DATE                                  03.04.2014

DISTANCE                         13.1 MILES

WEATHER                         GREY & MISTY (CRAP)



A misty Shillmoor

Today I was meeting up with Steven for a days walking back in the Northumberland National Park, we had decided that we would meet up at the tiny hamlet of Alwinton and agree our route from there, we had both thought that Shillmoor would be a good starting point but having a sudden flash of inspiration I decided that if we left one car parked up at Alwinton and both jumped into the other car and drive up to the start point at Shillmoor it opened up a much larger choice of routes.

I had several routes tucked away in my head both high and low; however I would let Steven have the final say as he hadn’t walked this area as much as I had ……………..However there was one small problem and that was the weather .

We had been having some shit weather, cold, damp and very low cloud or mist / fog depending on who you talk to, I will just call it clag!

On getting out of bed and peering out the bedroom window, things didn’t look to good, you know grey and damp with poor visibility but I hoped as I left the coast and headed up to the hills that things would get better, how wrong was I, in fact it got worse, common sense told me that it would be pointless doing a high level walk as there would be bugger all to see and to be honest going up Shillhope Law in this visibility really would be a total waste of time , I mean it is wet and boggy at the best of times and if the truth is know I only go up there for the views , no today would be low level and even then I didn’t expect to see a great deal .

After a long and rather slow drive up to Alwinton in worsening conditions I went over several routes in my head again, Steven dully arrived and after a quick chat, we left one car parked up and drove up to Shillmoor in the other.

I explained what I had in mind for today and he agreed, still leaving the option for a high bit if the weather picked up or should I say if the clag lifted, as it was the weather stayed rubbish all day and even when it rained it still didn’t clear the clag.

Our route for the day meant following the Usway Burn past the small farm at Batailshiel Haugh , past the Castles over the small Hosden Hope then entering Kidland forest to the house at Fairhaugh . At Fairhaugh we both took advantage to sit down under the porch in the dry to have a bite to eat, then it was onto a forestry track and a slow plod up to the old drovers road of Clennell Street gaining a bit of height and losing even more visibility as we went, by the time we was more or less at Nettle Hill or passing Saughy Hill we might as well be walking in Safeway’s car park such was the views , we piled into the trees for a lunch break even though it was way past lunch time and I tried to explain what we should have been seeing , but Steven knows the score and like he said there is always another day , after  a rather late lunch it was back on Clennell Street past the old YHA at Wholehope (well if the truth is know the old YHA is log gone now just a few bits of stone work is all that remains .

At this point I decided to change the route yet again , the way I saw it was if we stayed on Clennell Street all the way back to Alwinton we would see bugger all and I was getting desperate for Steven to see something so we went off route , I decided to head down towards Kidlandlee Dean and follow the forest down to the  river Alwin , I have done this route several times even if its not shown on any map , however today in the mist it was different as I couldn’t get any landmarks to get a handle on plus the forestry people have been busy cutting all the trees down which made what I could see look totally different from the last time I was up this way but like all good walkers I had my GPS on and it let me know exactly where I was and much to my surprise its was where I thought we was .

Again as we dropped lower the views started to get a bit better, not brilliant but better and off course it rained, once down in the valley bottom we simply stayed on the “red road” and followed the river Alwin down past Clennell Hall then back to Alwinton.

We did about 13.1 miles with about 2466 ft. of the ups and downs so it wasn’t too shabby, my only disappointment was Steven got to see next to nothing but it was a good day none the less.

As normal a few photos enjoy:-

Taken from the bridge over the Coquet looking towards where the car is parked up and the farm at Shillmoor


Now heading up the Usway Burn valley one of the many small waterfalls


And another one


Looking across at one of the small unnamed streams running down the mist covered hills


Bend in the river


Great views are to be had here


I think at this point we are just past the castles


Even though the views aren’t that good it is still a pleasant walk, heading towards the lower section of Kidlandlee


Looking back at our path


Now at the Hosden Burn and some of the locals


There been a bit of wind damage to these trees


Another small waterfall


Steven getting that all important photo


A bit closer


Our path heading towards Fairhaugh


A small waterfall at Fairhaugh


Me trying a smoky photo


Looking down towards Fairhaugh (hidden in the mist)


One more of the small waterfall


Now heading up towards Clennell Street and as we look back to admire the view this is what we see.


Steven with what should be the rolling Cheviot Hills behind him but today we are blessed with this


And yours truly


Now looking towards Kidlandlee Dean and we can see a bit more


As we drop lower we can see even more


Steven leading the way down to the river Alwin


Still a fair way to go down and its started to rain


Now on the bridge over the Alwin looking towards Kidlandlee forest


Puncherton burn

A few more photos as the clag starts to lift (a bit to late)


Scary rock (like a skull) in the hill side


Mum and young lamb at Clennell Hall



 ABOUT ME        WALKS 2014           NORTHUMBERLAND