Coniston March 2020

Monday 9th

Set off in the dry but the rain arrived heavily as I reached Ambleside. Had to make an emergency purchase of waterproof trousers because I discovered yesterday that I’m too fat for my old ones. Checked into a nice room in the Counting House at HF Holidays Monk Coniston. This house was once owned by Beatrix Potter and now by the National Trust who lease it to HF.

The first person I met was the first person I met here last July and to whom I took a violent dislike. Bollocks. For dinner I had veg quiche, salmon and veg, fruit salad. And a bottle of Coniston lager. I sat next to a Gove voter but the whole table agreed we wouldn’t talk politics. Jackie gave us a talk on red squirrels. I listened to The Archers who clearly think that what we need when there is a worldwide health crisis, is a traumatic storyline with multiple repercussions for most of the inhabitants of Ambridge. No dark humour now about Kenton concealing that he had run over Eccles the peacock.

Monk Coniston side entrance from The Counting House
Painting by Bertram Potter, Beatrix’s brother

Tuesday 10th

Lots of rain. Clambered into the vast waterproof trousers. All onto the bus. A short drive and 4 of us plus Dave the leader got off. We walked about 14 km in wind and rain and some respites of dry. From the A593 to Colwith Force in full spate, to Skelwith Force, Loughrigg Tarn, Grasmere lake, Rydal Water and Rydal cave then to Ambleside. I’d walked some of this with Carol in June 2012.  Hot chocolate (horrible) and the bus back. Lovely hot shower. Dinner of broccoli and Stilton soup, veg risotto and ice cream. Total sugar fail day. After dinner I played skittles and surprised myself by being very good at it. Last played 10 pin bowling when I was 16! I can see myself playing bowls in years to come!! A good day but more Tories. I was completely unable to hold back my views on the shower of shite they’ve given us. Mostly wet with some windy blasts.

Herdwick sheep
Sugar beet
Grasmere
Rydal Cave

Wednesday 11th

On the bus a short way. 11 of us plus Geoff the leader for the intermediate level walk today. The first part we had done a bit of yesterday. We climbed up a bit to Lingmoor Fell to look over Elterwater to one side and Grasmere to the other. We got just below Silver How (I got Carol to the summit in 2012) then we dropped down into Chapel Stile passing the place we had stayed in. Hard to think of how well she had been then just before dialysis kicked in. Along the valley to Dungeon Ghyll for beer then bus. Nice chats today. Mostly windy with some cold wet blasts. For dinner I had avocado and feta salad, boeuf bourguignon, fruit salad. We then had the HF inter house quiz. The team I was in did ok. One woman turned out to be a big Bruce fan.

Thursday 12th

In bus to Water Yeat. To Beacon Fell. Across the Blawith Fells to Torver. Windy but dry. Into the Wilson pub at Torver for soup and a sandwich paid by HF, A pub Carol and I visited in 2015. The pub has great loos! Interesting design using big slabs of slate and wood. Andrew bought me a birthday juice. Outside again to walk along Coniston Water to Coniston. A heavy shower as we reached the village. Into cafe where Audrey and Norie kindly bought me a coffee and A shared her cake. Back to the house. Quite a long walking day. Mostly dry. Dinner fresh fig salad, lamb with veg, choc mousse. Pre birthday lager. Quiz and chat. Starting to feel scared about the incompetence of our so called leaders (not the HF walk leaders).

At Beacon Tarn
Coniston Water
Coniston Hall, now owned by the National Trust

Friday 13th

Farewells to all my new friends. Drove to Wray Castle (National Trust), “this is not like most National Trust properties, there are no paintings or furniture”. An interesting building, one of the guides took me onto the roof (not normally accessible). I listened to a couple of guides telling the history of the place and how Beatrix Potter’s family had taken the castle as a summer let and she had met Hardwicke Rawnsley, one of the founders of the National Trust during that time. I took a stroll to the boathouse and jetty and along the lake a little. Then into Grasmere where I knew not to go to the deli because I had a horrible coffee there previously so instead I tried the Mathilde’s at the Heaton Cooper Studio. They do a Scandi food theme so I had an open sandwich which was really nice. Walked up to Allan Bank (more National Trust), “this is not like most National Trust properties, there are no paintings or furniture”. There were in fact some hideous ginormous paintings of the 3 people most connected with the house – Wordsworth, Coleridge and Rawnsley. I can’t think of Wordsworth and Coleridge without thinking of the Wordsmiths of Gorsemere which is one of the funniest radio programmes ever, Sue Limb, brilliant. Coleric is always under the influence and chasing after anything that breathes. Available on Audible. There’s not much to see in the house so I went for a walk round the grounds. The house is in a lovely location with views of lakes and mountains. Then I set off for home, calling in at Booths in Windermere where there wasn’t any panic buying. I got 18 loo rolls on a BOGOF promotion and got home without any problems during the Friday rush hour.

Wray Castle
Wray Castle
Windermere
From Allan Bank
Allan Bank House

The last few days have been good because I met some lovely people and had great chats while out walking. Also laughs. Today I felt weepy most of the day. I’ve got used to everywhere I go near home or in the Calder Valley being full of memories of things I’ve done with Carol and Chris. The Lake District is also full of both of them, walks, hills, lakes, cafes, pubs, restaurants, you name it. Carol rarely remembered anywhere we’d been. Whereas I’ve always been able to say which table we sat at and who sat where, going back years and years. I can’t not remember. A year ago I felt cast adrift. Now I feel shipwrecked, broken, shattered. Still alive but in pieces that have tumbled and spilt. We are all at a very strange period of time because of Covid 19 and Corona virus. As I walked about in the sun this morning in the loveliness of the Lake District it felt like the lull before the storm.

Northumberland October 2019

Friday 25th

Rain. Rain. Huge rain. It took Liz and Ariel 5 and a half hours to reach me from the Forest of Dean. I watched TV turning the heating off and back on as their journey time increased. A pit stop and a transfer of interesting luggage (an axe and a bag seemingly full of footwear) from one Skoda Yeti to another and we were off into a wet time warp where for at least half the journey Google Maps told us it would take 3 hours and 22 minutes. If only. 5 soggy hours later we reached Church Cottage in Kyloe. Our landlords had kindly unpacked our Sainsbury’s delivery for us and left us a bottle of organic prosecco. Cheers.

