DATE                                     26.06.05

DISTANCE                             4 MILES

WEATHER                             HOT AND SUNNY

START / FINISH                     SIDWOOD CAR PARK



 Blood and thunder Was the title of this walk that we got from the little walking booklet we had been using. Sound’s   sort of dramatic and gives hints of long forgotten nasty deeds …..Sheep shagging eh! II mean rustling and wrong doings with lots of foul goings on so the good book informed us ………..Revivers way, bastle houses (remains off) Black Midden (isn’t that a Geordie name for a toilet?) yes this little walk had it all so that was our destination for today.

Gear was sorted and thrown into the car, with extra food and water as we planned to make a day of it even though it was a short easy walk. My rucksack had been repacked , I had splashed out and got myself a water bladder , the idea was if I could have a drink whilst walking I wouldn’t have to stop to take the rucksack off each time I got thirsty . and as you all know I was walking at the pace of the slowest snail so why add yet another stop if I didn’t need to ……………….yes I know I keep going on about walking speed but it is important to me , how will I ever get out into the distant hills if I couldn’t walk at a decent rate ? , I had also splashed out and spent some of my hard earned ££ a got a new micro thingy towel (just in case it rain and I got wet) and a smaller highly absorbent flannel so when I stopped I could wipe all the sweat off my stump before it washed all the anti chaff cream away , well that was the theory anyway , I was still at the what will work for me and what wont work for me stage at this time , I had also got a first aid kit which I promptly repacked and added the stuff that I used i.e.  Tegaderm plasters, compression foam dressing, anti chaff cream and an Allen key! Yes an Allen key this came about when my foot came lose at the ankle joint and twisted round, luckily I was at work and it was easy to get hold of one to straighten the foot up then nip it up tight but lesson was learnt , it hard enough walking when things are where they should be but walking with a foot pointing inwards / outwards or even backwards could be fun , so it was added to the kit list for when I was out “just in case” over the years there is quite a lot  of “just in case” stuff added to my rucksack , most of which I have never used but better safe than sorry.

Whilst Yvonne was making the sarnies, I went upstairs and went into my pre walk routine ……..compression foam, tegaderm plasters and a smear of anti chaff cream here and there and I was ready, I did think about leaving the inside of my leg uncovered (near the groin) to see how it got on, the “wound “had healed up and the new skin looked nice and tight but being a wimp and thinking its better safe than sorry so I covered it up.

The drive up to the starting point proved to be interesting as the post code covered half of Northumberland so we did what we all used to do in the “good old days” and used a road atlas, after much you should have turned left after we went past it and the normal why didn’t you tell me before the turning we finally pulled up in the forestry enterprise car park at Sidwood and all nasty comment about navigating and mind reading where forgotten.

Once again I was surprised and impressed with the car park area  , I mean we where miles and miles from anywhere but the forestry people had taken the trouble to keep the grass area cut short and had a scattering of wooden benches about , this of course made getting ready and having coffee even easer for us .

Gear was sorted and off we went our route (see map) basically followed easy footpaths (slightly overgrown in places ) along the Tarset Burn crossing over in a couple of places to see all the old Bastle houses , this is where once again we learnt that just because a map states that there is a bastle house don’t expect to see one , however our first Bastle house proved to be an exception to this rule and we where treated to what a bastle house should look like ,  Black Middens bastle (I’m told by a local) is a good example of a bastle house ………….and who am I to disagree?

As for the others, well one apparently was taken apart by some locals and used to build a wall someplace, this was done before the days of preservation I can only presume, another one was a very overgrown heap and we wouldn’t have know it was there if there wasn’t a info board on the path saying that somewhere in the undergrowth was the remains of a bastle house as for the last one it was so impressive we must have walked straight past it and not noticed.

But we both enjoyed this walk, it was easy and at 4 miles give or take a few feet it certainly wasn’t hard, walking along the river was a joy, the trees provided a bit of shade from the hot sun and for the first time I was wearing shorts , up to this point I had kept my arty  leg covered but today I felt brave ( I didn’t expect to bump into many people ) but it was time for me to start to get used to the stares and I had to start some place , this leg had a foam covering on with some flesh covered tights making it look “real” , I eventually removed the foam covering and wear my arty leg bare for various reasons but at this time in my life I was still a bit funny about it and yes I had a few things that I had to deal with which where either real or in my mind .

The slow easy walking pace didn’t cause me any problems, and when we stopped I did a stump break more out of habit than any real reason, my good leg started shaking towards the end of the walk when I stopped but a few minutes of rubbing it helped. It was such a chilled out day we found a lovley grassy spot by the river and both decided to have a little snooze in the sun, after all we weren’t in a hurry , the only down side of that was the  breeze dropped and the midges came out and attacked us so our snooze  time was cut short . Back at the car park we once used the benches to sort our stuff out and make coffee then it was home time , a lovley area very remote but well worth a visit .

A few photos

My better half at the Sidwood car parking area


Black midden bastle


A very shallow Tarset Burn


Me with exposed arty leg


Yvonne showing she knows where we are on the map (I didn’t have the heart to tell her she was on the wrong page


There are the remains of a bastle house in there?


Looking down at the Tarset burn


Same again but a bit further along


A bit low in places


Me having a think!!!


Yvonne at a sign that states there is a bastle house here, we think it the lump behind her


What am I thinking of (make note to myself keep shirt on)


Cutting down to the bridge


Another bastle house?


No we couldn’t see it either


But wait what this?


A much younger looking Yvonne, she is happy now as we are on our way back


But just look at the view .its lovley

Day after thoughts, home without getting lost, gear sorted and a bath and as expected I didn’t have no problems with my stump other than ripping the tegaderm plasters off, my good leg shook a bit but having a hot bath seemed to help take the tightness out of it which helped no end, the only real bad thing was I had a few mossy bites that itched . I will put this down as another good day .


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