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Sun 13th May 2012

Pennine Way, part 9 - Chew Green to The Street

Pennine Way, part 9 - Chew Green to The Street

Pennine Way 2012  Chew Green to Mozie Law (The Street)

Once more Sundance had been doing the old soft shoe shuffle (all week becoming more desperate as the rain poured down).  Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny although some-what cool.  After a pleasant drive up the Valley we arrived at the car park at Windyhaugh.  By 10.30am all the group and the mini bus were together and we set off for the start point just west of Makendon.  

As usual Mike set off along the footpath but very quickly left the non existent footpath and followed a quad track that approximately took us in the right direction to the point we left the Pennine Way at the end of the last walk.

For a short distance from Brown Hart Law to Black Halls the PW follows the line of the Roman road Dere Street.  At Black Halls Dere Street enters Scotland.  Although Sundance had been dancing all week for a dry day and had so far succeeded he had not done any thing about keeping the path dry, so we began to plodge as the going became very wet.  The National Park had put slabs down to act as ‘dry path’ unfortunately some of the slabs had sunk and so you had the choice of trying to find your own route through the morass or walking in a black water logged trench that hopefully had slabs underneath.

Of course Mike just plodged through the black water and got through without sinking down into a morass although the water was three or four inches deep.  Those more faint hearted tried to find a less wet way round with varying degree of success.

Gradually we left the bog land of Broad Flow climbing ever so slightly to once more join the ‘Border Fence’ after a short DRY stroll we reached the Refuge Hut at Yearning Saddle, for a well earned if somewhat late lunch.

After lunch the first big climb of the day up to Lamb Hill (slow but steady progress was made).  Then a short descent before we once more had to climb to reach the high point of the day Beefstand Hill (562m).  From here we could just see through the haze the hills around Alston (our original starting point in the spring of last year).  Yet another short descent and progress was stopped by group of Cheviot goats this time all female with kids.

A little uphill climb was followed by another descent but this time into a disaster.  Once more plodging along an underwater footpath some one (name with held for the sake of embarrassment) hit the edge of a slab and slipped off the path thigh deep into the bog.  Unusually for Mike he rushed to help to pull some one out rather than take an embarrassing photo. After a couple of minutes of Mike pretending to be concerned we set off to climb up Mozie Law.

Leaving Mozie Law to where the Pennine Way crosses The Street we came across another small group of goats. On reaching The Street we left the Pennine Way to follow the path down The Street into the Coquet Valley. 

A 3mile trek that would have to be walked back up tomorrow (plus 311m of ascent) to pick up the Pennine Way once more.  On reaching the valley a mile walk along the road brought us to Barrow Burn Farm and Tea room, a mug of coffee and a big slice of Apple and Spice tea loaf helped to restore the flagging body.

Fri 11th May 2012

YouTube - Northumberland Coastal Challenge Walk

YouTube - Northumberland Coastal Challenge Walk

Please click on the link below to download a spreadsheet of all the timings from this years Coastal Challenge Walk.

Download After event data - final for site

The 2013 event is Monday 6th June. You can find out more and book you place online here.

Tue 8th May 2012

Northumberland Coastal Challenge 2012

Northumberland Coastal Challenge 2012

Being on the start and finish line allows me to see you all come and go as the day progresses. I see the excitement, optimism, anxiety and general giddiness in the mornings – and that’s just the staff! But at the end I like to be there to give you that well deserved pat on the back and a cup of tea. But I also get to hear your wonderful and sometimes quite moving stories.

So, with your permission I would like to share some of those stories with you.

Most people on finishing were tired, wet and very windswept and the offer of a hot drink was more than appreciated. But 2 participants, who arrived back late afternoon, looked fresh as daisies and told me how they had never done the challenge or distance before but had thoroughly enjoyed it. And did they want tea or coffee? No, they settled on a pint! Well done lads!

A lady who arrived back late afternoon was laughing as she couldn’t see through her glasses because of sand on the lenses. As she entered the clubhouse her glasses also began to steam up so she took them......or at least tried to. The wind had been so aggressive that it had completely tangled her hair around the frame of her glasses. My colleague tried to help untangle her but in the end she had no choice but to cut her free! Luckily it was only the end of her hair cut and not a large clump. Next year we may well have to have an on-site hairdresser with us!

We have many groups and individuals who walk with their dogs. They are amazing as most cross the finish line ready to go again! One dog in particular caught my eye this year. Her name is Bess, she is a Border Collie and she has walked on quite a few challenge walks with her owner over the last few years. When she crossed the finish line this year she looked tired, a sign she is getting older, and was quite happy to sit with her owner for a rest. That was until she found a tennis ball the cricket club had been using in training. The tail wagged, she was up and looking for someone to throw the ball for her. I guess that’s where the saying ‘life in the old dog yet’ comes from.

Another regular client of ours not only walked the challenge but completed an 8 mile stretch of it by Nordic Walking. This lady came on a Nordic walking training course with me last year and has worked really hard to perfect her technique. I am so proud of her. The same lady also told me that she was raising money for a young boy, to enable him to travel to the States for an operation. She alone had raised £200 completing this challenge. The boy and his lovely family had come to see their friends finish the challenge, including some people who they had never met before. He spent all afternoon watching out of the window for people he knew and had a gingerbread man or two. I hope he gets to the USA and all is well in his future. 

Lastly, and perhaps the most moving story I heard was that of a lady who finished the challenge in the late afternoon. She came through the clubhouse door looking like she had won the lottery. Jon followed her in and announced that she had attempted the challenge in 2011 but had had to retire. She had been quite upset but had been determined to go for it this year......and she did! She completed the challenge and got a massive cheer from all in the clubhouse for her efforts.

So whether you tried and failed, or thought about entering but didn’t or perhaps you just want to complete the challenge year after year, I hope you feel inspired to join us next year. The coastal challenge is such a wonderful day for staff and participants alike. And I really hope to see you next year on the start....and finish line!