Saturday 26th

Great to see our views across to Lindisfarne. We went shopping in Berwick. I managed to get run over by a car. My foot was trapped under its front wheel for a while but I came away completely unscathed, not even any bruising. I frightened myself and my friends and the driver for which I am truly sorry. I didn’t look before I crossed the road the second time because when I’d crossed it first I looked both ways, saw cars only going one way, saw cars parked facing the same way so made an incorrect assumption. I was lucky the driver was going slowly and that I was wearing new Doc Martens that are very rigid. Of course it was my left foot. But remarkably there is no damage. I have wanted to be dead but I don’t actually want to die. Not yet, not until I’ve finished sorting out the stuff in my house. And not then either. It was a salutary reminder that all it takes is one microsecond of inattention. I am walking around with so many dead loved ones I’m not that surprised it happened. After calming down from my idiocy we went to Cheswick and walked by the sea. Liz and I managed to walk in an area containing unexploded ordnance and quicksand! Back to gigli made by A. Yum. Started watching The Laundromat film with Meryl Streep about the Panama Papers.

Sunday 27th

My foot is none the worse. Remarkable boot. Not even a mark on the boot. From Craster we walked along by the sea to Dunstanburgh castle. At Greymare rock we sent Carol’s ashes off into the sea. A seal joined us while the crashing waves took the ashes away. Called in at Howick Hall for the slowest tea ever and an incorrectly delivered order then walked around the gardens. Back home along the lanes as the sun descended. Liz produced borscht, scrummy. We finished watching the Laundromat. Good movie.

Monday 28th

Ariel and I walked a good part of the way up The Cheviot but decided not to try the summit as it was very boggy and cold on the dark side. Instead we stayed in the sun to descend and bimbled about in some woods. We got back to Liz, a blazing fire, delicious kedgeree and a really rubbish film, Call Me By My Name which Netflix told us included “strong sex”. Only if you are a peach. It was very boring IMO.

Liz took this lovely photo of the steps near our cottage

Tuesday 29th

Billy Shiel’s boat from Seahouses around the Farne Islands. Good weather, a bit of bouncing on the waves, a lot of birds and a huge lot of seals, all sizes and ages. Only £15 for 90 minutes. Fab. Pit stop at the Ship Inn. To Ros Castle, a short steep climb for 360 views. Descended to magnificent burnt orange sunset. I made the green Thai curry, possibly the first time I’ve really cooked for other people since Carol died, and I enjoyed it. We tried to watch Capote movie but Liz and I fell asleep. Lovely day.

Wednesday 30th

We drove to Lindisfarne across the causeway. Straight into Pilgrims’ Coffee which sold nice coffee but was short on competent staff. Up to the castle for a good look round including a history talk. Around Gertrude Jekyll’s garden, over to the priory, the parish church and back to the car to get across the causeway before the tide came in. Home for lunch, then A and I went out for walks in different directions. I stayed out until dark. Dinner and another terrible movie, Roma.

Thursday 31st

We did our own things during the day. I went to Lowick and bought bread, then to Doddington. I did a circular walk to find a hill fort, a stone circle and a cup and ring stone. The paths were very overgrown with bracken and gorse and indistinct for most of the walk. I had to micro navigate using a mix of old and new tools all the way round. I found everything, well I found the hill fort easily enough, I wasn’t sure about the cup and ring marks because I didn’t really know what I was looking for. The stone circle (rems of) only had a solitary stone in a swamp of bracken. There may have been more but I didn’t want to do any more bracken than I had to. I got back to the cottage. We dined out at The Black Bull in Lowick 2 miles away. We all had really nice dinners. Back at the cottage we moved away from awful films and played Bananagram, Liz was very good and I was delighted to have been able to use the word buggery.

Liz and Ariel saw this hare on their walk

Friday 1st November

We set off to have a look at Kielder Forest, as we drove we talked about coffee at the observatory. But unlucky for us the road was being resurfaced just at that point so we couldn’t get there. Instead we had a look in the Alpnhaus (why no ‘e’?) where there is a swish B&B and an Alpine shop, all feeling pretty remote. We carried on to Corbridge where we stopped for our coffee, by this time it was well into the afternoon. Eventually we rocked up at The Moorcock in Norland which is on my doorstep and ate very well in the pub. I can’t rate this place highly enough. Then back to mine to recover from yet another mammoth journey.

Northumberland October 2017

We had a week in Longframlington at the end of October. It was a bit hard because C wasn’t very well. So much so that we missed the first day of our holiday. We took the A19 because the A1 was at a standstill.

We spent an afternoon looking at old churches which was fun. There are only a very few that I find truly make me feel at peace. Went to Whalton, Meldon and Bolam. It was so dark in Bolam church we had to use torches to look round.

One day was a trip to Morpeth for a few shops and then a very short walk at Druridge Bay so we could see the sea in the twilight.

Another day we went to Bamburgh and Seahouses and Budle Bay, going home a long way round via Wooler.

Whilst Carol dialysed, I went to Rothbury and hiked on the hills to look at the pre WW1 training trenches. They are quite distinctive but were more shallow than I expected from the photo I’d seen. I navigated to a 6 fig grid reference which was fun.

The other dialysis day, we had a look into Felton church which almost appears not to have a roof as you walk up to it. I went to Darden Lough to complete a walk we’d failed to finish. It wasn’t that great, annoying underfoot, the path was little used and the heather sort of grabbed my trouser bottoms and twirled them until they were really tight on my calves!! But there was a gorgeous sunset to reward me for my efforts.

We had 2 meals out, at the Northumberland Arms in Felton. Both our main courses were too sweet. Mine was beef with a jus. We also ate at the Anglers’ Arms about 10 minutes from the cottage. Straightforward pub food but relaxing because a straightforward pub.

On the way home we stopped off at Corbridge. Then routed ourselves to Blanchland just because I like it there and wanted to see it again. I drove back on the A68 because I hadn’t been on it before.

Whalton

Meldon

Bolam at dusk

Bolam

Lovely faces at Whalton

Druridge Bay

Some old duffer

Rothbury trenches

Rothbury trenches

I have no idea, made me think of toast

Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh with Lindisfarne in the background

Budle Bay

Felton

Darden Lough

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Shropshire mini break 

Tuesday 8th August

There was a problem with dialysis so we were late leaving. Arrived in Ashton Bowdler just south of Ludlow about 7.15. Quickly got settled in to Orchard House B&B then out to the Charlton Arms at Ludford 5 minutes away. We both had beef carpaccio starters and I also had a cheese soufflé starter. We shared a bowl of chips. Not bad.

Wednesday 9th August

C had cooked breakfast and I had continental. Finally got out about 11. First to Richard’s Castle to look at the nice old church with a great deal of discrimination on seating. From cheap seats to a massive box. Also an interesting screw thread on a huge old beam which stops the building from falling down.

