DATE                             18.05.07

DISTANCE                    6.34 MILES

WEATHER                    BRIGHT AND SUNNY

START / FINISH          CLENNELL HALL

Since my last walk had been posted there has been a lot of changes going on , starting with us splashing out some of our hard earned £££ and buying our very own little touring caravan or sweatbox as it’s known  or Vicky van as Yvonne calls her , we had  spent a silly amount of time looking for the right type of van , i.e. the right sort of space for me to be able to function and to be honest I didn’t realise that there was so many different types and layouts , however after a few weeks of looking we finally managed to get one that seemed to fit the bill with having all that we needed and so now we are the proud owners of our own little van an Abby Maverick 2000

Yvonne outside our new van “Vicky van”

 Naturally we had done a few “dummy runs” to check things out and see how this and that worked and now we were ready to head off for a long weekend away and to be honest I was both looking forward to it and shitting myself at the thought of towing it, being the sensible person I am I decided that we would stay quite local so if things went tits up we could return home without too much drama plus I wanted to know the roads for this tow so after a quick look at various sites we settled on the campsite at Clennell Hall , I know the roads as (any reader will know) I have spent a lot of time walking around this area , a quick phone call to book a “pitch” (don’t I sound like a proper caravaner) and that was it all sorted , we had loaded the van up the night before so it was a simple case of hitching up the van and off we went , the tow to the site went very well , but I have to be honest and say that I was very pleased when we arrived at the site without any dramas and quickly set the van up for the weekend , it took a while but as we are still learning it didn’t matter , we decided that we wouldn’t be putting up the awning which was a bit of a relief as it’s not known as a divorce in a bag for no reason , we had done a few dummy runs with it which resulted in one of us being hit by a pole and heated words exchanged but I’m reliably informed that everyone does this , likewise its considered a must to sit down with wine or beer and watch the next persons who turns up struggle with there’s .

Looking at the static vans that are situated on this site

Anyway gear was set up, drinks where poured and it was time to chill out, there is something about just chilling out in your own van in beautiful places that just feels right, I suppose it could be because there are no “jobs to be done” it’s all relax time, apart from the first night we agreed that we would flash up our little BBQ and I would cook our first meal, after the first night we agreed that we would always eat out at a local pub and over the following years we have stuck to this routine and believe it or not I have come to love the first evening BBQ and consider myself a bit of an expert chief .

Note from today ten years later on, we still love the van and our little escapes, over the years have been to some wonderful places and met some great people and of course having the van makes a great base for walking in the area. It’s not often I say anything like this but I wish we had got a van years and years earlier maybe when our kids where little I know we could have had some great adventures .

Anyway that enough about the van I dare say I will cover it more as and when I write up more trips away, let get back to the walk.

As I mentioned I have walked this area many times so for this walk we was going to head up to Kidlandlee and just see how things went from there .

We woke up later than I normally would but I think it was because of the great sleep that we both enjoyed in the van, (even after all these years I still always have a great sleep when I’m in the van)

Anyway gear was sorted and we were off, the beauty of waking up right at the starting point means the time really doesn’t matter, however we would be taking it easy today simply because I had started to develop a nerve pain in my stump, it wasn’t a real problem yet but was letting me know that something wasn’t quite right and I was seriously thinking if it didn’t sort itself out soon I would most likely end up at the docs (as it was it turned out that I had developed a NEUROMA and would end up having surgery at a later date).

Our route was a walk along the river Alwin just taking the wonderful sights, I know that I have mentioned this many times but this valley was one of the places that I started to get my life back on track simply by walking along here and letting the peace of the hills just sweep away all my self-pity and doubt, I simply love this area and if you want to know something this area loves me as well , over the years I have returned here in all sorts of weather and always come back recharged ready for what this world wants to throw at me it’s as if this valley just soaks away all the crap and stuff that I’m carrying and replaces it with a sense of wellbeing , so today it was a gentle stroll along the valley bottom , we would cut up the forestry track up to the old ruins (and holiday lets ) at Kidlandlee , where we would simply stop and have lunch enjoying the weather and the stunning views before we dropped back down through the forest via a rather dark , steep and scary trail back to the valley bottom where we would slowly walk back to the camp site ,simple , apart from the scary walk down the forest it was all easy walking , at times my stump did start to get rather painful , and the pain seemed to come from inside my stump and despite stopping and removing my arty limb and rubbing my stump it didn’t really help , but as quickly as it started it would just as quickly fade away so I put it down to “just one of those things” but as always we had a great wander  6.34 miles with 1805ft of the ups and downs a few photos enjoy

Clennell Hall

Me getting ready for the off

 

Yvonne wrapped up just in case the sun doesn’t come out

 

Herron, we seemed to follow this bird all the way along the valley

 

The river Alwin and Clennell Hill

 

Me playing with the leg, I had just switched program on the knee

 

Looking back

Yvonne waiting for me, we are just about to start up towards Kidlandlee

 

Getting close and the views start to open up

 

The main building has long gone but the stables still stand

 

Making our way along the track

 

Looking back

 

Lunch time and time to sit and take in the views

 

The old stable building

 Monkey puzzle trees

Up close

Looking back at the stables

 

Heading down to where we will enter the forest (if we can find the footpath)

 

Last look before we enter the forest

 

Made it to the bottom, me crossing over the footbridge

 

Having a well-deserved break (yes it was scary going down the hill)

 

Looking up

Yvonne crossing the bridge

 

Looking further into the forest (for another day)

More monkey puzzle trees

Yvonne looking very happy as she knows we are eating out tonight at the Rose and thistle pub at Alwinton

 

Mums out with their little ones

 

A few more photos as we make our way back along the valley bottom

 

Rest time (we are in no hurry as we have our van just around the corner)

A few more photos as we make our way back

 

A few bluebells are out

 

One happy Yvonne later that night (I think that she like the van as well)

 

Day after thoughts

My stump is starting to give me problems, I am hoping that it will sort itself out if I take things easy but so far that hasn’t been the case, and its real pain not phantom, I will just have to wait and see what happens, as for the van, we’ll all I can say is we both had a great time.

ABOUT ME     NORTHUMBERLAND     WALKS 2007