DATE                                 04.09.12

DISTANCE                        JUST OVER 9 MILES

WEATHER                        SUNNY BUT WINDY

START / FINISH               CAR PARK AT HETHPOOL

 

Its been a long few weeks for me , after buggering up my knee (the real one ) and being a total idiot by walking on it before it was fully fixed I had to put myself on a strict take it easy routine other wise I could bugger it up big time ,so  I have used this down time to grab a bit of overtime at work and have built up so many “good boy” point at home by doing all those boring jobs that you always seem to put off for another day , well I have done them all, there was just one small problem and that was where to go , I didn’t want to go all the way across the lakes just in case things didn’t work out so it was going to be local. Right that’s sorted but where? , then right out of the blue I remembered a walk I did in January (SEE NEWTON TORS   )  when it was cold and icy and every thing was brown and dead where as now the miles of heather should be in flower and should make an interesting and colourful walk so with that planted in my head I started to make some arrangements, the route I planned to do (see map) was more or less the same as before except I planned on visiting the small waterfall at Hethpool Linn and following the Collage Burn path back , I found out that the path along the collage burn was still unsafe there had been a landslide into the burn at a certain point where you couldn’t go round it and now the rest of the path which wasn’t used at the best of times is totally overgrown . I suppose that this path has all but gone now as I can’t see how or when it will be repaired. Sigh another path lost for good.

That meant the return leg would be along the small road, not a problem as there is only a handful of small farms and holiday lets use it so its not busy or anything and I will admit it allows me to take in the views as I walk back as I don’t have to watch the ground for trip hazards.

I duly arrived at the free car park at Hethpool, you can get a permit to take your car further along the valley but it cost you 10 quid, but I really object to paying however I will admit to paying once a few years ago.

Gear on and off I went, I would be walking on my own today, the main reason for this is I didn’t want to ruins anyone’s day if things went pear shaped and I had to cut the walk short or anything.

As soon as I put my boots on and started walking “things” didn’t seem right with old arty leg couldn’t put my finger on what but it didn’t feel right, so the pace was slower than normal, I was running things thought my mind what changed the only thing I could think of was I wasn’t sitting in the socket properly and with the boots still being new the heel hadn’t worn down a great deal, after the first stumble and fall I decided to get the Allen keys out and make a few adjustments to the foot and knee (very naughty I know and if any one from my limb centre reads this I am certain that I will get a spanking )  but desperate times call for desperate measures , and in my own defence I would alter it back as things got sorted.

This bit won’t make any sense to most of you but if you are an amputee it will. I have been told by the people in the know that to get the most of your leg it needs to be set up so it’s right on the verge of being “unstable” that way it gets to where you want it quicker and is a little bit more responsive where as a more stable leg is much more eh! Stable but not as responsive.

What I planned to do was make my leg a bit more stable until I got sorted then I would slowly adjust it to where I normally have it.

So a quick sit down and off with the leg and a few tweaks here and there and off I went, two hundred meters and yet another fall, this time with a few choice words and out came the Allen keys again  this time there was some serious tweaking  done .

Right up and a few more steps, arty leg feels different but I know that in a few hours I will be use to it and off I go, rather carefully after a twenty minutes I feel warmed up and I seem to have settled into the leg better I decide to “Tweak” the leg back a bit …….not all the way but enough to make a difference.  being at the end of summer (yes we did have one it was on a Tuesday ) the grass and fern has grown over the path and it was with some relief that I finally climbed out of the woods onto the lower slopes of Easter tor , here it was a long uphill slog , but the sun was out and there was a cooling wind to help keep me cool (I should point out its always windy here) so I started to enjoy myself , the problem with old arty leg was pushed to the back of my mind but not forgotten about. As I went higher the views opened up and I entered the heather or should I say the grouse shooting areas, even now I am not certain if I have left it to late to see it at its best or am I a bit early, but the hills are covered in a pinkie covering that makes a change from the dull brown that was here the last time I played a visit. Yes it’s well worth the effort to get up here to just see it and so far I haven’t seen a single person so it all belongs to me.

