DATE                                     26.06.15

DISTANCE                           ABOUT 7.2 MILES

WEATHER                         BRIGHT AND SUNNY



Today  if all went well I would be meeting up with Doug’s walking group who go under the name “I walks”, I have been out walking with this great bunch before and was looking forward to not only renewing friendships but hopefully meeting up with a few new members as well, I would be bringing Linda along as well as I hadn’t put her off after our last walk together.

Doug’s route for the day was a 7.2 miles walk starting at the car park at Lordenshaw and heading straight up over the ridge and onto Spylaw and then onto ………………….just look at the map above for route details . Times and other stuff (don’t ask what is other stuff is because I don’t know) was sorted and that was it.

Saturday arrived …………as it always does and I was delighted to see a lovely blue sky when I finally got my sweaty bott out of bed and stuck my head between the curtains . Breakfast was sorted ….porridge with honey followed but coffee ,  I don’t know what’s wrong with me but at the moment I simply love Porridge for breakfast ………….just as well really because it’s about all I can manage first thing in the morning  .

 My walking gear was sorted and thrown into the ruck sack, once again I hadn’t cleared the last route out of my GPS and naturally I forgot to clear it again which did cause me some amusement at the end of the walk when I checked it and read 27 odd miles ……..must remember to clear it all out !

Anyway by the time I finished throwing bits and stuff in the rucksack  it was time to go, I called Bob dog who had sat by the front door waiting the whole time, there was no way he was going to let me go without him, but sadly I wouldn’t be taking Munchy or Flynn, the distance wasn’t that far but when I go out with them on my own I can have regular rest stops for them, but that wouldn’t be possible with larger groups and I really don’t want to knacker them out so they don’t like going on walks with me , however I did promise them that on my next day off I would take them all to Thrunton woods for the day so they were happy .

Bob of course can go on and on all day so I knew that he would be happy and as soon as I opened the door he was off straight to the car, Linda was also ready and waiting so we were off, with one quick stop at the sarnie shop where I splashed out and treated myself to the normal roast beef and salad sarnie with a couple extra slices of roast beef for Bob dog (I know I spoil that dog at times).

Being such a good driver and an expert planner we arrived early which is something I like , it normally takes me a while to sort my gear out and get settled into my arty leg ready for a walk so by arriving slightly early I can get sorted out without having to rush things .

Bang on time everyone turned up, introductions where made and we were off

Now the problems that I knew I would encounter today: - I have walked around Simonside dozens of times over the years in fact I use it as a training route when things haven’t been going to well and I had even walked the route that Doug had planned for today so I knew that once we got to a certain point it would start to get rather difficult for me, unless you are an above knee amputee it’s hard to explain but let’s just say at a certain point the path that went through the  heather didn’t allow me to “walk” with anything like a normal walking gait , I have to sort of hitch the arty leg up swing it over the heather and then plant it down , this takes quite a bit of effort and gets quite tiring after a while , this was followed by a section of the walk through an old section of the forest that had been harvested years ago and is a bit of an assault  course in places then there is the steep climb up to the top of the Simonside crags all of which slowly but surely that it out of me , of course if I was a bit fitter it wouldn’t be so bad , but even once on top the footpath has been flagged with stone , these stone slabs might be good for conservation and good for normal people to walk along but as an amputee they are a nightmare every step “feeling” different and not knowing if the leg has locked or is going to fold under you really  does add to the mental strain , then the next section is full of lose odd shaped boulders again stopping me from walking normal then there is the long downhill section back to the car park that has a combination of everything …………………….Yes it’s going to be a fun filled afternoon on the return section of the walk . But you know something I was looking forward to it; I honestly believe that sometimes you have to push things a bit.

The weather couldn’t have been better, bright sunny, but with a nice cooling breeze which not only stopped my head from being boiled but also kept any fly’s and midges away, Bob dog had a great day, Linda enjoyed the day, in fact everyone had a good day, it’s hard not to when the weather is right, great views and scenery but best of all a great bunch of folk.

I will admit that I was pleased when I finally made it back to the car park , and fully expected to be sore in a few places but after a few minutes sitting down felt much better. And I felt quite pleased with how me and Arty leg had worked together , yes I had stumbled a few times but I had no falls which was good , then after a few minutes it was agreed that we would all meet up at the nearest Pub for a drink ……….a proper way to finish a great days walking .

According to my GPS I walked about 7.2 miles with about 1120 ft. of the ups and downs; Bob of course did loads more, as normal a few photos …enjoy!

Taken from the car park looking up towards part of the ridge


And we are off the group heading up over the ridge


Heading towards a distant Spylaw, the group starts to split up a bit


Looking towards the wind farm, love them or hate them they are here to stay unfortunately, I think that they are a blot on the landscape but hey what do I know?


The first part of this walk I found very easy and relaxing


Bob dog letting me know that he is happy as well


Now heading down towards the small forest Burn


At the burn, not much water flowing today


But enough for Bob dog to get a well deserved drink, I carry fresh water for him but he seldom drinks it he prefers manky old puddles etc.


Time for a sit down, Bob has a quick check of Arty leg before checking his legs out, I had to keep a good check on him for ticks today, fortunately he didn’t pick any up


Looking back at the bridge we crossed over


Bob sniffing around for rabbits


Looking back towards Spylaw, where there is the Blyth scout hut (sorry forgot to take a photo of it when I past it.


Sheep on a small hill keeping an eye on us


Looking up towards the ridge


Cotton Grass past its best now


Looking back along our trail, all very easy walking …..So far!

Walking along side the forest, the path started to get a bit trickier for me at this point (looking back)


Now heading across the heather towards Selby’s cove, there is a footpath through the Heather but it’s very narrow in places and I find it hard going

Selby’s Cove , I have heard allsorts of things about this cove but the most common is Selby was a bit of a dodgy person  and used to hide his nicked cattle etc. here , how true this is I don’t know .

Looking out, with the clear sky it’s a good day to take in the views


Another view of the cove


Another look from a different place

After a well deserved rest stop its time to get going again, our path is down there somewhere


The group set off and lead the way, there is a small path, tricky in places but its do able for me but again I find it hard going simply because I cant swing Arty leg and walk as such


Heading into a small section of woodland, you can see the path now but there are lots of fallen down trees blocking it, which called for a bit of climbing in places


Taken at the foot of the Simonside crags, we will be heading up there soon


Some climbers having fun


Looking across towards the Cheviot Hills


Part way up, just stopping to take a photo and get my breath back


A bit further up and another “get my breath back stop” again looking towards the Cheviot Hills


Still heading up and yes you guessed it yet another stop to get my breath back


At the top , Bob dog has almost fallen asleep waiting for me , I did warn him not to go to close to the edge


Now at old Stell crag (don’t know where the “new stell crag” is so dont ask) nice mucky pond, it seems to be here all year long never drying up


The stone flagged path heading around the back and down, I don’t really like all this stone flags but understand why it’s used


Looking at the sandstone rocks


Now looking back


At Dove Crag again sand stone rocks looking along the ridge


Now on the slow walk back down looking towards the car park at Lordenshaw


Day after thoughts

I was very tired by the time I got home the walk had taken it out of me more mentally than physically , but after a nice bath and an easy evening of sitting on my arse watching TV I started to feel better. I fully expected to be sore and have a few tender spots when I woke up in the morning, but much to my surprise I was fine, it goes without saying that this made me very happy, but on a serious note I do think I will have to be a bit more careful where I walk in a group because there are places that I cant walk fast even if I wanted to and its not fair expecting folk to wait for me