The Goat Track
Fri 29th June 2012
This was certainly a walk to tell the grandchildren about, not just for the stunning scenery but the conditions we walked through for the last section of the walk, but more about that later ........
As we met in Alwinton Car Park it was dry and high spirited.
Today’s guided walk was going to pass along one of the best footpaths Northumberland has to offer, we call this ‘The Goat Track’. It is not a walk for those that suffer from vertigo, but it is very different from other paths we have in Northumberland.
The group where certainly up for this challenge and with it being dry underfoot and dry above we set off along the road, heading up the valley to this epic path.
After a quick briefing we climbed gradually to the goat track and made our way along it, with the River Coquet (in full flow) a long way down below. The confidence and expertise shown by every participant was second to none and as we regrouped at the far end everybody had a large smile on their faces.
As it was still dry and relatively sheltered we stopped for our lunch just before we reached Shillmoor and as the drizzle started we continued to head west and then north as we started to follow the Usway Burn. I am a big fan of this valley; as you pass up it on a wide track you really get a sense of the height of the towering hilltops all around you.
Just before Batailshiel Haugh we left the track and started our climb out of the valley. A well positioned stile gave us a great excuse to catch our breath and the well bonded group where truly stunning in their fitness, humour and expertise in walking in this testing landscape.
As the ground levelled out it was a great photo opportunity to show everybody at home the achievement of that steep climb out of the valley bottom.
After a soggy mile or so we reached Clennell Street and glad to be on the hard footing we headed south. Then it began to rain ........
Yes it was heavy, then it got heavier and it was joined by thunder and lightning. Then Clennell Street became Clennell River. I have never seen as much rain in all my life. The path was flowing like a river as the water rushed off the higher ground.
Waterproofs were penetrated and feet became wet but thankfully the high spirits of the group continued as we chucked our way back to Alwinton. It will stop any minute now was said many times but it continued on and on.
As we arrived back at Alwinton everybody had really enjoyed the walk and only when we got back into civilisation did we realise how the whole North East had been affected by the flash floods. The city had ground to a halt. Shops in nearby Alnwick had been flooded and people washed down in the torrents of water that fell in that short period, the Metro Centre was closed, the A1 was closed in sections and we, a hardy bunch of walkers, battled our way through from some remote hill tops in the Cheviot Hills back to the relative civilisation of Alwinton.