DATE                                       04.04.13

DISTANCE                             9.25 MILES

WEATHER                            BRIGHT AND SUNNY


Ingram valley

My day started with a bang as Arty leg started jumping round the bed yelling at me to “get my lazy fat arse out of bed “ , a quick look at the clock confirmed it was time that I started to get my act together , today was going to be a good day I was going to try my luck in the Cheviots , I had noticed that there was still a lot of snow on the high hills but the lower valleys looks snow free , so today I really wanted to just get out there amongst them and see how I got on .

Likewise I wanted to try to go up and down some gentle slopes just to see how my stump behaved , I have been nursing  it for some time and just wanted to up the game a bit , I felt confident as long as I didn’t go mad things would be fine .

A quick peek out of the window confirmed that it was going to be a belta of day weather wise, bright blue sky’s with the odd white fluffy cloud blowing along in the breeze….. Great just how I like it.

Where to go? , I knew that the closer I was to the coastline the less snow would be laying , so after  a quick look at a map it was decided that Ingram Valley would most likely be the best place .Arty agreed which is always nice to have a bit of confirmation .

Gear was quickly thrown into the car, coffee drunk and off we went.

It became apparent as we drove up towards the Cheviot Hills that there was still a fair bit of snow on the tops, but as I got closer you could see where the lower levels where green and snow free, great!

I decided to park up at the visitors centre car park at Ingram, there was a sign saying that the centre was now closed (for good), this is a crying shame, the Northumberland national park is slowly dying , first the toilets where victims of the cut backs , now Ingram , Wooler and Rothbury centres are closing or getting ready to close , but they seem to have found ££££s to rebuild  the Hadrian’s wall visitors centre , and for the life of me I cant see what’s wrong with the building that’s there. I fully expect that there will be a “green” super expensive made to blend in with the surroundings area type building ect ect where some unknown designer will make a small fortune out of a outlandish design and all the “people in the know” will say how good it is …………………yet the parks people cant even keep the public toilets open or even the visitors centre in the summer months.

Yes I know the wall is the “honey pot spot” of this park, BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO THIS PARK THAN HADRIAN”S WALL.  It never fails to amaze me that when I go to the other national parks and see how good there facilities are compared to ours. OK rant over!!! Mick now takes deep breath and calms down.

Right where was? I, the tiny hamlet of Ingram was a very busy place this morning with the farmers tearing around on there quad bike and tractors with there trailers all loaded up with sheep and the new born lambs, they are bringing them into very sheltered spots for the first few weeks then moving them up to the lower pasture as the lambs get bigger and stronger, even though the weather was bright and sunny all the lambs had there waterproof plastic coats on. The farmers up here are taking no chances with the weather.

Coffee was made and drunk, gear sorted and off I went, I had rough route sorted out in my head but wanted to see how things where working out with my stump and the level of snow so it was a case of let’s go and see how things worked out. Arty of course was raring to go and behaved himself and gave me no cause for complaint and because things went so well we even turned this into a small hill walk, where on a couple of locations I had to stop and put on my micro spikes when the snow and ice started to get very slippery on the steepest slopes.

The weather was almost perfect, bright, sunny but with a cold breeze and even though there was still a bit of snow and ice around I couldn’t help but think spring has finally arrived, of course seeing some of the bigger lambs playing around in the lower pastures put a smile on my face, even Arty reframed from shouting mint sauce at them.

I had forgotten how much I love this area, it has no big mountains, no craggy rocks to scramble up nothing to draw your eye, but its lovely and once again I was reminded of how lucky I am to be walking here today.

There was only one down side of this walk and that was when I met up with some mad cattle, which as it turns out where only let out into the hills this morning after being cooped up in the barns all winter and where doing there best to charge around at anything that caught there eye, me included, after a quick detour and putting a fence between me and them I had to alter my route slightly, not that it mattered on a day like today. About 9.25 miles according to my all singing and dancing GPS with about 1500 ft. of ups and downs. A really good day as normal a few photos.

Taken from the car park looking at the river Breamish.


Walking up an old farm track towards Wether Hill looking up the Breamish Valley.


Some sheep and bigger lambs in the lower pastures.


Part way up Wether Hill looking across the valley towards Old Fawdon hill.


At this point I decide to leave the farm track and make my own way to the hill fort (nothing to get excited about) on Wether hill. Looking back down the valley.


Nearly at the top and for the first time I get to see over the other side, to be greeted by this view.


Still heading up looking across, I think at this point I make the decision to walk back along that ridge, it just looks so inviting.


Now at some old settlement, the snow helps show off the rings, I believe that this was some old hill fort; the area is full of them.


Looking across to a distant Hedgehope and Cheviot.


Now at the top of Cochrane Pike at 335 meters the highest point of todays walk, looking at the same view just a bit further along.


Looking across the valley towards my return route. Time to start and cut down.


Now at the valley bottom, where the ground is frozen on the tops it very wet and boggy down here. Looking back up towards Cochrane Pike.


Time for a well deserved coffee break, Arty leg can make it for a change.


Now on the lower slopes of Old Fawdon hill looking up towards the trig point.


Looking back, (actually I was stopping to get my breath back)


Time to stop and put on my micro spikes, looking down towards a distant Ingram.


The snow and icy is only about 4” deep but its very slippery & I dot really want to go sliding all the way back down , this section is steeper than it looks.


Looking back and over the other side, hardly ant snow …..Strange.


Looking towards yet another old hill fort on Gibbs Hill.


The Trig point and no snow.


Taken at max zoom looking towards the cheviot and the lower slops of Hedgehope.


Time to start down, my route along to West Hill.


Looking down the Fawdon Dean Valley (I’m not certain if that’s the correct name)


Nearly down.


An old railway carriage that has been used for feed storage sometime in he past, I expect it will be totally gone by the time I get back around this area.


Looking back up.


Lunch spot, not bad eh?


Starting to head up West Hill, looking over towards the other side where I was earlier on this morning.


Looking back along the ridge.


Now starting to drop down along west Hill no set path just following either quad bike tracks or sheep trails.


Looking over towards Brandon.


The last bit of up before I leave West Hill.

 Another icy bit where the micro spikes come out.


Looking up along the Breamish Valley.


Through the trees then onto East Hill.


BUT NO , due to mad cows I have to cut down off east hill just to keep out of there way , looking back up.(note how the cattle have gone now as I am out of there field)


My path will now take me along the river Breamish. Posh sheep, I don’t know what breed so don’t ask.


Easy walking along towards the river.


Looking down towards the river.


Same spot just a different zoom.


My route will follow the river for a mile or so then I plane to cross over and head back up to where the car is.


Looking back along my route.


Taken from the foot bridge.


A few photos of the river as I head back upstream towards the visitors centre (now sadly closed)


Day after thoughts.

What a great day this was , I forget how much I love this area , its easy walking even though much of the route was on unused footpaths or sheep trails , and apart from the farmers at Ingram I had it all to myself . Of course the weather helped and the snow added something to the walk, I think that I will mark this up a very good walk, you know the sort that will stay with you for a while.

Arty leg was brilliant, apart from wanting to fight the mad cows, but being the wimp that I am I decided to run away instead.

Stump pain was mostly non existent even on the steep sections, as for my foot the  insoles seemed to have helped and my foot didn’t ache that much so all in all a good day .