Thrunton Woods and Long Crag
Wed 9th March 2011
Guided Walk date - 7/3/11
Sundance and his soft shoe shuffle have done it yet again. Yes it was dry, yes it was sunny and yes even the few boggy bits were easy to dodge. So yes Mike ended the day with dry feet.
We all met at the car park at Thrunton Woods and very quickly wrapped up against the cool breeze. We left the cars by 10.00 and set off down the road towards the Coeburn. The gentle walk down allowed cool muscles to warm up before the need for anything strenuous. At the Coeburn we entered the forest and walked through an area that was being partially harvested. Unfortunately for us this gave Mike the opportunity to start whittering about modern harvesting methods, using a machine called a harvester, compared to cutting down trees manually, and to Mike’s great delight we passed a big tank of urea, which he had been telling us about, that they paint on to stop shoots re-growing from the tree stumps.
The track continued to climb gently following the Coeburn which at this point is lined with knarled old oaks, silver birch and downy birch (yet another chance to whitter). Crossing the Coeburn by a wooden bridge we now started to seriously ascend the front face of Coe Crags. Mike made frequent stops to talk about rocks (again) trees and to take photographs (in reality this was the pretext he needed to get his breath back from the steep climb).
On reaching the top of the steep climb a much gentler climb lead us to the summit of Coe Crag (308m). From the summit the views were fantastic looking across the Vale of Whittingham to the hills just above Wooler, then on to Hedgehope, and The Cheviot before swinging round to Hogdon Law and Weather Cairn then Harbottle Crags and westwards to the end of the Simonside Ridge, swinging round further we could just make out the chimneys at Alcan. We followed the top of the scarp face to Long Crag (319m). Just after starting the descent back down to the Coeburn we found a sheltered spot to have a latish lunch.
Lunch was very idyllic with warm spring sunshine, virtually no wind and not a sound to be heard, with a beautiful view across the vale towards the hills it felt as if we had the whole world to ourselves. After lunch we continued down to the Coeburn and then started the long gentle climb up the lee slope to the top of Callaly Crags.
As we approached Callaly Crags we entered an old open woodland of Scots Pines and with the soft spring sunlight filtering through the trees it had an idyllic peaceful atmosphere. A steep decent through Hobbs Nick brought us to McCartney’s Cave and then down to small valley below Castle Hill. A short steep climb brought us to the summit of Castle Hill and having walked over a couple of ditch and ramparts, we found another pleasant place to sit and have rest and drink. A short descent lead us back on to a Forestry Comm. track which we followed eastwards before joining the tarmac road that would lead us back to the car park and the end of another enjoyable day out in the hills.