DATE                         17.01.18

DISTANCE                  4 .14 MILES



Today’s walk was always going to be different, to start with the weather had decided to leave a small covering of snow laying around , nothing to get excited about but the whole world was going bonkers about it plus the weather people had issued a warning stating that the winds were going to get to hurricane force later on (about tea time?) and all the snow in the world was going to be dumped upon us in Northumberland ………… was all doom and gloom the end of the world type of stuff and I dare say some people believed it , myself it meant two thing , one if it’s going to be windy I really need a bit of shelter as I’m not that good when the wind gets up and (two)  I really didn’t want to drive that far if the roads where going to get bad so heading out into the hills would be a no go , so it had to be someplace local with a bit of shelter and with the covering of snow nothing too tricky as I was still nursing my real knee , after much thinking I thought why not try Thrunton woods , the trees would give me some shelter from the wind and I guessed the views from up on the crags would be really good today so that was it all sorted , it was never going to be a big walk a straight there and back again but it was better than nothing , next thing was contact my long suffering walking buddy “Edwina the intrepid explorer” who had turned into a right wuss and turned me down , yep that’s right turned me down . so that meant it would be just Bob dog and me, the next problem I had was clothing, I knew that it was windy and was going to get worse as the day wore on (according to the experts) and with a covering of snow and ice it would feel a lot colder than what it actually was (wind chill) so I decided to dig out an old merino (spelling) wool walking top (base layer)  that I keep for days like this , I wish I could get another one but it’s so old and been washed that many times all the names etc. have been washed away I haven’t got a clue where to get one  , likewise it is rather a snug fit now , of course I blame this on it shrinking every time it gets washed rather than me turning into a bit of a porker , but with this on and a new (Christmas present) Crag hopper woollen walking top I felt that this should stop the cold wind of course I would pack a coat and a set of waterproofs as well in the rucksack but one thing I hate is to be wrapped up so much that I start to sweat , I like to be able to breath and move freely (if that makes sense ) so I figured that I had the clothing covered , Bob dog of course would be wearing his new coat that should stop the snow from building up and balling under his belly and keep him warm and dry , after all he has only got little legs.

Bob dog in his snow coat


 he might not like wearing it but it is for his own good so that was sorted , gear was thrown into the rucksack and we was off  with just the one stop at our sarnie shop and yes Bob got his extra slices of roast beef along with his treats that I had packed , in fact I bought a few extra slices of beef for Bob as I knew that stuffing his face with good food is a good way of helping with the cold , then we was off , the main roads were ok to drive on but as we headed along a the small less used road the ice and snow slowly started to build up , nothing to get worried about but as we drove towards the hills the snow was laying a lot more deeply and the road now had just had two clear strips of clear road showing the rest was ice and snow , however by this time it was time for me to turn off to the woods , the small access road was nothing but a skating ring but I didn’t have far to go and by putting the car into 4 wheel drive and keeping one set of wheels on the road edge we managed no problem .

One we stopped , gear was sorted , boots but on , Bob dog had his coat put on with the normal warning NOT to roll in anything smelly or he would be in big trouble we set off.

Cold windy but lovely, the view from the car

The first thing I noticed was it was a bit deeper here and there was a nice frozen layer under the snow that could cause problems and make it a bit slippery, however I had packed my micro spikes if this was the case, I didn’t want to put them on unless I had to because when the snow is like this it “balls” up underneath and I spend a lot of time banging them to knock the snow off and to be honest I was keeping an eye on the time and weather , it was windy (even in the trees) and it was very cold , I don’t know what it actually was but my face said that it was cold , Bob dog of course was in his element and went racing off into every snow drift he could find.

Bob dog racing around

 I didn’t mind I figured as long as he kept running he would be nice and warm plus his coat should keep any snow and ice from forming on his fur, my route was a very simple one sticking to the forestry track.

Heading along the forestry track

I would head up to the crags then leaving the shelter of the trees I would “dash” to the crags, snap a few photos then return and so it went for the first mile, Bob dog racing all over the place, it really makes my day watching Bob dog bounding all over the place, he was literally racing all over the place doing his super dog impression, however as we rounder the corner we suddenly run out of trees.

Where have all the trees gone?

