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Mon 16th July 2012

Pennine Way - Kirk Yetholm to The Schil

Pennine Way - Kirk Yetholm to The Schil

Wednesday rained all day all local rivers and streams in flood.  Sundance decided to alter the route for Sunday to one where there was only one stream to cross and even that could be missed out.  Saturday Sundance had been doing the old soft shoe shuffle now for three days, and the weather had improved. 

Sunday 5.30 am bright sunshine has the soft shuffle worked?

The Group met where the Pennine Way and St. Cuthbert’s Way cross the Halter Burn it, was still sunny but the amount of cloud had built up. 

We took the Alternative Pennine Way route that follows the Halterburn upstream.  As we approached Halterburn Farm there were a lot of sheep penned in a small field next to the farm.  Some one said they must be in for shearing but smart pants Mike said no those have been sheared but as we got up to the barn, lo and be hold, they were shearing which prompted Mike to  start wittering on about ‘Sheep, shearing and maggots, wet fleeces and the price of a fleece’.  Fortunately we were soon passed the farm and Mike shut up. 

At Burnhead farm the route leaves the road and becomes a farm track up to Old Halterburnhead a derelict farm.  As the track petered out the path became rather soggy in places.  So far the path had been rising fairly gently but as we reached the watershed between the Halterburn and the Curr Burn the ascent steepened and those with short legs allowed those with long legs to get on ahead.  Eventually we all got back together on the col between The Curr and Black Hag and had lunch.  From here we had great views of the route of the last walk which we did not see at the time because of mist.

All too soon we started once more and quickly joined the original line of the Pennine Way. By now it was a strong wind making it feel much cooler and by the time we crossed the border fence into England we all had wrapped up.  The Pennine Way now follows the border fence (and the border ridge) all the way to Chew Green some 14.5 miles away.  After a boggy quarter mile we started the long hard slog up the Schil. 

By now the wind was making walking rather difficult, eventually we reached the sort of summit and this allowed us to take in the fantastic view all round.  From the North Sea in the east, across the Tweed valley towards the Southern Uplands to the North, the Cheviots stretching to the west and of course The Cheviot with the Hen Hole immediately filling the view South. 

After Mike had taken some photos we set off to the Schil summit proper but only when some one had given Mike his walking poles and some one else gave him his gloves that he had forgotten about.  As it is in Scotland we had to cross over the border fence and scramble up a tor to say we had been to the top.  Much too every one’s amusement as Mike was dashing about the top he got his boot jammed in a crack and not amount of tugging by Mike would allow the boot free, in the end Mike undid his boot laces and twisted his foot and then his boot before it popped free.

Now according to Mike it was all down hill except for a couple of ‘little ups’, we have heard this before! We retraced our steps back to the border crossing and just below Black Haggs the Pennine Way splits and this time we took the original Pennine Way which still followed the border ridge and fence.  The long descent down Steel Rig offered us stunning views to the north across the Tweed valley we could even pick out the Waterloo Monument just north of Jedburgh.

After a pleasant if windy descent we then had a very steep climb to White Law before descending once more to the head of Witchcleuch Burn and the last ascent of the day. 

Here St. Cuthbert’s Way joins the route of the Pennine Way back down to the Halterburn and our cars  By now the wind had eased the sun was warm and we were walking gently downhill. What a perfect way to end a really good day’s walk.

Mon 2nd July 2012

Cragside Challenge Walk 2012

Cragside Challenge Walk 2012

On Saturday 30th June just over 100 walkers set out and completed the 13 mile Cragside Challenge Walk.

The weather was great as they all passed along what I think is the best scenery Northumberland has to offer.

Please enjoy the YouTube Film and the pictures below.

I very much hope you can join us in 2013. More information about the 2013 Cragside Challenge Walk can be found here.


Mon 2nd July 2012

St Oswalds Way - Weldon Bridge to Rothbury

St Oswalds Way - Weldon Bridge to Rothbury

The North East had been hit by flash floods just the day before but thankfully the Friday of the Rothbury Walking Festival was the day the weather changed for the better.

At last we had a bit of heat in the sun and the air did not hang as heavy as it had been doing before the sky ‘emptied itself’ the day before.

We met at Rothbury Tourist Information Centre in the morning, jumped on the minibus and had a short transfer to the start of the walk.

After all the rain we had I moved the starting point to Thistleyhaugh, which is about ½ mile down the trail. I did this so we missed the short section which ran right next to the River Coquet, which had been in flood twelve hours earlier.

After a quick overview about St Oswald’s Way we head off along the trail with the sun on our backs.

The first farm we reached (Brinkheugh) we were greeted by a shed full of ‘pet lambs’. These will have been lambs that have been taken off their mothers due to either being a ‘triplet lamb’. They certainly thought it was feeding time and we could not convince them otherwise.

We got the glimpses of the historic Brinkburn Priory on the other side of the river. This beautiful 12th century church of the Augustinian priory of Brinkburn survives completely roofed and restored as we continued on keeping to the higher ground to the south of the River Coquet.

Just after Thorneyhaugh we found a great sheltered spot for lunch and the whole group could sit back and enjoy the warm sunshine with great views of the Cragside Estate to our left and the River Coquet down below.

Pauperhaugh was then our first break after lunch before we rose up from the river to West Raw and then on to join and follow the old Rothbury Branch Line. This is a really impressive approach into Rothbury village as you pass through deep cuttings and a wonderful dry path under foot.

The group had all been great company and the weather really made for a great walk along this, one of my favourite sections of the 97 mile St Oswald’s Way.