DATE                                         23.04.13

DISTANCE                                ABOUT 11.0 MILES

WEATHER                                DRY BUT WINDY



Wether Cairn

Many times in the past when I have been out in the hills on my own I have often been stopped by the odd farmer, fellow walker and asked if I should be out on my own in such a remote place, all depending on how its asked and there attitude in general towards me depends on what sort of answer I give, from a bugger off and mind your own business to what could be a start of a long but pleasant conversation , well on this walk I really could have done with someone questing what I was doing up these hills , No I really needed someone to say why ? And give me a reality check. I have never walked in such an unfriendly place before; it even makes Bloody bush edge like a bowling green. Naturally this wasn’t how I planned the day………………..

The day started with the alarm going off and Arty leg bouncing around yelling at me to get my festering arse out of bed, breakfast was thrown down my neck and off I went.

My plan for today was to do some distance of  about 12 -15 miles in preparation for the Hadrian’s wall walk that I had signed up to do, so I knew walking along the wall (apart from the middle section) wouldn’t involve too many ups and downs and is mostly along good walking conditions so I thought why not walk along forestry tracks ……………That meant a return to Kidland forest, plus this had the advantage of providing a bit of shelter if the wind gets up , so that was that .

I parked up at my normal spot at Clennell Hall; gear was sorted (paying extra attention to water and extra layers) and off I went, I had decided to take my jet boil with me today, this has the advantage of forcing me to stop to make coffee other wise I would just keep on walking till I got totally knackered , and once I get to this stage I have trouble recovering , where as if I take regular stops I find that I can plod on for a lot further (does that even make sense?)

All went to plan as I left the red road and entered Kidland forest then I suddenly had the brilliant idea to try to get to Wether Hill from a different start point, I had failed to get to Wether hill the last time I was up this way see   WETHER CAIRN 07.03.13   and it had been bugging me ever since. I will go on and say if I had any one with me I am certain that they would have slapped me silly and stopped me there and then but as I was billy no mates there was no one around to stop me , anyway you can see by the above route map the way I went , it started off pretty good following the forest trail up the side of Kidland passing  Kitty’s crag  then the impressive  (well I think so ) Ravens crag then   the track came to a stop and  its time for me to climb over the fence at Cat Cleugh . from this point onwards things became difficult, to start with Wholehope hill might not look that impressive on a map but this section is hard work, its wet boggy and steep, to make matters worse the wind had decided to come out and play and the camber is on the wrong side of Arty leg so I have to resort to side stepping. Even at the best of times I find this hard work and extremely slow but with the steepness and the muddy /boggy ground it’s a case of one step up two slipping down.

The weather gods must have loved this display and really did there best to blow me down into the Wholehope burn, however after what seemed like two life times I finally got off the chamber section r and started to make a bit more progress, clearing the edge of the forest I was treated to the full force of the wind and the ground went from wet grassy tussocks to overgrown unmanaged Heather.  O joy just what I need.

However   there is an old quad bike trail that headed in the right direction so, for the next half hour it was a case of head down, concentrate on where I was putting Arty Leg and just get on with it, I am certain that if I had any spare oxygen that got to my brain I would have been thinking “what am I doing here”, but despite the winds that where blowing a hoolie and the heather doing its best to trip me up I was really enjoying myself , sometime I really have to wonder  when I split my head open did common sense get left laying on the road when they patched me up.

Then a quick look up and the stone cairn comes into view , suddenly I feel much better , at last someplace to get out of the wind and make a coffee , I can see the trig point  from the cairn so I still have a couple of hundred meters to go , but rest and coffee first .

Next problem where to go next? A quick look at the map and I decide to go visit st David’s cairn, this has the advantage of losing some height and hopefully getting a bit of respite from the wind.

Coffee was drunk and off I went again a quick trip to the trig point then it was a case of following the fence down towards St David’s, there was no footpaths or even quad bike tracks down just what seemed like miles of un managed heather and bogs , buffered by strong winds I really found this hard work , I had started to slip in my socket and arty leg started to chew the top of my stump up , I needed to find someplace where I could simply sit and  sort it all out , but unfortunately there wasn’t anywhere. Despite my best efforts I was forced away from the fence line numerous times only to make my way back bypassing the worst of the peat bogs or jumping from tussocks to tussock and I don’t jump very well, then as quickly as the heather started it stopped and a climb over the gate and I was at st David’s Cairn, in nice grass again , there is a small cairn here but not much of a shelter , I decide to rebuild it up a bit so at least I can get some shelter from the wind then sort Arty leg out and have a well deserved coffee ,  my stone work wasn’t that good but at least I can sit down sort arty leg out and have a well deserved coffee .

