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Tue 8th September 2020

Windy Gyle - 2020

Windy Gyle - 2020

As I drove through Rothbury heading ‘up the valley’ it was a wet old morning, not the best for walking one of the finest peaks in Northumberland. Thankfully, that was going to be the worse of the weather encountered that day.

We all met at Wedder Leap car park, a nice bubbly group and We met at Wedder Leap Car Park on what was going to turn out to be a superb day.

We then started to climb and continued along ‘The Street’, an old drover’s road as we continued towards the Border Fence.

After sighting the wild goats of The Cheviots it was decided to push towards the summit of Windy Gyle before lunch and that’s what we did and to see the group tucking into their sandwiches at the base of the large summit cairn was a lovely site, but only after our summit shot (whilst social distancing of course).

After lunch we continued North East along The Pennine Way until we reached Clennell, which was our route for the initial decent, before passing over Middle Hill and continuing on to Barrowburn.

The weather for the day was truly stunning and a  good day was had by all.

Wed 19th August 2020

Ring Chesters - 2020

Ring Chesters - 2020

Driving up to Wooler on the A697 the weather looked awful for a walk in the hills – a constant drizzle, chilly and low cloud/mist covering even the smaller hills. Fortunately on arrival at our starting point at Hethpool visibility was greatly improved and it was dry and so it remained for the rest of the day.

Mark welcomed everyone and outlined the walk which was a first for Shepherds Walks. We followed St Cuthbert’s Way initially before heading on to the hills and working our way up to the iron age hillfort of Ring Chesters. This was our first coffee stop and gave Mark the opportunity to give a brief outline of the hill forts in the Cheviots and in particular those at Humbleton Hill and Yeavering Bell

Our route continued on a slight incline up to the Border ridge and whilst there was still low cloud on the higher hills, superb panoramic views were enjoyed and the Eildon Hills at Melrose were clearly visible. This was our lunch stop and Mark gave a potted history of Josephine Butler (the Victorian Social reformer born in Kirknewton), Ad Gefrin (the Saxon Palace), and the Battle of Humbleton Hill.

The remainder of the walk was on well defined grassy paths surrounded by heather almost in full bloom down to Trowupburn farm where it was decided that rather than take the strenuous route up Little and Great Hetha we would follow the College valley back to the cars at Hethpool

The consensus amongst the walkers that this was a delightful walk and one that should be repeated in the future.

Mark 

Tue 14th July 2020

The Cheviot - 2020

The Cheviot - 2020

It was a glorious morning and the views and colours of the Harthope Valley were at their best as our group met at Langleeford. Although a much smaller number than usual due to the current Covid restrictions, the walkers were just pleased to be back out in the hills, and for two this was to be their first foray into the Cheviots.

It was agreed at the start that we would bypass  Cold law so Mark led the group up to Scald Hill via Broadhope and then on to the Cheviot plateau. The steep ascent was at a leisurely pace with regular stops to enjoy the stunning panoramic views. As we made our way to the summit, Mark talked about the importance of preserving and restoring the Pennine (and Cheviot) peatlands and the measures which were being employed.

Lunch was taken at the head of the Harthope Burn amidst fields of cotton grass blowing in the breeze – a beautiful sight. The path down the valley, although rather boggy in parts, was a delight with the massives of The Cheviot and Hedgehope on either side.

As we returned to our starting point, everyone agreed it was lovely day. Let’s hope that for the rest of the walking season the number of participants can be increased.

Mark