DATE                              28.02.16

DISTANCE                     6.45 MILES

WEATHER                     BRIGHT AND SUNNY

START / FINISH             INGRAM VISITORS CENTER

 

Once again I found myself wide awake nice and early, and after the customary nose through the bedroom curtains for a quick peek at the weather I decided there and then that I would be heading out into the hills someplace for the day, I did look at my better half who was busy snuttering, snoring and dare I say it farting in bed and thought that I had better ask ………..”fancy coming with me for a wander today dear”, I have to be honest and say at this point I didn’t hold out much hope and sure enough I received my answer in the form of a grunt which I quite rightly took as a “no thank you dear” but she did go on and remind me that I had to be back early as our son was taking us out for a meal later on this evening.

Both Flynn and Munchy promptly snuggled down next to her and she did say that she would take them out for a walk later, so that just left Bob and me, Bob didn’t need to be asked he was already ready and waiting and every time I moved he was there, so it was up washed, dressed, gear was sorted while we woofed down some breakfast.

Being Sunday meant that my Sarnie shop would be shut, which meant more  precious time was wasted whilst I put together a couple of sandwiches ….cheese  was the first thing I found and so that was my dinner Cheese sarnies ( wow my taste buds won’t know what’s hit them ), Bob of course had his treats already boxed ready to go and once again Yvonne had brought home some left over roast beef from the café which I packed for him , then it was charge out into the car, but before we went anywhere it was a case of scraping the ice off the windows , during the night the temperature   had plummeted and everything was covered in a very hard white frost and the ground was frozen solid , combined with the bright sun and the clear blue sky meant that it would be a brilliant day for walking .

AS we was driving up I had to give it some serious thought as to where I was going , I decided that because it was such a bright day it seemed a shame to go into the woods or forests and so before I knew it I found myself taking the car along the Breamish Valley towards Ingram.

It’s been a while since I was up here, it’s an area that get lots of day trippers in the summer months and so I tend to avoid it being the miserable old git that I am , I mean I like to get away from the crowds on my walks , yes if I meet up with any other walkers there is nothing I like more than to stop and have a chat , but people who turn up with their BBQ’s and radios , beer and rubbish ……err no thanks I will give them a miss .

Anyway I had recently seen a post on Face book by one of Northumberland National park rangers about the Hill fort walk, and believe me when I say I wouldn’t know a hill fort from a settlement but I do know the area and its lovley, and with the blue skies and the frozen ground I couldn’t think of a better place to walk today, I wouldn’t be sticking to any route as such just making it up as we went along. If we hit any hill fort great if we didn’t …it really wouldn’t make any difference. The area is covered with footpaths, trails, Farmers quad bike tracks and of course sheep trails all very easy to walk along and the beauty of this area is that it is all open access so you can go where you want, if you want to get to the rocky bits you can. the only down side if that’s the correct word is the hills are very gentle and rounded so there isn’t that many dramatic or sudden drop off , but saying that once you gain a little bit of height the views really do open up and you are treated to the peaceful cheviot hills at their best .

Getting out of the car I once again whispered my Hello and pleased to meet you to the surrounding hills and once again I got that silent reply welcoming me to the valley and just letting me know that “they would be watching out for me today and nothing bad would happen” which lifted my sprite no end. Gear was sorted, Bob dog jumped out and went into “let’s go mode” and off we went.

Our path took us straight past the visitors centre and the small café (as we were starting I didn’t even check if it was open) and straight onto a well-used farm track that took us ever so gently up the side of Wether Hill , the track was very muddy in places but due to the coldness it was frozen solid and made for easy walking , then the sun went behind a cloud and we got treated to a very light icy almost misty snow / ice fall for ten minutes or so which almost added a magical feel to the walk then as quickly as it started it went and for the rest of the day we was treated to a glorious sunny (but cool) day , Bob was in his element and was charging about all over the place and I have to say it’s a pure joy to watch him running about trying to be in two places at once, we past close by several sheep and once again he proved what a good dog he is by simply waiting for me then walking by my side till I gave him the nod and he would go racing off along the path as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

At Some point we left the track and headed up what I think was a sheep trail onto the summit of Wether hill to look at the hill settlement, I have to be honest and say that I could make out a few raised ridges it really didn’t do anything for me, but I really wouldn’t know what to look for anyway.

