DATE                            05.11.13

DISTANCE                    9.8 MILES




Today I fully intended to up the distance a bit, I really needed to prove to myself that things where ok with arty leg and I need to work on my fitness levels, I didn’t really fancy a coastal walk neither did I fancy a bog trotting session and after all the rain that we had been having I guess that a lot of the fells up in the cheviots would be sopping wet so after much thinking I came up with an old favourite area Kidland Forest , this has the advantage of a good surface to walk along , plus the trees would give me some shelter from the wind . before I go on any further a bit about the weather, it has finally turned cold but at we have been having that four seasons type weather, you know one minute bright sun, next cold rain / sleet then warm and sunny, throw in the constantly changing wind made it difficult to know where to go, yep Kidland forest is a good choice plus they have been felling trees so perhaps there might be new areas opened up to explore.

On the down side it mean that I would only be able to take Bob with me , he is by far the strongest pup , Flynn would   be willing  but I think the cold and the distance would be to much for him , as much as I hate to say it I don’t think that he would like the cold very much , I have noticed several times that with his thin coat that he starts to shiver when he gets tired or cold , where as Bob has a really thick coat and so far has shown no signs of the cold bothering him , naturally we have got coats for all the dogs that are both waterproof and have warm fleecy linings so I made sure that I packed Bobs in the ruck sack along with his food , treats and any other stuff that I thought we might need , I also dug out my head torch and spare batteries , I wasn’t planning on being out when its dark but better safe than sorry .

Gear was thrown into the car, Bob jumped in and off we went, the drive up was uneventful but I couldn’t help but notice that there were a lot of dark clouds whizzing by but that was in the hands of the weather gods.

We parked up on the layby near Clennell Hall (see map) and gear was sorted out , I decided to let Bob out and not bother with the lead , he of course promised not to bark or chase the sheep or he would have if he could talk , either way he didn’t bother with the sheep , there was only one time he showed any interest and that was when a sheep ran straight out in front of us , then with one word from me he stopped straight away , so pre haps all the training is starting to pay off.

What I had forgotten about was my route meant crossing over the white burn four times , not a problem as  there are fords and as a rule the water is only a few inches deep but with all the recent rain there was a lot more water flowing across them .

Straight away I realised 4” of water is nothing for me its almost swimming level for Bob so at the first crossing it was a case of picking Bob up and carrying him across , that went well I was rewarded with a wet mucky patch on my shirt but got a lick as a means of a thank you .

One thing that I did notice was how much colder it was in the shady areas also as we gain a bit of height how the puddles where now frozen over. that’s one of the things about Kidland forest in one valley it could be nice and warm in the next freezing cold (well not that extreme but you get the idea), Bob of course was in his element chasing around, sniffing and stopping every now and then waiting for me to catch up, the next river crossing proved to be uneventful I of course had a bigger muddy wet patch on my shirt, but it made me realise how wet and muddy Bob was getting , I suppose with his low ground clearance he would get wet very easy something that I would have to keep an eye on but he didn’t seem to be bothered , then at the third crossing by the time I got to it I found that Bob had got fed up with waiting for me and had crossed it himself , I know that the water was cold as it went over the top of my boots but again he didn’t seem bothered , one good shake and off he went , I couldn’t help but notice in the cold air he was steaming , then as it does the weather changed from bright and sunny to one of those heavy sleety downpours , it turned cold , I decided that we would get over the next crossing just round the bend and it would be time to get the coats on , crossing proved to be a bit more difficult this time , I decided to throw my poles across to the other side to free up both hands , Bob of course thought that it was fetch time and jumped straight in , the river at this point was fast flowing and before I knew it bob was swept down stream , fortunately not far and was soon climbing out the other side , I crossed quickly and went to help , by this time the heavens had opened up and I couldn’t help but notice that Bob was shivering , time to get some shelter , fortunately the trees are quite thick here  and offered some shelter , I quickly got my micro fleece towel out and started to dry bob , at the same time put my coat on , next Bob was placed inside my coat to share body warmth , he was freezing and shivering ,  my jet boil was unpacked and set up once the water was boiling I made coffee for me and used my spare shirt to wrap around the now hot jet boil, once that got warm I quickly wrapped that around bob and quickly tucked him back in my coat, I repeated this several times all the time trying to keep bob as warm as possible , I was rewarded with a lick and after a few minutes the shivering stopped and I could feel him warming up , I decided to play it safe and stop there until it stopped raining , to  past the time  I decided to have something to eat , Bob of course helped and played on my guilt letting me know it was all my fault , but after a couple of choice bits of cake he forgave me and thing where all right again , once Bob Had dried off I decided to put his full coat on , fleece and waterproof top coat and for once he didn’t seem to mind , in fact the way his ears picked up and his general stance seemed to give the impression that he liked having it on . and off we went again , me with a wet cold muddy patch on my shirt and Bob nice and dry , it took ages for my shirt to dry out and even when I got home much later there was still a stale sheep pooh smell about it ………………still it could have been worse .

