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Fri 18th April 2014

Arthurs Pike and Bonscale Pike

Arthurs Pike and Bonscale Pike

The walk was due to start at 9.30am from Pooley Bridge Market Cross but everyone was in good time and in good spirits even though there was a slight amount of rain in the air. The Lakes were about to be ‘invaded’ from the North East contingent, all eleven of us (bar one) had travelled across from locations such as Hexham, Bellingham, Cramlington and Newcastle. Oh yes, Rothbury too!

The mini bus duly arrived and off we set for the inaugural Shepherds Walks in the Lake District. Down we went to Howtown, a charming hamlet filled with history due to its bobbin making past in the Industrial Revolution. Now a stopping off place for the Ullswater steamers.

After getting walking sticks adjusted, gear checked, off we went up the steep ascent to our first Wainwright target of the day, Bonscale Pike (1718 feet). This is no mean feat for our feet, quite an incline but everyone managed it admirably. We paused for a well deserved coffee break three quarters of the way up and took in the amazing views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The Helvellyn range was particularly stunning with snow glistening. The rain had stopped too and the strong wind was on our backs, seeming to push us along.

The elation was tangible as we ‘bagged’ our first Wainwright of the day. Jon captured it on his iphone and it was duly Tweeted. Lots of smiling, happy, pleased faces amongst us all. What a great way to spend a Sunday morning!

Then onwards to our next peak, Arthurs Pike (1747 feet), almost a ridge walk now. Time for more team photos as we achieved our aim of two Wainwrights in a day. We started to descend and found a perfect place for a well earned lunch by a stream. Suitably refreshed we then headed off to see an ancient stone Circle named locally as ‘the Cockpit’ and then on to see a Bronze Age burial site which looked quite small for a Chieftan but Jon explained such Chiefs were buried in a foetal position, they weren’t really pygmy’s!

Final hill of the day was Heughscar Hill (one of Wainwrights so called ‘Outlying Fells’) and then down back into Pooley Bridge.

A great day was had by all and pretty memorable as being Shepherds Walks first expedition to the marvellous Lake District.

Well done everyone!

Mon 14th April 2014

Training Walk 2 - Coastal Challenge route

Training Walk 2  - Coastal Challenge route

There were three features of the walk from Beadnell to Alnmouth that stood out on Saturday.

The first was and is the magnificence of the geology of the Northumberland coast. Taking a line, as this walk does, enables the contrast of sandy bays and rocky cliffs to be seen and to aid in understood how this geology shapes the use of the coastal areas by humans. Where there are breaks in the rocks humans have gathered and sought a living. An example of this is Craster. A natural break in the rocky shore made into a harbour saw the establishment of the village that was and remains largely based on the fishing industry.

Indeed some of today’s walkers took the opportunity to buy their famous Craster kippers.

The sandy bays and more gentle contours lend themselves to more recreational pasttimes and in particular to the game of golf. Plenty of sand for the bunkers! But the natural feature that attracted most attenion is the rock formations. The first real glimpse of this is just north of Dunstanborough around the Greymare Rock area where a fold in the strata is obvious. The natural looks man made but isn’t because it is seen repeatedly if you take the time to look back as you leave Craster and after passing Cullernose Point. More photopgraphs were taken here than anywhere else during the day.

The second feature is defined by the geology: and this is Dunstanborough Castle. It is easy to see why it was built were it was as a defensive fortification. It commands all that is around it. Built upon a cliff that is so sheer and inaccessible that it is the home to a kittywake colony and with clear views across the land it was the obvious site to rule and defend a kingdom from.

The third feature of the walk was the wind. We pushed and prodded our way into the wind all day. We had a few drops of rain but for the most part the sun shone strongly and the air was clear so we had good views but the wind never gave up.  We had a good walk but the energy we used was worth more than the 15 miles or so that we covered. Well done to everyone who walked so well. This was a good training walk and excellent preparation for the challenge in May. It was a relief to get into Alnmouth and turn away from the wind for the last half mile back to the car park.

We covered 15.5 miles in 6 hours and 15 minutes. The stop time was about 50 minutes which means that the overall average distance covered was 2.5 miles an hour. However the actual pace of walking was nearer 3 miles and hour.

I look forward to catching up with those of you who are doing the challenge walk and thanks to all of the walkers for their company.

Chris

Wed 9th April 2014

Holy Island Causeway to Berwick upon Tweed

Holy Island Causeway to Berwick upon Tweed

The rain splattered on the windscreen as Sundace and The Kid made their way to Berwick and then on the coach to the causeway at Holy Island wondering if it would take more than a soft shoe shuffle to keep the weather fair. They need not worry for as soon as waterproofs were donned to get off the coach the weather dried up. In fact The Kid suffered later by forgetting to bring his sun hat.

Heading North from the causeway the two groups made their way along the coastline, firstly around the muddy Beal inlet before following the dune line to Goswick. Unfortunately a trip out to the isolated sand dune 'islands' off-shore and walk along the sands wasn't going on as the rain during the week made it impossible to cross the stream beach-side at Goswick.

Instead a pleasant track led to the Golf Club House where The Kid's group descended on the only indoor loo for miles (Sundace's group went ahead and had to make do with the natural surroundings. Sundace nearly got lynched when the group discovered they had past one).

Continuing up the beach a while a pleasant lunch beach side was had before leaving the sands to avoid rock bands. A climb up and along the cliffs to Spital promenade followed. There was a cliff top encounter along the way with a Shepherds Walks nordic walking party and a suitable amount of banter between the groups ensued. Down on the prom some had ice creams, some followed the Lowry Trail and other queued at the loo's again.

Once around the Tweed mouth the groups crossed the old bridge into Berwick with one group finishing with a detour around the walls to the Lion House and a peek at the old Berwick icehouse used to store ice for the salmon fishing in previous times.

Paul