DATE                         12.03.17

DISTANCE                9.05

WEATHER                BRIGHT AND SUNNY

START / FINISH       CAR PARK AT WOLSINGHAM

 

For today’s walk I would be joining the gang from the https://www.meetup.com/Northumberland-Walking-Group/events/238410527/ and heading off down to Weardale for a wander around Tunstall reservoir, it’s an area that I have walked around (admittedly a few years ago) so I had a good idea about what to expect with regards to the terrain, and if my memory serves me correctly it was very wet and muddy then so I was under no illusions that it would be fairly wet and muddy for this wander , I often think that the Weardale valley is a month or so behind the rest of the north east , it’s always wetter , colder but saying that it is also a very beautiful area that is often forgotten about , I have spent many days exploring various places in Weardale and always come away pleasantly surprised with  what I have found and seen , yet there is hardly anything written down about this area (or if there is I have never found it) so yes I was looking forward to getting out .

My long suffering walking buddy Edwina was free and was up for this walk as well , in fact she is a long standing ”walk leader” with this group so I had to be on my best behaviour that I didn’t embarrass or let her down . Times and meet up things were sorted and that was it.

As normal Bob dog would be joining us for the day ……………and yes I had packed his treats and roast beef slices for his lunch time snack so all was good with  him , we even had a good weather forecast what more could we ask for ?

Bob dog leading the way

On arrival at the meet up place (Wolsingham) it was decided that the group would be split into two groups with one group heading off clockwise and the other group, heading off anti clockwise around the reservoir , naturally I chose to be in the anti-clockwise group, this was more so I would have the camber on the left side which makes quite a bit of difference when it comes to walking (it means nothing to you normal two legged people but makes a huge difference to me ) naturally the anti-clockwise group become known as the good looking group (well that’s what I names it) if the truth was known it was the slower group which made it better for me as well , I would be wearing my old kx06 knee for today , so far it hadn’t let me down but its old and very tired , at home it had completely failed when going down stairs foot over foot (like a normal person) and completely died after three steps , so from now on there was no walking downstairs like a normal person with this leg , but to be honest that really doesn’t bother me as long as arty knee behaved itself when we are out that’s all that matters , I believe it’s only a matter of time till the makers either fix the cylinder or produce a new replacement knee then I should be first in line for a new one , however saying that this has been going on for years now …sigh!!!

Anyway our route for the day would take us out of Wolsingham over the bridge crossing the Waskerley Beck from there it was a plodge up to Baal Hill passing the very nice Hollywood estate , it goes without saying that the ground was waterlogged and even going up a small rise caused me to slip on a number of times not a problem but I am trying to look after my real knee which as you might or might not know is buggered and awaiting a total knee replacement (how did I get into such a state ? I’m literally falling to bits at the moment) so I really don’t want to cause any more upset with it. Anyway from Baal Hill we cut down to the side of Tunstall Reservoir (Blackstone bank) and then along a delightful woodland path around the reservoir we stayed on this path walking around the reservoir till we came to what I believe is a small car park with a few picnic tables scattered about where lunch was had .

Naturally Bob dog woofed his roast beef down, closely followed by a few treats then he decided to play chase the ducks away, naturally the ducks just went into the water leaving Bob rather confused as to what to do next, he solved this problem by going up to one of the tables and jumped up and sat with a group of walkers …………talk about cupboard love …..I mean he deserted me once my sarnie was gone …………what a dog.

Bob dog up close at the pic nick table

After lunch we followed the path alongside the Reservoir till we got to the dam, at this point I said my goodbyes to the rest of the group as I wanted to have a mooch along the dam and its spill way (if that’s the correct term) whilst the rest headed further along the route, Edwina decided that she would join me, I would like to think of that was because I’m such a lovely person and have a sparkling personality …….sadly it was because we was using my car and I think that she is still trying to get some “care in the community points “ by looking after me .

Edwina taking her “care in the community role” very seriously

After a mooch around the dam it was time to head back and so we made our own way passing High Jofless? Then Low Jofless passing some old ruined farmstead and climbing over what must be the biggest wooden stile known to man,

Big stile with Edwina giving it her best “look at me pose” leaning against it

At this point I suggested that we made a small detour as the ground was soaking wet and there looked like there was a track heading down across a field , as it was this “track” turned out to be worse but what the hell a bit of mud never hurt anyone and so for the next half mile or so we slipped and skidded down the side of the hill ,eventually we got on a decent track passing Fawnlees then from there we simply re-joined the footpath that took us back to the Waskerley Burn , here the path was so much better and we even went paddling in the burn trying to remove the mud that had built up on our boots , however for some unknown reason this mud seemed to stick and refused to simply wash off .

Muddy boots (this was after we splodged around in the stream)

But that didn’t matter we fast approaching the car.

Once back at the car gear was sorted, and I discovered that something rather wet and smelly had somehow dropped down into my boot and to be honest it stunk something rotten, on removing my sock it made a dash for freedom and took some serious catching and even when it was placed into a plastic bag it still stunk and as for my foot it was rotten. (on getting home and unpacking my gear the sock once again made a break for it and I spent several minutes chasing around the kitchen before I finally beat it to death and threw it into the washer slamming the door shut before it made a break for its freedom  …let’s see how good this washing powder is )

Anyway good old Edwina had once again pack her tea making stuff and so we enjoyed our normal “after walk cuppa” which is good way to finish any walk , we walked about 9.05 miles with 1082ft of the ups and downs .

As normal a few photos:-

Looking at the Waskerley beck at the start of the walk

 

Not really sure what the history is with this (I should really google it)

 

Heading up, it looks nice and firm but really it was waterlogged

 

Old bit of farm equipment

Some of the locals, they are very friendly and wasn’t bothered by Bob dog at all

Following the crowd it’s a well-known fact that the “good looking people” stay at the back

 

The views are great

 

Heading down it’s a bit muddy in places

 

Tunstall Reservoir

Looking down to err…not really sure what these buildings do

 

A bit closer

 

Water running off the fields

 

Entering the wood to pick up the path

 

Looking down towards the Dam

 

And we are off again

 

Running water down to the reservoir

 

A few photos as we make our way round

 

Duck’s

 

Lunch time looking towards the valve house on the dam (max zoom)

 

Now on the Dam looking at the spillway or overflow (whatever it’s called)

 

The valve house, last time I was here it was possible to go inside and look around but sadly it’s all locked up now

 

Looking down the spillway

 

Now heading back

Snowdrops

 

Not really sure what I am looking at here

Old stone sink

 

The remains of an old farmstead?

 

After swimming across some serious muddy patches we finally get on a good track heading down

 

Small stream feeding into the Waskerley Beck

 

At the Waskerley Beck some old ruins

 

Looks like there was some sort of flood

My Boots (this is after I tried to wash them clean)

 

Edwina still trying to clean her boots

Small waterfall

 

Same small water fall just taken a bit further along

 

DAY AFTER THOUGHS

Yet another good walk, I didn’t do any damage to my stump so that was good, my poorly knee didn’t ache anymore….. .or…… less for that matter  so that was good , my smelly sock washed up ok and is now ready to go , but it was rotten so was my foot all I can think of was some rotten bit of dead animal (or something worse) had dropped into my boot and made itself at home there . My boot had to be washed inside as well. Even my foot stunk and had to be washed several times with my better half’s posh girly soap to get it smelling nice (that’s if my foot could be classed as nice smelling)

 

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