DATE                            29.01.17

DISTANCE                  7.78 MILES

WEATHER                  MOSTLY BRIGHT AND SUNNY

START / FINISH        FREE CAR PARK AT HETHPOOL

 

 

It was Time to get out and about again , I had done all my “good boy” job’s the day before and knocked up loads of extra points so I could have a day off wandering around the hills some place without feeling guilty , so now it was a case of just sorting out where and when .

First things first was I couldn’t go off into the hills on my own, not normally a problem going out on my own as I am a billy no mates but seeing as my sensor knee was playing up, (it feels like the bearings are on their way out – lots of crunching / grinding) I didn’t think it would be wise, yes I know I had a set of crutches that I had modified to fit on the outside or my rucksack so it the knee failed I could always use them to get back , but with the cold weather I just thought I would use a bit of common sense and tag along with a few people so if things did go tits up I could A) get them to carry me back (not much chance of that) B) ask one of them to return to the car and get them out of the boot and fetch them for me so that was sorted .

After a quick mooch around on the internet thing it looked like the walking group https://www.meetup.com/Northumberland-Walking-Group/   was heading out up to Hethpool for a wander , now I have been out with this group several times and I always have a great day , so I fired off a e mail thingy and before I knew it I was down to join them and much to my delight my new found walking buddy Edwina ( the intrepid explorer ) was able to make it as well , so after a few more PM’s (private messages ) pick up times etc. was all sorted and that was that.

 My better half Yvonne (the hack) did mention about my real knee and not hurting / damaging it any more but the way I figure things is, I will be on it either way, either plodding around the house and garden doing things where I am more likely to twist it or something or I could be out in the open walking where there shouldn’t be so much twisting and turning (well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) but to be honest I think that whatever I do it’s a knacker job either way so why not try to get that little bit more out of it and have fun at the same time. But I did say that I would be careful and take care and for once I meant it …after all it’s a well-known fact that I don’t like pain and I am a wimp.

So that was it gear was sorted , beef salad sarnie (with extra beef for Bob dog) packed away in fridge ready for morning and Bob dog coats was dug out of the clean washing basket ready for the off in the morning .

Come the morning we (bob dog and myself) was greeted by a lovely blue sky and a hard frost, great almost perfect weather for walking and set off to pick Edwina up, however on the drive up to Hethpool we left the bright blue skies and passed under a dull grey cloud then as we pulled into the car park at Hethpool it was actually spitting on with rain …………so much for my sucking up to the weather god’s (note I said sucking UP to ) , gear was sorted , introductions where made , Edwina tried to bribe Bob dog with a bag full of roast beef treats ….which worked……………… and now Edwina is bob dogs favourite person in the whole world.

As normal had a chat with Margaret who was the walk leader explaining that I would most likely drop behind towards the end of the walk and not to worry ( I don’t think that she would worry but it sounds nice ) as I know the area and  the last thing I want to do is to hold the group up .  and then we was off, our route for the day (see map above) would take us out of the car park, head back along the road into Hethpool from there staying on the road follow the Elsdon burn (which is part of St Cuthbert’s way) past the farm of Elsdonburn then up across Scald hill shank it was at this point that the dull grey clouds buggered off and the sun came out treating us to a lovely day (yeah the weather gods still love me ) then  into some dark scary woods where all went well and we didn’t get lost then up to Eccles hill (at 350 meters the highest point of today’s wander) from there it was back down and across the border into Scotland still staying on the St Cuthbert’s way , Lunch was had near the Stob stones / Rig then we was off again heading  back onto the English side of the Border heading over Madies well (a boggy bit) (actually there are lots of boggy bits on this route) then still staying on the main footpath headed down the side of Wideopen Head which really is an excellent path , lots of tremendous views looking down to the Trowup Burn as well as seeing the snow covered peaks of some of the higher mountains , from there it was down to the farm at Trowup , then is was a lung bursting slow climb up to the summit of Great Hetha (345 meters) , on making the summit and once my lungs started to work again it was time to stop and take in  the views. I have to say that with the sun out and the blue sky the views where really good, and from our vantage point it was possible to see all around, and with the snow on the higher fells it just added the finishing touches on what was a brilliant day out, from the summit we headed down onto Little Hetha and from there down to the car park. Gear was sorted, Edwina produced two cups of tea from one of her many bags she left in the car which was very welcome and Bob dog finished off the roast beef. All in all a very good way to finish off the walk, we had walked 7.78 miles according to my GPS with 1678ft of the up’s and downs.

A few photos

Looking at the Elsdon burn as it flows towards the lake at Hethpool

 

Looking up at some sheep on Mid hill, note the sky is starting to clear

Looking back at a distant Yeavering Bell

 

A bit further along looking back at the “Torr’s”

 

Edwina having a pose at Elsdonburn farm

 

The group heading off into the dark scary trees

 

Looking back

 

“Get in there “don’t be a wimp but don’t get too far in front of me

 

Phew made it heading off up towards Eccles hill

 

Part way up looking back (really I’m trying to catch my breath)

 

Looking across to White law and a snow covered Schil

At the top of Eccles Hill and its stone cairn

 

Looking back towards the Torr’s

 

Looking over the border into Scotland

 

At the border crossing

 

Charge down we go heading towards Stob stone (and lunch)

 

Looking back at Eccles hill

 

Looking at Sunnyside hill

 

Lunch time over and we are off, for a short time we wasn’t at the back

 

Bob dog in his coat, he did nothing but roll in sheep pooh, he really doesn’t like his coat, but despite the sun it was very cold and icy underfoot and he has such a low ground clearance I feel that he needs some sort of waterproof coat on.

 

The group heading alongside Madam Law this is a lovely path

 

Cloud gathering over the cheviot and Bizzle Crags

 

Looking down towards Trowup burn

 

Still heading down, the Torr’s dominate the sky line

 

A bit further down looking up the valley

 

The group winding along the hill towards the farm at Trowupburn

 

Looking down

 

Looking up the valley again

 

Looking at the side of Great Hetha

Edwina and Bob dog

 

Old sheep stell

 

Still slowly making our way down

 

The farm at Trowupburn

 

Getting closer

 

What a lovely valley this is and how lucky are we to get good weather like this?

 

Heading towards Great Hetha, some of our group are part way up already

 

Part way up looking back down

 

A few photos as we make our way up looking in all directions

 

Edwina standing up the top (she is really struggling to get her breath)

 

The stone cairn on the top

 

Looking up the valley into the grey clouds that seem to be heading our way

 

Looking towards Hethpool which is still in the sun

 

Bob dog on the outa stone wall of this hill fort

 

On our way down now

 

A bit further down looking towards the Bizzle

 

Same again just a bit further down

 

 

 

Day after thoughts

Home, gear sorted, Bob dog fed then brushed then a well-deserved hot bubbly bath, I expected to ache a bit and …….yes I did, however on checking on my stump everything was fine so that was good, my sensor knee didn’t let me down but it is rumbling and grating a bit louder now but as its still useable I won’t worry about that. My real knee did ache but no worse than what it was before, I think this is something that I will just have to live with till the Doc’s get their act together , but I still slept with it sticking out of the bed covers . But today was a brilliant day out made even better by the weather and a great group of walkers from the walking group.

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