However what we did see was where someone / some persons unknown had dug up and then replaced the grass sods, I noted the position then later on (that evening) I reported my “find” to the park rangers Facebook page, who straight away got back to me and informed me it was a result of an official dig on the site ….say what you will about Facebook but it can be very handy at times.

Anyway from there we header down to another settlement then up to the summit of Cochrane pike , where Bob dog informed me it was time for a well-deserved sit down and mid-morning coffee break , and so the jet boil came out along with some cake for myself and some treats for Bob Dog , using the jet boil for coffee might seem strange but I really enjoy it , the sun was out we was nice and warm , coffee was being made , Bob was munching tasty food and we just sat there enjoying the views , we could see for miles .this really is Northumberland at its best and it reminded me of just how much I enjoy getting out on my own , no rushing to keep up , going where I want when I want and just relaxing , at this point I did give some consideration as to where I should head off to and decided that for the next couple of hours I would let Bob decide and would simple tag along , I know Bob well enough to know that he will always stick to some sort of path (it might be a bit wibbly / wobbly in places at times ) and so after coffee I just sent him off and followed , his route took us (see map above)  following alongside the Chester’s  Burn  then onto Ewe Hill, At this point I knew that we would “miss out a few more settlements “  or forts but that didn’t matter what it did give me was some excellent views of the burns and rivers that run in the valley floors , lunch was had overlooking one such place , Bob of course woofed his roast beef down and I nibbled at my rather boring cheese sarnies  then just to add make me feel better , Bob dog actually refused a tasty bit of my sarnie , I mean he just sniffed at it then turned his nose up ………………………(that dog is getting too spoilt I thought to myself)

As it was such a nice day I once again got the jet boil out and had coffee and gave some serious thought about heading back if I was to get back home in time, as it was we were already well on our way back and it was a simple case of staying on our current footpath cutting to the top of Brough Law (300 meters) and the huge settlement and its stone walls then cutting down into Ingram valley itself , the path down is a lovley short grass path that slowly makes it way down to the car park at Bulby’s Woods then it was a short walk back along the road to where we parked up at Ingram itself we walked about 6.45 miles   with about 1151ft of the ups and downs

A few photos  :- enjoy

Info board in the car park

 

Taken from the car park

 

Taken as I leave Ingram village

 

Old drinking tub (I would hate to have to pay for the water use)

 

Taken part way up looking across towards east & west hill (not our return route today)

 

Looking back down the track we walked up

 

The rings on Wether hill

 

Looks like pirates have been digging for buried treasure

 

The view from up here

 

The raised ridges showing sign of err? I’m don’t really know

 

A few photos as we make our way along

 

Me and Bob dog enjoying a sit down and coffee & treats

 

A couple more of the views

 

Bob dog is leading the way (I just hope he knows where he is going)

 

Old sheep stell

 

Looking towards a distant Hartside farm

 

Looking back (it isn’t really that steep)

Another local view

Looking down to River Breamish

 

Again another view

 

Bob Dog running back to check up on me

 

A few more photos as we make our way along

 

 

 

Sheep ahead, Bob just stops and waits for me to catch up

Coffee time and Arty leg wants his photo taken

Looking straight down at the river

The stone wall on Brough Law (old settlement)

Bob sitting in the “settlement”

 

Now Bob is waiting for me as we start the downhill bit

 

Part way down looking down the valley towards Ingram

 

A bit further down

 

Bob waiting for me to catch up again

 

I like this tree

 

Looking back up

 

The river Breamish

 

The “new toilets”

 

Pea cock and pea hens and some other bird (very tasty said Bob nom nom)

Day after thoughts:

Home, shower, and then straight out just in time for tea (paid for by my son) , I had a great day , it was very easy walking along nice grassy paths , nothing steep or difficult , if you haven’t been in this area it is well worth making the effort , nothing dramatic but its sooooooooo peaceful in these rolling hills .

As for my stump I didn’t get any pains at all today and I didn’t damage it in any way , this I think is down to the slower walking pace more than anything BUT !!! I was very achy first thing in the morning, but once I got up and mobile things settled down and I was back to normal , one thing I didn’t mention was I think I saw a good route to walk next time I was out whilst I was sitting down on Brough Law .

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