DISTANCE 14.04 MILES
WEATHER MOSTLY DRY & WINDY
START / FINISH OFF ROAD PARKING AT CLENNELL
Today was going to be my first walk of the year, no big deal for most people but it’s seemed like a lifetime since I last got out, and of course I had been pigging out big time over the Christmas period so It could prove to be a bit of a disaster with me puffing and panting after a mile or so or it could be a really good day out, I was of course very keen to improve upon my last walk where I had finally started to push the knee a bit and to be honest I was looking forward to pushing it that little more ……this is how sad my life is when all I can think about is pushing my new knee to see what I could or couldn’t do .
First thing to do was to contact my lovely walking partner Edwina and see if she could join me , much to my delight she informed me that she was good and up for it but then went on to remind me that it was my turn to pick a route …… that put a bit of a dampener on thing I was hoping that she would come up with a route for the day but never mind as long as I got out someplace all will be well and I made the decision to just agree on a pick up time and worry the rest of it in the morning.
Come the morning as I was throwing the gear in the rucksack I had a few places running around in my head and decided to let the weather decide, heading south didn’t look to good as it was forecast for rainy showers so it would be North , Bob dog agreed and then went on to remind me to make sure that I had extra roast beef and his treats packed , then it was throw the gear into the car , bob dog jumped in and settled in and we was off to get Edwina , I decided that I would do my best to get her to pick a walk , I figured if I kept on being rather vague she would come up with a suggestion , naturally she was having none of it so I tried a different approach listing a few walks that we could do and what the problems could be ..Cattle etc. etc. hoping that she would say yes that would be ok or something like that, but sadly she just wouldn’t play and point blankly refused to pick anything, so I decided to head up to Alwinton and sort of play it by ear.
On the way to Alwinton on a sudden impulse I decided to do one of my favourite walks and headed off to Clennell Hall explaining to Edwina all the what’s and why’s and even how’s, Edwina it seemed really didn’t care as long as she was out someplace and so that was decided, I settled down for the rest of the drive thinking to myself why do I get so worked up about picking a route.
Parking up was at Clennell (just off road parking) Bob dog was allowed out (once he had his coat on) and we got our gear sorted, the weather had gone from bright and sunny to rather damp and windy, yes the forecast was for strong winds later on …early evening but this was early morning, as you might or might not know I have problems with my arty leg when its windy and the route I had planned would be very exposed so after walking ten minutes we had yet another change of route , instead of heading up on to the fell tops we would head into the massive Kidland forest and just to make it fun we would take it in turns on who would decide which way we went each time we came to a split in the track , Bob dog didn’t really care and was busy running around and doing his best to roll in anything smelly , he thinks if he gets it smelly I will take it off , he really doesn’t like wearing his coat , but I knew that we was in for a long day and he would need it on to stay warm and dry . The wind continued to blow carrying a fine mist but we knew once we entered the forest we would get a certain amount of shelter from the worst of the elements and we both joked about how the weather will change back once we got to the point of no return ….and yes you guessed it once we were in the forest, the wind dropped and the sun came out but it was too late to turn around and so we headed off along our unknown route for the day. Due to some serious or should that be non-serious planning our route took us across what seemed zillions of small fords, fortunately we could just about paddle across without getting our feet wet, and much to bob dog disgust I picked him up and carried him over, normally I would let him plodge across but I really didn’t want him to get cold and wet after all it is winter.
Our system of taking turn in deciding which way we went seemed to work very well, and before we knew it we were miles away from err everything, time for sit down and food break, I knew Edwina was watching her weight so I had packed an extra bit of thick chocolate tiffin that my sister in law Viviane made me, (secretly hoping that she wouldn’t eat it and I could have two pieces) – just kidding J but she woofed it down not even dropping a crumb , Bob dog of course had his roast beef and treats and all was well .
The first surprise of the day was how quickly the time had gone, the next was how far we had walked .time for some serious thinking about heading back, now normally I leave the thinking to horses because they have bigger heads (more room in there to think you see) so I tried the next best thing and asked Edwin after all she is a mountain leader trained person and I was sure she had a very cunning plan ready to use ……….well I was shocked when she once again left it to me to sort out ( I secretly think that she is testing me …who knows maybe I will get a badge or something off her if I get us back in one piece ) and so drawing my limited brain I decided to follow Bob dog after all he is always off in front and so with one eye on the time we started on our return leg , the only problem was we had to walk another couple of miles before we could even start to head back in the right direction , weather wise things were ok , it is still really warm for the time of the year so we didn’t have to be to concerned about that and we wouldn’t have to worry about the wind till we left the trees right near the end of the walk , and being intrepid explorers we had both packed either head torches or hand held torches and I knew that Edwin had some not so tasty skinny persons (weight watcher) bisects stashed away in her ruck sack so we wouldn’t starve .
