued westward and after walking down a steep bank we met the   River Coquet, from here on we would be close to if not exactly walking along its river bank.
A very gentle stroll brought us to the coffee shop and disappointment, it was so full doing dinners we could not get in and the only ice cream sold was in a paper coffee cup!
After another sit in the shade of some trees we set off once more.  The path is high above the river, but, and an important but, we were in the shade of trees for the next 3km and it was really pleasant walking.  

Once more we crossed (walked under) the A1, again for the third and last time.  On leaving the woodland we now entered head high (or for some above head height) bracken and grasses and with the heat it felt as if we were walking through a jungle.  Eventually we entered grazing land and the walking was easier but less fun.
After another short stretch of woodland we knew we were near the end as we could hear the traffic crossing the new bridge at Weldon.  After walking through some houses gardens we walked the new re-routed section that keeps you down by the river until the Old Weldon Bridge.

Once more a dry sunny day with a lot of happy walkers.