DATE                               18.12.12

DISTANCE                      8.2 MILES

WEATHER                      BRIGHT TO START WITH THEN GREY AND DULL

START / FINNISH          ROADSIDE PARKING.(SEE MAP)

Today’s walk was going to be something a bit different, I had done my civic duty and volunteered to check out a few footpaths for the nice people who look after the North Pennines AONB, what they are after is setting up a few walks that are suitable for people with different abilities, myself being very old with a mental age of a two year old with a missing leg sort of qualified as err? Someone who is different…so why not?

Any way here s the link have a read for yourself:-

http://www.northpennines.org.uk/Pages/NewsUpdatesItem.aspx?NewsUpdatesID=106

The route that I would be walking for them today was a straight out and straight back along the old railway line or the South Tyne Trail as it known as, and today I would be walking and surveying a small section of it.

Following the instructions these nice people sent me I parked up on a small lay by (parking for about 4 cars at this spot) on what I think is Plenmeller road near Haltwhistle and went into my normal routine of gear on and coffee made, I couldn’t help but notice a huge “footpath closed” sign, hum!!! not the best of starts.

Not the best of starts .

 

However whilst drinking my coffee I could help but notice a couple of locals coming out the entrance and after a few minutes of conversation it turned out the path was shut because the burn had washed small sections of the path away about  seven months ago , I had this conversation with several locals during the day , I get the feeling that the locals are very proud of this section of the walk and are rather miffed that it has taken so long for the path to get repaired , however they assured me it was easily passable and to avoid the suggested detour at all costs.

So that was it armed with this local knowledge I totally ignored the closed sign and off I went following the route that had been sent by a certain young lady known only as  “becks” .

The route itself is flat and very easy to walk along it is shared with cycles and horses but I couldn’t see any problems its wide enough for passing and the few cyclist I met where polite and slowed down when it came to pass, no one can get lost on this route .and the surface is man made all of the way most of it in very good condition.

I think that this could be a good route for the likes of me when it is windy as the embankments can offer a lot of shelter from any strong winds, something I will have to put to the test at a later date.

On the down side there are three small roads that have to be crossed over but I couldn’t see a problem as the path is gated off and they are well sign posted. Whilst I am on about gates all of them that I encountered when in excellent working condition same as the signposting.

I soon approached the damaged section of the route , and as the locals had stated it was nothing to get worked up about , I have seen bigger pot holes in the roads around the town where I live , but I suppose if they where full of water I would cause a moment of panic if a bike wheel went into it or if a horse put its foot down one it could cause serious damage , but they where easily walked around , I also noted that even a pram  or buggy you could get around them by going on the grass.

A few photos of the damaged section.

Walking along the path there is plenty to see the countryside might not be as dramatic as the cheviot hills or the lake district but there are lots of old stone bridges and stations to look at (if you are into that type of stuff) but its nice to see . and I couldn’t shake off the feeling that there is an lot of history on this line , don’t ask me what because I don’t know but I got a “timeless feeling “ as I walked along it , some time later I arrived at the end of the route or mid point and what a place this is Lambley Viaduct .

This viaduct is well worth the walk its pretty impressive, and you can walk along the top of it, the views from the top are pretty impressive as is the bridge itself. just a small point I couldn’t help but notice that the viaduct is blocked off at the far end and a set of stairs send you down to the bottom of the gorge then back to link up with the South Tyne Trail a bit further along, it would seem that the people who own the old station house at the end have closed it off, now this seems a bit selfish and I have to ask myself how was this allowed? Surly that can’t be right. But as I know nothing as to the reason I won’t write anymore on it.

Other than there is a huge network of footpaths (official) and not so official that can be seen from the top of the viaduct , and when I get time I think that I will return to the area for a better mooch around.

So that was it , I stopped and had lunch using one of the bench seats that are scattered along this route and retraced my route back to the car , about 8.2 miles according to my GPS thingy with very little ups and downs .

As normal a few photos, not very good ones because I lost my lens cover and the lens kept steaming up for some unknown reason:-

Very easy walking  a few photos as i make my way along.

One of the many old bridges.

Looks like some old tipping spot from some long forgotten workings.

The route (cant get lost on this)

 Pond.

Another bridge.

Not sure what this use to be.

Same place looking back.

 

The section of damaged path.

Water running over a strange bit of stone.

Under another bridge.

Then the sun came out , walking past a row of silver birtch trees.

Looking down towards a small stream. (dont know its name)

Looking  through the trees.

Looking towards the other side.

Some old bit of stone work , could have been a foot bridge but I dont really know.

Looking back.

 

The old station at Featherstone Park.

Pond.

A few more photos as i make my way along.

Car Park .

One of the many notice boards scattered around this route.

What I think is an old train buffer ?

Again not sure what this way an old water pump?

Looking towards the tyne.

Must be getting close now.

Now on the viaduct.

Looking over the top down at the river.

Looking down at the footbridge.

Afew more photos taken as i make my way across.

Then you come up against this , I have to say I cant understand why this was allowed to be blocked off AND THE TRAIL RE ROUTED !

The stairs that you are forced to take.(this must be wrong )

Looking over the side .

Well thats as far asI can go (today) looking along the viaduct.

A couple more photos whilst I am up here.

Now heading back a few more photos.

Day after thoughts

8.2 miles easy walking so I had no aches or pains , my stump behaved itself but I was a bit tender under my bum cheek where the socket and my arse cheek meet , I suppose this  was  because the route was such a hard surface rather than softer grass that absorbs some of the weight . But nothing to get concerned about.

Note for “becks “and her team there are several car parks along the route so its more than possible to make this walk a lot shorter simple by starting at one of these points .

Suggestion

why not mark these other start points up on the maps when you go live and let the people choose the distance that is right for them ?

NORTHUMBERLAND