Then to Knighton where cash machine ate Carol’s card grrr. But the bank itself wasn’t open on a Wednesday. To Aardvark books at Brompton Bryan where we lingered and ate cake. Then to Haye Park Wood near Ludlow for a short walk. Back to Orchard House and out again to The Baker’s Arms 7 minutes away in Orleton. C had chicken and mushroom pie with chips and salad and I had nut roast of the day with chips and salad. Chips were better than the night before. Nice food but a bit slow to arrive.

The very grand seats

Falling wall

The cheap seats

Cider press type screw

Thursday 10th August

Both had continental breakfast today. Out to Knighton early to see if the card can be recovered but no the machine has not only eaten it, it has destroyed it. Then to Bucknell which has a nice old post office and onto Bromfield to the Food Centre which is a sort of giant farm shop like Tebay services. Got some bits for lunch and supper. To Church Stretton but the road we wanted was shut so a long way round to get to our walk on the Long Mynd. Set off, had picnic, very warm in sun. C not really up to walking back so sent her on to road 300m away. I walked just over 1k back to the car and drove round to pick her up. A long way and it took ages because the road was narrow and there was lots of driving onto verge and backing up. Some drivers find this so hard to do and are completely unable to reverse using their mirrors. I know I shouldn’t get cross but if I can do it why can’t they?! Finally collected Carol who was loitering with some wild horses. We had to go back down and round following the road mending lorries which were way too big for the road and went very slowly until steam was coming out of my ears. At last they went left and we went right. Back to Church Stretton along with some more numpties. It was hot, just like the last time we were there. Wandered about and then back to Orchard House. Had our snacks downstairs. Out to cross the railway line to see the church but it was shut. It’s right on the River Teme, beautiful spot and Ashford Bowdler is a cul de sac so very quiet despite being poised between railway line and the A49.

Ashford Bowdler church

From the Long Mynd

Carol’s pals

Ye olde poste office

Friday August 11th

We had a rough night but managed to get up and leave the B&B in good time. Had a quick look in the little church which was now open, very peaceful and in a lovely location. Having been brought up in the church, I still love churches even though as Carol says, I’m a complete heathen.

Drove into Ludlow, parked up and wandered around. C got the card sorted out. Drove to the Green Cafe as unlikely that C would get back up the hill very easily. C had an omelette and I had pasta with tomato sauce. Simple dishes done very well.

Stopped at the Food Centre after leaving Ludlow and then headed for home which took a very long time indeed.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Walk log late 2015 to early 2017

This is just a post to catch up for myself on walks I was unable to record at the time because more pressing things were going on. Keeping up with walking helped me to cope with the stresses of Chris’s illness, and she encouraged me to keep at it. Some of these walks I can barely remember, even with the photos as aide memoire.

2015

4th September

Stoodley Pike circuit.

11th September

Temple Newsam circuit with Carol who was having a 6 week stay in Jimmy’s in Leeds.

18th September

And another one round Temple Newsam. Chris was also having a 6 week stay in Morriston, Swansea during this time and I was driving down there as well as to Leeds and going to work.

1st November

Widdop reccy with Cath.

2016

19th March

Cath and I did a reccy for a walk we led in Barnton. A learning to navigate walk in an industrial landscape which we did in conjunction with Saltscape.

25th March

Walsden circuit including Quaker graveyard at Shoebroad Lane, with Babs.

10th July

Barnton reccy with Cath.

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30th July

Cath and I did a day showing people how to navigate using a map and compass. The day was organised by Saltscape and we had a good turnout.

We walked from Barnton along the Weaver in a circuit.

15th August

After work I did a quick walk to reccy this for my Brontes by Dark walk. I was attacked by flying ants, and it turned out so was the rest of the entire population of the UK. 9km

21st August

Babs and I did this as part of my preparation for my Wuthering Heights (Brontes by Dark) night walk. Good day out with my dear friend.

27th and 28th August

Good two days with lovely group of volunteer walkers from Bury. The weather held off and we had a grand time sending people off to their destinations and retrieving them once they’d arrived.

10th September

The Brontes by night with my 3 participants. We had a fun time drinking mead in the so called Wuthering Heights.

11th September

A Heptonstall walk with Babs, lovely weather.

20th September

Social media workshop in Hathersage run by MTA.

25th September

Reccy for an Edale walk which I handed over to a ML I met at the MTA do.

5th November

NNAS (National Navigation Awards Scheme) update training in Brocton. This was a very weird day in between Chris’s death and the funeral. Cath and I had to do the training because it’s a requirement to continue to deliver the scheme. The first person I saw when I walked in was a guy who Chris and I did a winter skills weekend with in the Cairngorms. This was in 2009 and I wasn’t blogging much then. We had a great few days up there.

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16th December

Blackstone Edge circuit.

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18th December

Todmorden circuit.

27th December

Withins Clough circuit.

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28th December

Blackstone Edge, up Roman Road.

31st December

Hollingworth Lake with Babs.

2017

2nd January

Hebden Bridge circuit with Cath and pals.

14th January

Littleborough with Babs, frozen ground. She made me go to the pub!

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22nd January

Stoodley Pike circuit.

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Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

MAPandCOMPASS

Northumberland October 2016

Carol and I had a week in Northumberland in early October. We were anxious about going away and going so far east and being so far from Chris in the far west. It wasn’t a great trip really but we’d had it booked in for ages.
Fri 7th
Drove up. Spoke to Chris on the way, she was not in a great place but still wished us a good time. Arrived to cake.
Sat 8th
Holystone circuit. Forest car park, Roman road, forest, then onto a very busy single track road. It was busy because the Alwinton show was on, Carol tripped over and a nice man in a huge car stopped to help. We managed to avoid some inquisitive cows by nipping up the far side of a hedge. Looked at a Roman Holy Well. Went to the Granby Inn in Longframlington. I had chicken with risotto and veg. C had fish and chips. Food was nice but the service was slow.

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Little Ted likes red squirrels

Sun 9th
To Bamburgh to look at the sea, to Seahouses to look at the shops, to Craster to walk to Dunstanburgh. Chicken and pasta dinner in the barn/cottage.

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Dunstanburgh

Mon 10th
C to dialysis. I started a circuit of Simonside at 8.30. It was nice to be out so early. Picked up C and we ate our lunch in the car in a nice field! Revisited Chillingham Castle, bit nippy in there and the cafe was pants but the place itself it an interesting old junkyard.