On removing Arty leg and the seal I find the skin has been broken and has been rubbed raw, ouch!! Not much I can do about it here but a bit of cream and well placed  plaster help no end, arty leg is redone  and much to my relief the pain is no longer with me.

Coffee a bite to eat and a much needed rest soon have me feeling better. Now its time for me decide how or which way I am going to make my way back, there is no way that I am going to head back through the Heather again, no my route will be sticking to grassy meadows or quad bike tracks and luck would have it that 20 meters away is a grassy quad bike track heading down Hazelton rig, fortunately I know this area well and soon decide upon a route back, its easy walking compared to what I went through earlier and then the weather gods decide that they have punished me enough and the wind drops . This makes my return journey much more enjoyable even though I have to alter it a bit more when I come into contact with a herd of blood thirsty cattle with youngsters, they look at me, I look at them and being the wimp that I am I decide to drop back over the crest of the hill and do a wide detour.  About 11.0 miles done not as far as I wanted but so much harder with about 2362 ft. of ups and downs, so not to shabby.

As normal a few photos.

Looking along the river Alwin , my route takes me along this valley , no matter how many times I walk this way its always a pleasant way to start or finish a walk .


A bit further along.


Same place just taken with a different lens.


Looking at Rookland Hill along the river.


Looking towards the Dodd and Kitty Crags.


Old sheep stell, it’s at this point I have the stupid idea to change my route.


 Ravens Crag.


New baby lamb. (Quite a few of these around at the moment, they don’t seem to be bothered by me at all.)


Looking back towards Ravens crag.


Looking ahead towards the side of Puncherton hill, it’s just past this point that I leave the forest track and start heading up.


Looking back just crossed over the Allerhope burn, at this level there isn’t much water in it.


Still heading up along the side of Kidland forest, I find walking at this camber rather hard as I can’t swing arty leg, so I have to resort to side stepping.


As I start to gain a bit of height the ground starts to get wetter.


Then suddenly I am at the stone cairn on Wether hill (not far to go now)


Now at the trig point, what these photos don’t show is how windy it is up here today, at 563 meters it’s the highest I will be going today.


A few photos whilst I am up here.


My path down to st David’s Cairn, not the eases of walking surfaces.


Nearly there just a climb over the gate and that’s it, I am knackered at this point.


It’s not much of a wind break or a cairn for that matter; I decide to rebuild it a bit, that way I can get some shelter out of the wind.


Arty leg want to have his photo taken, seeing as he has chewed my stump up I suppose I had better humour him or something bad could happen.


My way down and hopefully out of the wind. Note its easy grass walking now.


Looking towards Hazletonrig, I was walking down there only a couple of weeks ago.


Looking back up.


 It’s still windy but the sun is trying to get out now.


 Another old sheep stell, but it proved a good place to get out of the wind for a coffee break.

Looking down at the farm at Puncherton, I was going to cut down this way until I was greeted by a herd of cattle with the youngsters. (and they looked mean)

So it was a case of heading back up over Puncherton hill away from the nutty cattle, I didn’t mind by this time the wind had started to drop off a bit and I was enjoying myself.

Looking towards Kidland forest.

A few more photos as I make my way along.

Time to start heading down again, hopefully I will have missed the cattle and their young ones.

At this point I can just make out a sheep trail running along the valley , I decide to try it out.

Still heading down, but I can see the trail a lot better now and it looks ok for me to walk along,(just as well otherwise I have a long uphill walk back)

Now on the sheep trail , it’s the first time that I have been here , and just to make things even better the wind has completely dropped now.

Looking back.

The route ahead , it is a bit narrow in places , but there is no death defying drop or anything at worse it would be a case of a grass burn if you slipped down the hill.

A couple more photos as I make my way along.

The Red road , nearly back at the car now.

Last look back up .

A couple more photos as I walk the last little bit along this lovely valley.

 Last look back.

Day after thoughts

I expected to wake up in the morning, feeling rather stiff or achy and much to my surprise I didn’t, however my stump had been chewed up quite badly and not only was the skin broken a large area was rubbed raw, cream will help but I am in for a couple of painful days until it dries up and heals itself. there is a lesson to be learnt and that is to stop and sort Arty leg out and re do the seal , but even though I know this it just wasn’t possible when it started happening , so I not really sure what I should have done ……………..put it down to experience .


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