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Wed 16th July 2014

From Source to Sea - day 4

From Source to Sea - day 4

The River Coquet from Source to Sea

Day 4 - Hepple to Rothbury

We all met up at Cow Haugh car park in Rothbury ready to be bussed to the start of the days walk.  After a short bus transfer and we arrived at the start of the track passing through Hepple Whiteside eventually heading for Chartners.  Just a short distance passed after Hepple Whiteside we stopped to put on our waterproofs, (what happened to the soft shoe shuffle?).  As we started to seriously gain height the rain became more persistent fortunately it was on our backs for the most part.

As the path levelled out just below Whitefield Hill we came across a couple of beaters huts hoping to get some sort of shelter in the lee of the huts for a late 11.00 o’clock.  You can imagine our surprise and delight that they were open.  Having got out of the wind and the rain Mike decided that it should be an early lunch stop and therefore made himself a cup of coffee (always a good sign that we were in for a longish stop).

It was still raining as we left the shelter of the hut and as we reached the plateau we turned in to the wind, rain and thick mist to head over Tosson Hill via Boddle Moss.  By the time we reached Tosson Hill the rain had eased and as we walked on  the path heading for Ravens Huagh the cloud started to break and we had glimpses of the views northwards over the Coquet.  Then suddenly the cloud lifted and we had fantastic views over the River Coquet to the Cheviots in the distance.  

Soon we were standing under the front of the Simonside Crags.  A strenuous climb quickly brought us to the summit of Simonside.  The new slab path now leads to Old Stella Crags wher in the lee of a rock outcrop we had an afternoon coffee.  Following the new path over Dove Crag we eventually arrived at Beacon Hill (on old maps), it now was relatively downhill all the way in to Rothbury.

After a steep decent we joined the long distance St. Oswald’s Footpath which in the coming days we would follow to Walkworth.  Crossing over Lordenshaw Hillfort we stopped to look at the famous rock with carved cup and ring markings.  We continued to descend to Whitton Dean Farm and then followed a well-made up farm track to Whitton and then it was all downhill back to the cars.

Wed 16th July 2014

From Source to Sea - day 3

From Source to Sea - day 3

The River Coquet from Source to Sea

Day Three Low Alwinton to Hepple

Sundance has done it again another fine dry day.  How does he do it?

The group met up at Hepple Bridge ,piled in the mini bus.  Arriving at Low Alwinton we set off and after at the most two minutes Mike started wittering about rocks, lime kilns and other bits and bobs oh and Harbottle Castle.  Eventually we got on with the walk.  After a while Mike claimed we were walking next to the river but we could not see it for the trees, eventually we came to a bridge that crossed the Coquet which Mike took us across so we could see the river.

After this we left the river and the track we had been following became a road that eventually brought us to Sharpeton and our lunch stop.  While we were having lunch a few of us walked over Sharpeton Bridge just to see the River Coquet and the Alpacas.  

After lunch we walked parallel to the course of the river just along the edge of the hill side and the river haugh.  A herd of cattle and a large area of bog broke up the pleasure of walking on the flat.  Eventually even that pleasure was brought to a halt as we climbed up hill to heading to West Hepple.  A coffee stop brought more unease to some as we became the objects of interest to yet another herd of cattle.  

After coffee Mike managed to chase them away by waving his map and flapping his arms (we think he was trying to fly over them).  On arriving at Hepple  Mike had a good idea while he went back to Low Alwinton to pick up the people carrier the rest of us would walk to Hepple Whitefield and then back to the cars an extra 1.5 mile put on to the days walk. 

Wed 16th July 2014

From Source to Sea - day 2

From Source to Sea - day 2

The River Coquet from Source to Sea

Day Two Barrowburn to Low Alwinton

Once more Sundance and his soft shoe shuffle had done the trick, another dry warm day. We met at Nat. Park car park at Alwinton and where quickly whipped back up the valley to Barrowburn Farm whose tea room was in for a very busy day, a fell race, Rothbury W. I. and Sheep shearers.  We left the hustle and bustle walking North wards in completely the wrong direction again.  A long climb up a farm track leading passed Lounges Knowe towards Fairhaugh.  As the track was about to enter Kidland Forest, after about a mile of walking  Mike said this is it the start of today’s walk.

We turned south and followed the ridge up to Shilhope Law.  As we slowly trundled up hill we were passed by two horse riders who made very short work of the climb.  Just before the final climb to the top we stopped for lunch and kept amused by the army firing some big noisy guns. From our vantage point we could watch the clouds of smoke made when the shell landed.  After lunch after short stiff climb we reached the summit of Shilhope Law.  This must be one of the best vantage points in the Cheviots, other than to the north and the line of the border ridge the land is laid out below you until in the far southern horizon you can see the North Pennines.

After a steep descent We reached the River Coquet at Shillmoor.  A narrow path just above the river leads to the start of Peth Path and the parting of the ways.  One group continued up Peth Path then took a quad track to the road and walked to Linbriggs.  While the other half of the group tackled the ‘Goats Track’ which leads to Linbriggs by a more direct path. Here the path traverses across a very steep hillside, with the river some 70ft below the path.

The two groups reunited and crossed the river by Linsheils.  We were now walking on the south bank of the river alongside the Army live Range.  The path took us up and over Barrow Scar. A sneaky sheep track that looked like the path lead Mike to be displaced! But a quick walk towards the river brought us back on to the footpath.

The walk to Angryhaugh was a delight flat haugh land and sunny hay fields bursting with an abundance of wild flowers. After a short walk along a road we re-crossed the river to arrive at Low Alwinton, the end of day two.  Unfortunately we still had to walk to Alwinton car park to finish off the day’s walk.