DATE                               07.03.2014

DISTANCE                      9.73 MILES




To say I was looking forward to this walk was an understatement ,however  fitness wise I still wasn’t at my best despite having an early night the night before (see  For details… bloody phantom pain can be a right pain in the arse at times) eh! It’s a pain in the missing leg that one out.

However none of that mattered , I knew once I got there things and stuff would work out fine ,and its not like I was planning on going up any mountain or anything like that  , no this walk was mostly low level easy walking along a beautiful valley with lots of stuff and things to look at.

I had posted up on the ODRUS site that I was off for a wander and if anyone was free I would be delighted if they would join me, naturally at such short notice& me being me I didn’t expect any one to turn up but the lovley Beryl informed me that she was off for the day and would join me .great!  I have walked with Beryl several times now and I have to say speaking for myself  I have always had a brilliant day with her so today shouldn’t be any different.

I had a rough route sorted out in my head somewhere between 8 – 10 miles all depending on the weather etc. etc. and wanted to see various things, old mine working s, the frostily marble, the quarry, lime kilns the Bollihope burn itself so basically there is a lot of stuff to see on this walk (if you are into that type of walk).

Weather its been a bit hitty missy for the last few days and according to the weather app on my iPad (which I spent the princely sum of 78 pence on) which indentley is never right stated I was in for a days rain however the local news informed me after a wet start it should be a good day with the odd shower thrown in just to keep us on our toes.

So that was it, gear was sorted and off I went, wet grey sky’s greeted me to start with but as I headed over the high moors towards Stanhope it got brighter and by the time I pulled up at the agreed meeting place at Bollihope I was greeted by a brilliant blue sky, you know the sort the sun was out clear blue sky so you know that you are in for a good day before you even start.

Beryl pulled up more or less at the same time as me (another early bird) and so it was gear on, the briefest description on the route simply because I knew that Beryl knew the area and off we went then before we had even gone half a mile disaster struck and I found myself laying on the ground desperately trying to salvage any pride I had left , I had done a simple school boy mistake and simple switching  off with regards to where I was placing my arty foot , the result being he knee didn’t lock and it collapsed with me in a snotty heap , to say I was embarrassed was an understatement , its one thing to fall over on really rough ground but to fall over on a track is another , I would have really played it on and whimpered like I normally do but somehow this was more of an embarrassment and so I decided to treat it as a wake up call and a reminder that I need to concentrate at all times .

Beryl of course was full of support and didn’t even get her camera out however .that might change with time………….and a few more falls.

Our route (see map above for details) was at this stage following part of the Weardale way along the Bollihope burn, past through the forgotten Quarry (or whatever its called) to White Kirkley where in the most waterlogged muddy spot we had to climb over a fence and for the second time this day I made yet another school boy mistake which resulted in my arty leg falling off, leaving me half on and half off the fence  now if I was embarrassed by my fall before  it was nothing to how I felt this time , not only that I had to ask Beryl for a shoulder to lean on so I could hop down , then standing in the muddiest spot know to man I had to drop my shorts and try to get back into Arty leg , it was wet muddy and I felt so bloody pathetic , sometimes I really hate the situation that I find myself , Beryl once again provide much needed assistance ………Thanks Beryl (that’s you well up in the care in the community stakes) and we managed to get sorted , me feeling very stupid …two school boy mistakes   that shouldn’t have happened ,Time to switch on ……., Christ knows what Beryl was thinking  but she is far to polite to say out load . moving on again, our path took us along side the river where we left the Weardale way to visit Harehope Gill lead mine then crossed over the river to have a look at a slab (if that’s the right word) of frostily marble from there it was back over the river to look at the small waterfall, I was telling Beryl about how this river disappears sometimes, I am sure that she didn’t believe me (after all ……….all my credibility has disappeared with my earlier performance ) so I will add a photo from another trip .



From there our route took us around the Harehope quarry with its very new impressive building that was still being built ……no I haven’t got a clue what it is going to be used for down to the river wear, where we spotted a deer, unfortunately I didn’t get a photo but its always nice to see these shy creatures out in the wild someplace.

Our route took us along the river, where I saw my first new born Lamb of the year, then I had a master stroke why don’t we pop over the bridge into Frostily and get a coffee at a local pub, this proved to be a good thing (its about time I did something right) and so coffee was had in the local pub, just to make things even better the heavens opened up whilst we sat in the nice cosy pub, being the nosey type of person that I am I couldn’t help but notice that there was a few slabs of frosterley marble set into the stone floor , I dare say a lot of the older buildings might have it .

