DISTANCE JUST UNDER 6 MILES
WEATHER GREY AND COLD BUT DRY
START / FINISH OFF ROAD PARKING AT CLENNELL HALL
Well it’s been a week since the first snow fell and settled …………… this means that the smaller B roads should be clear of snow and ice so I decided to throw my kit into my car and have a drive up to Alwinton , if the roads proved to be too difficult I would venture off to Thrunton woods and if that proved too difficult I would head to the coast and do a beach walk , I didn’t really want to do a beach walk as I had been going down to the beach every day , just practising different walking styles and procedures , even though things aren’t right with my stump I feel confident as long as I don’t go mad and do more than six (ish) miles I seem to be ok .
The first thing that I noticed as I drove towards the hills was the amount of snow laying around, much more than what we had by the coast, however the roads where fine and I didn’t get to drive on any snow till I turned off just before Alwinton, I had decided on parking up at Clennell Hall, the road to the hall was compact snow and ice but as its flat it didn’t prove to be too difficult. However once I had parked up I soon realised that the snow was much deeper than what I thought, what’s more the snow still hadn’t frozen so it was a case of taking a step and seeing how deep it was. What a change from the last time I was up here in the snow, it was frozen that hard you just walked over the top of it.
I think that its going to be a bit to deep for me.
I quickly realised that the snow was far too deep for me to walk in. as an above knee amputee I have found anything more than 4 – 6 inches deep causes me real trouble with getting the leg to swing through and straighten up ready to weight bear, there are things I can do but its time consuming, really slow and hard work. Change of plan I think!
But first things first coffee and a think, the weather forecast has yet again got it wrong; the sky is dull and grey so much for the sun popping out. But that doesn’t really matter I have packed a lot of extra layers should it turn cold and I have got my micro spikes with me.
I decide to forget about getting up into the hills after a couple of attempts at climbing up The Dodd .
Looking towards the Dodd , its steeper than what it looks from this point.
The snow is just too deep and the snow is that soft it’s just building up on my spikes turning them into huge platform type shoes , without them I am slipping back just as fast as I step forward, I will go on to say that I did feel confident to reach the hill top …………..but what then there is no way to go , and I can see that there hasn’t even been a quad bike up here so I can’t even walk in its tracks . so it’s back down to the red road , ……………………..plan B or is it C now?.
The red road has been cleared by a local farmer, and its pure ice to walk on, my micro spikes can deal with this no problem and so I decided to walk along this track into Kidland forest where I hope the trees will have prevent the snow from building up so deep. I try to walk across to the river Alwin for a couple of photos , I forget that there is a bit of a bank and before I know it I am up to my waste in a snow drift ,……………..what a plonker I am . I really should know better. About this time I realise that I have made yet another mistake , it might be a dull day but with everything so white it’s starting to hurt my eyes , I should have worn some sun glasses or something , still too late now I will just have to live with it and squint a bit if I need to, I am hoping that once I get to Kidland the trees will provide not only shelter but a bit of dull colour rather than the constant whiteness that’s all around me. But first I have to get there. At this stage I begin to wonder why this track has been cleared, be haps it’s for the loggers or one of the remote buildings that are up in the forest, but I always thought that they were seasonal holiday lets …..who knows at the moment I am just grateful that there is a path that I can follow .And I have to say this valley is pretty spectacular with its white covering on, it’s just a shame that I can’t get up high today, I have already decided that I would just follow the cleared route as far as I could and just play it by ear from there.
On arrival at Kidland forest it would seem that the snow is still too deep for me to walk in even under the cover of the trees so I have no choice but to follow the cleared track which is heading up to Kidlandlee.
Since I was last up this way the forestry people have cleared a lot of the forest and what used to be a rather dull long uphill slog where you couldn’t see bugger all is now a Wow just look at the views and made the slow walk rather enjoyable , as I slowly made my way up I couldn’t help but notice that the snow on either side of the track seem to be getting deeper or was it just because of drifting , one of the strange things about the Cheviot hill that I have noticed over the years in one valley there can be lots of snow yet on the other side very little , I suppose it has to do with wind speed ect . But what do I know?
