DATE                         27.12.16

DISTANCE                 9.07 MILES

WEATHER                 BRIGHT BUT COOL

START /FINISH        WOOLER COMMON CAR PARK

 

After watching the local weather report the night before it would seem that all my naked dancing around the garden pond in praise of the weather gods is finally starting to pay dividends and according to the weather people I was in for a good day’s walking …..Great the only problem was where, I decided that I would sleep on the where and leave that till the morning so it was just a case of throwing everything into my rucksack ready for an early start (well not that early) naturally Bob dog would be joining me, in fact he was already sitting next to the rucksack so I couldn’t go without him, but he did leave his post sometime during the night because I was woken up by him jumping on the bed and snuggling down getting the best part of the bed pushing me out in the process , and so I woke up in the morning with Bob dog snoring or I think it was Bob dog ! of course it could have been Yvonne who snores like a trouper when she has had a drink or two the night before, anyway after peering past the curtains and sticking my nose onto the window pane it looked like the weather people had got it right and so it was one mad rush round to get ready, one cup of coffee and a quick bite to eat later Bob dog and me where  driving ( I was doing the driving Bob dog doesn’t have his licence yet) down to meet up with Edwina and Rosie dog, once Edwina and Rosie dog where settled we were off , now despite it being my turn to pick a route all I could think of was Humbleton hill near wooler , but off the top of my head I knew  it wouldn’t  be that long and I think that I am ready to up the distance and terrain level a bit , fortunately Edwina had a couple of suggestions to extend the route a bit and so that was all sorted ,  Driving up we could see that there was a covering of snow on the tops of the Cheviot and nearby Hedgehope which looked very inviting and we talked about getting a few photos with the sun setting from the top of Humbleton looking towards these hills , as it was things didn’t go quite the way we planned . Anyhow we parked up in the free (I like the word free) car park at wooler common, gear was sorted and off we went, we both had a good knowledge of the area and have walked around here several times in the past so we shouldn’t have hit any problems (how wrong we was) of course fate or was it our overconfidence decided to play a bit of a trick on us and added a mile or so of some very hard walking which will teach us both not to get cocky and take a bit more notice of where we are and more importantly where we think that we are heading . our route for the day (see map above) took us out of the car park along the side then the front of Humbleton Hill, it was our plan to climb this hill on our way back, in fact Edwina informed me several times that she was going to lash it to the top (at this point I wasn’t sure if I should be worried or even afraid or is this another of the daft northern sayings) from the side of Humbleton we made our way along the side of Harehope then down to the burn and the house at Gleadscleugh (or whatever it’s called) I have to admit the walk along the front of these hills where a bit tricky for me because of the camber was on the wrong side  but somehow I managed it without falling flat on my face , then we got onto a lovely green Path , last time I was here the track was all hard stone  but now it’s covered completely in short green grass which was a delight to walk on , we had a short stop here , Bob dog and Rosie Dog had some roast turkey that Edwina brought along for them , I noticed that I didn’t get offered any , and after Edwina had mentioned the lashing up the hill I was a bit afraid to even mention it . However I did make a mental note to google “lashing” when I got home just to make sure I knew what she was on about.

After a few minutes rest it was time to head off again, the track heading away from Gleadscleugh was long and uphill, it didn’t look that long or steep but believe me when I say it nearly burst my lungs getting to the top and it took a few minutes for me to recover yet alone speak , I really do need to work on my fitness because at the moment I’m really struggling and it wasn’t even that steep , of course Bob and Rosie where busy running back and forwards making it look very easy , then we hit a nice level section of path ,where  I eventually got my breath back and the blood pounding in my ears finally  stopped and things where just fine again , I don’t think that we could have picked a better day , the sun was shining and the Cheviot hills seemed to come alive even though everything was a dull brown , we talked about coming back when the heather was in flower and everything would have a girly pinkie purple covering , anyway we soon met up with a section of the St Cuthbert’s way that would start to lead us back on the return leg of our walk , naturally we hit a nice wet boggy section but that’s to be expected this time of year and to be honest no walk is complete without a nice wet bog stomp at someplace , our route took us up and over Gains law and it was at this point that we left the path and decided to follow a well-used quad bike track , naturally the track slowly and surly disappeared into nothingness (is that even a word?) and we found ourselves looking at the trail heading up to Humbleton Hill that was our target in the distance. But to get there required some serious navigating across some very difficult terrain but being the intrepid explores that we are off we went then …right out on nowhere we hit a fence that was impossible to climb over and so another small detour was called for, naturally our new route was even more overgrown or boggy or a mixture of both but like true heroes that we are we happily plodded down towards a wall that had a hole in it, from there another splodge and plodge and with  serious downhill terrain we eventually came to a grassy meadow , from here using our fantastic navigating skills we headed off to the track that lead us up to Humbleton Hill , I have to be honest here and say that I found the last mile or so hard going but secretly I was feeling pleased that the new knee had coped with it all and I hadn’t had a proper face down fall.

