DATE                          22.03.16

DISTANCE                 ABOUT 5.2 MILES





Today’s wander was always going to be a bit different , firstly because I was taking all three pup’s with me , now I know that they love getting outside for adventures , but both Flynn and Munchy don’t really like the cold or wet , Bob on the other hand really doesn’t care he just wants out ,  but the weather looked good , and it wasn’t too cold so I thought why not , I could always cut the walk short if need be , don’t get me wrong both Flynn and Munchy love there walks but I don’t like keeping them out on the go if it’s cold or wet , I know that they normally have a snooze in the morning …..and another one in the afternoon so keeping them up and on the go might be a bit much for them , in the summer it doesn’t really matter as we always fine a nice sheltered spot and have an extended rest in the sun someplace , unfortunately it’s still a bit cold for that at the moment . But I figured why not and packed their stuff as I was sorting out my walking gear.

Bob dog just happened to be mooching around as I was sorting out the gear (he is always around when the rucksack comes out) and asked where we was going , I explained that we would be heading out up to Simonside for the day and that we would be taking both Flynn and Munchy …………

Great barked Bob ………..who then went on to inform me that in his opinion “that both Munchy and Flynn where getting a bit porky and really do need to get a lot more exercise and it would do them good to get out for the day ….and not to worry he would run them stupid and get some of the fatty bits of them “then went running upstairs to wake them up with the good news.

I of course carried on sorting the gear out making sure that I packed some extra treats for them , then I heard a right carry on going on upstairs as Bob was explaining to Both Munchy and Flynn that it was time to get up and that they were going out for the day ………..WHAT ITS STILL THE MIDDLE OF WINTER  I head Flynn say ……..and ITS STILL THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT Munchy muttered as he dived down deeper into his bed ……….However Bob was having none of that and could be heard pouncing and pushing them out of bed then chasing them downstairs. Flynn had one more attempt to stay at home and very kindly offered to stay and guard the house “just in case” but after a quick playful nip off Bob he sighed and made ready for the door ………….Munchy approached me and asked if I had packed the treats and would we be stopping at the sarnie shop for some roast Beef and when I let him know it was our first stop on the way he suddenly became very keen (he’s not called “Munchy” for nothing) and joined Flynn at the door.

After a couple of minutes I was ready and ………….Charge I let the Boys out who despite not being overly keen a few minutes ago rushed around the car like a pack of mad dogs, waiting for me to open the door, once I had the door opened they all jumped in and settled down and we were off ……. (With a quick stop at the sarnie shop)

I had chosen Simonside for several reasons, firstly the pup’s always have a good time up there and apart from the small forestry car park there is no traffic to worry about so the boys can run free and play as much as they like, secondly I had heard that the Northumberland Rangers had finished off laying the stone path / steps up to the crags and to be honest I was feeling a bit nosey to see what it was like and did it make it easier to climb up to the crags , I have to say when I saw it I was very impressed , and made it so much easier to climb up , not only that it was very well laid (is that the correct term) and there was no “wobbly” bits and it blended into the hillside rather than stand out like a sore thumb. So full marks to the guys / gals who laid it and if any of you read this thank you it makes my life so much easier to get to the top now (just passing out once instead of the normal six or seven times ).

The boys waiting on the new stone steps

And the last reason I wanted to get to Simonside was because of a recent discussion that I had with a few people , apparently there is a small hole in church rock with a “alter” cut into it with candles and various other bits and pieces arranged neatly on it , now for the life of me I can’t say that I have ever noticed this and I must of walked past it dozens of times so today I would mooch around it and see , I personally think that they are getting there caves and woods mixed up but as no one like likes a smart arse I kept my mouth shut so today I would take a few minutes to climb up one side , mooch then cross over the top then climb back down the other side to find out one way or another , I will go on to say that it is a very steep bank that you have to go up and down and there is a used path around and over it and there are a few natural “holes” some have the ever present graffiti / name carved into them but as far as I could see no alter or anything like that , but again I have to say if you had climbing gear on there might be a place or two that you could get to that  I couldn’t see clearly so I can’t say for sure one way or another so I will stick to my original thoughts and stick to wrong lump of rock in the wrong area and keep my mouth shut .

