DISTANCE 11.2 MILES
WEATHER WET TO START THEN DRY AND SUNNY
START / FINISH OFF ROAD PARKING AT CLENNELL
After what seemed like a life time of buggering about I finally managed to sort out that all important first date with Dawn, we had been trying to get out for sometime but work, and other stuff seemed to get in the way then ……finally we sorted out a date that was convenient for both of us to meet up and have a long awaited wander. Dawn has seen the light and moved up from down south and settled down near where I live so I felt it part of my civic duty as a southerner to introduce Dawn to the Cheviot Hills, not that she needed any introduction to these Hills, in fact she has spent just as much time stomping around the hills and valleys as I have. Rather than go on about her and her exploits I will post a link to her blog here: - http://dawn-outdoors.blogspot.co.uk/
In fact whilst I am on about links I must post a link to her blog in my “links to other websites” so when you read this if there isn’t one please remind me because I will have forgotten.
Right getting back to the walk, times, dates and places where arranged and all that stuff that goes with it was sorted and so that was that. Bob dog of course had to have his say in things but basically he couldn’t care as long as he got out and so we found ourselves driving up on a rather wet and dull day heading up towards the Cheviot Hills, I had a couple of routes going on in my head, one that would stay on Forestry tracks most of the way and one that would take us up into the hill tops and follow various sheep trails for the day , both seemed ok in my head and I mentioned them both to Dawn , who being the polite person she is left it up to me ………err! Thanks.
On arriving at Clennell, we where greeted by a heavy downpour, in fact it had been raining most of the drive up ………hum……. not a promising start but as we both started to sort our gear out the heavens really opened up and being the experienced walkers that we are (or is the word wimps?) we both dived back into the car and waited it out.
This made the choice of route a lot easer, the hills top route I had picked entailed walking in a lot of fern following old sheep trails and with all the rain I knew we would both end up getting soaked so it was the low level forestry trail route I decided that we would do. Both Dawn and Bob didn’t seem to mind and so once the rain stopped we all jumped out, got the gear sorted...put on waterproofs and off we went , our route for the day started by following the river Alwin along the Alwin Valley (I don’t know if that’s the correct name but…) see map .
However after ten minutes I had to stop and remove my waterproofs as I was slowly getting boiled alive, the sky was still grey and looked rather threatening and I figured that as soon as I packed everything away the heavens would open up again, Dawn decided to stay in the waterproofs for a bit longer but eventually another stop was called for so she could get out of hers ……………and the sky seemed to be clearing up a bit.
Our route (see map) took us into Kidland forest and having no set route in my head just a general idea I decided that when we came to fork or a split in the track I would let Dawn decide if we would go left, right or straight on then at the next junction I would decide and so on and so on, that way neither of us really knew where we would end up but decided that when we stopped for lunch and only then would we “plane our return route” and so that what we did , walking along the forestry , is easy walking however there was a couple of long slow uphill plods that certainly got me puffing and served as a reminder of how unfit I am , Dawn of course just took it in her stride , I did think that this was a bit unfair and she could at least pretend that she was getting short of breath .
The down side of walking amongst the trees is of course the amount of fly’s that where about and at every stop we soon found ourselves surrounded by what seemed millions of them, even Bob dog started to get annoyed by them and so it was we decided that we would try to get out of the trees and get a bit of height and some breeze when we stopped for lunch.
However on the good side we did get to see a few Herons, Buzzards and Kestrels up close, of course I can only say this with confidence because of Dawn knowledge, to me a bird is either a hawk or a seagull. we also got to see a Roe Deer as it went bounding up some really steep bank and we spotted a small family gathering of deer in a distant valley ………….personally I think its great when you get to see the wild life up close .but then I am a sad person . (You can disagree with this if you want).
Eventually we left the forest and had lunch sitting in a cooling breeze that kept the fly’s away, we had managed due to some fantastic navigation to get on the lower slops of Cushat Law where we got some smashing views of Kidland forest with all its hidden valleys and small hills something you don’t normally see when you are walking along.
One thing that did stand out was the amount of tree felling that had been going on, huge areas now stood out, ugly and barren but like most things there is a good side to this as well, the forestry people had put in new tracks so what would have been almost impossible to get to, was now in fact open to see and walk , given time I am certain that nature would be busy trying to reclaim the barren hillsides and this time next year will be a sea of green and in places it does open up the views that you normally couldn’t see.
Over lunch the route was decided for our walk back , we should have spent twenty minutes or so and walked to the top of Cushat Law , but for some reason it didn’t even entre my head till we had been walking back for a while …duh!!!.
As the day had progressed the rain clouds had moved away and for a while we had some serious sunshine WHAT….. SUSHINE IN JULY!!! Which did make me think pre haps we should have done my hill top walk in the fern ….but as they say there is always another day.
As a final twist to our walk I suggested a small detour on the way back that took us up the side of Cross Dyke (don’t you just love that name?) where we could enjoy the views looking down along the river Alwin, it was on here we met up with the only other person we saw today and boy was she surprised when she was greeted by two cockney speaking people. after a suitable sit down and rest it was time to head back down, Bob dog was still running about all over the place and I thought it would be nice if we could have a paddle in the river so he could cool down before we got to the car and so we decided to paddle across the river Alwin, which was a bit deeper than what I remembered it and resulted in wet feet.
We walked a surprising 11.2 miles (I thought that we had only walked about 8 miles at most) with about 2451ft. of the ups and downs all easy walking, a very enjoyable day.
As normal a few photos:
Looking up the River Alwin
A bit further along
Taken on the last bridge before we enter Kidland forest
Looking towards Kitty’s Crag on Puncherton hill
Bob leading the way
Roe Deer getting a bit of distance between it and us
Stopping and checking up on us
On a bit of a uphill plod, stopping and looking back (really I was getting my breath back)
Taken at max zoom a small family of Roe Deer
The one and only Bob Dog …what a star!
Lunch time on the lower slop of Cushat Law, and a few photos
Back on the track Bob waiting for Dawn
A few photos as we make our way back
White foxglove in the normal pink ones
A few more photos of what we saw as we headed back
Bob dog waiting for us
Time for a cooling drink and paddle for Bob
Fortunately they shut up shop for the weekend.
Looking up towards Puncherton Hill
Now on the bridal way heading up Cross Dyke
Looking down and along the river Alwin where we walked along this morning
Looking back (really getting my breath back)
Nearly at the top looking at Clennell Hill
Last look back towards Kidland
Looking towards the farm at Clennell (and hopefully where my car is)
Looking across and down at the river Alwin
Dark storm clouds
Heading down to our crossing point, it’s a bit deeper than what I remember ….resulting in wet feet...sorry Dawn
Looking up the valley at the ford
Day after thoughts
Yesterday was a good day , we did a lot more miles than what I though we had it guess it just goes to show that when you are chatting away you don’t notice the distance ,( thanks Dawn) of course walking along forestry tracks is easy walking and quite fast when compared with going over rougher ground .
I do feel that I made the wrong choice with the route but there is always another day and we both had a good day and that what really counts.
Fitness wise I have got a long way to go to regaining some sort of level or fitness but then again it is what it is, I wanted to test out my knee with a few steep up’s and downs, it seemed alright, if the truth is known it was my breathing that caused me to slow down rather than any knee pain.
Arty leg is still making weird and wonderful noises and creaking and cracking but if all goes well it will get fixed soon and I had no problems with my stump or the skin where it had ripped away so I will mark this walk up as a big success
And I wasn’t stiff or sore when I got up in the morning …bonus
ABOUT ME NORTHUMBERLAND WALKS 2015