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Sun 16th June 2013

Training Walk - Cragside Challenge Walk

Training Walk - Cragside Challenge Walk

On Saturday 15th June I led an enthusiastic group on a training workout in preparation for the Cragside Challenge in a couple of weeks time. The weather was mostly warm and sunny but we had one of those days when sudden rain showers swept across the Coquet valley. Waterproofs were on and then as soon as the shower came it went and the sun came out again. Waterproofs off to avoid overheating and then back on again... There were no complaints - how can there be when the beauty of the river meandering through the flood plain is contrasted with clear views of the Cheviots to the north and the sea to the east.

We set off from Rothbury and made our way over to Sharpe's folly and on to Whittondean.

After passing through the farmyard the first hill followed taking us up to the iron age hill fort with its ancient cup and ring designs etched in the rock, before dropping down to Lordenshaw Car Park. We crossed over the road and set off up the track that leads on to the ridge over Dove Crag. Up to this point we were on the exact route of the challenge walk but instead of heading back to the forest track we continued on the ridge up and over to Simonside summit.

The western descent off Simonside is not for the faint hearted. Initially it's very steep with slippery, sandy soil under foot interspersed with rocks but this merely added to the adventure of the day. After a well earned lunch break overlooking the Cheviots we rejoined the route of the challenge walk through the forest and down to Tosson and the Lime Kiln. Here we headed back along the river to Rothbury leaving the trip over to Thropton and beyond for the actual day of the challenge walk.

Thank you to my fellow travellers and to Margaret for back marking. This was a great day out and I throughly enjoyed the company.

I look forward to seeing you all again at Cragside.

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.