DATE                                           07.06.06

DISTANCE                                ABOUT 7.2 MILES

WEATHER                                BRIGHT AND SUNNY

START / FINISH                       ALWINTON

COPPER SNOUT

Before I even had finished my breakfast I just knew that today was going to be one of those great days, the sun was out I had a great route planned away in the back of my head (something that I had found on the Internet) but best of all was I had been to the limb center and got not only a new air relies valve for Arty leg but a brand new seal in liner, this of course wont mean anything to most people but the liner is basically what holds the arty leg onto your stump but it also acts as a barrier between the ridged fiberglass socket and your stumpy leg , mine was just about worn out it had been   torn in several places and was so thin it didn’t really give my stump any protection so  getting a new one made it feel like I was walking on air , the fit of my Arty leg was really comfortable and I just couldn’t wait to get out and do a good walk  and it just happened that I had the day off work ……………..so why not ? ……..yes things where good this morning .

Gear was sorted out and quickly thrown into the car, I informed my long suffering better half where I planned to go and that I would be late back home so not to worry but it would be ok to panic a bit if it got really late and I wasn’t home, naturally she took it all in and said “fine” which I took as a “yes dear I am very concerned about you and will spend all my time worrying about you” I think that she went straight upstairs to check on my insurance policies to see how well off she would be if I didn’t make it back home , but I really didn’t care , I was in the car with a full tank of petrol and on my way , the radio was on and I was even singing along ………..rather badly at times so I had to turn the volume up just so I couldn’t hear myself (this says a lot about my singing when even I don’t like it eh?). My destination was the small but lovley hamlet of Alwinton, where I would park up and start the walk from.

My walk or route for the day would see me set off from Alwinton, where if all went to plan I would finish up some hours later. Follow the well marked path onto Clennell Street from there a slow but steady climb up to Cross Dyke, still staying on “the Street” swing round and across uplaw Knowe (371 meters) then onto the old YHA ruin at Wholehope. Sadly there is only a few old bits of stone from the YHA  left now but from what I found out from the all knowing Google it had quite a reputation ………….anyway back to my route  from their I would enter into the edge of Kidland forest, it was at this point I decided to take a detour from my planned route which was stay on the path until it turned off onto the track known as copper Snout instead I left the forest and decided to head up to Wholehope Knowe at 443 meters the highest that I would get today , then it was downhill onto Law Knowe  then things got really fun and I went down some serious downhill to cross over the Wholehope burn which was almost dry then it was time to climb up the very seriously steep Saugh Rig so I could link up and join the main track coming down Copper Snout , why I took this detour off my route I really couldn’t tell you it just seemed a good idea  at the time , I wont go on and say how I nearly burst my lungs climbing back up again or how I nearly crapped myself coming down the steep bank , still I have to say that my Arty leg did preform very well so I will put this down to some on the spur of the moment training . Anyway once I was back on the main track I simply followed it down to the small farm at Shillmoor where I would link up with another footpath that followed the river Coquet downstream, along the side of the Knocks the up again (nearly bursting my lungs again) on to Pass Peth, this is the first time I have been up here and I have to say the views are brilliant totally unexpected  from such a small climb but there is something rather special about the views as you make your way up ……………..don’t take my word for it go see yourself , sadly from this viewpoint it was time to head back down and the foot path took me down to the small road and then it was a simple case of walking along the road into Alwinton .

The  weather today was spot on , bright and sunny but not too hot and a nice cooling breeze , I did sweat a lot but then I always do and I had to stop for a stump break but other than that I had no problems , secretly I felt very pleased with how I got down and up the steep tracks without nearly killing myself , coming down the steep bank was something that I would have had nightmares about only a few months ago , but it was a very smooth grassy path so it wouldn’t have hurt that much if I had fallen and as for the uphill climb .yes my head did turn red and yes I did think that my lungs had burst but I did it without any fuss or drama ………….. But the one thing about this walk was how good I felt not only about myself but every thing in general and the walk up Pass Peth really was the highlight of the walk I simply loved it and the views .

Once back at Alwinton I quick call into the beer garden at the Rose and Thistle for a quick drink (a well deserved drink even if I say so myself) then it was back to the car for the drive home.

I walked about7.2 miles with 1695 ft of the ups and downs but none of that really mattered because all walks are good but there was something about today that made it great

A few photos:-

On Clennell Street looking back

Looking left towards the edge of Holystone forest

 

A bit further along looking back towards Holystone forest

 

Finally the track becomes a nice grassy path, very easy walking

 

Looking across towards Clennell Hill

 

Today the views just keep getting better and so far I haven’t see a single person

 

Looking at the side of Hare sheds

Looking ahead, the Street seems to split up but the routes all join up again further along

 

Looking across towards a distant Puncherton farm

 

Wholehope (all that’s left of it)

 

Now entering Kidland forest, looks like they have been busy here

 

For some strange reason I turn off here

 

And head off down here

 

Leaving the forest, there is a faint Quad bike track that I decide to follow

 

Looking across towards Copper Snout, there are some walkers out and some cattle this is the first people I have seen all day

 

Looking back at my slow decent (this was the easy bit)

 

Gulp time to start thinking and switching on or I’m going to fall

 

Part way down looking back up

 

About to go down the next “hump”

O dear, it’s a lot steeper …….Gulp!!!

 

Made it at the bottom looking back up

Heading back up now, stopping for a rest looking back

 

Still heading up towards Copper Snout looking back at my trail down

 

Fence to get over, just what I need when my lungs are bursting

 

Having yet another sit down

 

The view from my sitting position

 

Still heading up looking back

 

The farm buildings at Shillmore

 

Looking back up the route Copper Snout

 

The river Coquet

 

Following the riverside path ………..looks like another hill to go over

 

Just pleased that I don’t have to go up that

 

But just look at this ….Northumberland at its best

Looking up at the grassy path heading up Pass Peth

 

Part way up looking back along the Coquet Valley

 

Looking along the side view at the river Coquet

 

On top the views

 

Looking towards Barrow Scar

 

Slowly making my way down towards the road

 

But even here the views are just wonderful

 

Heading down, Alwinton just comes into view

 

One more photo before I join the road

 

 Day after thoughts

Nothing to really get worked up about , I had no problems with my stump or arty leg, I think this was more due to the new seal than anything I did, but I was on a high for days afterwards , this was a brill walk and everything just seemed to go right for me today , as for going down that steep hill without any real problems was just fantastic , I know it wouldnt mean much to most people but speaking as an above knee amputee it was something for me .

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