DATE                               11.06.2010

DISTANCE                      ABOUT 8.5 MILES

WEATHER                     BRIGHT AND SUNNY




Today I had to swallow my pride and forked  out ten , yes that’s right ten of my hard earned pounds for a parking permit even though I said hell would freeze over first .( so if you are living down there expect cold weather soon).

Thus armed with my all new parking permit I drove all the way up the College Valley (making sure I get my moneys worth!).

The plan was to park up just before the YHA at Mounthooly then walk along the Collage burn up the Red Cribs, have a break in he mountain refuse hut (if the weather was bad) then simply head along the Pennine way over Birnie Brae up to the top of the Schil, then turn off just before Black Hag and head back down to Mounthooly.

Well that was the plan, but anyone who knows me will tell you, what I set out to do and what I do are two different things.

Every thing was going to plan until I started walking and caught my first glance of the Hen hole , for me this must be one of the best bits of the Cheviots and I just couldn’t help myself I just had to go and have a much closer look , so much for my pre walk route but its been a while since I was up this way so why not , then right out of the blue I decided to see if it is possible for me to see it from above (something that I have never done before ) fortunately for me there is a sort of natural ramp at the bottom of the valley which would take me up onto the Pennine way just by the mountain refuse hut and from there I would head up to  Auchope or should I say the Auchope Cairn from there (if I made it up after all its 726 meters) I would try to cut across and have a look down the Hen hole if it is possible , I soon came to discover that there isn’t a best place to see it from above but none the less the views where good , then it was time to head back to the Pennine way where I would head back down to the mountain refuse hut for a well deserved lunch break . After a quick look inside and a sign of the log book I decided to have lunch outside where after much thinking I decided that I still could pick up my original route at the Red Screes and head off up to the Schill (601meters) and so staying on the Pennine way I wandered over the Birnie Brae (508 meters) up onto the Schill from there I would stay on the Pennine way until I came to the footpath that would take me back down to Mounthooly where if all went well I would be united with my car.

As normal a few photos from today

 Looking back at the YHA at Mounthooly (don’t you just luv that name)


 Looking towards the head of the Collage Valley its been four years since I was last here , the floods have certainly left there calling card.


 Looking back down the Collage burn


 Looking up the valley, on the right the path up to the Red Crib towards the left the entrance to the Hen Hole.


 Looking back down the valley, I have gone and done what I normally do, (decided to do a little detour) no wonder no one wants to walk with me.


The entrance to the Hen Hole , there is something that draws me to it , only this time I will see it from above .(if it is possible)

 A bit closer.

 Starting to get a bit of height, again looking back down the valley

Another couple of photo’s looking up the Hen Hole (sounds a bit rude)


Slowly working my way up looking back down the valley

  Again looking towards the Hen hole

 Looking back (you can just about make out the crags on the Schil) yes I know that I am heading in the wrong direction.

 Still going up. (I have come to the conclusion at this point that I really do need to lose some weight and get fitter) but just look at the view that’s drawing me on


One of my many rest stops looking back (the Schill can be seen more clearly now)

Looking over the boarder into Scotland

Looking across to the stone cairns on West Hill


 The Cairn’s at Auchope they don’t look that far away but there is still a lot of uphill to do first.


 At last at the top of this section one of the stone cairns

 Looking in the other direction

Time for a mooch around a few photos of what  I see what can be seen from up here

On my way down looking towards the mountain refuse hut

Last look at the waterfall in the Hen Hole as I pass it


 At the hut looking towards the hen hole .(at this point I would like to say a BIG thank you to the person who decided to leave his stinking rotten socks in there , I nearly threw up whilst signing the visitors book) I did take the socks wrap them up in a poly bag and have sent them first class to the address that was written just before my entry , if these aren’t yours please accept my apologies , but you can keep the socks , look at them as a sort of keepsake.

 Moving on, red cribs


Looking down the valley


 On top of Birnie Brae looking back and across towards the Hen Hole, the one thing these photos don’t show is the shear size of these hills, and the “openness”


Looking towards the summit of the Schil


Looking back


Looking across into Scotland


 Getting close to the top???


 Just having one of many breather stops


 The crags on the Schil, ok rant time there use to be a stile across this fence so you could “mooch” around the crags, some nameless wonder has removed it and scattered the wood all over the place & by this time I really am too knackered to try to climb over the barbed wire fence.


The way forward, this really is pleasant walking, nice and soft underfoot.


Even though I am on my way down the views are still really good


Looking down to where I left the car parked up

Looking across towards the Torr’s (I was up there a week ago )


My route ahead easy walking now (just as well I am starting to feel knackered)

Passing some unnamed crags


Looking back up


 Post always a good sign (joke) that I am not lost.


All good things come to an end, my route through this heather field, did I ever tell you how I hate walking or should I say trying to walk through heather?


 Back on rough pasture as I descend towards the valley bottom and where I hope my car is.


Last look up the valley as I make my way down


The YHA at Mounthooly and the end of this walk


 This walk was really a bit too far for me, and the last couple of miles through the Heather nearly finished me off. It was hard work but after 8.5 miles with 2641 ft I souldnt be supprised ……………….But is it worth the £ 10.00 parking fee? I have to say yes.


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