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Chillingham castle

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Another log pile

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Tues 11th
Drove to the Temple of Mithras. I wanted Carol to see it because I’d been excited when I walked Hadrian’s Wall the year before and realised I’d been there 50 years ago. Then a short visit to Corbridge Roman town, a longer one to Corbridge non Roman town. I had a hot chocolate  in the car. There was an exceptionally nice deli. Lots of gin! I don’t like gin but if you did…! Back along lots of  quiet straight roads. Went to the Cook and Barker at Newton in the Moor. I had asparagus and spinach risotto and C had a giant burger. Huge portions. I tried to get online to get a ticket to see Bruce promoting his book in London on the following Monday but failed. Probably just as well.

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Roman pusscat

Weds 12th
To Edlingham church and castle in the rain. C to dialysis. Me to Cragside. I looked at the Pump House, the Power House and the visitor centre. Had a hot chocolate and a large piece of NT shortbread in the Still Room which was lots quieter than the Tea Room. Picked up C. Popped into Barter Books. Home for Welsh Dragon sausages with potatoes, broccoli and baked beans. Watched Spectre although I dropped off during the torture scene. Another one to add to the list of movies I’ve slept through.

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Edlingham castle

Thurs 13th
No record of what we did this day.

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Near the cottage

Fri 14th
Home to find we’d been burgled. Scumbags.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Save

Northumberland week October 2015

Friday 9th October
Just over 3 hours to reach Elyhaugh in Longframlington and be welcomed by Sandra with really good cake, eggs and milk in fridge.
Our barn is very clean. So nice not to have to wash the cutlery and plates before we use them. We each have a big en suite room at either end of the barn. The middle is an open kitchen, sitting and eating space. There is a dishwasher to my delight! which explains the clean pots and pans.
Made an omelette for our supper. No wireless and the phone signal is limited to a small spot in the yard.

Saturday 10th October
Walked round Rothbury. Parked a little up from Cragside and did a 6 or 7 km circuit through Armstrong land passing a hill fort site and a standing stone. Not much to see of either. Pleasant walk. Weather a bit misty but we could see where we were going.

Stopped to look at Angler’s Arms and Carol bought me a beer!
Green chicken curry and rice.
Watched DVD of The Cazalets.

 

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Sunday 11th October
Intended to amble round Amble but it looked horrible so we ambled round Warkworth instead.
Then to Boulmer to walk north along coast for a few km and back. Dull day but no rain.
To the Angler’s Arms to eat. C had steak and ale pie and I had a carrot and cashew loaf with salad. Good hearty portions with beer.
More of The Cazalets.

Our barn
Our barn

This is very uncomfortable, please take photo quickly!
This is very uncomfortable, please take photo quickly!

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From the barn
From the barn

Promising not to get dashed into the waves
Promising not to get dashed into the waves

Sea light
Sea light

Dunstanburgh castle
Dunstanburgh castle

Monday 12th October
From Harbottle up to the Drake stone which is an enormous chunk of sandstone perched on the hill. Legend has it that children passed over it will be cured of their ailments. The stone is so huge they will likely acquire some further ailments in the attempt. Sort of upward keel hauling comes to mind.
On to Harbottle lake then across the forest avoiding the red flag zone. We heard distant explosions most of the day. Back down to cross the River Coquet. Up and around Harbottle crossing back over the Coquet, through the village and up to the castle. Great views from here.
Lovely walk, it stayed dry and then did a massive downpour as we stopped in Rothbury for C to get provisions. Home to shepherd’s pie.

The Drake Stone
The Drake Stone

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Harbottle Lake

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Harbottle Lake

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Roe deer tracks

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Ye olde lime kiln

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Harbottle castle

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The Drake Stone from Harbottle

Tuesday 13th October
Felton to look at old church and a little walk along St Oswald’s way. Looked at a gallery and an artisan bakery charging artisan prices for bread and biscuits.
Dropped C off at industrial estate for dialysis.
Decided not to try the Cheviot as the big hills had big clouds on their tops. Tried to get to the hill forts west of Wooler but the road was closed so I went to Ingram for a 7 km hill fort walk which took 2 and a half hours. The sign said it would take 3-4 hours!
Collected C and home for more shepherd’s pie.

From a hill fort
From a hill fort

On the hill forts walk
On the hill forts walk

On the hill forts walk
On the hill forts walk

Loved the colours
Loved the colours

Evidence of a dig
Evidence of a dig

On the hill forts walk
On the hill forts walk

Felton church looks like it hasn't got a roof but it is there really
Felton church looks like it hasn’t got a roof but it is there really

Felton church
Felton church

Wednesday 14th October
We started off a circular walk to Darden Lough however C wasn’t keen on the bog and unevenness of the path so we headed back to the car.
Drove to Otterburn for PC then Rochester for Roman fort. The fort now has 2 houses in it but you can see clearly where it was. Then we looked in at Otterburn Mill shop which is similar to the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and has the same weird CDs and DVDs you can’t imagine anybody wanting.
Home and then out to the Cook and Barker in Newton on the Moor. I had beetroot and goat’s cheese followed by sirloin strips with veg and a small bucket of chips. It didn’t seem a lot but I was stuffed. C had a salmon and muffin thing which looked nice. The food was good and well presented. A bit more pricey that I expected. Good beer. C had Pagan Queen and I had something else maybe a London brew.
Back for the last of the Cazalets which was slightly disappointing.

 

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Thursday 15th October
To Alnwick for a pootle round. Delivered C to the renal unit on the industrial estate.
Drove just south of Rothbury to park up. Walked to Simonside summit. Practically all on paved path. Great views.
Picked up C. Home to pack. Lovely holiday but I struggled without the wireless and mobile connections.

Pavement up Simonside
Pavement up Simonside

Little cannon
Little cannon

On Simonside
On Simonside

Made me think of Henry Moore
Made me think of Henry Moore

Friday 16th
Stopped in Wetherby on the way home and wandered round the shops. I found some Old Amsterdam cheese in a cheese shop which sold bread at even more inflated prices than the artisan bread shop!
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Bannerdale Crags, Mungrisdale Common and Souther Fell, 26th July 2015

Today’s walk plan was to knock off some Wainwrights at the back of Blencathra.

I parked up in Mungrisdale on the road verge after an easy journey of 2.5 hours without stopping for coffee. Set off at 10 a.m. Pleasant and easy walk to the top of the crags along a wide path. It was dry but blowy at the top.

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From Bannerdale Crags looking back to Mungrisdale village and beyond

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Heading up to Bannerdale Crags

Down a little to a col which joins the Crags with a spur off Blencathra. At this point I veered off and headed due west to Mungrisdale Common. Wainwright must have been having a joke here, his description starts off with “To add to its other failings …..”, continues with “has no more pretension to elegance than a pudding that has been sat on” and “There is little on these extensive grass slopes to provide even a passing interest for an ordinary walker, and nothing at all to encourage a visit.” So why the bloody hell did he bother to put it in, it’s not even a summit as such. There is a suggestion that it was put in to provide some filler for the book on the Northern Fells. The common is a large, flat stretch of featureless bog. And very tedious because the bog got boggier and boggier as I went along, reminiscent of the bogs on the Isle of Jura. It started to rain so once I’d been and found the “summit”, I squelched my way back stopping for lunch on the way after I’d got off the bog. Not a soul in sight on the common.

