DISTANCE 6.08 MILES
WEATHER BRIGHT AND SUNNY
START / FINISH FORESTRY CAR PARK
Today’s walk was always going to be a nice easy wander , no set distance no set route just a day chilling out in the woods making the most of the lovley weather that we had been having and because the weather was so good I decided to take all three Pup’s , I know that they all love getting out for the day but both Flynn and Munchy feel the cold and having next to no ground clearance they get wet and cold quite easy , yes they have all got nice warm coats but being out all day is a bit much to ask this time of year, Bob on the other hand doesn’t mind in the slightest and will run almost non stop from the start of the walk till the end generating a lot of body heat and staying warm , where as Munchy and Flynn will just wander along and start to get cold . However because it was such a nice day I decided to take them all possibly for the last full days walking they would get for a while.
On the off chance I Gave Dawn (http://dawn-outdoors.blogspot.co.uk/ ) a call to see if she wanted to join us for the day and much to my delight she was all for it, so that was it, gear was thrown into the car, pup’s called and came racing out and hurtled into the car and we where off with one quick stop to pick up Dawn.
On the drive up I informed Dawn that we would head up to Simonside, no set route, and no set distance just a nice easy day off mooching around and just see where we end up.
Walking wise I’m still not fit and certainly didn’t want to “push” myself as I had arranged to go out walking the next day and certainly didn’t want to wake up stiff and sore the next morning , plus my Arty leg still wasn’t working as it should , basically the hydraulic cylinder isn’t working correctly and will take it upon itself to start winding the resistance down all by itself , not really a problem because all I have to do is reach down and twist the control thingy back up again , but each time I do this the whole leg feels and reacts differently and it takes a hundred meters or so for my body to adjust to the new setting , normally this isn’t a problem but out in the wilds this can cause problems if the change happens when I am going down a steep path or stepping across a rocky section etc. etc. and as I have stated many times when out walking over rough ground you have to trust the leg to do what you want it to do other wise you tend to trip , fall and end up in a snotty heap on the ground , to counter or help with this problem I was using my hiking poles and putting a bit extra weight on them to help , not the best of situations but it seems to help , normally I use my hiking poles more as an aid in my balance and stability rather than a means to either propel myself along or as a braking mechanism when going down hill but today I would make an exception .
It didn’t take us long to arrive and we more or less had the car park to ourselves .great maybe we might get to see some deer today, gear was sorted, pup’s where let out and off we went, our route for the day (see map) was all easy walking with one rather short but steep climb up to the crags.
As Dawn hadn’t been in this part of Simonside we took a small detour to see Church rock with its cave (and I use the term cave very loosely) more like a whole a small dog could fit in but it’s a landmark and worth the few minutes detour.
The forestry people had once again been very busy and huge chunks of the forest had been harvested this treated us to some much better views than what we would have had before likewise we followed a new(ish) path up to the forestry track at the base of the steep climb up to the crags, this is where we had our first surprise of the day, there was several machines parked up with bags of stone / rock and pallets of stone slabs , it looks like they are getting ready to finish off the footpath they started a couple of years or so ago , personally I don’t like walking on this stone path ..But I can see why the route has to be protected other wise the path just gets wider and wider as erosion takes hold , in fact even now its possible to see where the old path used to run and that’s been closed for a few years now .
The other surprise we had was the amount of other walkers that where out, I can honestly say I saw more people out today than all the other times all added together …………..This of course meant that there would be no Deer mooching around but if the truth is known with the machines and all the harvesting that had been going on I expect the Deer had buggered off to the more remote sections of the woods for a bit of piece and quite away from all the crowds.
We had a slow plod up to the crags, which really meant I stopped loads of times to get my breath back and take a few photos, we passed a load of kids loaded up with maps all sounding very sure of themselves, as they went tearing down past us, the Pup’s of course went up and down the path several times just proving that it was nothing for them.
Lunch was had up on a nice rocky platform where we watched the crowds pass us by, two large walking groups wandered past lead by a paid guild …..Why people would pay is beyond me but hey what do I know.
The pup’s enjoyed the dinner, I had (as normal) brought extra slices of roast beef for them as a tasty treat as well as there doggy treats plus they where busy running up and down greeting all the other walkers as they past us, one thing that they all like is getting a fuss made of them and today most walkers where stopping and making a fuss of them, Lunch was a slow drawn out affair , after all we wasn’t in any hurry it was a lovley sunny day with a hint of a breeze blowing ….just enough to blow any midges away but not enough to cool us down , after lunch we headed back down , we didn’t spot any Deer but by this time I knew that we wouldn’t .
We walked about 6.08 miles with 1042 ft. of the up’s and downs all very easy and relaxed a really good chill out day
As normal a few photos enjoy
Taken from the car park
Part way along the forestry track looking towards a distant Dove Crag
Little church rock / cave
Walking along a section of woodland that has been cleared
Looking up towards where the “red path goes”
We decide to stay on the new track
And we get treated to views like this now that some trees have been felled
On the forestry track again looking at the views
Part way up heading towards Simonside crag, looking down at the new flag stones on the wooden pallets
Looking into the sun, Dawn waiting for me and a party of school kids heading down
Another breath stop (I had a few going up here)
Made it to the top, the boy’s are busy waiting for me to catch up
“Bob don’t go any further it’s a sheer drop”
A few photo’s from Simonside crag, got some great views today
On the flagged path heading towards old stell crag, the small section of fence is blocking the old path way
Old stell Crag and its manky pond
Art or vandalism, sadly there is a lot of this around here with it all being soft sandstone
Looking over the back towards Spylaw
Someone has been building
Looking down towards the “old path” nature is slowly reclaiming it back
Flynn and Munchy mooching around
Our lunch spot …not bad eh?
On top old old stell crag
Heading down back to the path
Looking back at our route
At Dove crag looking back
The boy’s playing around
Munchy having a five minute rest
Heading down off Dove crag looking towards Simonside crag
Back on forestry track heading back to the woods again
At a section known as Joes wood looking towards the distant Cheviot Hills
Looking back up at Dove crag
A bit further along looking back up before we head into the forest again.
Day after thoughts,
A lovley chilled out wander with Dawn and the boys, the weather couldn’t have been better, I had no real problems apart from adjusting the settings on the knee, but on a day like today that really doesn’t matter.
Saying that I didn’t really expect to have any problems as we really did take it easy and have loads of breaks and when the weather is like it was today why not?. Dawns blog and account of todays wander can be found here :- http://dawn-outdoors.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/simonside.html
ABOUT ME NORTHUMBERLAND WALKS 2015