DATE                                       23.03.06

DISTANCE                             ABOUT 6.8 MILES

WEATHER                             COLD BUT BRIGHT



I had been thinking …………..something that I really shouldn’t do as I don’t think that I have got the space in my head for all the thoughts to wiz around far better to leave any thinking to the horses (they have much bigger heads and so have more room for the thoughts to get sorted) any how I had been thinking about doing a small section at Thrunton woods, the bit I was thinking about getting to was Castle Hill and the old fort that is / was built around it, there is an old quarry there too as well if I remember correctly , I had been up there in my earlier life when I didn’t have to even think about going places but nowadays things and stuff are different , I also knew that there was a lovley wet boggy very steep path up to the first set of crags from there as well , now I know that the fort had long since buggered off into history but there are a lot of old native trees up that way that seem to add a bit of caricature to the forest not like the fir trees that are planted in densely packed straight rows which make up the fast majority of the forest , no I think I need to give myself a bit of a slap round the face and  “push things” a bit so it would be a bit harder for me , what I can remember was it was steep in places and slippery , wet and boggy .yep just the thing that I need to get into the lets push myself mode again , I had after all being taking it far to easy and what’s the worse that could happen …. I could slip over and get very wet and muddy and slid all the way down the steep bank crashing into the sandstone rocks and crush my skull and die? (Sorry getting a bit carried away with myself... but it sounds good!)

So that was it I was going to get to Castle hill , this would add to my knowledge of the paths up at Thrunton so may be at a later date I could always link up this area with another area …………..good thinking eh?.

I spent an hour or so looking at my map of the woods trying to work out a suitable route for the day and did what I normally do decide to head towards Castle hill then make it up as I go along .I am certain that it would all work out fine .

Gear was sorted out the night before, up early and after my normal bowl of porridge with a huge dollop strawberry jam on, coffee was drunk and it was time to throw the gear into the car and off I went. I would be walking on my own today, so I made a point of letting Yvonne know roughly where I would be and what time I would be home so not to panic if I’m a bit late ……….not that she would panic anyway more likely start checking on any insurance policies that might be out on me and to see what I’m worth.

Driving up towards Thrunton, I could see the snow laying on the distant Cheviot Hills and though to myself that I really must get up there one day when the snow is laying ……………I guess even now it is a confidence thing .

It didn’t take long to arrive at the main car park at Thrunton, my gear was quickly sorted, I packed an extra layer in my rucksack just in case, I know that the trees provide a lot of shelter from the wind and if the truth is know it is often or should I say feels like it’s a few degrees warmer in the forest, but with the wind blowing over the snow covered hills the wind certainly had a chill factor today.

One thing I really like about these woods is the fact there are some really good forestry tracks to walk along, this gives me the chance to settle into the socket after the drive up and it also gives me the chance to retune my micro knee, however I have found that I more or less have tuned the knee into my best walking style as it was. But it didn’t hurt to check.

Walking along the track it soon became apparent that the forestry people had been busy working on the trees, it seemed that they where busy thinning them out, this makes it possible for light to penetrate to the ground level and there was already signs that green vegetation was already starting to grow, this I think   make’s for a much nicer walking experience and if there is more growth on the forestry floor there will be more animal life which is always a good thing.


After a while it was time for me to leave the forestry track and head off on what was a very wet, muddy / icy path ………….things started to become much more “fun” now and it wasn’t long before I had to stop and remove my coat, I was puffing and sweating like beached whale, but I was enjoying myself and so far it was manageable , I quickly made my way to Castle Hill and the old quarry where I stopped and decided to have a coffee break , leaving my gear there I had a wander around taking in all the old sights when I was treated to one of my memory flashbacks , these flashbacks I get every now and then can be very emotional and I have found that it best to let them run there course and try not to think about it too much , wait till they had finished then try to sort them out .if you like , this flashback took me back to when I was a small kid and my pet guinea  pig  squeaky had just died , believe it or not the emotion is that real and fresh its just like its happened and yes I cried again for the loss of my beloved pet . Once my brain has sorted this out and filed it away my feelings get brought back to the here and now and things are fine again ……………in his case I allowed myself to remember Squeaky with a very happy and found memory which is the way it should be.

The strange thing about these “flashbacks” is there is no regular pattern as to what triggers them or even what I might remember but everything becomes  crystal clear and its like it happened right now almost as if time has stood still …..Weird eh!  Now the really strange bit is how long will this keep happening and when will I know when I have got all my memories back? And when they are all back …will I know? ……..some thing’s can send you round the bend if you think about it to much.

(Note from today ten years later, I still get flashbacks about almost anything some big stuff some small stuff all real and very emotional and while they are happing its like time hasn’t changed, I have trained myself to look around (in my mind) when they are happening to see what going on around me, I can even remember what the weather is like, what cloths I am wearing, who around, almost everything in very close up detail …yep I’m weird)  

Anyway back to the walk :- coffee was drunk , a quick mental slap was applied and off I went , the path was a mess , deep mud , icy and starting to get quite steep , both my hiking poles where put into use and things improved for me and yes I really started to enjoy it , I was puffing and panting like a dog , my head felt like it was going to explode and felt like it was on fire , I stopped several times to get my breath back but that didn’t matter as it wasn’t a race , then turning back to admire the view I spotted some deer busy munching on some grass in a distant clearing , I took a few photos but sadly they where to far away but just seeing them brightened my day , then it was time to turn around and head up the gully to the top which unless I have gone way of course should bring me out on Callaly Crag. And due to some marvellous navigating skills (just sticking to the path) I staggered out of the gully right where I should be. a five minute lay down was required just to get my strength back then it was off along the path, I have to say at this point I didn’t really know where I was going but it was a lovley day, I was feeling good, so why not, over the rest of the afternoon I slowly made my way back towards the car by this time it was getting late, I did about 6.8 miles all in all a good day.

As normal a few photos enjoy:

Taken from he car park looking towards the Cheviots


Heading into the forest, looks like the forestry people have been busy (hope they aren’t working today)


White cattle in a muddy field


Looks as if they have been thinning out the trees


Looking down the track towards the distant ridge


Frozen pond


Looking up towards the ridge line


Still heading towards Castle hill


Must be doing something right …just follow the sign post


At Castle hill and its quarry


A break in the trees, it doesn’t show how much of a lump of a hill this is

Can just about make out part of the non existent outa wall


Some of the old working faces (so I’m told)


Heading down off the hill fort


Right I’m heading up there next ……big breath


A finger post ……….looks like I’m on the right path


It’s wet, muddy, and icy... I love it


Stopping to get my breath back there are a few deer in the open ground (must get a better camera)


One of the huge sandstone boulders that are scattered around this area


Slowly making my way up


The path heads almost straight up at this point


Looking back


Another rest stop (there are quite a few stops on my way up today)


Last bit the “gully” then I am at the top


Made it…………. A good place to lay down and recover I think


Old trees

The view towards a snow covered Cheviot


An icy pond one day I will find out if it has a name


A bit of open land to cross


But before I start I find this well used path


Looking back

A good place to stop for lunch


Into the forest          left? Or right?


I decide to walk along the edge of the forest at this point

Heading along an icy path


It’s a bit wet in places


On Callaly Crags looking towards the Cheviot Hills


Looking down at the track I was on this morning


Another look at the snow covered hills


Heading back towards the car looking back along the forestry track

Looking at where they have been working on the trees


Day after thoughts , yet another good day out in the fresh air , I found it hard going getting up towards the crags , I think that I need to work on my fitness a bit , no problems with arty leg or my stump . thank you