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I’m on a road to nowhere

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A helpful navigational aid, just where it needed to be

Back at the col, I went down the River Glendaramackin to reach  a footbridge. Over this and then quickly up onto Souther Fell. The rain was coming in fast over Blencathra by this time. There was a path marked on the map which would take me directly to my car so I aimed off but crossed it without noticing (probably because too faint). So I headed back up a little (I’d overshot the distance) and then located the path in the bracken.

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Blencathra disappearing

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Why it’s called Sharp Edge

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Top of Glenderamackin River

This now brings my total of Wainwrights to 74 which is properly over one third of them done. Five and a half hours of walking. Home by 6 p.m.

 

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Long Lakeland Weekend

Friday 19th June
After I’d done half a day of work and Carol simultaneously had done dialysis, we set off for the Duddon Valley and arrived at our designated parking spot in gloomy grey weather but not actually raining.
We walked the half mile to Devoke Water and found that a large school party had already taken up camping residence ahead of us. We hadn’t anticipated this so we retreated around the corner from them and set up below a small rocky hill but still overlooking the lake.
Just as we were getting settled and comfortable the first bunch of teenagers ascended the hill and larked about noisily for ages. They eventually descended and we breathed a sigh of relief. So much for a quiet wild camp to relax in. I cooked up our dinner in my Jetboil (excellent fast cooker), we had chilli con carne and rice.
Then the next bunch of noisy teenagers went up the hill. This was too much so Carol went and asked their minders to deal with them which they did, they actually went down as Carol went off to remonstrance. However this was all a bit stressful and not what either of us wanted. The noise was carrying very clearly as it was a still evening. The first time I went to Devoke Water as a reccy for wild camping, it was lashing down, the second time we both checked it out and it was blowing a gale so very noisy on both those occasions.
At last we were able to get snug in the tent, I drank a mini flask of rum.
Neither of us slept very well, C kept sliding down the tent, she also had restless legs. Not a good mixture! It rained on and off most of the night.

Devoke Water
Devoke Water

Southern fells
Southern fells

The tent

Saturday 20th June

We got up, brewed up (one tea, one filter coffee) and packed up during an interval without rain. Back at the car we drove away from the teachers and parked up on the moor near some large black cows. I made porridge for Carol (instant pot) and brewed up some more hot drinks. Carol has now decided that perhaps wild camping and rotten kidneys don’t really go together so well. However this means that I have to become brave enough to do it on my own, we’ll see…

Into Broughton in Furness to look at the Clocktower Gallery, the bakery and the greengrocers (sells bunches of wild mushrooms, fresh figs and fresh herbs). The rain had just about stopped.

We drove a short distance along the A595 to Broadgate where we parked up. Then a nice trot up a quiet lane to Sunkenkirk stone circle also known as Swinside. We had a picnic on the way in the warm sun, lovely. The stone circle is fairly intact but only accessible on foot as it’s on permitted land on Swinside farm, thus very few visitors. We were the only ones there and we met only one other party on the track.

Then back to the car and off to find our B&B. Wheelgate is in Little Arrow just after Torver on the road to Coniston. Met by Steve and Linda. We were in Derwent which was roomy and quiet despite being near the main road. After we’d got in, scrubbed up and generally stopped looking like tramps, we set off for Broughton Mills and the Blacksmith’s Arms. This was a great find, lovely uneven flagstone floor and black timbers. Also good food and a wonderful local draught lager. Carol had chicken and I had a pea and parmesan risotto. Both meals were great. Recommended!

On moor road near Torver
On moor road near Torver

On moor road
On moor road

Moor road
Moor road

Back at Wheelgate, in the honesty bar, I had a measure of Bowmore. Yum.

Slept very well in comfy bed.

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Sunkenkirk/Swinside stone circle
Sunkenkirk/Swinside stone circle

Sunday 21st June, the longest day

Big breakfasts for both of us. Carol had everything and I had a bit less.

We set off fairly promptly for a jam packed day. First to Corney to look at a tiny little church which has the sea one way and a big fell the other. We looked over and could see the peaks on the Isle of Man.

Then to Ravenglass to see the Roman bath house. It was a bit too open air so I decided not to bother and there wasn’t anywhere to put my towel apart from a niche but Carol said the niche was for a statue and not for my towel.

Onwards to Eskdale where we had our lunch by the side of the road. We then started up the Hardknott pass and came to a pub where an old chap waved us to stop. He needed a lift up the pass as his car had 2 blow outs and was in a passing place on the pass with his wife and one friend in it. He’d left another friend at the pub but wanted to take sandwiches and supplies up to the two women in the car who were waiting for the breakdown vehicle. We took him up to his car which was beyond where we were planning to park ours at Hardknott fort. So I did a 3 point turn on the Hardknott pass (Carol stayed relatively calm during this procedure) and took the car back to our park spot. For anyone who has not driven the Hardknott and/or Wrynose pass/es, it/they are not for the faint hearted. Many moments where you cannot actually see where to point the car because of the extreme drops. We then walked back up past our new pals and up to the top of the pass to find the “pile of stones”. Then we tackled Hardknott fell. Carol did this very well. I was slightly anxious as Wainwright had intimated that it had an indistinct ridge, that it was hard to get back down and made mention of a scree slope. Well it wasn’t and didn’t have any of those things. This is my 71st Wainwright so I’ve very nearly done one third of the 214. As we got back to the road, it started to rain heavily so we togged up. Back down the road, our pals had gone so I’m glad they were rescued, they were in the midst of clearing an elderly relation’s house and their 2 friends had come over for the weekend to give them some down time and then they’d had the breakdown so it had all been a bit tough for them.

Before heading for home, we had a quick look at the fort and trotted round the outside. Also looked at the bath house. This one has cold, medium and hot rooms plus a round sauna. Again, I decided not to as it was a bit nippy and we had to get back for our supper.

We went back to Eskdale Green and up over the moor passing where we had parked for Devoke Water. Managed to get back in good time for some non Roman showering. Steve and Linda provide complimentary sherry for guests so I had a very good dry one, lovely.

