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Thu 6th June 2013

St. Oswalds Way part 3 (Berwick to Alston part 4)

St. Oswalds Way part 3 (Berwick to Alston part 4)

St. Oswald’s Way part 3 (Berwick to Alston part 4)

Sundance once again had his work cut out, after the rain on the Wednesday and Thursday had he done enough of the old soft shoe shuffle to get a dry day?

Sunday dawned brightish but cool. The drive to Boulmer was pleasant with little traffic on the roads.  The Car park was already half full when Mike got there and FULL by the time everyone else had arrived.  Everyone was ready on time and Mike very methodically ticked off his list as people got on the mini buses.  After a short journey we arrived at the car park at Beadnell and made use of the public comforts.

Before we started the walk proper Mike took us through the dunes so we could get a view of Beadnell Harbour and the bay to the south, we then walked back through the dunes to the car park and started the days walk.  The first part of the route is not the most inspiring as we had to walk through two caravan parks. On exiting the caravans Mike took the opportunity to whitter pointing out Cheviot and Hedgehope away in the distance.  The route swung south following the back of the sand dunes and headed towards High Newton.

A demand from the more unruly ones of the group for a tea break and the insistence that it had to have a view had Mike struggling to find a suitable spot but after a little prodding from the unruly ones a spot high in the dunes looking over a small bay met with everyones approval.  After a short break we continued on to Low Newton where the local comforts were once more put to full usage.

We continued in a southerly direction and had a brief look at Newton ponds via the bird hides, it was then on to the shanty town of beach huts before braving Embleton Golf course, Toby put us to shame by racing on the TEE and running off with a golf ball.  After Toby was put back on to his lead and the golf ball given back we made a quick exit.  Dunstanburgh Castle was beckoning in the distance where Mike was going to allow us to have a lunch stop. After a steady walk along the side of the golf course (we only had to duck once for a stray golf ball) we reached the lunch spot under the North West end of the castle.

After a pleasant lunch we set off walking under the High Tower and continued to walk along the shore line heading to Craster.  At Craster the first thing we saw was an ice cream van this allowed for an ice cream stop and yet another comfort stop. On starting again we walked through the pub’s Beer Garden, Mike was able to keep everyone on track and not to be distracted by the prospect of Craster Kippers or a cool beer.

An easy walk along the shore line brought us to the cliffs around Cullernose Point.  The next section was along a good path along the cliff top until we passed The Bathing House and an area of beach known as Rumbling Kern.  Onwards for ever onwards to Sugar Sands where we crossed the stream that flows through Howick Hall Gardens. Here we had another short break as Ann took her dog and Toby down to the sea for a splash about.

At the top of a short climb we could see some trees and Houses on the sky line that marked the position of Boulmer village one more stream crossed by a little wooden bridge and it was a straight walk in to Boulmer passing the last comfort stop of the day and we were back at the cars.

YES Sundance had done it a dry Day and the later part of the day was even warm and sunny.

Tue 28th May 2013

Ingleborough - Yorkshire Dales

Ingleborough - Yorkshire Dales

It was the third and final trip to the Yorkshire Dales to climb Ingleborough, the final summit in our series of guided walks up the Yorkshire Dales three peaks.

Over the past few weeks we have experienced every kind of weather you can imagine, but wow what a day we had today. Not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was perfect for walking.

We met at Ingleton and after leaving a vehicle transferred everybody to Clapham. By doing this we could walk a great horseshoe route taking in some of the best scenery on offer.

We left Clapham on foot passing through Clapham Estate as we followed the Clapham Beck as we gradually rose up the Ingleborough Cave. After this point the path travels along the bottom of a deep gorge before rising up out of it to some true hill ground.

As we reached the entrance to Gaping Gill, the largest cavern in Britain, it was busy with the winching they do over Bank Holiday weekends. They have been doing this for the past 50 years. It was like a mini village, full of tents and lots of activity.

We then continued with our walk as we first climbed Little Ingleborough. Just before the summit we stopped for lunch, this really gave us a great opportunity to take in this stunning landscape.

After lunch we topped Little Ingleborough before walking along the ridge before climbing Ingleborough itself.

What an achievement and it was smiles all round. Well done!

We had the ‘summit shot’ and we all took some time to take in the view and really enjoy the moment.

Our decent down was initially fairly steep but as it levelled out we could look back and really appreciate what an iconic mountain we had climbed.

Great weather, great company and the end of some truly brilliant walks. The away days in the Yorkshire Dales have been very rewarding and a very big thank you to everybody who has come along. The smaller groups has made for a great opportunity to build good friendships.

Mon 13th May 2013

St Oswalds Way - part 2

St Oswalds Way - part 2

St. Oswald’s Way part 2 (Berwick to Alston part 3)

Sundance has had his work cut out, after a week of the old soft shoe shuffle had he done enough to get a dry day? by putting one over on Jon who was walking in Yorkshire on Saturday and it of course ‘RAINED’.

Sunday dawned brightish and it was a pleasant drive to Beadnell.  The £4.40 parking was a bit of a downer.  Everyone was ready on time and Mike very methodically ticked off his list as people got on the mini buses (last time nearly leaving a couple of folk behind).  After a short drive and we arrived at Belford.  Mike gave a safety brief! About crossing the A1 and the East Coast main line and walking on roads.

At last we were off on the tour of NE golf courses walking between Belford Golf course and the Driving range, through a field of sheep and then the first hazard of the day The A1. We all crossed safely (eventually) and then walked along the back of a large number of Grain Silos before getting to problem 2 crossing the railway line.

Mike picked up the phone and spoke to the signal man who gave the group permission to cross when everyone had crossed Mike told the signal man, who then told Mike to cross and use the phone at the other side to say that he had crossed which he did.

After a short walk we crossed a disused branch line that lead to an old quarry unfortunately this gave Mike a chance to witter about all sorts of useless bits of information fortunately he eventually shut up and we continued our journey eastwards.  A short climb gave our first view in the distance of Bambrough Castle.

A short section along a couple of roads lead us first past the SpindleStone Ducket a large tower like structure with connections to 13th century ballad about the Laidly Worm and then down to a renovated mill on the Warren Burn.  The route follows the side of the burn for a short distance before climbing up hill to the foot of the Spindlestone Heugh and an early lunch in the sunshine.

By the end of lunch it had clouded over but was still dry.  A gentle walk uphill brought us past a caravan site and our first views of the coast. (Budle bay and then Lindisfarne followed by Bamburgh Castle and out to sea and the Farne Islands and finally to the south Seahouses.)  As we descended the hill we could see some beasts (cattle) in the next field as we approached the stile they ran over to greet us.  Mike being the cowardy custard lead the group away from the beasts and on to another footpath that brought us out to where the footpath cuts across Bamburgh Golf Course (number two on the tour) towards the sand dunes along the south of Budle Bay.  The path now follows the coast down to Bamburgh Castle.

At Bamburgh a loo stop allowed Mike and Ian to have a rest, something to eat and a cup of coffee.  Again the route leaves the coast to follow a path inland to the west end of North Sunderland which was only reached after another two encounters with herds of cattle.  Following an old railway line we entered Seahouses and another comfort break, ice cream, and while the rest of us had sandwiches Ian went and bought a big helping of chips. This is was the only reason Mike could think of as to why it had started to rain.

The path leads you round the harbour and on to the top of some cliffs before once more having to walk through yet another Golf course.  The final section is on a cycle way and just follows the road from Seahouses to Beadnell and is probably the least pleasant section on the whole coastal route.