DATE                       03.03.17

DISTANCE               6.6 MILES

WEATHER               WET AND GREY



Well once again I picked the wrong day to go on a wander, if I had gone the day before I would have been treated to a clear blue sky and a smashing icy cold day, but unfortunately I had to put the car in for its Service and by the time it was ready it was too late to get out anyplace, still something’s can’t be helped and its pointless moaning about it , so that left me with one day to get out this week , sadly my long suffering walking buddy “bombed” me out .. some nonsense about work or something like that, so that just left Bob dog and myself, I did consider bringing Munchy and Flynn but it’s still too cold and wet for them and they have let me know nothing will get them out all day until the warm summer days arrive, so that was it just me and Bob dog, the next problem was where to go , I wanted to go someplace that I knew quite well as I would be going out on a different knee unit , as you might know for the last six months or so I had been using my new sensor knee when getting out and about , but today I wanted to try to see how my very old and well-worn kx06 knee would behave , I have used the kx06 knee for years and loved it but  it was only the  last year when it suffered from nonstop failures my limb centre decided to stop dishing them out , however my leg lady managed to find a very old knee that I had from years ago that was put into the store room and forgotten about  , it is very tired and just about worn out but the fact that it is so old makes it a lot more reliable than the new versions and so I had been wearing this knee for the last few weeks and for today’s walk I wanted to see how it would behave out in the wilds and to be honest I wanted to see if I was still “current” with this knee , I know that this sounds strange but I want to keep current with both types of knees and as they work and behave in a different manner it takes a bit of getting used to , of course what I have just written won’t mean bugger all to most of you but any amputee reading this will know and that’s all that matters .

I had read someplace that the forestry commission had been busy cutting more trees down in the Kidland forest , in fact I have seen what they have done to huge areas myself , but I read that they had started at the Fairhaugh  end and it was a mess so why not go and have a look myself , the walk I had planned I had done dozens of times in the past so I knew the area very well , but sadly since my last walk the tea room at the farm at Barrowburn was closed , which is a bit of a shame , there was something about calling in after a day’s hiking and having a natter with a cup of coffee and of course a bite of cake to finish the day off , but all was not lost I have the jet boil packed away in the boot of the car so at least a hot cup of coffee is possible at the end of the walk .

I discussed the route with Bob dog ………………..But you know how he is , he doesn’t care as long as he has his roast beef and tasty treats so that was all sorted and so early on the next morning (not to early) gear was thrown into the car and we was off ….with just the one stop at the sarnie shop (yes I got bob dogs roast beef as well) , weather wise it didn’t look to good on the drive up , rain and low dull grey cloud but that didn’t really matter , driving up the Coquet the rain stopped but it didn’t look that promising , however I did notice that there was still patches of snow / ice dotted around on the higher fells , but as I wasn’t planning on going that high I wasn’t really bothered about it .

A few patches of snow are still visible

Parking was in the small car park at Barrowburn, gear was sorted, bob had his coat put on and we were off , our route was well look at the map above I can’t be arsed to describe it today . anyway the first thing that we noticed was how wet the ground was , it was waterlogged , in fact in all the years that I have been coming up here I don’t think that I have ever seen the ground so saturated with water , this of course made for lots of splodging and splashing and for the first time ever I noticed that my feet ….er foot got wet inside this could be because the water came over the top and I didn’t notice ,  but I do think that I will clean and reproof my boots before I get out again .

On entering the forest at Kidland cutting down to the river crossing at Fairhaugh I met up were the forestry track turned into 6” carpet of wet sticky mud which was a nightmare to splodge threw, I couldn’t even get off the track because they had felled the trees and it was impossible to walk on the fallen branches etc., the only good thing about the trees being felled is that they are replanting this section of woodland with broad leaved trees, which will be nice in quite a few years’ time,

Part of the area were broad leaf trees are to be planted

Crossing over the river we got a rest bite from the mud then we got onto the forestry track heading up to Clennell Street, however this small grassy track had been rebuilt to take the logging waggons and now resembles something like the M25 and was no longer a joy to walk along.

The new m25

As we gained a bit of height we met up with patches of wet snow and ice that got heaver as we made our way up.