Then just down the road to the Wilson’s Arms in Torver. This was ok but Carol wasn’t really needing a huge meal and there wasn’t much she fancied. She ended up with a small portion of gammon with lots of grilled things but even so it still looked like an enormous portion. Thankfully it came at a smaller price. I had risotto balls. So yes risotto two nights running but I like risotto and these were very good. Beer was called Barngate Cracker. Ok but not as nice as that draught lager which I foolishly didn’t make a note of.

Aberlour from the honesty bar, such a fab idea, also a great little room with beaten copper topped tables. Still light at 10.50, wow!

From Hardknott looking east
From Hardknott looking east

Weather coming in fast
Weather coming in fast

On top of Hardknott fell
On top of Hardknott fell

Ravenglass Roman bath house
Ravenglass Roman bath house

View to fells from Corney church
View to fells from Corney church

Church at Corney
Church at Corney

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Roman sauna at Hardknott fort
Roman sauna at Hardknott fort

On top of Hardknott fell
On top of Hardknott fell, new hat. I lost the not very old one when out working.

Monday 22nd June

Carol enjoyed another large breakfast but I just had muesli with fresh fruit and yoghurt and a poached egg on toast. We packed up and headed off after a nice chat with Laurie, a fellow guest from Essex. Wheelgate is a great B&B and we are both hoping to go back there. They also have a single room in the main house plus a single in a separate building at the back.

We looked into the Deli attached to the Wilson’s Arms but it seemed to have reduced its stock since I last went in about a year ago so we didn’t linger. Into Coniston for a quick look round and then back home via the Windermere ferry. Back by 2.30 to get all the gear sorted and Carol on the machine.

On the ferry
On the ferry

Mining wagon
Mining wagon

On Windermere looking south
On Windermere looking south

Looking north
Looking north

 

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Wall to wall Hadrian April 2015

Mon 6th April

As part of my job I’ve been taking some online courses called MOOCs (massive open online course). I did a very good one from Newcastle University on Hadrian’s Wall with FutureLearn for free.
You get to translate Roman tablets and identity objects. I’ve also done some very poor courses with FutureLearn but you don’t have to stick with it if you don’t want to.
It got me interested in the path and it looked like a walk with a lot of extra interest and lots of scenery. It’s also a test to see if I really can do 4 long days of walking and therefore will be able to do my Pyrenean trip in August.
The taxi I’d booked didn’t arrive so I drove to the station and parked in sight of a camera. Three trains were all fine. Chatted to a young Austrian woman who was on her way to Hawick to volunteer on a farm for a week and then coming back down to be an equine apprentice in the Midlands.
Walked to Ashleigh House B&B which is near my start of the Hadrian’s Wall Path (HWP). It’s probably 2* and frequented by builders but my room is clean.
Dinner in Pizza Express. I have a Peroni and a light pizza which is where they cut out the middle and fill it with salad. I can’t eat huge pizzas anymore. Also some roasted tomatoes and coleslaw on the side. Finish with fruity tea and a tiny piece of lemon posset crunch. Very nice.
Back to my room to take things in and out of bags.

 

Tues 7th April
Off to meet some Romans.
Breakfast of poached egg and tomato, and marmalade on toast.
Set off at 9. My first HWP sign directs me over the River Eden across the memorial bridge into Rickerby Park. Lovely park full of dogs and their companions. Rickerby village is des res. Over the M6 into Linstock, along the river to Crosby. A little girl had set up a roadside stall so I bought some juice for 30p. Start to see farm names relating to the wall. The first section of vallum (big ditch) and Bleatarn (Roman quarry) now  full of reeds and bulrushes. Various honesty boxes along the way but have plenty of supplies. The path goes along lots of farmland, mainly sheep but some cows (well behaved). Also sections of road all very quiet. At Swainsteads the path crosses a tributary of the river Irthing with a weir.
I had my lunch at Walton sitting on a bench. On the road to cross King Water which also feeds the Irthing. Here there is a temporary road section of the HWP which looks like it’s a very long temporary. Just here is the first real section of wall but I missed it because of the diversion. I met a solo female American and had a chat. Just after Howgill I met 2 Northumberland National Park Rangers in a truck. They asked me about the condition of the path. First real climb up Craggle Hill for good views back west and south. At Hare Hill the first proper bit of wall. Quite high. Into Banks. Nice chat with woman doing her garden. Arrived 3.50 at Quarryside B&B which is lovely. Proper good welcome with tea and cake (skipped this) and biscuits. Nice room. Lovely hot shower. They will drive me to the pub 5 miles away and the pub will drive me back! Love this.
I saw 4 parties of wall walkers. 3 non UK girls with gigantic rucksacks, 2 UK women, 2 women and a man and the American.
Nice drive with David to the Belted Will Inn in Hallbankgate (Belted Will is taken from Walter Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstrel, a reference to William Howard of Naworth Castle which we drove past just after Lanercost Priory). This is the family that built Castle Howard.
Another great welcome in the pub. Sweet potato, chick pea and spinach curry with rice, nan bread and salad. Good grub washed down with Thwaites’ Wainwright beer. I have to wait for Steve the chef to take me back at 9. I had a bit of a headache so the nice bar woman has rung David to come and get me sooner. Her suggestion.
Sheets and blankets!
15 miles, 24km

 

Largest chunk of wall height wise
Largest chunk of wall height wise

IMG_0191 IMG_0192

The acorn, where's the blasted acorn?
The acorn, where’s the blasted acorn?

One for Carol
One for Carol

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Tower at Rickerby

M6 weirdly looking a bit quiet
M6 weirdly looking a bit quiet

River Irthing
River Irthing

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Vallum
Vallum

I saw a lot of these sleepy lambs
I saw a lot of these sleepy lambs

Old Carlisle airport opposite the new one
Old Carlisle airport opposite the new one

