DATE                                       01.01.12 (NEW YEARS DAY)

WEATHER                             COLD BUT BRIGHT

DISTANCE                             ABOUT 5 MILES

START / FINISH                        CAR PARK AT SIMONSIDE


After making a bit of a pig of myself over the Christmas period, I decided that I really need to get out and get some exercise and get some fresh air in my lungs, I hadn’t got any route planned or anything, it was going to be local some place in the Cheviots, however things didn’t turn out that way, after throwing my gear into the car off I went only to look and see the fuel gauge reading a bit on the low side , not a problem ,there is a couple of garages still flogging petrol on the way , after driving for twenty minutes I suddenly realise that in my rush to get out I didn’t have my credit card on me …….duh!!!!!.

Plan (b) not enough petrol to get into the hills but enough to get to Simonside and back again so that was it Simonside.

As I drove up to the car park it would seem that everyone and their dog had the same idea, I have never seen the car park so full before. Still nothing can be done about that now.

After the normal “happy new year” and handshakes with everyone who was milling around I finally set off, stopping every now and then to chat with other walkers making the most of the good weather .I never planned to go very far, just a small walk through the forest up to the crags a small ridge walk along the Simonside crags then drop back down to the forest and back to the car. what I have never come across before is the amount of people out, all wanted to stop and chat, and even offered various treats from homemade cake to various drinks “just to see the new year in”, now normally I am a bit of a grump (well a big grump if the truth is known) but found myself quite happily chatting about all and nothing the result was it took ages to cover a few miles , but somehow that didn’t matter today , it was after all my first walk of the new year and I have to say it was made very special by the amount of good will that was being passed around . Yes a good start to the year.

As normal a few photos …………..Enjoy

One of the many forestry paths


Cutting up along a rather stony path


A bit further along, this forest is full of huge sandstone rocks


Just left the forest now looking up towards the crags


As I gain a bit of height the views start to open up a bit


The path up on to the crags, the park ranger service has done a lot of work on this path it’s been flagged on top and part way up the steep bank


First view as I make the top (with bursting lungs)


The flagged path going to the first stone cairn


A few photos as I walk along showing the views


One of the “Christmas trees” that get decorated each year


Looking back along my route before I start to cut down


Still cutting down


This part use to be covered in trees, the views have certainly been opened up by the felling, however the path is a bit of a mess at the moment

Now about to join a forestry track back into the forest


 On the track that will take me straight back to the car park

A good way to start the new year


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