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Night Patrol - What do the army get up to on the ranges?

Night Patrol - What do the army get up to on the ranges?

Thu 28th June 2012

The group met in high spirits at the Buckhams Bridge car park high up the Coquet Valley and those early attendees where well entertained by the shepherd working his border collie high up on the hill side. A lovely June evening and a truly spectacular sight.

After a quick overview of what was ahead of us the group started the steep climb up over Deel’s Hill and as we gained height the clod started to just settle on the hill tops and gave an eerie feel with sunset approaching and the cloud base meeting the ground.

As we continued on we reached the border fence and turned north along The Pennine Way as we passed over Black Halls and Broad Flow before reaching the Lamb Hill Refuge Shelter. It was now 10.00 pm and it was certainly turning dark.

At the refuge shelter we stopped for snacks to build our energy (and confidence) ready for our decent in the dark back to the valley floor. After our eyes had adjusted as the sun set we all agreed to walk the first section without torchlight and everybody was amazed by how much they could see ‘in the dark’.

As we continued to drop down and follow the Blind Burn it was truly dark and many of the group used their head torches, whilst others chose to really test their ‘night vision’.

As we hit the tarmac road it was a big relief for many of the group, not least as it was approaching 1.00 in the morning, so it had been a long night.

The sense of achievement was clear in everybody’s voices as they took off their boots and prepared for the journey home.

A truly special experience, walking and navigating in the dark.

Posted By: Julie Barnett | Sat 21st July 2012

This was a very different walk. We were told there would unfortunately be no firing across the ranges but we started off in anticipation of seeing lots of stars when we got to the top of the numerous hills, one of which was the first thing we tackled. As we got to the top it was clear that the cloud cover was going to be low and we wouldn't see the stars. One of the most interesting thing was seeing how good your nightvision was when walking around midnight without torches or headlamps on. The deep bogs and slight detour (ie going the wrong way) made it an interesting evening and we were pleased to change our boots and head home.

Posted By: Jane Cartridge | Mon 13th August 2012

I am lucky to live near the Ranges at Otterburn, and I am disappointed for you that you had a cloudy night. We do get the most spectacular skies and had quite good Northern LIghts recently. Do come back when there is a clear night, you don't have to walk into the high hills to enjoy the stars and if you come during the winter you don't even have to be out during the night :)

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