P1030564 P1030566

Weds 8th April
Breakfast of poached eggs and beans while Elizabeth frantically makes toast to counteract a planned electricity outtage. Chat with 2 American women who are the support for a group of 19 walkers. They are all from RAF Lakenheath which I know well.
I set off at 9.25 and quickly reach my first turret. There are quite a few of these and 2 to each milecastle. Stop at Birdoswald for half an hour. Quite a lot of actual wall in this section.
Ghost boy. Strange little boy all on his own who looked like he had cancer holding a gate open. Then moments later another one who looked like him but smaller who then completely disappeared. I even looked to see where he had gone.
Cross the river Irthing which has a steel bridge brought in by helicopter. Through Gilsland crossing the railway line and then again at Greenhead. This morning at breakfast there were 2 men on the HWP. We leapfrogged for a while. I saw them when I stopped for lunch by a stream and one of them had a bad back and had to get his pack transported. I saw them again at Walltown Quarry and then later was waved at by someone being rescued in a Sea King helicopter which came right over my head. Don’t know if it was him.
First real ascent to Walltown Crags after Walltown Quarry. Frogs doing trigamy on path.
Lots of wall in such a difficult place. My back of a fag packet (mental arithmetic because haven’t smoked for nearly 15 years, hooray, best thing I ever did) calculation gets wall construction to 50 metres a day and it was 5m high which I thought could only be possible with vast quantities of slave labour, but apparently this is incorrect and it was auxiliary soldiers who did the work.
Along to Aesica fort which is really just a farm. Chat to woman who lives in Norfok and tells me the hardest bit is to come. Thanks. Today’s walk much tougher as a) muscles tired after yesterday b) much warmer and c) harder terrain with ups and downs. Down to Burnhead where there is a B&B. This would have been a sensible place to stop! It’s next to Cawfield Quarry (all the quarries are Roman and are now ponds), more mating frogs. Along the vallum to Caw Gap. Then some ups and downs to trig point at 345m where I meet my American pals from breakfast. Their party is 2.5 miles behind. I can see both my B&B and the Twice Brewed pub at Once Brewed from here. That last mile I fantasised about frothing tankards admittedly more likely in Bavaria! Val from the B&B rings me. Arrive at pub at 5.55, long hard day.
Twice Brewed beer is good. Eat a big bowl of pasta while drinking the Blonde beer waiting for my lift. It’s ok and I manage to eat it all.  The non bad back man turned up at the pub.
Two Belgians with beards tell me Val is here to take me to Gibbs Hill Farm.
Val is 71 and is in a pickup. My first time in one. Gibbs Hill Farm is about a mile from the wall. Boots off outside. My room is large and comfortable. Long hot shower then down for a bottle of Becks. Long chat with David. He is in the middle of lambing. This means a month of 20 hour days. He has 600 sheep. Twins are inside and singles are outside. They own huge swathes of land from the wall to the forest and to the lough but it’s poor land. 32 miles to get round it. Used to be lots of staff and horses but now it’s bikes. He tells me lambs don’t try very hard to live! As well as the farm there is the B&B, the 3 holiday cottages and the bunkhouse. In the summer the wall is solid with hikers so I’m glad I am here now with just a few hikers and a few day trippers. Keep following the acorns (National Trail symbol). The HWP is very well marked and maintained so the Northumbria National Park rangers are doing a good job. Also relatively litter free.
When David gets time off he goes across to the Lakes and has done 70 Wainwrights.
My dad would have been 101 today.
13 miles, 21km

 

Little Ted on his first turret
Little Ted on his first turret

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Walltown Quarry
Walltown Quarry

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Thirlwall Castle
Thirlwall Castle

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I've got to get to the far end of that today!
I’ve got to get to the far end of that today!

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I was disturbed by the big hole in the roof and the washing on the line
I was disturbed by the big hole in the roof and the washing on the line

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Birdoswald
Birdoswald

River Irthing
River Irthing

Birdoswald
Milecastle

Wall
Wall

And another turret
And another turret

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My first turret
My first turret

Thurs 9th April
Breakfast with the bearded Belgians. I’m not usually mad keen on beards but theirs are quite fun. One has a long but neat beard. I give the shorter bearded Belgian some sun cream.
We all get a lift back to the HWP at Steel Rigg and set off at 9.50. I go for a more relaxed pace although there is a teenage lad running up the hills like a puppy.
Up and down to Housesteads. A couple drop their National Trust card and I run to return it to them, could do with the boy for this. Pretty section through Scotch pines overlooking Broomlee Lough. I get in for nothing at Housesteads with my NT card. There are portaloos which are horrid and I wish I hadn’t bothered. Report the lack of hand cleaner to the staff. Eat choc ice cream. Quick trot round the fort. Came here a long, long time ago on a family holiday. Possibly as much as 50 years ago. I really cannot believe I am even saying that! Still some Ministry of Works labelling in place but a lack of apostrophes even then.
Say hello to the American walking group. They were 19 yesterday but today are only 10.
More ups and downs to Sewingshields Crags. Take the Americans’ photo and forget to ask them to take mine.  Chat with an HWP volunteer who is knocking down molehills and picking up litter although he says the path is not too bad and this is so but it is early in the years for hikers.
I have my lunch in a turret.
From this point on it’s down, down and then along the side of the road, not actually on it, some wall in between. This part is a bit dull, about 3 miles.
Across the road to the Temple of Mithras which also rings a very strong bell that I have been there before. I don’t bother with Procolotia fort as it looks to be lots of grassy mounds.
Back across the road and along to Limestone Corner. This is a Roman quarry where stone has been cut but then abandoned.
Down to the road, along a bit and then to Greencarts farm, arrive about 4.25.
Sandra is Val’s pal so I give her Val’s message and we are off to a good start. I have the whole bunkhouse to myself. It’s ok, but the floors are a bit grubby. First have to make my bed which is hard when I feel so tired. Second is to have a shower but I have to use the campsite ones as the bunkhouse one is being repaired so I am very glad I brought my flip flops as it’s all a bit old and grubby but my towels and sheets are all very clean.
Sandra drives me to the pub, the Crown in Humshaugh (said Humshoff). This is the best meal so far. Grilled chicken with couscous done with herbs and broccoli and red cabbage. Washed down with Blaydon Brick beer. Sandra picks me up and back we go. Huge hare in the field next to the farm.
Today’s walk was 10 miles. I’ve decided that as I’ve now walked all the exciting bits of wall and done all the ups and downs that I will have an easy day tomorrow. It’s 19 miles from here to my last stop at Heddon-on-the-Wall although they would be easy miles they look to be a bit dull. I have a plan.
Everything is signposted in miles on the ground and on one of my maps. I find it quite hard to think in miles for walking purposes as all my maps are metric.
10 miles, 16km

 

