DISTANCE 7.3 miles
WEATHER Bright and sunny
START / FINISH Car park at Barrowburn
For today’s wander I would be joined by the lovely Edwina and of course Bob dog it’s been ages since we have managed to get out for a “proper” walk, mainly because my knee isn’t right , well to be honest it will never get any better but thanks to my new Orion3 Knee walking was becoming much easier and so it was time to push the limits a bit to see how my buggerd knee would perform , the last thing I wanted to do is hurt myself , but if I’m ever going to get into the hills I do need to up my game a bit and so today was going to be a bit of a tester to see how things behaved . After a quick chat with Edwina we decided on starting at Barrowburn, if fact I suggested it and Edwina just agreed (one day I will get her to pick a route) so that was it all sorted,
The last time I was up that way the forestry people had been busy cutting down all the trees around the edges of Kidland forest and to be honest the whole area was a muddy mess, I was thinking that maybe they had finished, cleared up there mess and things shouldn’t be that bad, the weather hadn’t been that wet for the last week so I was a case of let’s get up that way and have a mooch around, and of course with the clocks going back it get dark early so I didn’t want to spend too much time driving just to get there.
I have a fondness for this area and have done this walk so many times over the years I feel that must know every rock and tree that I pass but somehow the area never losses any of the magic feeling and today proved to be no different and to make things even better we didn’t see a single person all day, (I know I’m a grumpy old git at times).
Our route for the day was to park up in the small car park at Barrowburn, sort our gear out then walk along the small road till we came to the farm at Barrowburn, sadly the tea room that used to be here is now closed, something that both me and Edwina commented on thinking what a shame that the new owners didn’t want to take it on , Bob dog didn’t really care one way or another as he was busy running and sniffing all over the place , as normal I took a photo as we crossed over the Hepden Burn
WHERE WILL WE GO TODAY ?
Once again I got the strange feeling of “where will I go today” even though the route was planned out , I think that this feeling goes way back to my early days of recovery when I would really struggle to get anywhere and would stand on this bridge looking up the valley thinking one day I will get up there or I will get to the top of that hill instead of just getting to one place a bit further along this valley and having to call it a day , in many ways it’s a good feeling as it reminds me of how lucky I am to even be here , of course having both Bob dog and Edwina along I don’t dwell on this feeling too much.
From here our route (see map) took us along a well-used cart track up the side of Kyloe shin before dropping down to run alongside the Hepden Burn before we head up onto Lounges Knowe which is a lot steeper than what it appears, but of course as we climb up the views just stat getting better and better (I should point out that my lungs seem to be bursting at this point) so to avoid any embarrassment it’s a case of stop and take a few photos.
TIME TO STOP
YEP TIME TO GET MY BREATH BACK , LOOKING BACK TOWARDS BARROWBURN
The first thing that that I noticed when heading up this hill is that the edge of Kidland forest had completely gone, and where it was just trees before I could now see Middle Hill in all its glory,
MIDDLE HILL WITH JUST A COUPLE OF TREES ON IT
A bit further along it was possible to peer down and see the Usway burn and even down to Fairhaugh all seemed rather exposed after being surrounded by trees for years and years, following down the track we headed down to Fairhaugh where I had my first fall, naturally Edwina nearly wet herself laughing but no damage was done other than my pride.
LOOKING DOWN TOWARDS FAIRHAUGH
We crossed over the burn via the footbridge rather than using the new bridge that the forestry people had erected then it was up into the trees as we climbed up the forest track up to link up with Clennell Street, once again we headed into where the forestry people had been cutting down the trees and to be honest it was still like something out of a war film, not only that but the ground was very wet and boggy in places and to say it was slippery was an understatement.
BOB DOG SHOWING THATS ITS OK TO WALK ON
In years gone by this section of the walk was always one of my favourite bits but now it’s a nightmare and to be honest I was pleased when we left the wooded section and got onto the grassy side of Yarnspath Law and headed down to the delightful Usway burn with its small waterfall.
THE SMALL UNNAMED ? WATERFALL ON THE USWAY BURN.
It felt good to be on grassy ground with open views again , I will admit to be a bit concerned about slipping and twisting my knee , it’s taken me ages to get this confident and I really don’t want to bugger it up anymore.
After crossing over the burn we decided on lunch sitting at the bottom of Hazely Law, even though the sun was shining, it didn’t take long for both of us to relies that it’s starting to get cold now and so we didn’t linger and once the shadows blocked out the sunlight you could feel the difference straight away . Bob dog didn’t seem to mind; once he had scoffed his roast beef and treats down he was ready to go and was off running and exploring all over the place.
After lunch it was follow the track past Murder Cleugh with its now famous headstone.
And onto the grassy track that would take us back over Barrow law and down into Barrowburn, on an impulse I suggested that we took a small detour off the track and head up onto the summit of Barrow Law just to have a look over the other side, Naturally Edwina and Bob dog agreed and so we started up the rather long slog up to the summit. The views made it well worth while, but with one eye on the time we could hang about and quickly made our way back to link up with the path
LOOKING OVER THE TOP OF BARROW LAW
Coming down there is certain point were the views to the coquet valley and the small farm at Barrowburn open up and I will admit it is always a welcome sign; it’s a shame that the tea room is closed now. But all was not lost once we got back to the car, gear was sorted and the jet boil came out for tea and coffee, the sun was fading fast now and the hill tops where covered in a brilliant bright orange glow.
LOOKS LIKE WE ARE IN FOR SOME SORT OF SUNSET TONIGHT
And it looked like the sky was going to turn red, then as quickly as it came it clouded over and everything turned grey then dark before we had a chance to snap a few photos.
Any way a few photos that i did manage to take :-
Taken from the car park looking towards the old school hut at Barrowburn
Looking back towards the carpark
Looking further up the Coquet valley
The old school hut, this building can be rented out for holidays etc.
Our route stretched out before us
Looking down at the Usway Burn
Taken from the footbridge looking at a small waterfall
Looking towards Fairhaugh
At long last starting to leave the muddy section and getting out onto the fells
Looking across towards Middle hill
And the views start to open up
Looking back as we make our way down hill
Still heading down
Some of the locals
The small waterfall on the Usway Burn
As we start to climb out of the valley the views open up again
Our lunch spot, I can think of worse places to stop
On our way back looking towards the small farm at Usway Ford
Looking towards Shillhope law and our return path home
Looking back with the lovely Edwina plodding along
Peering over the top of Barrow law
Heading back down to link up with the footpath
The Coquet valley and where the car is parked
A bit closer, one of the locals checking to see if the car is still there
Back at the car park looking back to where we was, just look at the sun setting up there
Standing drinking coffee looking at what we hope is going to be a brilliant sun set only for it to change in a matter of minutes.
DAY AFTER THOUGHTS
really enjoyed todays walk, brilliant weather, great company and some tremendous views , I did think that I would suffer and stiffened up after all it was 7.3 miles with 1596ft of the up’s and downs thrown in and …………………I did when I got up in the morning but as normal once I got moving things soon got back to normal (whatever that is ) , stump wise no damage was done and my knee seemed no better or worse for the wander so I will write this up as a success and finally I have to say that my new knee the Orion3 is performing very well and I am feeling very pleased with how things are working out .
ABOUT ME NORTHUMBERLAND WALKS 2017