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Wed 16th July 2014

From Source to Sea - day 1

From Source to Sea - day 1

The River Coquet from Source to Sea

Day One - Coquet Head to Barrowburn.

Well Sundance had certainly doing the old soft shuffle.  Yes it was sunny and hot with hardly any wind a really good day to start our 6 day trek.  But would it last?

We all met up at Windyhaugh car park jumped on to the mini bus that took us up to valley to Chew Green, the start of the days walk but as Mike took great delight in telling us NOT the start of the walk proper! At this point the river was about 3ft wide.

Having walked along the edge of the Chew Green Roman camps we crossed the border in to Scotland.  At this point the north bank of the River! Coquet (It is about 2ft wide) forms the border between England and Scotland.  At Coquet head we re-entered England by the first or last bridge across the Coquet, really it was just a boggy area with a slight trickle oozing its way down hill.

After a quick tea break we started the walk proper heading for the North Sea.  An easy walk contouring round Brown Hart Law took us from England to Scotland back to England this route also brought us above Chew Green where we could see the outline of the Roman camps.  

After a passing Brown Hart Law and its Roman Signal Station we headed along a track to Deel’s Hill and lunch.  After lunch a gentle walk down we reached the River at Bucham’s Bridge.  Up to this point Mike had been desperately looking out for the famous Cheviot Goats to no avail but as Mike was pontificating about some old rock a more observant person spied a gout walking across the bridge less than 20 yards away and totally ignore us.

At long last we walked beside the river which by now was about 15ft wide, unfortunately it was on the tarmacked road.  Eventually we left the road at Carlcroft to head up hill and join the footpath The Street we now walked down steeply to once more join the road and the river at Slymefoot.( Trows road end)  After walking along the road we reached the official end of the day’s walk at Barrowburn Tea Room.  

Arriving just before 5pm we pilled in to enjoy coffee and cake, Much too Mike’s concern a number of us opted to have his favourite home-made caramel short bread.  Fortunately for Mike there was plenty for everyone.

Tue 15th July 2014

Birkhouse Moor and Greenside Mine

Birkhouse Moor and Greenside Mine

The fourth Shepherds Walks jaunt in the magnificent Lake District.
We turned up at Glenridding Pier car park for our trip up to Birkhouse Moor, another of the 214 Wainwrights.

It looked like we were in for a good day with the likelihood of early mist/cloud burning away. Our first stop was Lanty’s Tarn where I regaled Liz stories of the accompanying ice house which provided the materials for 17th Century ice cream for Patterdale Hall.

Then ‘onwards and upwards’ to the ’hole in the wall’, the start of the (in)famous Striding Edge. Here we had a choice; would she like to add Helvellyn to her day out in the fells? A firm ‘yes, please!’ was a fitting response.

We duly set off after a splendid lunch next to Red Tarn. Swirral Edge isn’t as infamous as Striding Edge but it has its moments, scrambling definitely involved. We arrived at the top of Helvellyn in no time at all.

Back down we went and off to our final summit of Birkhouse Moor. Super views of Glenridding and its neighbouring mountains rounded off a great day on the fells.

A great days walking.

Mon 30th June 2014

Cragside Challenge Walk 2014

Cragside Challenge Walk 2014

Blog - from guided walk group

Waking up to rain, wind and a cool, if not, a cold easterly wind was a bit of a shock after a week of sunny, warm weather. I had planned to carry less gear but put in an extra fleece at the last moment. The weather forecast even said there was a chance of thunder and heavy rain!

Arriving at Cragside which is in such a beautiful setting dispells any concerns about getting wet and sure enough as we set off on the walk through the grounds the first glipses of the route over the Simonside Hills is seen through the trees. The clouds were parting and there were patches of sunshine. It was going to be a good day.

And so it proved to be.

This walk is varied and continually interesting. Walking along the Thrum in Rothbury and then crossing the new bridge is as attractive as it is gentle. Walking past Witton Tower the countryside opens up and we begin to prepare for the ascent to the wilder Garleigh Moor above Lordenshaw. The descent to the car park is a temporary restbite as we take on the rocky route to the Simonside ridge before turning away at Dove Crag to the forest track that leads into the forest down a steep and tricky descent to Tosson Farm and the checkpoint at the lime kiln. From here the Coquet Valley opens up and the meandering river can be seen like a geography lesson layed out in front of you.

After a welcome lunch the gentle walk across the river and through to Thropton is followed by a long climb to the moorland above Rothbury. It was a welcome relief to turn left at the gateway to the moors and to walk on level ground. This is the last stage of the walk: a bit of flat ,a bit of down hill through the forest, a bit of a twist on the roadway until the crossing of the road into the grounds of Cragside and the finish.

Well done to the guided group who made the day memorable and a pleasure for me. Thank you for your company. Thank you to Andrea for helping out.

So the day ended with sunshine and it even warmed up a bit. As it turned out it was near perfect weather for a walk.

As for the thunder and rain storm – that hit during the drive home. What timing!

See you again next year or at the next Shepherds Walks challenge in August over the border into Scotland – the St Cuthbert’s Way Challenge – another great walk. For details and how to sign up for the the training walk see