In Temple of Mithras
In Temple of Mithras

Start of the day
Start of the day

Milecastle
Milecastle

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Sycamore gap
Sycamore gap

And on and on
And on and on

Down to Broomlee Lough
Down to Broomlee Lough

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And on
And on

And on
And on

Bottom of an arch
Bottom of an arch

And on
And on

Soggy Temple of Mithras
Soggy Temple of Mithras

Mithraic detail
Mithraic detail

Fri 10th April
It was odd sleeping in a bunk bed without Chris being in the one above!
I had asked for poached eggs for breakfast but got 2 small fried ones with the edges cut off which S was trying to palm off as poached. Sandra friendly etc. but the place was too grubby for me to want to come here again.
Walk to Chesters and happy memories of being in the bathhouse with Carol! Nice English Heritage coffee and shortbread. Sandra  suggested that I walk the dismtld rly (my favourite OS abbreviation!) to Hexham so I leave Chesters and go into Chollerford and cross the Tyne over a nice 18th C bridge. Along a permissive path to the Roman bridge abutment for the east side of the river looking across to Chesters. It’s an extensive structure and very clear in the water. I tried the old railway line but it was hard going, overgrown and soggy. Gave up at a private land sign to retrace my steps. Along the road a bit still on the HWP but no acorns or signs at all. Thought about looking at Brunton turret but instead got the bus to Hexham. The bus was 2 minutes late. Hexham is a bit tired and I wanted to leave almost immediately as I just didn’t want to be in a town. Went to tourist info and ran into the bearded Belgians from Ghent again. Their walk to Wark (said as in park) yesterday had been hard.
Back to the bus station. Nice chat with old man who reminded me of dear Dave, I’m a pushover for twinkly eyes! Bus to Corbridge was 10 minutes late.  Corbridge is a nice old village. Off to the Roman town which is 15 minutes walk from the centre. It’s our own Pompeii! Ice cream in the sun. Back to the village to wait for bus to Heddon-on-the-Wall. Bus was 7 minutes late. Get off at the Three Tuns. The barman says Houghton North Farm is 500m along the road. Off I trot, it is a bit more than that. Pass a bus stop I could have got off at next to the hostel. Paula is very welcoming and this really is a nice clean hostel. I have a bunk room I can lock all to myself. My bed not a bunk is already made up. The kitchen is next door and a skinny man is cooking several tons of pasta for 9 serious skinny cyclists who are in a race tomorrow. They are Wiggins level apparently.
Paula recommends the Swan. After I’ve sorted myself out and had a nice shower it’s off to the pub. I measure the distance back to the Three Tuns because I am quite obsessive and it is 800m.
The Swan is mainly a carvery. I opt for a pint, a whole pint of Doom Bar, veg lasagne and Eton Mess. It’s all ok but the beer is the best!
Back along and then take the footpath next to the hostel signed Military Road half a mile. I can’t see it at all because crops growing on it.
Back to the hostel. Despite planning not to walk much I’ve knocked up loads of miles which wasn’t the plan at all. My feet are quite good this evening. Am very grateful to Mandy for my birthday arnica salve which has saved my feet.
14 miles, 23 km

 

Corbridge
Corbridge

P1030651 P1030652 P1030654 P1030656 P1030658

Hypercaust
Hypercaust

Ministry of Works managed an apostrophe
Ministry of Works managed an apostrophe

Bath house at Chesters
Bath house at Chesters

The fog is not on the Tyne
The fog is not on the Tyne

Bridge foundations
Bridge foundations

Bridge over the Tyne at Chollerford
Bridge over the Tyne at Chollerford

Art deco flicks
Art deco flicks

Hexham Abbey
Hexham Abbey

Corbridge Roman town
Corbridge Roman town

Sat 11th April
Very glad no ailments on this trip – no blisters, no cuts, no bruises, no insect bites. Just slight headache because of not drinking enough which was soon remedied. Very pleased with what I’ve done. It got easier each day. Still slept badly everywhere. But I like waking early and the early mornings are the best part of day for me. Bruce song accompanying me on the trip in my head was Further on up the road. Of course.

 

 

Breakfast was a bit bonkers with the cyclists but pleasantly overlooked by Paula who made sure everyone had what they wanted. Surprise to see the 2 American women again. 12 of the 19 air force men finished the walk. They rushed off.
The Express bus got me into Newcastle. I recognised Eldon Square, decided to spend 20 minutes in the big M&S and had a coffee. Then onto the Metro to Central Station and into my First Class seat to Leeds (£1 extra). My car was still at Sowerby Bridge station much to my relief. Home before 2pm. Always funny to see how much further on the plants are in just a few days. Feels like weeks!

 

Gear, kit and tips
Planning was done using:

 

Maps:
National Trail 1:40K strip map, basic but despite the metric scale also shows exactly how many miles you’ve walked, good for detail of services available.
Harvey’s 1:40K strip map, showed better contour detail. I had the 2 maps on either side of a case so that I could quickly get the different but equally useful bits of information.
At no point did I need a compass. It would have been possible to do the whole walk without a map but you would also lose a lot of the historical detail.

 

I used a baggage service, Walkers’ Bags, to take my holdall to each destination. This was efficient and cheap, cost £7 per day.

 

Because the weather was so stunningly good I was able to ditch my waterproof jacket and trousers after the first day. I took:
Medium sized rucksack
Trekking poles (only used on one day)
Bladder for water (essential), I used about 1.5 litres each day, drink lots before you leave your accommodation.
Small first aid and emergency kit, Compeed essential here, I didn’t have to use it but if there’s a hint of a possible blister, you need to be able to deal with it. Sunscreen also essential.
Snacks, I ate a couple of energy bars each day, one mid morning and one as I started to flag near the end of each walk with a big hill looming! I didn’t eat much else but made up for it in the pubs.
Camera
Lightweight summer boots
Summer walking trousers
Short sleeve merino top
A sun hat, mine is a baseball cap with a foreign legion flap, I don’t care how stupid I look and I can always tuck the flap away and look almost normal if the sun isn’t shining on my neck.
Long sleeve merino top (merino lessens the terrible smells which you get with synthetic clothes)
Light weight warm synthetic jacket
Last but not least, a small Mountain Rescue bear, who has his own ruddy Facebook page! You will find him on Facebook by searching for Little Ted.

 

In the holdall:
Change of clothes
Wash kit
Arnica salve, this kept my feet in one piece, lovely stuff from Neal’s Yard
Books
Supplies of snacks, energy bars etc. I had far too many of these.
Extra layers because I thought it might easily be cold and wet!
I walked the walk I wanted to do, I didn’t stick strictly to the Hadrian’s Wall Path which starts at Bowness on Solway and goes to Wallsend. Once I had got onto the path at Carlisle though I did stick to it rigidly and followed it as far as Chollerford. It all went really well and I have a great sense of achievement plus I think the Pyrenees trip is now possible.

 

Please support the National Amyloidosis Centre
Lots of people decide to do big things, runs and walks and climbs and raise money for charity. I managed to not spend all the money I took with me so I’ve decided to donate £2 for every mile I covered to the National Amyloidosis Centre. Those of you who know me will understand why I’m doing this and I would urge anyone who has enjoyed this blog post to donate to the NAC. Amyloidosis is a hideous illness and is rare and thus needs more research, please support them and University College London to find out more and so be able to treat patients like my dearest friend.

 

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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