DISTANCE 13.21 MILES
WEATHER COLD BUT DRY
START / FINISH ROADSIDE PARKING AT CLENNELL HALL
Well todays “Epic” walk was all down to me , it all started off a few years ago when for some strange reason I decided to Bag Wether Cairn via Kidland forest see trip report for info :- http://www.onefootinnorthumberland.co.uk/WETHER__CAIRN__07_03_13.htm
Now this walk didn’t really work out the way I wanted it to, but that’s life and I got over it, however in the mist / fog I did get a tantalizing glimpse of what could have been a water fall making its way down a steep ravine at what could be classed as the start of the Wholehope burn, naturally I forgot all about it until I recently spotted a recent photo that someone had taken of said waterfall and with all the trees being cut down it looked like it was possible to get to see it and so that was the route decided or at least the first part.
Naturally I run this past Bob dog who agreed that it was a plan of sorts and whatever happens I must pack roast beef and treats for him and other than that he didn’t really care, so then it was time to contact my long suffering walking Buddie “Edwina the intrepid explorer” who has been neglecting her care in the community duties and leaving me to wander unaccompanied for some time now , however after a few e mail’s where sent up and down the internet thingy she decided that she would join us for today’s wander bringing along Jan as well , so that was it times and dates where sorted and we were all set.
Come the day the weather didn’t look to good or too bad for that matter, you know cold with lots of grey cloud but the forecast was for no rain so it was all good in my book , however on the drive up I couldn’t help but notice that the hill top’s where indeed covered with low cloud / clag which meant they it would be dull and grey when we got there ,also on the drive up I explained to Edwina and Jan what my plan for today was up into Kidland to finding the waterfall which should have been right on the edge of the Kidland forest right on Wether Cairn (about 540 meters up) having a mooch about , then if (and it was a big if ) we could find a track or path of any description leading alongside the forest we would head back that way back to the grassy pastures of Puncherton hill and head back down that way or look for another path to head back , but we would make that decision when we got to where the waterfall was , having been up on Wether cairn a few time I know just how bad the terrain is up that way , always wet& boggy , very very overgrown heather , peat sikes and apart from one path to and from the trig point nothing really , so cutting out of the trees to the trig point was a nonstarter unless we could find a path of some sort. (Which I knew didn’t exist but was hoping there was) but we would have a look just to make sure. Anyway we parked up on the trackside near Clennell Hall, gear was sorted and we was off.
And we are off
Our route (see map) was agreed upon till we got to the waterfall after that it would wait and see,
Bob dog of course had his coat on (something he really doesn’t like ) but I knew that we was in for a long day and it was cold so he had no say in the matter , but I did warn him that if he rolled in anything smelly he would be in bother .
Bob dog in his coat (nice and clean at the moment)
Anyway our route took us along the river Alnwin along the well-used track into Kidland forest itself, one thing we all noticed was how much the forest had been harvested, I know that the trees had been planted years ago just for this purpose but it found it rather sad seeing miles of trees cut down, I know that in a few years new ones will be spring up and covering the valleys again with a lush green coat but today it was just dead wood as far as the eye could see in places.
Huge areas have been harvested
The route that I had chosen took us up a long slow uphill section of track taking us past the centre of Milkhope which I believe was one of the old farms that was dotted around these valleys before they planted them up for trees, the buildings are still used today but for Organization of educational visits for young people and community groups in the North East. (Whatever that means) however it wasn’t till we went well past the turning I realized that we had missed it. But by that time we had met up with our first patches of snow or should I say ice, this discovery brought out the kids in us and it wasn’t long till we was playing silly buggers and making our own version of the “snow angles”.
Play time (I have to ask should we be aloud out on our own)
I must admit Bob dog took advantage of this to roll around in the ice and did make a pretty good snow angle (dog)
Bob dog doing a snow angle
Then it was time to press on, seeing as we had gained a fair amount of height and huge section of the forest had been cut down there was some pretty impressive views to be had, but it was dull grey with a light clag hanging around so the photos don’t really do it justice but I bet on a clear day when the sun is out the views would be brilliant.
Slowly we made our way up Dryhope hill and got the first glances of the steep ravine.
Looking down the ravine
That I remembered and it was possible to see the Wholehope burn as a very small burn as it started it long journey down to the valley bottom where it would link up with the river Alwin, but as we finally approached the top of the ravine the waterfall just wasn’t there, just a trickle of water running down numerous channels off Wether hill into the ravine , I don’t know what changed maybe when the trees got cut down the water found many different ways down or it is only a waterfall after a big rain storm I don’t know but I did feel a bit disappointed .