Lunch was had by the small outdoor centre at Whiteburnshank, as normal it was all locked up, in all the years that I have been this way I have yet to find it open, it would have been nice to say hello and beg a hot brew but I had my jet boil so we both got a drink, I discovered that Bob has no bother drinking any coffee that’s left over and more than once had to grab my mug before he got his snout into it. He of course snaffled my beef out of the sarnie giving me the “you nearly froze me to death look” then it was time to head out of the trees onto the old drovers road known as Clennell Street , naturally the sun burst out and we where both forced to take our coats off , the change in the weather and temperatures was well really different , I couldn’t help but notice that they have really been busy harvesting the trees up here and that a few new tracks had been built to enable the logging waggons to get close to the felling and after a look at my map and the distant hills I could see that a whole new area has been opened up , something that I am looking forward to having a mooch around , there are areas that I still haven’t been or even see so as they say watch this space for my next big outing.

It was my plane to stick on Clennell street all the way back , but after a hour or so dark clouds appeared on the skyline and the wind started to pick up so a chance of route was called for .I decided to get down into the valley as quick as possible , this time we both had our coats on before the rain and sleet hit us and found a nice sheltered spot where we sat out the passing downpour , taking no chances I tucked Bob into my coat again and was rewarded with more wet mud with a greenish ting to it on my shirt but at least I knew he was warm and dry and I couldn’t help but notice the smell ……………yep sheep pooh , to pass the time I emptied out my ruck sack of anything that might have been tasty and once again Bob gave me the sad eye look and scoffed anything that even went close to his mouth . once the rain stopped we set off again, I noticed that Bob was keeping close to me a sure sign that he is getting tired but by this time we only had a mile or so to go, checking my GPS I had done just under 10 miles so bob with all his wandering about must have dome close to double that, no wonder he was feeling knackered , once we got back to the car bob jumped straight onto his bed , grumbled a bit at me when I took his coat off and went straight to sleep .

By the time I got home I expected to have to carry bob back indoors but once we stopped he jumped out run indoors and proceeded to run amok with Flynn and Munchy for the next half hour ……… much for me being concerned .

Of course I made the mistake of letting Yvonne know about Bobs swimming adventures and got a rollicking for that.

As normal a few photos, they all came out brighter than normal, I think that I had been playing with the setting s and didn’t put them back to normal duh!!

Taken at the start of the walk looking up the river Alwin


Bob off to get a drink


Looking up the small valley between the Dodd and Rookland hill


Looking towards Kidland forest we leave the river Alwin at this point


Looking towards Inner hill (a hill that I have never got to however now that the trees have been cut who knows?)


Now entering the trees looking back towards Kitty Crags


A short trip into the trees


These trees must have some sort of lurgies or something.


Looking back


Heading up to Whiteburnshank this is the only bit of real uphill we do today but I still had to stop a couple of times.


Looking across to where they have cut down all the trees


Looking back down towards Whiteburnshank, once again it’s not in use.


A couple of photos as I slowly make my way up this never ending hill (it’s not that bad it’s just I’m unfit)


Now on Clennell Street looking over the other side towards Lounges Knowe


Another photo showing the rolling hills, it’s a pity that the air isn’t that clear.


Looking the other direction to Kidland forest showing different stages of new tree growth


Looking back at even more tree felling


As me and Bob gain a bit more height we are rewarded with these views over Kidland forest

 Now heading to the old ruin of Wholehope (it used to be a youth hostel) sadly nothing remain but a pile of stone now


Not really sure what to write about this photo we met up with a hunting pack, I will say that the riders where extremely polite, I picked bob up fearing the worst with the hounds but the hounds like the riders where extremely well trained and didn’t show no sign of aggression in fact they seemed to welcome bob into the pack and I know bob enjoyed himself running with them for a few minutes .

Another small area where they are busy cutting down all the trees.

Due to the weather showing sign of changing (again) I decide to leave Clennell street and head down to the valley bottom by a quicker route.

Looking across to the buildings at Kidlandlee , one of these can be hired for holidays ect


Bob still running around even though he is starting to slow down it been a very long walk for him


Cutting down a rather steep section of Cross Dyke


Looking along the Alwin valley and the red road our path home.


Part way down , Bob waiting for me to catch up


Now back on the riverside trail last look back before we head back to the car.


Day after thoughts,

Much to my surprise I didn’t ache at all in the morning, but I did sleep really well, stump wise no marks or sore spots so I will mark this up as a huge success after all 9.8 miles with 1870 ft. of the ups and downs isn’t that bad is it?