DATE                                01.04.16

DISTANCE                       5.0 MILES

WEATHER                       COLD WET AND WINDY

START / FINISH               FORESTRY CAR PARK

 

Well once again I had been back to the Freeman Limb centre and once again Karen and her team had fixed / repaired Arty leg so I was ready to go , I had been working on a new type of dressing for my stump that seemed to be holding up and allowing the wound to dry up and heal , it’s not 100% yet but slowly but surely its getting there , Now anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a firm believe  in once you have had some sort of alteration done on your Arty leg there is only one way to get to really know it and trust it is …..To have a day out walking someplace in the wilds and if it’s a bit on the rough side or has many different types of terrain so much the better, I figure it’s a case of I will return home really happy with how things have worked out ……..or I will die a horrible death and my body will lay someplace undiscovered rotting away (not really it just sound dramatic)

So now it was a case of where, normally I disappear in the forests but to be honest I have seen so many trees I just financed a change , then right out of the blue I saw an guided walk laid on by the Northumberland park rangers , now I would really like to start walking with a few folk but sadly I am just way to slow at the moment but I liked the sound of the route and thought why not do it myself , I have over the years walked most of it anyway so I knew that there was some really hard tricky bits , some really slippery bits and some really easy stretches so it all just seemed to fit the bill for what I needed and so for the next half hour I ran around like a headless chicken getting my gear sorted ready for the morning.

Now came the first problem, the forecast for the next day wasn’t Good, now I don’t really mind but I know both Flynn and Munchy don’t do cold wet weather all day but how do I sneak out without them, Bob on the other hand would be ready to go as soon as I got up in the morning, in fact he had already sat down by my rucksack with the its going nowhere without me look on his face.

However the next morning it was dark dull windy and wet and Both Munchy and Flynn simply looked out of the door and went back to bed, my better half said that she would take them out a bit later and so it was just me and Bob dog who loaded up the car and set off, with the normal stop for my sarnie from our favourite sarnie shop and of course the extra slices of roast beef for Bob dog (he starting to cost me a small fortune) then we was off , our starting point and……hopefully finishing point would be the forest car park at Harbottle west woods to be exact (according to my map ) there you learn something new every day .

Our route for the day would take us up out of the woods onto a rather dodgy path up onto the Harbottle hills where if all went well we would meet up with the Drake Stone which stands out among the other sandstone rocks dotted around these hills, there might be some old folk law attached to this stone but so far I have been far to lazy to even goggle it but it certainly is bigger and stands out like a sore thumb , from there we would head down past Harbottle Lake (sounds impressive but it’s not that big) then down into the forest again  where if I put my fantastic navigating skills to good use (stay on the footpath) I should leave the forest and link up with an old cart track that would lead us down to the road again , a short walk along the road then we would turn off past the church at Low Alwinton then walk past the old lime kilns  then along a lovely grassy wander following the river Coquet till we meet up with a footbridge that will take us over the Coquet back along Harbottle then a small little detour to see what’s left of Harbottle castle then it’s back to the car .

Not far about 5 miles give or take a few meters , not much I can say about today really , it was cold and windy (a bit like my better half really) , I seemed to get on with my Arty leg without to many problems , the path heading out of the woods up to Drake stone was very difficult for me in the fact the wind was doing its best to blow me over , the path was very narrow and my good leg got cut up and scratched  by the constant rubbing of old heather branches and where it had rained it was as slippery as ……well a slippery eel (that’s all I can think of at the moment …sorry ) but with Bob dog running backwards and forwards checking up on me we did it , the moment we got to the Drake stone any thought of  a rest was dismissed as it was blowing a hoolie from all directions …yes that’s right we would move to one side of the rock to get out of the wind only to find it changed and we was getting full on again , only one thing to do and that was to head down along the lake (lake .. more like a big pond) and then into the trees where we got some shelter from the wind . after a bit of mooching around we managed to find a dry’ ish spot and it was out with the jet boil for coffee for me and out with the water bowl and treat dish for Bob, Bob of course totally ignored the water bowl and started to eat a few treats, I sometimes wonder why I even bring water for Bob when there is always a dirty puddle to drink from, Bob tells me puddle water is far taster it’s a simple as that.

After coffee Gear was put away and we splodged and splashed out way out of the rather wet soggy forest and out onto the cart track , things improved dramatically now the wind had gone and we was on dry firm ground.

Lunch was had by the lime kilns and we had a very easy wander along the river there was one moment when we entered a field with cattle in but Bob wasn’t bothered and neither was they so all was well (we did walk near the fence just to be on the safe side but they (the cows)  looked then carried on munching) then it was over the River Coquet and along into Harbottle, Bob wasn’t best impressed as I had to put him on a lead as we walked along the road , then it was up to have a mooch around the ruin of Harbottle Castle , which hasn’t really changed from the last time I saw it a few years ago , then it was back to the car just before a dirty black cloud appeared and proceeded to soak every thing . Despite the weather both bob and I had a brilliant day, Arty leg and me seemed to get on ok and I didn’t damage my stump any more so today will go down as a success

A few photos:

Taken from the forestry car park

 

Leaving the woods Bob belting up the hill towards Drake Stone

 

A bench, would be a nice place to stop and rest but it’s too cold and windy today

 

Me stopping to get my breath looking back down towards Harbottle

 

Part of the Drake Stone

 

Peering around the side

 

Looking towards a distant Biddlestone and its Quarry

 

Harbottle

Heading towards Harbottle Lake

 

Getting towards the end of it time to head into the trees

 

Looking back towards the Drake Stone

 

My Path?

Last look back at the lake before I enter the trees

 

What a wimp I am!

 

The footpath in the forest looks like someone has been busy clearing the fallen trees away

 

Bob Dog in his coat doing a high speed run to check up on me

 

Concrete fence post (I am certain that there is a story about them somewhere)

 

Looking down at the church at Low Alwinton as we leave the forest

 

Looking across towards Alwinton

 

Crossing over the River Coquet

 

Low Alwinton Church

 

Limekilns and our lunch spot

 

Info board

 

Up close

 

The best I could do showing all three Kilns

 

Dog statue

 

Looking across at Harbottle crags

 

Looking back at a small holding

Taken at max zoom looking at the Drake Stone

 

Cattle …….err tasty!  Nom nom we like beef

 

Our path nice easy walking now

 

Mums and a couple of young ones

 

Crossing over the River Croquet again

 

The school at Harbottle

 

Not sure if this is a well or not

 

War memorial?

 

Now heading up to the ruin of Harbottle Castle

 

A few photos, unfortunately I can’t get it all on one photo

Looking down at Harbottle

 

Looking towards Harbottle Hills

 

Same again looking towards Drake Stone

 

A few more

 

Looking across the river where we was earlier

 

Bob Dog what a star

 

Last look back

 

Info Board

 

Stone sign

 

Day after thoughts.

 Today was an experience, I found the walk up to Drake Stone a lot harder than what I remembered, this could be because I am really unfit or was it because it was so windy? I going to blame the wind, the fact that I was puffing all the way up doesn’t count , the narrow path did cause me to cut my good leg up a bit but so what I’m a toughie (actually I’m a wimp) but it did get quite sore each time I brushed up against the heather . Arty leg and me seemed to get on ok, I just hope that I don’t develop another fault, it would be nice to spend some time on the same leg without something having to be swapped, as for my stump, I was starting to feel a bit sore towards the end but there was no further damage to my stump so that is another step in the right direction

 ABOUT ME    NORTHUMBERLAND     WALKS 2016