But seeing as it was lunch time we found a sheltered spot and settled down for a bite to eat, Bob of course woofed his roast beef down and was busy chomping his treats down like there was no tomorrow and getting ready to help me with my sarnie, Edwina that lovely lady had once again come up trumps and produced some tiffin, very nice it was too nom nom burb!. Then it was time to discuss our return route, after a quick mooch around we decided that there was no paths heading up to the trig point or running alongside the outside of the forest and the terrain made any attempts simply a no go. so after a bit of head scratching we decided that we would head back down then take the next forestry track heading off our original route up so we would return via a different route which took us along past Sting Head then staying on the forestry track we started what turned out to be a long return walk, with all the trees cut down it was possible to look across at the track in the next valley that we would be on.
Looking across to the track that we needed to get on
But it would take us miles of walking to get there , there was a footpath that I remembered that would have allowed us to cut straight down the hillside and back up to the track on the other side to rejoin the forest track and save us a few miles but due to the harvesting it proved to be impassable and so we had a long walk , but as always when in good company in a nice area the miles just seem to pass without any bother , the weather proved to be changeable but the sleety showers that looked a bit threating earlier on didn’t happen and we even got a few rays of sunshine which transformed the whole look and feel of the forest.
The sun comes out and the forest seems to come alive and seems friendlier
We all talked about how knackered we was going to be by the time we got back to the car, but I noticed that we were all walking at a good pace and no one seemed to be suffering, then right out of the blue we spotted a couple of deer running across the track and speaking for myself all thoughts of tiredness just disappeared, it’s something I really enjoy seeing when I’m out and did my best to grab a photo or two of these shy creatures
Bob dog of course didn’t see them but a few minutes later he picked up there scent and went into “I’m a hunting dog mode” and caused us all to have a laugh at his antics , then we was walking back along the river Alwin back to the car along nice grassy paths .
On the home straight
On arriving back at the car it was gear sorted and cups of tea made by Edwina and boy did it taste good. According to my GPS 13.21 miles with 2697 ft. of the up’s and downs
A few photos from today
Looks lovely with the sun out
Crossing over the river Alwin before we enter Kidland forest
Starting to head upwards
You can just about see the old farm building of Milkhope
What is she up to now?
What is going on?
What is wrong with this women?
Even Bob dog is rolling around now
But as we gain a bit of height the views start to open up
And with the trees cut down its possible to see hidden valleys
I bet on a clear sunny day this view would be brilliant
Disappointment, the place where the waterfall should be
A few photos from our lunch spot
Heading back down now
Looking to where the footpath across use to be
Not a chance of cutting across now
Manmade small dam (I haven’t got a clue what it is / was used for)
Old sheep stell
The gang all waiting for me
Bob dog waiting
Then the sun comes out
Heading back not far now
Last bend and we are back at the car …Phew!!
DAY AFTER THOUGHTS
Several things are worth noting today, firstly I was very happy with how the Orion3 knee preformed, however there was one downhill section which was at that “funny angle” where me and the knee just didn’t marry up, if it was steeper I would have used a different technic or if it wasn’t so steep I could have walked down it naturally but down this section the knee would go into “downhill mode” for one step and then revert to a free knee the next and no matter what I did I couldn’t keep a steady walking rhythm but it didn’t really matter I got to the bottom safe and sound and at the end of the day that’s all that matters , other stuff the inside of my leg started to get hot and sore and I dealt with this by rubbing hydromel cream into it to allow for a bit of movement , however this cream tends to dry up after a while and goes a bit sticky which causes more problems so I think on big walks in future I will use “LANACANE CREAM” which I know will keep things moving without rubbing but I will have to take care not to use to much otherwise the seal will slide off . I only had one stop where I took my leg off which is ok (after all it was a big walk) but one thing I did notice was both the cylinder in the foot and the knee got very warm but then I was walking pretty fast for all of the day with very few stops, but I will mention it to my limb centre next time I am there, but the leg seems to be working ok so I will let them worry.
As for my stump, sadly I had allowed it to become very red and angry (a lesson to be learnt here) to such an extent that the first few layers of skin had been rubbed off, so it’s a case of using a tegaderm plaster till it heals up (its ok now a couple of day later) as for my real knee it aches no better or worse than what it did before.
So it was a case of home, Bob dog and gear sorted then hot bath, I was feeling pretty tired but very pleased with myself, come the following morning I really expected to ache but much to my joy after a rather slow dog walk my muscles warmed up and things where ok sooooooooooo once again I will write this walk up as a success thanks.
ABOUT ME NORTHUMBERLAND WALKS 2018