DATE                          26.11.17

DISTANCE                ABOUT 7.8 MILES

WEATHER                BRIGHT BUT COLD

START / FINISH      SHILLMOOR

 

For today’s wander I was planning on heading up to someplace in the  Shillmoor Area , what part or what walk I did was all depending on where the cattle are , lots of thinking was going on in my head , would the cattle still be wandering around the fells or had the farmer brought them down into the lower pastures , nothing I could do until I got there and saw them myself , then I would adjust the route to avoid them , normally I try to give cattle a wide berth especially when I have Bob dog with me and so there was no reason why I couldn’t avoid them today but the secret is to know where they are . Naturally I discussed this Bob dog who informed me he didn’t really care as long as I had packed his treats and roast beef , unknown to him the lass that made my sarnie up had put an extra slice of beef for him as well as his normal two so that was three slices for him , I didn’t really mind as its starting to get a bit on the cool side now and I do think that a good scoff helps fight the cold off , as well as that I had packed his coat , now Bob hates his coat and normally will do anything he can to get it taken off including rolling on anything smelly but there had been a sprinkling of snow and ice on the higher fells so I wasn’t going to take any chances , talking about the cold I decided that it was time that I started to pack a few extra bits of kit as well , head touch and spare batters , gloves , hat and an extra layer (just in case ) and I would be taking my jet boil with me for hot coffee . So gear was sorted and off we went.

Driving up to the hills I couldn’t help but notice that the outside temp was dropping and settled at a nice round zero and as we drove up the small road along the Coquet Valley, we were treated to some seriously slippery icy patches in places which made it fun, but by going slow and putting one set of wheels on the grassy bank we maintained some grip and so we found ourselves parking by the roadside across the stream looking at the small farm at Shillmoor.

On getting out of the car and looking across towards the fells I couldn’t see any sign of any cattle on the higher fells on in the lower pastures so it looked like this walk was on.

Looking across no signs of any cattle

Gear was sorted and off we went, Much to Bob’s annoyance I put his coat on (after all it was cold), we had a clear blue sky but the wind had a bitter feel to it and the ground was frozen solid.

Bob dog looking very snug in his coat

Our route (see map above) was to walk along the small track basically following the Usway Burn to the small farm at Batailshiel Haugh from there I would decide either to cut up past the Castles or follow the burn into Kidland Forest (what’s left of it) then cut up .

The walk along this track is brilliant, the steep sides of the hills either side gives it a very isolated feel and the with the Usway Burn with its many small unnamed waterfalls bubbling away makes it a joy.

One of the small unnamed waterfalls along the Usway Burn

However one thing I did notice was how cold it got when we went into the shade something that I would have to remember along with keeping one eye on the time; it starts to get dark about 4 now so today I could hang about.

Gets a bit cool when out of the sun

Reaching the small farm at Batailshiel I decided that I would play it safe and cut up past the Castles and onto part of Saughy Hill from there link up with a small section of Clennell Street before heading back onto Saughy Hill then link up with a track known as Copper Snout which would take us back down to the farm at Shillmoor.

Approaching Batailshiel Looking up at the Castles you can see our route as it makes its way up.

Heading up the hill was hard work, I had decided that I would walk slightly slower so I didn’t sweat as much as I was well wrapped up and the last thing I wanted to do was start sweating, plus if I walk slower I don’t have to stop to get my breath back (well that’s the theory anyway) but as we started to gain a bit of height we were exposed to the wind  and boy was it cold, normally I don’t feel the cold but today I noticed it and decided that a quick stop was in order and throw on another base layer , Bob of course was running all over the place  nice and snug in his coat and of course with the ground frozen he stayed dry . as we headed up I noticed that even the ice seemed extra hard and even the tips of my walking poles seemed to skid off it , or do they always skid off hard ice and it’s the first time I have come across it this year? . Nearing the top of this hill there is a huge bog that is saturated almost all the year round,

The start of the boggy section

 I was hoping that it would be frozen solid but due to the amount of water that seemed to be flowing into it proved that this wasn’t the case and after a couple of times where I broke the surface and sunk I decided to leave the path and head up straight to the top of this hill which exposed us to the wind but at least we was on solid ground, the other good thing was the views, reaching the top 480 meters we could see for miles and miles.