Church rock

It didn’t take long to arrive at the car park and as we were the only ones there I let the pup’s out whilst I got my boots on and made coffee, there is something about making a cup of coffee using the jet boil before you even start a walk that just seems …right…, the pup’s didn’t mind they were running about exploring , I know that they love playing and mooching around the woods , but I did remind them to keep away from any fox pooh , I still remember the last time that they found some and decided to roll in it  , what a stink and it took almost a full bottle of doggy shampoo and at least three washes to get them clean , since then I have been informed that if I put  tomato ketchup on them it helps break down the fox pooh so it should wash off easer , I remember last time that the pooh was almost water resistant and what a job it was to get them clean , I don’t know if the ketchup works or not but anything is worth a try so watch this space .

Coffee was drunk, jet boil packed away in the rucksack (for later use) and off we went with Bob dog taking his normal place of point with Munchy and Flynn close behind him, our route for today (see map) was a simple stroll along various forestry tracks and paths , up the new stone path up onto Simonside crag at 429 meters which normally  kills me but today I was only half dead when I got to the top !(mainly due to the new stone steps) then follow the stone path along the ridge to Dove crag where we would cut back down into the forest again , we had lots of stops mainly for me to make and drink coffee and the pup’s to eat tasty treats but due to the cold wind I couldn’t stay to long as I didn’t want the pup’s to get cold or anything , I noticed that towards the end of the walk both Munchy and Flynn kept very close a sure sign that they were getting tired , Bob however was in free ranging mode , 200 odd meters out in front one minute 100 meters to the left the next then a high speed run back to check on us before disappearing into the trees again , we walked or should I say I walked about 5.2 miles at a nice easy relaxed pace , Flynn and Munchy ran and played lots more , but I do think that they got tired as they are used to having lots of dog naps during the day so I will have to re think about getting them out all day till the weather warms up , Bob on the other hand would have quite happily  run all the way back home if I let him .

A few photos enjoy:

The boys mooching around

Looking into the trees


Looking up to the crags where we might get to later on


A gap in the trees


The boy’s waiting for me


Looking at the deforested area


But first a quick check of church rock


A couple of photos as I climb up


Looking from the top


Down the other side, there are a few holes but ……


Looking up

Looking towards Simonside Crag

A bit bare but at least you can see things now


Heading up along the path


Hello Mick!!


Big sandstone rocks


The views


The boys waiting for me on the new stone steps

Part way up (and trying to get my breath back)

 Nearly at the top (and another breath stop)

Made it looking down towards Rothbury


Don’t get to close to the edge …it’s a long drop down

The stone cairn


Looking towards the Cheviot Hills


A few photos of the sandstone rocks


Can you see a Lion face here ?

The path along the ridge (looks like they are burning the heather)


Bob and Munchy mooching around

Hello Mick I’m starting to feel knackered can we go home?


Looking through the rocks

Bob and Munchy back on the path


Flynn still mooching around


The way ahead


Looking back


Bob and Munchy

Burning Heather


Not really what this is for


A couple more photos as we make our way back


Bob busy mooching around


Time to head into the trees and head back down

We was up there


Coffee time

 Day after thoughts :

When we got back to the car, both Munchy and Flynn jumped in and settled down for a cat nap or should that be a doggy nap? Whilst I made yet another cup of coffee, Bob of course was still busy exploring, however once we had driven back home both Munchy and Flynn seemed to be back to their old self’s and was busy chasing Bob around the garden, it’s surprising what a hour’s snooze can do, myself I did ache a bit and unfortunately I had split the skin open on my stump, this skin splitting seems to be a bit of a problem now , I know it’s just a stage that my body is going thru but it’s painful so I need to try to something different to protect it ….time for a rethink …I think .