My route took me from Easter Tor along to Wester tor where a small detour up to the trig point which proved to be a nightmare as there wasn’t even a sheep trail to follow , overgrown wet boggy and not a nice place to be at all then just to make matters worse the views where crap. Another 20 minute struggle got me down to the crags where the views where much better and it was lunch time, after lunch along to Hare law then down to the farm at Southernknowe but what a decent that was there is a section of about half a mile or so where there is no path just a mess of overgrown heather, wet boggy peat bogs and long grass making for hard work. naturally I knew about this section but the last time I was here it was covered with a frozen coat of ice and snow making a very easy flattish landscape so I had forgotten just how bad it could be, but again my wired and strange sense of adventure kicked in and I found myself laughing as I lurched from one boggy bit to the next, thinking no one in there right mind would do this for fun but here I was actually enjoying it. (Sometimes I think that there must be something wrong with my head) eventually I emerged from this forgotten landscape and met up with a quad bike track that would take me the rest of the way down, sitting down having a well deserved rest I decided to adjust old arty leg back to his normal settings, I have come to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong with it but it was me that was at fault and the weeks that I hadn’t been out walking had made me careless with my walking gait .

For the rest of the walk back down this proved to be the case but it didn’t take me long to get back to where I used to be with old arty leg and I was very pleased with how we got on together our earlier problems seem to be forgotten about . This was a bit of a relief.

Once back down it was a simple case of following the road back along the valley to where I left the car, this was very easy walking and I took the opportunity to practise my walking gait.

As per normal a few photos .enjoy:

Taken five minutes into the walk and my first fall.

 

Heading towards Hethpool Linn, crossing over the run off from Hethpool Lake.

 

First sighting of the Collage Burn.

 

Above the Linn.

 

The Linn, it’s possible to climb down for a better view, but I was being eaten alive by the midges so it was only a quick look.

 

Slowly climbing away from the burn.

 

Looking up towards Easter Tor just got to get threw the fern.

 

Starting on the long climb up, for anyone interested this is part of the st Cuthbert’s way.

 

Feral Cheviot Goats.

 

Old sheep stell, starting to enter the Heather and the views are starting to open up.

 

The Heather, not sure if I am too late or too early.

 

Looking towards Yeavering Bell and its old hill fort.

 

At the crags on Easter Tor (there’s no trig point) looking down towards Hethpool.

 

Looking across to Wester Tor (my next stopping point)

 

Hethpool from the other side of the hill.

 

The Heather moors (used for shooting)

 

Looking back at Easter Tor.

 

Looking across the fells towards the Wooler area.

 

The trig point on Wester Tor.

 

The crags on Wester tor, lunch spot.

 

A few photos from my dinning area, not to bad eh!

 

Lunch eaten and on the move again looking towards a very distant Hedgehope.

 

Approaching the stone cairn at Hare Law.

 

A few photos from this spot.

 

Old Arty leg wants his photo taken (what a poser)

 

If the weather is right it’s possible to see the North Sea sadly not today.

 

My route down across this moorland (with lots of hidden nasty stuff)

 

But all the way down the scenery is still beautiful.

 

Looking back up along my non existent path towards Hare Law.

 

Old sheep stell with west Hill and the Bizzle in the background.

 

On a nice grassy quad bike track down now.

 

Looking back up.

 

The Bizzle.

 

Crossing over the Collage burn.

 

I was up there.

 

Cuddy Hall.

 

A good place to sit and think about how fortunate we are in this country and pay our respects.

 

The view along the valley as I walk back to the car.

 

Day after thoughts

 I cant say I had any real problems with my real knee  , at one point going uphill I felt a small twinge or something but I simple stopped and walked on slower taking smaller steps and what ever it was just went away .

No aches or pains the following morning which was a pleasant surprise , but (big but) I will have to make a point of wearing arty leg even if I am not walking just to keep the  “feel” of it so I don’t go through this again .

As for the walk about  9 miles with 2000 feet of ups and downs no not to shabby for a first return walk.

NORTHUMBERLAND