Slowly I made my way up till I came to a fork in the track , the cleared section headed to Kidlandlee but the other track would lead me to Clennell Street , I thought about trying to link up with the street , but once again it proved too difficult and I had no way of knowing if any farm vehicles had been along the street , and if they hadn’t I would be buggered , no it was follow the track to Kidlandlee , where I would stop for dinner take a few photos then retrace my route back again.
On the way up I couldn’t help but notice a car (4x4) had been parked up by the side of the track, should I be concerned?
Parked up car .
I put my nose to the glass …………………..no one inside, feeling a bit better I carried on, reaching Kidlandlee the views opened up and for another brief period of time the sun tried to come out and the whole area changed again…………. its stunning the only problem was my camera kept steaming up, then I got the biggest surprise of my life, a lovely old lady came out from one of the houses and called me , well I nearly wet myself thinking that no one lived up here , I knew that they rented out the cottages as holiday lets but I certainly didn’t expect anyone to be up here this time of the year, we chatted it turns out that she lives up here and that it was her car that I passed , I offered to help dig it out , but as she said let the weather do it and she had a quad bike if she needed anything , but she was fine for everything , she then went on to tell me about the history of the surrounding area and all the characters that used to live in and around the forest & even before the forest was even planted , somehow it made the forest “come to life “ and I wish I could have spent a bit more time talking but very abruptly she told me that the low cloud heading our was in fact freezing fog and “it’s time for me to get off this hill and back down the valley “ so after saying good bye off I went , I have to Say that she was right about the weather , even though I don’t feel the cold I could actually feel the temperature dropping and I got that white hose frost starting to form on my coat , however it’s only a mile down to the valley bottom and as I dropped down the air seemed to warm up , then it was a case of following the track back to where I parked the car , being chased by the weather front that was slowly moving in .
As per normal a few photos, not very good as the lens kept steaming up.
The river Alwin .
Same river just taken a bit further along the valley.
Looking towards one of the valley sides.
The Puncherton burn almost covered by the snow.
Kidland forest in front , its easy walking along this cleared track now.
The river Alwin .
Taken from the bridge over the Alwin looking towards kidland forest.
Some of the locals keeping out of the worst of the weather.
Looking up the valley just before I enter the forest.
Looking back towards the man made pond .
Looking towards Kitty"s Crag.
The uncleared forest track , its far to deep for me to walk in .
It doesnt feel that cold , but there is still plenty of ice about.
Starting to head up , and the sun trys to come out , looking towards Kitty"s Crag .
Looking towards Inner Hill , looks like they have been busy felling the trees up there.
Looking down towards the pond.
Still heading up the forest track , the views start to open up , its only since they cut the trees down that you got these views.
A few more photos of the valley as I slowley make my way up and the sun is almost out.
As I head up the snow seems to get deeper.
A couple of photos of the trees .
Looking towards where the forest track forks , if I follow it I will join up with Clennell Street.(I decide not to)
Again something from the past the old Croquet lawn.
Now entering the Kidlandlee est.
wow I am impressed .
The holiday cottages .
Some of the views , I think that they are stunning it just a shame that the sky isnt blue today.
Looking towards the old stable building (hiding behind the trees.) it was to deep for me to get any closer.
A few more photos .
With the cloud starting to close in time to make a move.
Last look back.
Last look all around.
A few more photos as I make my way back to the valley floor.
Back along side the river Alwin .
A few more photos as I make my way back to the car.
Last look back.
Clennell hall and my car just down the road.
Day after thoughts
Its not often that I let this legless bussiness get me down but today I wanted to do so much more but I know its just not going to happen when the snow is this deep and soft , still I did just under 6 miles with about 1100 feet of ups and downs so Ishouldnt be to hard on myself. stump wise it didnt seem to bad but it was easy walking for most of it. its not right biut at least its not painfull, and I work up with no aches or pains so all in all a good day out . but what about the views at Kidlandlee? I think that Iwill be paying the estate a visit sometime in the summer when the skys are blue and the sun is out ,I bet its beautiful .
ALL 2013 WALKS ABOUT ME NORTHUMBERLAND