DATE                           02.03.16

DISTANCE                  7.3 MILES

WEATHER                  COLD /SUNNY / WINDY


I had been to the Freeman Limb centre again, Karen and Richard (poor souls they must really wonder what they did wrong to have me as a patent) had once again sorted out my problems with arty leg …………..Great!!! I should be ready to go now and have no more problems …for….. hopefully years and years (some wistful thinking there) the only problem was once again the cylinder was doing what it wanted with regards to upping or removing the amount of resistance and causing all sorts of problems , fortunately I have found that by using a bit of masking tape and wrapping around the control knob this stops all this , but it means its fixed in a set position , the secret is fixing in the correct position .but I’m getting good at this so it really doesn’t cause me any problems just a loss of a different function when I need it . The other thing was they had fitted a brand new knee and it felt different to my old one …yes I know that they are the same but believe me it feels different and behaves different………… sooooooooooooo its time for me and new knee to get to know each other and the best way to do that is go out into the hills for the day and really get “our act together” where we would return as best buddies or I would return covered in mud and soaking wet muttering rude words at Arty leg , I had already got a rough route sorted out in my head something I had seen whilst I was on my last walk see for info . So that was decided , it was just a case of when and it just so happened that I was off work the next day so it was a case of get my gear ready the night before and just hope that it was a good weather forecast , Bob Dog informed me that we should go whatever the weather but I was holding out for at least a dry day , I have got several weather apps on my IPad and over the last year or so have proved to be totally rubbish , no I would wait till after the ten o’clock news and catch the local weather (at least they get the local weather right some of the time).

Good news mostly fine with the odd light shower , that was good enough for me and Bob dog , Munchy and Flynn wished us both good luck and informed us that they would join us both when the summer arrived and not before .

So early the next morning found me and Bob dog driving up to the Breamish Valley, I should point out that I was driving as Bob (as cleaver as he is) doesn’t have a licence yet, and I’m certainly not putting “L-plates on  or filling out his application form for him …when the biggest dirtiest cloud just appeared out of nowhere and proceed to throw the white snowy stuff down , now don’t get me wrong I love snow just as much as the next person but it was coming down so heavy I found myself driving along at a snail’s pace and what more it was settling on the road , before I had driven a mile or so it was an inch deep , by this time I had driven off the main road and was heading up the Breamish valley , I wasn’t bothered about getting stuck or anything but it was a bit unnerving when you couldn’t see ten foot in front of yourself . I was giving it some serious thought about turning back and heading back to Thrunton woods or someplace nearer the coast line when I arrived at the car park at Bulby’s Woods to use the toilets. As I was getting back into the car I met a local farmer / shepherd on his quad bike who informed me that this shower would pass in ten minutes and the rest of the day would be fine. Now one thing that I have learnt over the years is that the locals (especially the one who work and live in the hills are normally right about the weather) which pleased me no end, in general conversation I mentioned where I planned to go he once again gave me some advice that it was rough going up there at the moment with the new snow settling over the old ice and covering up the wet boggy bits and to take care and make sure I was off the top by three at the latest because there would be some more showers heading that way for tea time , I thanked him and informed him that I should be back at the car by then and if things didn’t go to well I would turn back much earlier , he also mentioned that he would check up on my car on his way back home in the evening and send his son out to find me if I wasn’t back .

I thanked him and got back into the car and drove to where I would be parking up, you know this isn’t the first time one of the locals has offered advice and offered to check up on me if I wasn’t back on time and even though I don’t feel that I need this support, I am very touched by their goodwill and generosity and it reaffirms my option that the folk who live and work in the hills are the best of folk , a lot of “city” dwellers could learn a lot from these people.

Sure enough by the time I parked up (see map) the storm had passed and I was greeted by a glorious blue sky and so it was a case of gear on, Bob dog had his coat on and off we went, my route changed slightly from the planned route mainly because the quad bike track that I planned to follow part of the way simply disappeared under the snow, but as I was heading for Cunyan Crags and they loomed straight in front of me I could hardly get lost , but I did find that in places it become almost impossible to stay on my feet as the new snow covered the ice underneath and turned huge areas into skateing ring , to counter this I got my micro spikes out and things improved no end .

I also went through the snow in several places and got water over the top of my boots, I’m used to having wet feet err! Foot so that’s nothing new, then I went through the snow ice again and caught my boot on what I believe was a few strands of barbed wire and in the resulting struggle I got a small tear in the Fabric on my evo8 boots not only that I had somehow managed to tear right through past the gortex lining so now I have a hole on the top of my boot that is unrepairable.

But on a day like today it really doesn’t matter I have got a spare set of boots at home and good old amazon stocks them so why get upset. By this time I had started on the long uphill plod up Dunmoor hill and believe me it was hard going, normally I tend to strip down when I am heading up hill so I don’t sweat so much then layer up when I get to the top, but today let me tell you it was freezing cold and as I got higher the wind picked up making it  feel even colder , the last time I was up this way there was a path that went up the side of Threestoneburn wood which provided some shelter from the wind but sadly it’s all gone now and the wind was letting me know about it . By the time we reached Cunyan Crags I was literally holding onto the fence for support when the wind gusted.