Our route (see map above) eventually took us to where they were building or repairing a forestry track and I have to say they had made a mess and it was hard going just walking along it , so when we had a chance to get off it we decided to head back down passing the outdoor pursuit building at Whiteburnshank were we had another rest stop , I could help but notice how much the views have changed from here with all the tree harvesting over the last few years , yes I know that the trees were planted for money , and I have really enjoyed walking around this area ….and yes I know with the trees cut there are much better views in some places but it’s sad , somehow the forest seems to have lost a little bit of its magic or soul if you like and I know that in a few years it will be all green again but it looked sad and that’s all I will say on this .
After a much needed rest stop it was time to head off again , the light was starting to fade now and I was feeling the miles , nothing sore or anything like that but a “I wish the car was around the corner” type feeling , I think that Edwina was thinking the same thing.
The light quickly dropped and the forest quickly became a dark and scary place and being the wimp that I am I walked that little bit closer to Edwina, thinking that if anything bad burst out of the trees it would pick Edwina first and whilst it was scoffing down Edwina me and Bob dog could scurry away, the sky was covered in low cloud so we didn’t even have light from the moon or stars to help up see our way , but as in most cases when there is no background light you can see most things once your eyes have adjusted and we was walking along a forestry track so apart from the odd pot hole all was good , years of outdoor training started to kick in and I mentioned to Edwina that we seem to be
walking faster and faster .a sure sign that we wasn’t really happy with our current situation and was subconsciously rushing to get out of the forest and back to the car , and suggested we slowed down a bit , I don’t know about Edwina but the slower pace helped me no end and I felt myself start to relax and enjoy our situation and even went as far as telling scary stories to Edwina , of course Edwina is as tough as they come so my stories didn’t bother her , but the distance was starting to tell on us both “little stroll in the woods “ sprung to mind . However we soon left the shelter of the forest and headed back along the valley back to the car, hear we was exposed to the full force of the wind which made things a bit harder for myself, then finally we was on the home straight and it was time to get the head torch out, this was just in case of someone coming along the road from Clennell Hall couldn’t see us rather than using it to see the ground , then we reached the car and finally all was well , Bob dog jumped in had his coat removed and snuggled down and woofed a few treats down whilst we got our gear sorted and had a cup of tea that Edwina made , a good way to finish a walk , we walked about 14.4 miles with 2526 of the ups and downs , a bit further than what we planned but a brill day no the less , a few photos :
Looking along the river Alwin
A bit further along
Now about to enter Kidland forest, well we would have if they hadn’t cut the trees down
Looking across towards Puncherton hill
Old sheepfold (we found quite a few of these today)
Looking back towards the Dodd
One of the many unnamed burns we encountered today
Bob dog waiting for us to catch up
For the next few photos I haven’t got a clue what or where I am looking at but just something to photo as we wander along
Bob dog running back to check on us
A few photos as we start to head up a bit (Wether Hill?)
Looking down towards a distant Whiteburnshank (we didn’t know it at the time but we would be heading back that way)
But first we have to head towards Yarnspath Law
A happy Edwina
A few more photos as we make our way along
Starting to head down now
Bob dog racing back to say he has found Whiteburnshank and it’s a good place to rest up and get the treats out
A view from our resting place, we couldn’t stay long as it’s starting to get dark
Heading back and the light is going fast now
A bit further along
Edwina not scared of the dark
DAY AFTER THOUGHTS
I was knackered when we got back to the car , and even getting my boots off was hard going , but once we had a cup of tea and a sit down things wasn’t too bad , after the drive home I expected to be sore getting out of the car but much to my delight I was ok , so one quick bath later and a check of things and I was please to find that I hadn’t rubbed any skin or damaged my stump in any way so all was good , sadly once I went to bed I woke up to go to the bathroom early in the morning and boy did I ache it was agony getting to the bathroom , so I took a painkiller and went back to sleep , come the morning I thought that I was going to be really achey but much to my delight I was fine , no aches or pains anywhere. As always I will mark this up to another good walk but doing 14 .4 miles makes me feel a little bit smug.
ABOUT ME NORTHUMBERLAND WALKS 2017