DATE                                              19.04.11

WEATHER                                     BRIGHT & SUNNY

DISTANCE                                   JUST OVER 6 MILES

START / FINISH                          FREE CAR PARK AT BAYBRIDGE

After being stuck at work all weekend, I was really really desperate to get out and get some fresh air into my lungs, I got all my kit ready the night before and planned my route out , I was going to have a trip out down to Dufton , However sometimes things donít go as planned , all was going well till I got up and tried to put my arty leg on , from the moment I tried to slip it on it felt wrong ,(you would think after 6 years I would be use to it ) , after much swearing and cursing it became painful so time to rethink todayís walk , there was no way I was going to do anything big or high today .

Sitting down at breakfast, muttering to myself about how I would really like to throw the bl**dy thing into the pond, my better half who is quite use to this appalling table manners off me quietly made a suggestion why donít I go to somewhere where I havenít been for some time where there are good footpaths and I could do as much or as little as I wanted. Throw in a tea room as well, and thatís it job sorted.

I decided that as usual she was right, I had to go out some where, and it promised to be smashing day weather wise so I decided a trip down to Branchland or should I say Baybridge which is just down the road. No set route or anything, just a wander around all depending on how much my leg hurt (I say leg, itís not really the leg because itís gone but it feels like itís the leg I know I am slowly loosing the plot)

Anyway the walk , parked the car in the car park at Baybridge , now this is a proper picnic site , benches , tables , the lot , only one thing puzzled me all the tables ect where marked with DCC Durham county council , yet I was on the Northumberland side of the river , strange , anyway off I went , nothing planned or set in stone , crossed over the river and entered into Durham (I know this because the sign said so) from there a small walk along the road till I joined up with a lovely footpath that took me into the woods at Low garden house , this footpath basically follows the Bolts Burn , it is a joy to walk on , very well marked and maintained , the forest is well managed so there is an abundance of light hence lots of greenery and wildlife , unlike some of the forest that I have walked through. There is signs of old mine working as well but due to me having a bad leg day I didnít really fancy scrambling around to get a better look.

Eventually the footpath took me back on the minor road , I decided to stay on this road for a bit simply because it gave lovely views done at the burn and other old mine working stuff on the hills eventually I parted company with the road as it headed off in the wrong direction and I headed along to an old ďflour spar ď mine , from there I went uphill to pay Sikehead lead mine a visit , it times like this I often wish that I had spent some of my hard earned cash and brought a local book with some info about these places .

Once there I spotted another chimney and off I went passing sikehead dam and its pond which was teaming with wildfowl from here I followed an old track across Allenshield and Buckshott moor, took a small detour to go and look at what I think was / is a old pump house, the building looked very old but had new fencing and transmitters coming from it so I didnít get to close.

From this point I went across Abbey Weather (hill?) to Taylors shaft, which according to the map was an old mine shaft. Now they have covered this shaft up with wooden logs then build a stone wall around it , but that didnít stop me from dropping a couple of big stones down the shaft :- didnít hear a splash or anything .

It was at this point I made my first mistake as I had to cross over Buckshott fell to rejoin a footpath heading down towards Blanchland. It was very rough heather (grouse shooting Moor?) but the heather seemed to be alive with millions of small midges, which did there best to make my life a misery for 20 minutes or so. From here I headed down to the river Derwent where I joined a very well used footpath that headed upstream and back to Baybridge.

All in all just over six miles, mostly easy walking (apart from crossing through the heather moor)

Lots to see but no big hills to climb however I did manage to pick up a few more posh rocks to take home to go towards my daughterís inheritance.

A few photos: - enjoy

First on at the car park at Baybridge


Looking down the river


Walking along the wooded trail looking down towards the burn


Old ruin




Looking up at what I think is an old pumping house (might still be in use for some pumping or some other purpose)


Looking down at what are some old ruins, I havenít got a clue about names ECT


Looking back along the beck / burn / stream


Same again


This was part of a mill (I only know this because a local told me)


Starting to head up towards Sikehead lead mine


Old shaft entrance (blocked up)


First look at some of the ruined storage areas


At the main ruins, I did drop a few stones down the gap where the shaft was, but I think it wasnít that sort of shaft, be haps a ventilation shaft (flue?)


Quick look back as I head off


My next stop


Not really sure what this was used for, its man made, something to do with the mines, I really should get a book on this area.


Close up


Showing where the flue has been clasped, it goes on for some way; in fact I followed its path


Came to this track and decided to follow it for a bit, looking back


At an old / might be in use still pumping house?


Looking back & an end of a flue or water supply tunnel?


Looking down towards the distant Derwent Reservoir


The covered Taylors shaft


I spent a bit of time throwing rocks down the hole, not really sure why but I didnít hear a splash or anything.


Heading across the moor, shooting butts


On the bridle way heading down


Now in the lower meadows looking back


Looking across at the Derwent Reservoir


The little ones climbing on mum




What might be a small waterfall after some rain?


Woodland path back to Baybridge


Not really a great deal that I can say about this walk, I was just consider myself very lucky that I did it with out too much discomfort and it is a very nice area, yep worth a visit.