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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.

Mark

Sun 3rd September 2017

Kielder Challenge Walk - 2017

Kielder Challenge Walk - 2017

On Saturday it was the Kielder Challenge Walk.

Over 100 walkers walked the stunning 25.3 mile route around the Kielder reservoir.

The weather was second to none and everybody finished with a smile on their face.

Well done to all who took part and mnaking it into such a great event.

Thu 24th August 2017

Harthope Valley Circle

Harthope Valley Circle

Fortunately  the high winds of yesterday had abated and it was a beautiful clear morning as we gathered at the Carey Bridge for the start of the day’s walk. As we started the long but steady climb up Cold Law, the remaining clouds on the summit of Cheviot dispersed and we were left with a perfect day for walking with excellent visibility.

The higher we climbed the full vista of the hills in every direction was revealed and the vibrant colour of the heather enhanced the wonderful views. It was also at this point that we encountered our first herd of grazing cattle and  a slight detour was needed. On reaching the summit of Cold law still more incredible views of the hills, and of Cheviot and Hedgehope in particular, were enjoyed and for those walkers who had not visited this area before, it was indeed a revelation. Jelly babies were handed out.

As we walked down to the Langlee valley, Mark told us a little of the geology of the hills, the history of Broadstruther, his experiences with wild cattle and  the National Park. Our lunch stop was by the stream at Langleeford and despite the considerable number of cars in the valley, we came across very few other walkers .Suitably refreshed we tackled the short sharp climb up to Langlee Crags from where yet more stunning views of the valley were on show. We stopped for a photo shoot and Mark began to tell the story of the Border Reivers. He promised a further instalment later in the walk.

The path leading us back to our starting point was straight and well defined but again a diversion to avoid yet more cattle was required. From Brands Hill we headed towards Happy Valley and our cars and Mark became engrossed in telling more about the Reivers. To his embarrassment he missed the turn off for the correct path – this necessitated a short stint of walking “off piste” across heather and waste high bracken! A hidden fence was negotiated and we safely arrived at the Carey Bridge.

Despite this slight hic up the day was superb and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the walk.