 I had forgotten the last time I was up this way that they had been busy cutting the trees down so now we was exposed to the cold wind , it could have been worse as I still had trees one side so there was a bit of shelter and of course the sun was out but it reminded me that we won’t be hanging around today and of course as we gained a bit of height the snow got that little bit deeper , despite the strong wind it was like being in winter wonderland in places.

Winter wonderland

with the snow covering everything, then we burst clear of the trees and made our way across towards the crags things got as bit difficult, it was hard trying to stay / locate the path as the wind had blown the snow over the heather in places as well as filling in all the deep holes leaving no trace of the path in places.

But despite being full exposed to the strong winds now the views made it all worthwhile and I got busy with the camera, it was my plan to get snuggled down amounts the crags and stop for lunch and get the jet boil out for a hot drink but no matter where I looked I just couldn’t get out of the wind or find an icy free place to stop.

No shelter to be found

And so we made a dash for Coe crags which would be our highest place today and snap a few photos, by this time I was finding it hard to stand up as the wind was really strong so it was time to head back, I decided to head back via what I call the bee hive trail.

Bee’s (I think that they are all tucked away someplace warm and dry at the moment)

The advantage of this was it is a bit shorter and once again I would be sheltered by the trees , the disadvantage was that no one would have been down this way and so there wouldn’t be any foot prints to follow , not that I needed any trail to follow but the folk who had been here before me left a trail showing where to tread and where not to but I figured that Bob dog would leave a trail that would show any deep holes that could lead me to trip and fall ., Bob dog didn’t mind and to be honest I was very impressed with his path finding , there was several places where he did a small half circular around something that was most likely a boggy wet hole or depression and somehow he took us down off the crags into the trees and linked us up with the forestry track that we had walked up on and of course once we was on that we linked up with several “dog walkers trails” so there was no fear of treading into a wet hole. One thing that I did notice was how cold it felt when we got out of the sun and reminded myself that I had chosen wisely by not heading up to the hills today.

Starting to feel a bit cool in the shade now

on the way back we met up with a few other walkers who had the same plan as us, a quick dash up to the crags then back again before it got too late, we even met up with some bikers, we had saw and followed the tire tracks for a small part of our walk earlier.

Bike tire tracks

They informed me that they spent more time picking themselves up off the ground as the snow had covered all the pot holes up and they didn’t find them until it was too late, but despite the wind and the cold everyone agreed it was a beautiful day and just great to be out. we found a sheltered spot and woofed some food down our necks , Bob dog woofed his roast beef down , it was just too cold to stop for long so I didn’t bother with coffee and we headed back down to where the car was .

We made it back in plenty of time light wise but the wind was really picking up by now and I could see some dirty big clouds starting to show on the horizon time to go , we just made it back to the main road before it started to snow ………………Good timing or what , we only walked just over four miles but in places it was hard going , my Orion3 Knee performed very well despite the conditions and as for my real knee it was too cold to feel anything in the wind (I was in shorts as normal) and it did ache a bit , but then it always does so all in a great day for a small wander .

A few photos

And we are off, Bob having his first mooch around


Easy sheltered walking to start with


Heading up along the forestry track


Err the trees have gone


Looking to where the shooting range used to be (still is?)


Up close


Bob dog waiting for me


Where have all the trees gone?


Bob dog just back to check on me


Like winter wonderland


Old boundary stone?


Looking across towards a distant Simonside  


Heading towards the crags


A few photos as we make our way along



Looking at the crags


No shelter here


Bob dog having a dig

Heading towards Coe crags


A few photos from the cairn


Now heading back


Heavy snow in places


Bob dog leading the way back


Looking back


Our route (I hope)


Back on the main forestry track heading down now


Bob dog still going strong and nice and warm in his coat


It starts to feel a lot colder when the sun goes behind a cloud now


Frozen pond


Nearly back at the car


Last look into the trees


Day after thoughts:-

 Home , sort gear out and a hot bubbly bath , no problems but after doing only four miles I didn’t really expect any , I was pleased with how things worked out and pleased that I didn’t do anything stupid (like extend the walk ) it was so tempting to cut down via a much longer route . My clothing proved to be a success as my body didn’t feel cold at any time with the exception on my nose and eyes (the strong wind?) so all in all a good day as for my real knee after a good night’s sleep I woke up with the normal dull ache which I can and do ignore .