DATE                              04.05.06

DISTANCE                     4.4 MILES

WEATHER                     DRY 



For todays wander I would be returning to one of my regular haunts and that would be the forest at Simonside , there was several reasons for this apart from the fact that I really love this area , the first one being the forecast the night before looked like strong winds and as any above knee amputee will tell you we struggle in strong winds so the tree should provide some shelter , I had also been back to the limb centre to get arty leg repaired , I had somehow managed to break one of the small wires that did something with the knee , it’s the second time that this wire has been broken , I think that it’s the constant bending and straighten of the knee  weakens the wire and causes it the break a possible design fault ?.

Anyway it was a simple repair and didn’t alter any of the pre programmed settings so the knee should be ok ……………But I had heard that before so part of the plane today would be walking along the forestry tracks where I could fine tune the knee if I felt things weren’t quite right . naturally being a super good boy I informed my better half where I would be going for the day and told her roughly what route I would be doing she wouldn’t be joining me today as she had to go to work snigger snigger ! So I would be billy no mates but that didn’t really matter as I’m used to it by now.

Gear was sorted and I was off after a hearty breakfast of porridge and coffee, parking up in the free Forestry car park (did I ever tell you I like the word free) I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was the only person there. Normally there are a few local’s taking their dogs for a walk as well as a few other walkers out , maybe they are all having a lay in or they know something about the weather that I missed.

Gear was sorted, Arty leg put into “hiking” mode and off I went, I didn’t have a route as such in my head I was just going to make it up as I went along, all depending on how my arty Knee behaved and the strength of the wind, whilst I am on about the wind it seemed that the BBC weather people had got it wrong again and there was hardly a breeze, this meant if I wanted to I could go up to the Crags …..who am I kidding of course I would be going up the Crags , unfortunately there did seem to be a bit of “clag” hanging around so the views wouldn’t be that good , but that didn’t matter .

I was also planning to spend a bit of time buggering around with my new camera, I had looked at the booklet and decided that “I knew it all” and didn’t need to read up on it ……….yeah I’m a bit of a dick head at times, in fact I’m a bit like this with all new stuff from phones to TV remotes …….what do I need to read the instructions for? ……may be this is the reason why I never get to watch the programs I want to.

After an hour or so I met up with a fellow walker, who full of his own importance spent a silly amount of time explaining how he was walking the route prior to leading a group of walker’s round the same route in a couple of days time , now I don’t much about these sorts of things but the route he was taking them was well way marked and to be honest I don’t think that you could go wrong even if you wanted to but I suppose he had to walk it for his own piece of mind , then he actually invited me to come along but it would cost me some of my hard earned ££££’s . to be honest I was a bit gob smacked , firstly who would pay someone to escort them around these woods using a well marked route and secondly why would I want to re walk this route in a couple of days time and pay someone for doing it ? But like I often say pre haps I am missing the point .

We said our Good buys and I headed off towards the steep path up to the crags, not before he asked me “should I be going up there on my own”, biting my tongue I did reply that he was more than welcome to come with me if he wanted and pre haps his group might like to go up to the crags themselves when they did the guided walk (most people go up ono the crags when they visit these woods) but apparently “his group” weren’t  up to  the climb yet ………..Strange considering he admitted he didn’t actually  know any of the walkers who would be attending .

So we parted him heading off along the forestry track and I headed off towards the base of the crags thinking what a wa**er.

The wind (surprise surprise) hadn’t picked up so that was it , a short but very exciting climb up and I found myself  standing on the sandstone crags at the top of Simonside .

The weather Gods must have approved as the sky slowly started to clear from the dull grey cloud cover to almost letting the sun come out , their was still a haze that restricted the views . making the most of the weather I spent a fair while with my new camera , taking photos on various settings to see what came out best , after a while I decided that I really should have read the booklet and pressed the reset button and put every thing back on auto ……….point and press as I like to call it .

From there I followed the well used path along the front of the hill to Dove Crag where I then cut back down into the forest and made my way slowly back to the car park, then right out of the blue a deer wandered out in front of me , being the stealthy type of person that I am (really ?) I managed to sit down and take a few photos before the deer wandered off ……….Great it really makes my day seeing these shy creatures.

About 4,4 miles with 1003 ft of the ups and downs .

As normal a few photos: enjoy

Taken at the start of the walk looking towards the deserted car park


Not sure what these are, but it’s another sign that spring has arrived


Looking back down the track, it doesn’t look much but certainly gets the blood moving and my lungs working.


Looking up to Dove Crag, if all goes well I will get up there later


A bit further along, looking at the same spot


The Crags from the forestry track


Looking towards the Cheviot Hills (well if the sky was clear that is)


Looking towards Tosson Hill


At the base looking at the path up


First breath stop still a long way to go


Part way up looking back down


Up I go!!!


Last stop to get my breath, then it’s just this little bit to do


Now getting my breath back on the sand stone top


A few more photos from the top


Time to go my path, easy to follow


Looking along the route, some one heading towards me


Looking down


Looking along towards a distant Dove crag


Looking over the back side of the hill


Approaching Dove Crag


Looking towards a distant Rothbury


Looking back on my route


A few more photos as I make my way along


Looking back along the ridge line


The sand stone rock formations


Now back on a forestry track about to enter the forest


Looking up at the crags where I was earlier


Then I spotted a deer


It’s seen me!

But there must be some tasty grass that needs eating first


Then a slow wanders off

Thanks’ a good days walking


Day after thoughts ,

I had no problems with my stump , or Arty leg today I did get out of breath going up towards the crags but then I did push myself a little bit harder than what I normally do .