Pennine Way - Byrness to Brownhart Law
Tue 10th April 2012
Sundance had been frantically doing the Old Soft Shoe Shuffle all Saturday but the magic did not seem to be working. Sunday morning was dull and damp. By the time we left for the start of the walk it had even rained a bit.
It became drier as we progressed inland and the sun was trying to come out, things were looking up. But by the time we reached Buckham’s Bridge car park there was a hint of dampness in the air. Gradually we all arrived and piled on to the mini bus and set for Byrness.
The road took us up the Coquet valley to Chew Green and then into the army range. Unfortunately Mike took the opportunity to give a running tour guides commentary if you look to your left you can see so and so if you now look over there you can see etc. etc! Everybody was glad to get to Byrness and out of the Tour Bus.
Leaving the mini bus behind a short walk brought us to the Pennine Way, where we had stopped last year.
Having safely crossed the A68 after a very short pleasant walk (flatish) we started the first and really the only big climb of the day (633ft) to the summit of Byrness Hill.
The ground underfoot was not as slippery or as wet as I would have expected. Part way up we exited from the conifers to an area of recently felled wood which gave the first of many superb views of the day. After a little scramble (and for those with short legs an extra helping hand) we reached the top of Byrness Hill.
Through the various showers around us we could see as far as Cross Fell and to the north tantalising views of Scotland. The Pennine Way now follows the ridge line between the Spittlehope Valley and the Cottonhope Valley. After a gradual climb we reached Houx Hill and shortly after stopped for a late lunch in relative shelter from the wind at of all places Windy Crags!
After lunch we continued to gradually gain height until we reached Raven Crag, as we were admiring the view we experienced our first and last rain of the day, but by the time we had put on waterproofs the shower had passed over.
The route now was defined by a long stretch of board walk. Having reached Ogre Hill we began the decent into the Coquet Valley. A wooden bridge has been built for the Pennine Way to cross the Coquet, although it is more an area of boggy ground with a couple of channels of running water six to seven inches wide.
We now crossed into Scotland to reach Coquet Head. Passing through a second fence took us back into England and Chew Green. We left the Pennine Way to walk diagonally through the remains of the various Roman Camps before once more picking up the Pennine Way which now followed the line of the Roman Road ‘Dere Street’. After a short climb the Pennine Way once more meets ‘The Border Fence’ near Brownhart Law and other than a couple of short stretches the Pennine Way follows this fence line virtually to Kirk Yetholm.
It was at this point we left the Pennine Way to head back to our cars. We followed a easy grassy path over Deel’s Hill and began the long decent (over 2km) into the Coquet Valley eventually crossing Buckham’s Burn just before it joins the River Coquet and very nearly doubles the River Coquet’s size.
Well had Sundance’s Soft Shoe Shuffle worked, a guarded ‘yes’, we did get about 5 minutes rain but when you looked at the number of rain showers that were around us all day, it definitely was not a wet walk.