The views start to open up a bit

Time for a coffee break …..and treat Bob informed me but sadly we could stop as it was blowing a hoolie and cold with it so we headed down to Clennell Street hoping that the trees would give us some shelter, sadly the forestry people had been busy cutting all the trees down but they had left huge piles of trees stacked up which made excellent wind breaks and so we hunkered down to coffee and treats.

Looking at our wind break

After a quick break we headed off down the Street till we came to a footpath that would lead us back onto Saughy Hill, sadly this footpath was a sodden mess, frozen in places and a wet bog in other places.

Nasty section of footpath

And to be honest both Bob and me was pleased to leave it and head up onto the summit of Saughy Hill (494 meters) where at least the ground was solid again , then it was down towards the track (Copper Snout) stopping at long forgotten sheep stell.

Bob at the sheep stell (lunch time)

Where we had another stop for food , Bob dog woofed his roast beef down and then went on to help me eat my lunch , sadly I run out of gas for the jet boil (I know I should have brought a spare canister with me ) so my coffee was Luke warm , still better than nothing , then we linked up with copper Snout which was a joy to walk on , over the years this stone track has been covered with grass that makes for easy walking and we made excellent time cutting back down.

Bob on the grassy track back down

The sun came out again , the wind dropped a bit , the views looking down along the Valley we walk along in the morning all added to pleasure , plus me and arty leg (Orion3) seemed to get on and on this long downhill section I felt that the leg was working with me , smooth and effortless it even seemed to act as a break helping me walk at a steady pace not going to fast on some of the steep sections , yes the knee was making things that little bit easier for me , looking towards the sun as it dipped down over the hill Shillmoor I knew that it wasn’t long till it started to get dark but we was only twenty minutes from the farm at Shillmoor and the car.

Bob looking down towards Shillmoor

So all in all some good planning (luck) on my part.

Back at the car looking towards Pass Perth as the moon starts to come out

Back at the car gear was sorted and it was only when we stopped moving we realised just how cold it was. Bob dog snuggled down in one of his many soft snuggly blankets and I turned the heating up as we drove home, we walked about 7.8 miles with 1746 ft. of the up’s and downs and we did it at a fair old pace as well admittly this was because of the weather and the daylight but I felt very comfortable and not knackered at all.

As normal a few photos:

Looking up the river Coquet

 

Our route today

 

Bob Dog

 

One of the many unnamed small waterfalls

 

Looking up towards the Castles

 

The small footbridge behind Batailshiel Haugh Bob showing how easy it is to cross

 

Looking down to the path that follows the Usway Burn

 

Bob having a good run

 

Looking back down at Batailshiel Haugh (getting my breath back really)

 

Looking across

 

Looking down at the Usway burn (low level route)

 

Looking back

 

Looking down towards the Castles

 

And now we start to get the views

 

Some locals

 

Bob dog racing back to check on me

 

Some of the views all around us

 

 

Bob dog have one of his many rolls

Kidland forest (what’s left of it)

 

Trees stacked up ready to be transported off

A couple of photos from our lunch spot (sheep stell)

 

Starting to head down a couple of photos

Copper Snout a great grassy path (looking back at the path we have just come down)

 

Looking down to the Usway Burn

 

The Copper Snout heading back to Shillmoor (our way back)

 

A few photos as we make our way down

 

Looking down at the Usway Burn

 

Looking back

 

Looking across towards the side of Shillhope Law

 

The river Coquet and Shillmoor

 

Looking back

Nearly down

 

Crossing the footbridge at Shillmoor

 

DAY AFTER THOUGHTS

I fully expected to ache after the drive home, you know …….when you take that first dreaded step out of the car and you have stiffened up after the drive but much to my delight I was fine, so gear was sorted, Bob dog brushed and fed then whilst he was dozing with Flynn and Munchy in front of the fire I had a nice hot bubbly bath, on checking my stump things was all good. My Orion3 knee was put on charge, I had given it some stick today and it had performed very well especially coming down copper Snout, I actually relaxed coming down which is almost unknown for me when coming down a hill. My real knee still ached but no worse than normal but considering the pace today I was feeling very pleased with how things turned out,

Then to make things even better after a good night’s sleep I had no aches or pain when I got up in the morning (I normally have a few aches even on a good day) so all in all a very good result.

ABOUT ME     NORTHUMBERLAND    WALKS 2017

 

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