At the foot of Humbleton we decided to have another sit down and rest, and scoffed the last of our food (meaning picnic bars) and I gathered myself for the “lash” up to the top (again I have to be honest here and say I wasn’t really sure what she was on about) and before we knew it we were off again with just one last hurdle , a fence with a wooden stile , it was here that I made a right fool of myself for some reason unknown to me I decided that I would cock my leg and climb over the fence rather than use the wooden stile . Everything was going well until I rested my hands on the wire and then I got zapped ……..the fence was electric, I know it wasn’t that powerful but it certainly shocked me, naturally Edwina had a fit of the giggles whilst I did my best to salvage what bit of dignity I could, no big deal or so I thought ……….but no Edwina was having too much fun at my expense (one day I will have my revenge) but fortunately as we stared to gain some height the wind picked up and her voice was carried away , by this time I had dropped back a bit and kept my distance from her as I still wasn’t sure what this lashing up the hill was about but I figured if she was in front I would be safe . Sadly we missed the sun dipping down behind the cheviot by just a few minutes so we missed a good chance of a red sunset on the snow covered peaks and by this time the wind was blowing a hoolie and it was freezing so after a quick chat we decided to head back down sooner rather than later and as normal once we got down of the hill the wind died from here it was a stroll back to the car at wooler common and once again due to some fantastic navigating skills we got to the car just as it got dark , we walked about 9.07 miles , some of it easy some of it very hard with about 1942ft of the up’s and downs .

A few photos from the walk:-

Heading away from the car park at wooler common

Looking towards Humbleton Hill and the route we should be returning if all goes well

 

Now heading around the “front of the hill”

 

Same again just a little bit further along

 

Looking at one of the old ponds, they were used for something ages ago but I can’t remember what

 

Looking ahead, but what a great day for walking with the sun out

 

Looking towards a distant White Law

 

Looking back towards Humbleton

Now walking along the side of Harehope again looking towards White law

 

Edwina pointing out an old tree (she is a bit strange at times)

 

Looking down towards the building Gleadscleugh

 

Heading down a grassy path (last time I was here it was all stone)

 

Edwina taking it easy and enjoying the sun

 

Now heading up (it’s a lot steeper than it looks) looking back (which really means that I’ve stopped to get my breath back)

 

Bob dog having a high speed run, both he and Rosie dog loved this grassy track

 

As we get to the top the views start to open up (looking back)

 

Now on part of the st Cuthbert’s way (again looking back), it was a bit boggy in places

 

Looking into the sun at the distant hills

 

Now on Gains law looking down towards Gleadscleugh

Looking back, days don’t get much better than this especially at this time of the year

 

A bit further along Gains Law

 

On an old Quad bike track looking towards a distant Humbleton Hill

 

Rosie Dog getting a lift over some rough ground

 

We can see where we want to get to but it’s difficult to get to without a detour

 

We are forced to head down, but we get to see up this stony gulley

 

Cheviot “wild “goats on the hill side

 

One more look up the gulley before we pass it

 

Sun: - looks like it’s going down before we get to the summit of Humbleton

 

Edwina leading the way (I’m keeping back a bit as I’m not sure about this lashing on bit)

 

Looking towards the hill fort (ruin) at the top

 

The sun just dipping below the Cheviot

 

Looking down the side as we make our way up

 

Made it to the top, looking towards Wooler, it’s blowing a hoolie up here

 

Edwina and the pooches having a quick look on the other side

 

With the light starting to go you can just about make out the snow on the hill tops

 

Time to head back down before we are blown down

 

Part way down looking towards Cheviot (still hoping to get a red sky)

 

Nearly down, one last look

 

Now back down

 

Now on our way back to the car hopefully before it gets dark

 

Day after thoughts.

I honestly thought that I would be stiff or achey after the walk, but much to my delight I wasn’t , I know that I was feeling tired towards the end of the walk and expected some soreness etc.  But everything was fine so this will go down as another good day out. I was pleased with how the knee worked or should that be how I managed with the knee when we went off route, it may not be as good as my old knee in some respects but its better in some other ways, but at least I now know that I can manage rough terrain so who knows where it will take me next year

 

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