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Sun 12th May 2013

Pen-Ghent - Yorkshire Dales

Pen-Ghent - Yorkshire Dales

It was our second ‘away day’ of the year as we walk all the three peaks in the Yorkshire Dales.

Two weeks earlier we had been baked in sunshine as we climbed Whernside but today could not be more different as we climbed Pen-y-Ghent.

One thing that has really struck me over our visits to the Yorkshire Dales is how busy it is compared to Northumberland. In Northumberland you never see anybody all day but in the Dales this is certainly not the case, but what stunning scenery and mountains the Yorkshire Dales has to climb.

Pen-y-Ghent was shrouded in mist as we head off. We again had a well prepared experienced group of walkers who thankfully had waterproof clothing from head to toe. Wind, mist and rain where on the menu today but spirits where very high and everybody really enjoyed the challenge of walking in these conditions.

As we climbed steeply to the summit (in mist at this point) everybody managed very well and just 15 minutes before the summit we found a great sheltered spot for a quick lunch.

Then we climbed steeply to the summit for the famous summit shot. What an achievement in these conditions and the smiles said it all. Well done!

As we did Pen-Ghent as a circular walk we had a steep descent, but thankfully for much of this we were sheltered from the wind which was force 9 or 10 at this point.

Then as we headed back down to Horton on Ribblesdale the mist cleared and the sun came out. We could look back and see the epic mountain behind us.

We had all made superb time under hard conditions and the sense of what everybody achieved in such bad conditions may take a day or two to really sink in.

Well done everybody, a great group, a real team!

Tue 7th May 2013

Coastal Challenge 2013

Coastal Challenge 2013

Just under 300 people signed up to do the third Northumberland Coastal Challenge this year and what a day.

After a damp start the walkers and runners became bathed in lovely spring sunshine as they took on the 26.2 miles along one of the best coastlines in the country.

After checking in at Alnmouth all the walkers got bussed upto Budle Bar, just north of Bamburgh then they followed the Northumberland Coastal Path all the way back to Alnmouth, passing through Bamburgh, Seahouses, Newton, Craster and Boulmer before finally getting back to Alnmouth.

People of all ages took on this epic challenge with many people raising money for charities close to their heart.

Please enjoy the images and YouTube film and I very much hope you can join us in 2014.

Time lapse video taken during the morning check in.

Have you ever thought what goes on when all the runners and walkers go home after the Coastal Challenge Walk. 22 seconds gives you an insight what we do at 8.00 pm.

Thu 2nd May 2013

Elsdon Nordic Walk

Elsdon Nordic Walk

What a cold and blustery day! Heavy rain to start the morning, will our walk go ahead? A quick check on the weather forecast and it predicted a dry, sunny morning starting from 10am. Lets go for it!

The weather man was right. On arriving in Elsdon village the skies cleared and it was dry but still with a cold wind. People sat waiting in their cars to keep warm and we all piled the layers on until we got going.

During our warm up routine I talked about the route we were to take, the terrain and the incline. We started our walk following a tarmac track through a farm, were the farmer on his quad bike was tending to his ewes and lambs. The track was slightly uphill and so we soon warmed up. On reaching the farmhouse we regrouped and I broke the news – we are going up a rather steep hill. Yes, that one in front of us!

After a few words of encouragement, a reminder of how to Nordic walk up a hill and with the reassurance it was not a race, we set off, each person at their own pace. And ....... we all made it! Short stride length and leaning forward onto those poles really did help. This was a tough climb, requiring real grit and determination to climb. I stopped halfway up to ask if everyone was ok and got lots of smiling faces but no words said! What a great feeling when we reached the top though and the views over Elsdon were amazing. We could see the snow on top of Cheviot as well as the Harwood Forest stretching over to Winter’s Gibbet.

Once we had our breath back we continued over the brow of the hill, crossing styles through rough pasture ground and eventually into green fields. The benefit of all the wind was that it was mostly dry underfoot, with the exception of the odd muddy area beside the dry stone wall styles.

As we began to lose our height and head down towards Harwood forest the hill steepened slightly, giving us an excellent chance to practise our downhill technique. From here we returned to a solid underfoot track, which meandered through Harwood forest, taking us back to the farmhouse where we had begun our climb.

Whilst continuing along the tarmac track, back to the start point, we noticed that the lambs looked different to their mothers. Although the ewes were Scottish blackfaced sheep, with a prominent black face, their lambs had mostly white faces with black markings around their features. They were mule lambs, which are bred mainly in Northumberland. And if you want to know more about them....come on a Shepherds Nordic Walk!

A hard Nordic Walk but very rewarding all the same. Stunning views of the Northumbrian landscape and the satisfaction of knowing that you really did climb that hill.