The trees have all gone now

Both me and Bob ( Bob wasn’t really) was feeling pretty knackered by this time and found a lovely spot in the crags where the wind couldn’t reach us but the sun could and set up shop , out came the jet boil for coffee , cake and tasty treats for bob and we both had a well-deserved rest , after that it was gear away and we both had a mooch around the crags , if you ever get up this way it’s well worth the extra time just to explore these crags as they lets you see some wonderful views , the only problem was today we was more likely to be blown away .

After a bit of mooching it was time to get back on the path and head up to the top of Dunmoor at 569 meters it would be our highest point today but first I got an extra layer out of the rucksack (I always keep an warm top in my pack just in case)  it was hard going, the wind plus the icy /snowy patches made the small walk to the top hard going, it was my plan to go over the top and then cut back down by Lindhope spout and walk back along the small road, however once on top it just didn’t seem worth the effort and on the spur of the moment we decided to head towards Long crag then cut straight down , it was hard going again , no path , overgrown heather & peaty bogs all covered in snow and ice which supported you one step then let you go through it the next made for fun , Bob dog took it in his stride and was playing bounce from one plant to the next , then right out of the blue we stumbled across and old grouse shooting quad bike trail which was heading in the right direction and life got a lot easier.

Old quad bike track our way down

as we dropped down , the wind dropped and the snow had gone …what a difference a few hundred meters made , we mooched around long crags and then headed down sticking to the quad bike track , twenty minutes later we was in green pasture , no wind and lovely bright sunshine, you would think that I had been on a different planet only thirty minutes before .

So diffrent !

Bob informed me That his tummy was rumbling and it was lunch time (actually it was way past lunch time) but there was nowhere to stop for lunch up there and so we found a lovely sheltered spot to stop for lunch, bob had his treats and roast beef and the proceeded to help me eat my sarnie, I had another coffee and all was well. As we sat there we could see the snow melting in the lower valleys then it was time to head down, our route down (which mean staying on the quad bike track) was seriously steep in places but me and Arty seemed to get our act together and we managed it no problem, then it was a case of just heading back along the valley towards the car.

We walked about 7.3 miles with about 1872ft of the ups and downs some of it very hard going due to the conditions, now I don’t class myself as an expert or anything nor would I class myself as a novice but the change in the conditions really surprised me and I was pleased that a) I had packed an extra top and b) I decided to cut down when I did.

As normal a few photos enjoy:

 Taken from the road near where we parked up

 Looking up towards the crags where we will be later if all goes well

 Looking back at where we had lunch only a week before

Starting on the long uphill walk now 

 Bob mooching around an old sheep stell

 Looking back

 we make our way up towards the crags looking up the valley

Getting there slowly !!!

Looking up the valley again

A bit further along

 It's a lot steeper than what it looks


 Looking back we get a bit of height the views start to open up a bit

 We are slowly getting there , the wind is starting to pick up now


Bob dog in his coat (nice and warm)

Stopping to take in the views (really getting my breath back)

Looking back

Looking towards Reaveley

Looking back down into the valley

Some of the lower crags

There isnt that much snow up here due to the wind blowing it away its just ice

It's ice on the rocks not snow

A few photos as we mooch around the crags

Time to start up to Dunmoor hill bob leads the way (as always)

Its getting colder as we go upwards

Looking back towards Cunyan crags

A bit further along looking back.

At the top of Dunmoor Hill (569 meters) there is no trig point or stone carn that I can see

Looking across at Hedgehope

Some of the crags at Long  Crags

Bob waiting for me at Long Crags

The wind has droped at this point

Heading down now , it looks like the snow has melted in the valley

Last look at the Crags

Bob dog showing how easy it is to run on ice

Last bit of ice to cross

And down we go on a nice grassy path

And down we go !

Nearly down now

Looking back up

Old stone cairn ?

Looking back

Looking towards Hartside farm

Stone / boulder cairn ? (will have to look into what these are ect ect as I counted at least five ) job for google I think

Lookingback at Long Crags

Passing an old sheep stell looking up at Cunyan Crags

And long Crags

Looking along the valley

Just down here then its a short road walk back to the car

Day after thoughts

I was tired when I got back to the car & I was feeling strange with myself ....I was happy with how me and Arty leg got on , I mean I didnt fall and it was hard going in places , but I was a bit disapointed that I cut down earler than I had planned ...dont get me wrong I thought at the time it was the correct thing to do and I still do but it still nags at me if I had two normal legs would I?

Other stuff , boy did I ache by the time I got home and even after a hot soak I still ached , early night with a couple of pills and I was fine in the morning , no damage to my skin or my stump so I will write this up a "a good one " . and my daughter Kerri came round and treated Bob dog to a nice hot bubbley bath so he was nice and clean and fluffy as well ( I should say that I am not certain if Bob likes bath time or not) but he certainly smelt a lot nicer .