DATE                                         04.04.12

WEATHER                               COLD BRIGHT WITH SNOWY SHOWERS

DISTANCE                               6.73 MILES

START / FINISH                          OLD SCHOOL CAR PARK AT BARROWBURN

Due to the bad weather that we had been having over the last few days , I decided to call off the trip across to the lakes and go someplace local , this also meant that I could have a bit of a lay in as well ( a well deserved lay in even if I say so myself).

A quick e mail to Cheviot stroller to see if she was still interested confirmed that she was so that was it, we where going someplace in the Cheviots, now as I cant walk very well in strong wind I decided on a walk in a forest, there was a section of Kidland forest that been opened up by the loggers with new(ish) tracks so we thought that we could go and have a mooch around and see whatís what. Well that was the plan.

The first thing  that caught my eye was the amount of white stuff that could be seen once I was driving up the road , This  snow  got thicker and thicker the closer we got to Alwinton , Driving up along the Coquet was a bit on the scary side in the downhill sections . However we duly arrived at the small car park at barrowburn to be greeted by clear blue skies and brilliant white hills.

I wont go into the route as you can see the map , but what we did wasnít what was planned (as normal ), once we started to gain a bit of height the snow level crept up higher and higher and I started to struggle , but being the super type of person that I am I struggled on , hoping that once we got into the forest it would get easer , what we found was the snow was more to the strong winds causing drifts , once clear of one drift it was fine going till the next . But this made the route I planned almost impossible to do so it was plan b (again) which was a good standby route.

On the down side Cheviot Stroller must have upset the weather gods because at certain times during the day we where greeted by almost blizzard conditions, naturally in the most exposed places, and where I was hoping to show CS some of the best views.

Other than that it was a brilliant days walking, I naturally got wet feet again and I fell over twice into deep snow drifts. Much to CS amusement.

As per normal a few photos

First photo taken from near the car looking up towards the small farm at Barrowburn

 

Taken from the footbridge over the Hepden burn looking up towards Lounges Knowe.

 

For a short distance we walk along the Hepden burn then start heading up, there is a fair amount of snow lying about

 

Yvonne (CS) leading the way up, we are not the first people up here today but we saw no sign of them just footprints. Of course if my partner could get up in the morning we would have been first in the new snow. But the worrying thing is how popular these hills are starting to get, its starting to get positively crowded something will have to be done.

 

Nearing the top, looking back down the valley lovely isnít it?

 

CS doing her bit to look like action girl (pity she canít get up in the morning)

 

Peering over to the Usway Burn valley and across to Kidland forest our route will take us down , over the burn then back up along a forest track , I am hoping that the snow wont be so deep in the trees as I am struggling where its drifted .

 

Last look back , just look at that sky brilliant weather for walking and according to the weather people is only going to get better as the day goes on .( the lying *****)

 

Just entering the trees looking back, it would seem that there is a sheltered section that I can safely walk on

 

Now dropping down to the valley bottom

 

The house at Fairhaugh this can be rented out, but I have to admit I have never seen it open or lived in every time I pass this way, and the snow is quite deep down here.

 

Showing the track up through the trees, that we will be taking but what a view

 

Taken from the bridge over the Usway burn

 

Starting to gain a bit of height , the snow is getting deeper I have to admit there was patches that I was struggling , but it looks like we are not the only ones to use this track , its covered with loads of animal footprints .

 

Looking back down (I really stopped to catch my breath)

 

Still heading up and the snow is getting deeper , so much for the trees sheltering us , its at this point I realise that we wont do the planned walk and I suggest plan(b )CS agrees straight away , mainly because I have got the car keys in my rucksack .

 

A bit of an arty shot, but it shows how strong the wind must have been up here

 

Now leaving the forest on the lower slopes of Yarnspath Law eh!! Where the blue sky gone??

 

CS in action, you will note how she made me go first and tread a path in the deep snow.

 

Those useless weather people ďfine and sunny getting better as the day goes on ďdo you want to change your minds? It was at this point we both wimped out and took shelter back in the trees

 

When it died back a bit we ventured out again, I think it was here that I fell over a couple of times, but what should have been a cracking view was: - well see for yourself

 

Any way one of the reasons I pick this route was there is a small waterfall CS hadnít seen before so being the nice guy that I am thought that I should show her and the hill should shelter us a bit from the wind which started playing up a bit.

 

Closer, I canít believe how little water there is at the moment, I have seen more in the middle of summer, it looks very wimpy not the rushing fall I expected. Still CS is impressed (she is very easy to impress at times)

 

Climbing back up the other side looking at our path down.

 

Now heading for home along the border county bike path (I have yet to see a bike up here) and what should have been stunning views back down the Uswayford valley, looks like we are going to be chased all the way off this hill by bad weather.

 

Our way forward, I have walked along this path many times but today is different, in every dip it full on snow and until you step onto it you just donít know how deep it is, makes it fun to say the least.

 

Looking towards a very distant Cheviot, where for the briefest of moment the sun shines

 

Looking back down the Uswayford valley as the sun shines, but we have past where the best views are to be seen.

 

Looking across to Lounges Knowe and our path up this morning.

 

Looking towards Shillhope law

 

Looking back and the weather is starting to close in again, and the wind is starting to pick up

 

First sight of the farm at Barrowburn

 

Cutting back down, the weather is really doing its best to drive us off the hill now

 

Then just as we reach the bottom this happens and we have blue sky all the way back home.

 

Yet another good walk, pity that we had to get off the hills as quick as we did, the views are stunning on this path.  Weather forecasters donít trust them.

NORTHUMBERLAND

 

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