DATE                                         02.02.2014

DISTANCE                                 9.05 MILES

WEATHER                                WET TO START WITH THEN  BRIGHT

START / FINISH                       FREE CAR PARK AT WESTGATE

 

Weardale wander with Odrus

Once again I was feeling a bit on the apprehensive about this meet up , I had been out with this great group twice before , the last time my Arty leg was more or less on its last leg (poor joke )  and to be honest I was really surprised and happy  when the leg didn’t die  on me . However since then I had been back to my limb centre and had a load of repairs done, new seal in liner, a new shiny hydraulic  cylinder and a new foot ………Happy days………. BUT like most things it had a down side  I had got use to walking with a broken foot and cylinder so walking with new gear was like walking with a new setup , I know that I would get used to it after a while but I didnt really have that much time so once again I wasn’t really feeling my normal self  but the good news is this set up (touch wood) should now get me through the  rest of the year before it started to break down , this means I can really start to plane some serious walks and once my fitness back and hopefully get across to the lakes. Anyway that’s enough crap about me, let’s get back to the days walking.

Despite what the forecast stated I thought that it would be prudent to  make sure that I had wet weather gear with me ( as a rule its always in the rucksack ) but I had just spent my gift vouchers at go  outdoors and treated myself to a new rucksack so  I had to double check . You know how it is ….your old rucksack had a place for everything and you knew where it was straight away; with my new rucksack I am still playing with what goes where and what works best... I expect that I will get it sorted after a couple of trips.

On waking up in the morning and pressing my nose to the bedroom window I was greeted with a clear blue sky and a strange yellow thing throwing out a serious amount of light, I think this must be the first time I have seen the sun shine for weeks ………..Great a good start, coffee was throw down my neck, the pups walked (they wouldn’t be coming with me today) then gear thrown into the car and off I went.

Driving away from the coast the first thing I noticed was the clouds coming in followed by a dull grey wet misty rain ……………Great back to normal weather, I had set off a bit earlier than I needed this was a precaution because of the road over “Stanhope common” might have been covered in snow, as it was the road was clear and there was very little snow laying around and so I duly arrived at the small car park at Westgate in plenty of time.

Gear was sorted and I treated myself to a cup of coffee made using the jet boil , naturally the weather decided to close in and for a while it was raining quite hard , but with the wind blowing and breaks in the cloud it didn’t look like it was in for the day but there is nothing I could do about that so why worry , Getting closer to the meet up time the rest of the ODRUS  walking group turned up , gear was sorted , comments about the weather was made and off we went , see map above for route , like all good walks we didn’t  stick to the route that was planned this was due to the Middlehope burn being full of water and flowing quite fast and the crossing point that we should have been able to paddle across was far to deep so that called for detour of about a mile or so then  later on one of the footpaths had been closed and so that added a bit more distance on .the ground was soaking wet and we spent ages hopping from one tuffty bit of grass to another , the walk up along  slit wood was brilliant the water gushing down the burn really made for impressive waterfalls , the path had been all but washed away in one place , I being brave decided to let all the group cross the dodgy bit first thinking if it takes all them it wont crumble when I am on it , I am pleased to say that we all crossed over no problem , them a bit further along there was sign of a recent mud slid , once again we all managed to splodge over the mud without incident but I will report the state of the paths to Durham footpath people , not really sure what they can do till the weather dry’s up a bit or if they are even interested ..

Other stuff the area is full of old ruined mine workings and the old spoil heaps that add a sort of something to the surrounding hills ………..don’t ask what they add because I don’t know but they still leave there mark on the hills and in there own way add to the whole feel of this walk, then of course there was the last section of the walk where we wandered along the river wear on the Weardale way with its numerous small waterfalls and deep pools.

ALL in all we did about 9.05 miles with about 945 ft. of the ups and downs, most of it was on very wet ground but this was still a gem of a walk made even better by the company.

As per normal a few photos from this walk enjoy.

Taken near the start of the walk, waterfall in slit wood.

 

My walking companions for today, what a great crowd you are!

 

Same waterfall (don’t even know if it has a name)

 

Another small waterfall, this section of the Middlehope burn is full of small waterfalls

 

Water running down the steep sides

 

The path, in good condition considering all the rain we have had (that was to change later on)

 

Looking up the burn

 

Andy taking a photo of small water fall dropping down to link up with the burn

 

Close up

 

I had the camera ready just in case they slipped over

 

First sighting of some old mine ruins

 

Its wet still, even my camera lens is wet.

 

A few photos showing some of the ruins

Looking back down the path

 

Coming to the end of the wooded section

 

Looking down at some more ruins

 

Waterfall

 

A bit closer

Looking back down the valley

 

Looking ahead to open country and blue clear sky

 

Andy inspecting a “hobbit hole”

 

Looking back at? Well if the truth is know I don’t really know what I am looking at

 

Same again on the other bank

 

Our path ahead

 

Again looking back, you can just about make out a light snow covering on the higher hills

 

A barred off tunnel

Looking back down the valley we have just walked up, what you can’t see is how wet the ground is.

 

As the river crossing point is too deep we decide to head upstream till we link up with a small track with a bridge

 

Looking towards Middlehope Lodge where there is a bridge

 

The views from the track

 

Round about this time we found that the path was scattered with what I think is purple fluorspar and at every opportunity someone would stop and gap a bit.

 

A very wet and muddy track

 

Looking across to the spoil heaps by the quarry

 

Taken at max zoom

 

Small unnamed beck running downhill

 

Snowdrops ………………….is spring here already?

Now on the river wear looking at where there is a crossing /ford

 

Looking at the bridge

 

Another crossing point, there are stepping stones at this point, you can just make them out

Small falls

Same again

 

Small house in someone’s back garden

 

 

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