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Fri 6th May 2016

Coastal Challenge 2016

Coastal Challenge 2016

On Monday May 2nd just under 300 walkers took place in the Northumberland Coastal Challenge walk.

After registering in Alnmouth they got transferred to North of Bamburgh to Budle Bay to start their 26 mile walk back to Alnmouth.

It was a day of sunshine and showers.

Please enjoy the YouTube film and pictures.


Sun 1st May 2016

Windy Gyle - in the snow

Windy Gyle - in the snow

After all the weather we have had in the last week we arrived into the car park on the morning of the walk in near perfect conditions.

It looked like there was snow on the tops which would certainly make for a great days walking.
After quick introductions a well-equipped group of walkers set off up the road before joining ‘The Street’ as we climbed steeply to get our first fine view of the day, looking back on the Coquet Valley.

As we crossed Hindside Knowe it quickly came clear that the snow had drifted in places but we made our way through making good progress.

After a quick coffee break we made our way onwards and upwards over Black Braes and as the snow became deeper we decided to stop for lunch at the point we joined the Pennine Way. As we stopped for lunch we could see two walkers in the distance and over our lunch stop we could asses there progress as they also scaled the mighty Windy Gyle.

After lunch progress was fairly slow over Windy Rigg as the snow became deeper but the group managed well and as the sun came out for our final ascent up to Windy Gyle we all summited with smiles on our faces. At the summit the temperature quickly dropped and we went from T-shirts to full winter clothing in a matter of minutes.

After the group summit pictures we passed back across the fence and followed the path along the border. During this section of the walk we were treated to 4 seasons in an hour but after a hard hour of walking we eventually arrived at Clennel Street.

As we descended to snow became a little slushy in places but this actually made it harder to walk through and a few members members of the group ended up on their backsides.
We then just had three small climbs and a rise before the famous Barrowburn Tea Room as we climbed The Middle and Middle Hill (two climbs in Middle Hill) before dropped down to the small burn before the final rise.

Tea and cakes where well received in the Barrowburn tea room.

It was a great group who all managed the conditions very well, it will certainly be a walk to look back on with fond memories.

Mon 18th April 2016

14.5 mile Nordic Challenge Walk

14.5 mile Nordic Challenge Walk

Keeping an eye on the forecast the week before the weather wasn’t looking good for the Challenge walks.  Most areas had snow showers on the morning but by the time we all met up the sun was shining even though it was a little cool.

As always with a Nordic walk everyone was early, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Checking in with Janey and Lynn in the Shepherds Walks shop and picking up a set of poles we headed outside for introductions of guides and volunteers from Janey and the customary group photograph.

Next up was the walk down to the bus stop to catch the Spirit bus to the start of our walks.

Russell pointed out that he had two left gloves, a quick check revealed that Debbie had two right gloves (the tallest and the shortest members of the groups)!  Quick change around and we were all set.

The Spirit bus arrived and everyone rushed to get on (raring to go).  Lots of chatter on the bus until Steve (the owner of the company) started his commentary about the area.

At Thropton the group who were doing the 7½ mile Challenge Walk got off the bus and they waved the rest of us off everyone wished each other luck.

Further up the valley we got off the bus at Alwinton, additions to clothing donned.  Martin, Laura, Ruth and me had a quick pow wow before warm up. 

Martin took off at quite a pace and the group got into their rhythm going at their own speed but in great spirits.

We encountered many different terrains in the first few miles; concrete, grass, mud (clarts) much to Debbie’s disgust and quite an incline through the trees.

Everyone was going great guns then we reached the field that me and Martin knew was an extra challenge last year as it was full of cows and a stream to cross.  Instructions were given to keep the group together through the field.  Some of the group decided to try and find a shallower/shorter part of the stream, Katharine encouraged Karen to cross the stream and she ended up to her knees in water.  Katharine followed and therefore didn’t get as wet and kept on telling Karen “my feet are dry”!  The rest of the group crossed at a different point and didn’t get as wet, I decided just to plodge across the stream, not caring about wet feet.

Jon and Harry met up with us for lunch, bringing water and jelly sweets.  Martin had bought lollies for everyone and lots of other sweets were passed around before we headed off for the second half of the walk.

A couple of hailstone showers hit us but apart from our feet we didn’t get wet in fact we walked in bright sunshine all day even through the hailstones. 

On this walk we saw deer, swans and herons.  Not the usual wildlife we see on our walks.

Everyone was doing great, this walk challenged us in so many ways, terrain being the biggest one.  It was difficult walking through some of the clarts.  Laura and Debbie made up their own word of “sharty” (?? (I will let you guess the word) mixed with clarts).  When walking through the clarts technique goes out of the window as we just get over it safely.

Angela had a stumble as we walked along the riverside but luckily wasn’t hurt.  Geoff’s knee started hurting but he was determined to carry on they had been training for this walk for a long time.

We got to Physic Lane, which is a great part of the walk to Nordic walk along, in fact it’s my favourite part.  Steve was struggling so I dropped to the back to encourage him and make sure he was okay.  He was determined to complete the Challenge.

The last little bit of the walk was down to Rothbury through the trees and rocky area. We got together as a group to complete the walk back to the Shepherds Walks shop.

We started the Challenge as a group and finished the Challenge as a group.

Thank you Russell for all your photographs.  They are excellent.

Thank you to Martin, Laura and Ruth for their invaluable help during the day.  You were immense.

I hope you all enjoyed this very difficult and challenging walk.  You were all so determined and really pushed yourselves.

Our next Nordic walk is on 15th May 2016 Kirk Yetholm and Wideopen Hill.  I hope to see you then. 

Julie