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Mon 9th October 2017

Dipton Mill Circular

Dipton Mill Circular

Dipton Mill Circular summary – October 8th

It was a beautiful  Autumn morning as we met at Whitley Chapel for the dayís walk – there was no wind, the sun was shining and visibility was excellent. As we set off down the lane to Whitley Mill, Mark outlined the route and the historical events he would talk about and the terrain we would be walking over.

Once across the Rowley Burn our path headed through woodland and then farmers fields. Fortunately there were very few cattle in these fields but we were delighted to see hares and a small number of deer running in front of us. Our first coffee break was on the small bridge over the burn just before the road leading to Spittal Shield and as Mark was explaining how the nearby Devilís Water got its name, we were entertained by a pair of pheasant cocks jousting underneath the boughs of a tree.

We proceeded on a quiet country road before heading through the farmstead known as Lords Lot and on to the edge of the moors leading to Allendale at which point we received a brief history of lead mining in the East and West Allen valleys. Wonderful views to north Northumberland were enjoyed. Our lunch stop was in the peaceful and beautiful Dipton Dene where the trees which abound on both sides of the valley were turning to their Autumn colours. Here Mark recounted the legend of Queen Margaret and her son in the aftermath of the Battle of Hexham in 1464 and hence how the cave in the valley obtained its name.

Our route followed the Dene for nearly 3 miles before climbing on to the lane to begin our return  journey  to Whitley Chapel.

All the walkers  thoroughly enjoyed the walk and the weather remained perfect throughout. Mark thanked everyone for their company and said how much he looked forward to seeing them again on the 2018 walks.


Sat 30th September 2017

Hulne Park Nordic Walk

Hulne Park Nordic Walk

Apologies for the late blog for the walk which took place on 16th September 2017.

This walk was suggested and recce'd by our lovely volunteer, Ruth. 

We had permission to go into the Park early (as it doesn't open until 11am) and a relativey small group met at the gates nice and early.  The forecast wasn't great and Anne surprised everyone by wearing a jacket (but not for long)!

We started walking along the Farm Drive passing a field with a couple of bulls in it.  Ruth said there may be 2 bulls in that field but there is 1 bull outside the field, everyone looked around and realised she was talking about herself "Ruth Bull".

We got to Brizlee Tower (which is a Grade 1 listed folly on top of a hill. The tower was erected in 1781 for Hugh Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland, and commands extensive views over North Northumberland and the Borders.  Photo opportunity of the ladies in the group on some stones which looked like a podium.

Next up we visited the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland's new burial ground for themselves and their descendants overlooking their ancestral seat and has a 12ft ornate gates (the gates took more than 5 months to create and reflect the personal interests of the Duke and Duchess). 

This was a beautiful walk and Hulne Park is definitely a place we will return to.

After the walk we headed to the Pineapple Cafe (part of the leisure centre) who very kindly stayed open for us.  Lots of sandwiches, cakes and brownies were consumed and they were delicious.  Ruth bumped into the shelves just behind her and the decorated Ostrich egg fell from the top but don't worry, Kim caught it to save Ruth's blushes.  We decided to put it on the table for safety.

Thank you to everyone for coming along and to Ruth for suggesting and recceing the walk and helping on the day. 

I hope to see you all soon, next walk is 8th October and is South of the river at Tanfield Railway.

Mon 11th September 2017

The Schil

The Schil

Extremely low cloud and mist covered the Cheviots and the roads into Kirknewton and Hethpool  were awash with rainwater as our walkers for the day met at Hethpool car park, the starting point of the days walk. The weather  forecast was not great so waterproofs and gaiters were the order of the day as we set off along the road to Elsdonburn farm and followed  St Cuthberts Way up to the border ridge.

As we steadily climbed to the ridge, the clouds lifted and visibility had improved to such an extent that wonderful  views into Scotland and the Eildon Hills by Melrose were enjoyed. Our route followed the Pennine Way for several miles and we encountered a few hardy walkers who were relieved to be on the final stretch of this 270 mile walk! The climb up to Whitelaw Nick ensured everyone needed a short rest and the opportunity to remove at least one layer of clothing. The path to the Schil (and on to the head of the valley) whilst very wet underfoot was a joy – tremendous views of the hills were all around and while rain showers threatened nothing more than a few drops were felt.

Just as our group saw the rocky outcrop at the summit of the Schil (607metres)in the distance the cloud descended but once again by the time we got to the top full visibility had been restored and wonderful views to Windy Gyle and Cocklawfoot on one side and the Hen Hole and the Cheviot on the other. The latter remained shrouded in cloud all day. As our group progressed to the head of the College Valley a herd of animals were seen grazing in the distance. Initially Mark thought they were the wild goats (much to some walkers delight) but as we drew nearer it became obvious they were a herd of cattle.

The return to Hethpool via Mount Hooley along the valley floor showed the College Valley at its most beautiful with bright sun shining on our backs.

This walk is, in my view, one of the best in the Cheviots and all our walkers thoroughly enjoyed the day which was admittedly enhanced by the surprisingly fine weather.