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Thu 22nd August 2019

Windy Gyle - 2019

Windy Gyle - 2019

Windy Gyle  - 17.08.19

After the heavy rain of recent days, it was with some relief that as we gathered at Weders Leap it was a bright clear day, albeit rather breezy and the forecast for the day was good.

Mark welcomed everyone, introduced Martin our Shepherds Walks volunteer and outlined the route. He advised that Windy Gyle would almost certainly live up to its name and that it would likely be rather wet underfoot. Fortunately we were all prepared for this eventuality.

Before we started the long and steady climb to the border ridge via the old drovers road The Street, Mark talked briefly about these ancient tracks which crossed the Cheviots and also the existence of many illicit whisky stills in the area and in particular the wonderfully named Slyme Foot Inn. Visibility was excellent and wonderful views of the surrounding hills were enjoyed as we approached the border and joined the Pennine way. Sadly there was no sign of the wild goats today.

The wind was now much stronger and threatening grey clouds were gathering as we made our way to Russell’s Cairn and the summit. Fortunately the visibility remained good and the panoramic views of the hills were almost at their best despite a few spots of rain. With the wind behind us we made our way to join Clenell Street where we stopped for a late lunch and Mark outlined the history of the Border Reivers and the events which transpired here in 1585 when Sir John Russell was murdered.

We followed the well defined path to Murder Cleugh, the scene of another dastardly deed in 1610. Mark told the story of Robert Lumsdon and Isabella Sudden and the punishment eventually given to Lumsdon for his actions.

Just before we dropped down to Barrowburn and our starting point, Mark thanked everyone and wished a safe journey home. Everyone commented on what a wonderful walk and day it had been which only confirmed my own view that this is probably my favourite Cheviot walk.


Tue 23rd July 2019

Fremington Edge and Arkengarthdale

Fremington Edge and Arkengarthdale

Fremington Edge and Arkengarthdale - July 21st 2019

This was the first time Shepherds Walks had moved into the Yorkshire Dales for a day walk. As we gathered at Reeth market square on a fine morning with superb views of Swaledale and Arkengarthdale overlooked by the towering Fremington Edge everyone was excited and looking forward to a new and different sort of walk.

Mark welcomed everyone and outlined the route and asked Sue and Tony to be official photographers for the day! We began by crossing the river Swale via a suspension bridge and followed the river towards the picturesque village of Grinton. Then began the steady climb through the hamlet of Fremington on a well defined track to the steep limestone crag that is Fremington Edge.  A welcome coffee stop half way up gave Mark the opportunity to talk a little about Swaledale and its lead mining past and this industry’s impact on the countryside we now see. When we reached the summit of “the Edge” there followed a delightful level path for 3 miles or so before dropping down into Arkengarthdale. Over this part of the walk there was constant evidence of lead mining with many spoil heaps and the only disappointing aspect of this stretch was the stiff and chilly breeze.

Fortunately the weather on the return to Reeth was much calmer and warmer and the path which followed the Arkle Beck was simply delightful. The Reeth brass band was even playing as we approached our cars and some of us then enjoyed a wonderful and well deserved ice cream!

The general consensus from our walkers was that this was an area which affords wonderful walking opportunities and the request that Shepherds Walks returns here in 2020.


Tue 25th June 2019

The Cheviot - 2019

The Cheviot - 2019

The Cheviot

After the rains of the past week, it was with some relief that as we met at Langleeford for the start of today’s walk, it was a dry and bright morning with the summits of Hedgehope and Cheviot clearly visible.

Mark introduced himself to the group of 10 walkers (and one dog, Timber) and welcomed everyone. He outlined the walk but advised that we may have to change part of the route as a result of the recent rainfall as the descent back down the Harthope Valley may be too dangerous.

The ascent of Cold law quickly had everyone’s heart pumping and layers of clothing discarded but wonderful panoramic views were enjoyed. After walking over Broadhope we encountered the first bogs of the day leading up to Scald Hill and these continued until we reached the stiff climb up The Cheviot. Lunch was taken on a rocky outcrop half way up at which time the temperature dropped and the first hint of moisture in the air was felt.

Suitably refreshed, our group safely arrived at the summit – our objective for the day - where It was much colder, windier and wetter  After talking to walkers we met coming in the opposite direction, Mark decided (after taking a group consensus) to stick with the original route and descend down the Harthope valley following the burn. Whilst it was very wet underfoot the views down the valley and Hedgehope to our right were superb.

When the valley flattened out and we reached the first signs of human habitation and the farm track back to the cars, Mark thanked everyone for their company and complemented them on their fitness!