Pennine Way - part 1
Sun 10th April 2011
As Sundance made his way south and west his usual luck with the weather seemed to be holding that is until he crossed the county border into Cumbria. The clouds thickened and darkened, until by the time the group were ready to set off we encountered the first drops of the first rain shower of the day. Obviously the soft shoe shuffle only works in Northumberland.
Before the walk could start we first had to walk south through Alston to cross the river and get on to the Pennine Way Path. Here we started to walk north along a drive /track passing several houses before we came to the first of many stiles and discovered the unexpected time it took to get the whole group over.
The first field gave Mike the chance to really start to witter showing where some moles had been caught and how a mole catcher would set his traps. A little bit further on we went through a very ornate field gate before contouring around another house on to its drive. After walking along the main road for a short distance we crossed over to start the first climb of the day that took us out of the valley and on to more open country but, we still had lots of stiles to cross.
A gentle descent took us down to the real proper start of The Northumbrian Pennine Way as we crossed the bridge over the Gilderdale Burn and the county border. We were back into Northumberland and another rain shower. A short climb took us past and above the Roman Fort Whitley Castle here we took the opportunity to have lunch as it was dry.
From here the route descended back down into the valley crossing the road once more and passing Kirkhaugh Station which is the terminus of The South Tynedale Railway, although we could see that the track continued further north.
More fields and stiles took us to a foot bridge over the Thernhope burn here the path went under an old viaduct and eventually along the banks of the South Tyne. The route then joined the main road into Slaggyford.
Making a slight detour to walk through Slaggyford Rail station and along the old Railway line before was more joining the Pennine Way. At Burnstones we walked under Viaduct to then cross the Thinhope burn on the road bridge to immediately to walk under the viaduct again on the road. Here Mike set us a challenge. How many arches does the viaduct have? From the west we counted five arches for the burn and one arch for the road but from the east we were only able to see five arches in total!
One of the arches was a Blind arch.
Climbing up away from Burnstones the Pennine Way follows the line of an old Roman road called the Maiden Way. After a stiff climb we contoured the hill until we descended into the Glendue burn. By now it was raining again so a quick dash to the waiting bus allowed us to get out of the rain, it only took a couple of minutes to retrace our steps to be back in Alston.