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Wed 19th September 2012

Nordic Walk - Cambo

Nordic Walk - Cambo

Proof walking this route 2 days earlier I was prepared for the weather (Waterproofs, gators, waterproofing my walking shoes). But then the strangest thing happened.....the sun came out! A bit of a breeze but not unpleasant and not a cloud in the sky. The perfect weather for a Nordic Walk.

The group met in the quiet village of Cambo and after the usual warm up exercises we set off. On leaving the village we went immediately into some freshly combined fields. The path was unexpectedly dry underfoot and the grass not too long, allowing us to remove the paws from our poles and really push back as we walked. The path was wide enough to allow us to walk alongside a friend and have a chat. Eventually we came to another combined field and followed the prominent path diagonally through it. There is something quite naughty about going through the centre of a field and not keeping to the edge but this is where the footpath lay and so we followed. Walking through a freshly combined field, with only short yellow stalks still remaining, was a real Cadbury’s flake moment! Quite beautiful.

We passed through a short woodland area before returning to our combined fields again. The next field however, was very square and grassy. We entered through a gate in the top right corner.  This is no ordinary field and quite unusual in the way we pass through it. I warned everybody of this and again set off at a diagonal through the field, to the middle of the far side boundary. Once everyone caught up there were many comments of “well that wasn’t unusual”. And so we set off again, almost back on ourselves but to the top left corner! We basically travelled through this field in a ‘V’ shape. Now I know a few people thought I had well and truly lost it at this point but no, this is the way the public footpath went through the field. It’s a great example of why footpaths were placed where they are as originally they were solely used to join neighbouring farms together. Nobody ever imagined that Mrs Shepherd would be walking around the footpaths for pleasure, much less with poles!

We continued on along a tarmac track and so the paws were returned to the feet of our poles to prevent too many headaches from all the clanking! This track had a gradual incline, which to a walker would prove a little tiring and would certainly get their heart rate up. Us Nordic Walkers however were able to climb the hill with very little effort, and still chatted all the way. No breathlessness and no red gasping faces. Even our newest member tried walking without her poles and commented on how easy it was to climb the hill with poles.

The tarmac track eventually led to a farm where the sheep dip was evident and the various gateways used by the farmer to sort his sheep and their lambs before dipping them. However the farmer had decided to tie up the gate leading into the field where our public footpath ran. ...and tightly knotted too. Not to be beaten Mrs Shepherd calmly decided to lift the whole gate off its hinges so we could continue on. Where there is a will there is always a way!

We continued uphill through the field, skirting around the edges to avoid the cattle, which were terrified of us and ran away as we approached. One last field, again which was passed following a tree line through the middle of a field, and we returned to Cambo village again.  

This is such a lovely walk, highly recommended to both walker and Nordic Walker and great for the kids too.

Sun 9th September 2012

Kielder Challenge 2012

Kielder Challenge 2012

On Saturday 8th September we had the fourth Kielder Challenge which again attracted runners as well as walkers.

It was a great day and thanks to everybody who took part.

Next years Kielder Challenge Walk is on Saturday 7th September 2013. More info can be found here.

You can view your own times and positions from the day by downloading a spreadsheet from here.

Below is the YouTube film from the day and also some pictures from the event.

Tue 4th September 2012

St Cuthberts Way, part 2 - Wooler to Fenwick

St Cuthberts Way, part 2 - Wooler to Fenwick

Sundance had been at work all week with the old soft shoe shuffle and it worked not of drop of rain all day! and did he get any thanks for his efforts NO some people just complained about how hot and sweaty (Males) or glowing (Female) they were.  There is just no pleasing some people.

We nearly all met at Fenwick on time and got on the mini bus to transfer back up to Wooler Common where the last walk ended.  Here another walker joined the group.

We walked around the ponds and down into Wooler to find the first available comfort stop (Wooler bus station). We continued down through Wooler crossing the A697 and then river Wooler Water. After a short walk through a park we gradually began to climb out of the valley and up on to some open moorland. 

As usual Mike used the excuse to witter about the local glaciation and the layout of the land to have a rest and get his breath back after the climb.  It was at this point Mike’s mobile rang and we arranged to meet the last member of the group at the bridge crossing the River Till near Weetwood Hall. 

The route of St. Cuthbert’s Way now uses the public road to West Horton and after a steady climb we arrived at West Horton. 

What made this even better, one of the group lives here so we had tea, proper coffee and scones and what made the stop even better, we had access to a loo. Mike allowed us to make the most of the stop by also making it our lunch stop!  So we did not only enjoy the stop, coffee etc but also the SUNSHINE.

All too soon Mike was packing his rucksack ready for the off.  We continued to follow the road for a short distance before turning off on to a farm track that rose to a high point and allowed views to the south as far as the Simonside Hills.  We once more joined a minor road and had to dodge a couple of cyclists.

At Shop Hill we left the road and now walked through some fields and a herd of bullocks before arriving at St. Cuthbert’s Cave. Here Mike allowed us to stop for a short rest while he wittered about the various Saints that were linked to the area ably helped by one or two others in the group before  pontificated about the Celtic church and the Roman Catholic and the Whitby synod.

Eventually he shut up and we climbed the last hill of the day which gave some of the most breathtaking views of the Cheviots and to the east Lindisfarne.  Although this view will not be there for long as a wind farm with 19 turbines is being proposed/ built in the near vicinity. 

Once more we had to walk through a herd of cattle before heading north through some conifer woodland.  The path through the woods was the most clarty of all the days walk and needed some limbo dancing under a barbed wire fence at one point to miss a very clarty section.  For the last 1km or so we were back onto minor road that lead us to Fenwick village and the cars.

Well Done Sundance Kid you did us proud a perfectly dry day.