 A few patches of snow

Eventually we linked up with Clennell Street and it was a mess, the forestry people had well and truly devastated the trees and what was a lovely section to walk along was well nothing, fortunately I was spared the worst of the devastation because of the low cloud that covered the higher areas with a white mist and the snow covering the ground. walking across this snow covered path proved to be tricky in places as I was never sure what was underneath the snow , firm ground or a boggy pot hole which made the next twenty minutes fun ,

It was fun walking along here

Then we made it clear of the forest and onto lower section  of Yarnspath Law and headed down to cross over the burn , as we lost a bit of height we seemed to have lost the snow as well , but it was at this point I made a rather stupid mistake and didn’t check my footing and underneath the wet surface it was pure sheet ice and the next minute I was sliding down the hill coming to a stop in a rather wet muddy puddle , Bob dog of course though this was great fun and run alongside barking at me , still no damage done cept I had a very wet arse which was rather cold to say the least .

Time for lunch and to get sorted, we had lunch by the side of an animal feed hut, bob woofed his roast beef down and then proceeded to help me with my sarnie, it was then I noticed that the cloud cover was dropping down fast and what was a good view only a few minutes earlier was fast disappearing into a misty nothing

Time to set off again

 I wasn’t worried as I know this area very well , but things started to get very wet as well …….it was that heavy very wet mist that soaks everything , time to get going and at this point I decided that we would head back , our route took us past a herd of cattle , not a problem as I could hardly see them so I knew they wouldn’t be able to see bob , but it was a bit weird when you just see dark shapes moving around , then we was on the footpath heading past Murder Cleugh with its headstone and onto Barrow law ,

The head stone at Murder Cleugh

 It was my intention to go off route and get to the top of this hill rather than sticking to the path, but seeing as you couldn’t see anything it seemed pointless and so we stayed on the path. We hit a few patches of snow some of them quite deep and Bob dog had a field day running, jumping and rolling around in them.

Bob dog having a play

Myself I was a bit more careful after my wet arse slid earlier on, then as we descended down towards Barrowburn we dropped out of the clag and things picked up again, even though I knew where I was, it is still nice to see more than a few meters in front of you and we was treated to a view of the Coquet valley as we made our way down. Bob dog had to go on his lead as we entered the lower field (just in case there was any sheep with lambs) and for the short walk along the road back to the car.

Back at the car, Bob dog was towed dried and settled down with some doggy bisects whilst I made coffee then it was home time we walked about 6.6 miles most of it in water or snow with about 1259ft of the ups and downs as normal a few photos :-

Taken from the car park looking towards Barrowburn


Just past the deer hut (holiday let) looking back


My route takes me up the side of Kyloe Shin and into the forest

Near the top looking back towards Barrowburn


Peering over the other side towards Fairhaugh


Looking at the bridge at Fairhaugh (I hope that they remove it when they have finished)


This section will be replanted with Broad leaf trees


The Usway Burn taken from the footbridge


Same photo just me trying a hand held smoky water shot


Looking downstream towards Fairhaugh


Now heading towards Clennell Street (Bob dog waiting for me)


Were we link up with Clennell Street

It’s not that good up, here now


Bob dog waiting for me near the old exit (the path is a bit tricky here)

Now heading down the side of Yarnspath Law


Looking down towards middle hill half the forest has been harvested here


Heading down, it was shortly after this that I slipped and ended up with a wet arse


Looking across to the other side of the Usway burn


Looking down the burn


Bob dog at the small waterfall


Up close


Looking back at our route


Lunch time and the cloud decides to come down …time to move

We are heading into that


Bob dog showing me the way


Sneaking past the cattle


The small woods at Murder Cleugh


Our route (not that you can see a great deal)


Bob playing in the snow


As we drop a bit lower we seem to get out of the clag, which is just as well coz is freezing and very wet


We start to see a few things, we was over there this morning


Looking further up the Coquet Valley


Looking down the Coquet valley towards were the car is parked


Looking across at our route this morning (it’s nice that you can see things now)


Bob leading the way to Barrowburn


Looking back and up


Last photo, normally I take a photo here at the start of the walk with a “were will I go today thought” today it was I was up that way (somewere)



Home, gear sorted, Bob dog was treated to a bubbly bath. I was pleased to note that I hadn’t damaged any part of my stump today and that my Arty leg with old kx06 knee had stood up well , todays walk was hard going and with the weather I walked a lot faster than I normally would have and didn’t have many rest stops , I was tired and achey but in a good way , yes I did slip over but to honest I think that anyone could have been caught out in the same position so I’m not going to beat myself up about it , it was rather strange  walking with a wet arse for a couple of hours till it dried out a bit so I wouldn’t recommend it .

But despite the weather and my fall and the mud and the water and the poor visibility and the fact the tea room is closed and they have massacred the forest I had a great day