Coffee was drunk then it was a long uphill plod up to hill end where we found a sheltered spot and stopped for lunch , then with my lungs bursting  we linked up with a section of the Weardale way again and headed over to the moors of Catterick Moss then it was more uphill as we crossed over the hill to link up with a shooting track on the other side , here we was exposed to the wind that had been getting stronger as the day wore on , then the weather gods played there trick , the beautiful views suddenly started to disappear and was replaced by a fast moving sleet shower , now this hurt as it hit any exposed flesh , and I had plenty of exposed flesh on view , it was almost impossible to walk forward and for once I made the only correct decision  of the day and suggested that we sit down with our backs to the wind and wait it out , there was no cover up here and no shelter so really it was the only thing we could do , and so we spent the next five minutes looking at nothing but white stuff wising past us making load noises as it bounced off our coats , then as fast as it came it went and we had blue sky’s again …………….Lovley .

Our route then took us along a well used track past two old quarries with lots of stuff to look at including a mine entrance before we dropped down to the Bollihope burn where once again I had to call for a stop so I could sort my leg out, this time it was a planned stop so things wasn’t to bad even though it meant dropping my shorts and flashing my covered  bum  at any passing motorists (good job I had clean undies on ) then sadly it was a small walk back along the road back to the cars , with the wind on our backs and stunning views it made the last “boring bit” really good ………. Despite really embarrassing myself several times today I really enjoyed this walk and hope that I haven’t put anyone off walking with me again and Beryl thanks for putting up with my mishaps and I hope that we can laugh about them next time .

We did about 9.73 miles with 1300 ft. of the ups and downs and I have to say that I loved this walk even with all my technical difficulties.

As normal a few photos

Taken at the start of the walk looking down Bollihope burn


Looking across


Looking back up the burn, I think this is where I took my first fall of the day


Beryl in her riding hat


Looking across at some old lime kilns


New or should that be old building that has been restored


Caves on the other bank I don’t know if they are just holes or worth exploring one day I will get round to having a look


Entrance to the forgotten quarry


Beryl posing


Our path through the quarry


No fishing it would seem


View of one side of the quarry


Not really sure what I am looking at here.


Heading towards white Kirkley (where my leg dropped off)

Old disused bridge (no I haven’t got a clue what its history is)


Beryl showing how not to use a seat


The frosterley Marble


The burn dropping down to the quarry, it can disappear in the summer months

Harehope quarry


General view


Highland cattle? With big pointy very sharp horns, I was pleased that there was a fence between us and them


Now walking along the river wear, Beryl waiting for me to catch up


New born lamb, we found it a bit worrying that its mother wasn’t around, but it did get up and walk and we saw sheep further up in the pasture so we decided not to “do” anything.


Some of what I think are old spoil heaps, they add something to the shape of the country round here and I like them.


Pub in which we paid a well deserved visit for coffee, I couldn’t help but notice that the floor had several marble slabs amongst the floor tiles and the heavens opened up whilst we where in there how’s that for good timing ?


Rainbow (not very good but the best I could do at the time)


Heading up towards hill end stopping to get my breath back the view looking back


Heading along the Weardale way again on Catterick moor? Looking down towards the Wear


On zoom

Now on the other side of the hill looking down towards where we started the walk


Looking back along the shooting track


Sleet shower heading towards us


It doesn’t look much but with the strong wind this sleet hurt when it hit exposed flesh

Shower past and heading down to an old quarry and hopefully out of the strong wind

Old quarry face


Our route down, very enjoyable in the sunshine


Beryl outside an old shaft entrance?


Back on the Bollihope burn


To cross over the burn we have to head upstream a bit along the burn edge


Looking back at our route


Another smaller burn (unnamed?) running down to join Bollihope burn  


Looking down the burn


Same again but a bit further along


Looking back and up at our route down


Last look before we walk back along a small road, sadly I couldn’t find another route back from here.


But it wasn’t all bad as we gained a small amount of height the views opened up


Looking across to the old quarry where we was earlier on


Same again from a bit further along


I think that this is the Howden burn


Back at the start again, last look ……………..yet another great days walking.

Having just reread this I give the impression that that its all doom and gloom about me falling over and the leg dropping off, its not meant to be (this is aimed at any fellow amputees who read this :- you will trip and fall that  unfortunately is life but speaking for myself the fear of falling is far worse than the fall itself, as for my leg dropping off well that’s down to a  bad technic nothing more nothing less  & something that wont happen again , will I fall again ?………..yes I will ………….will that stop me trying to get out in the wilds?  no not in the slightest , I just lost concentration for a moment that’s all. I can not express in words how much I love getting out into the great outdoors and how much I enjoyed this walk and if you was one of those car drivers who saw me dropping my shorts by the road ……………..keep your eyes on the road where they should be ………..and finally ……thanks Beryl


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