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.

Bolam at dusk
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
Darden Lough

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High Cup Nick 25th June 2015

This has been on the list for a while. It’s dramatic from a distance and close up. I parked on the Pennine Way (sounds bad but this was a road section) in Dufton.

It took an hour and 3/4 to reach the head of the nick where I had my lunch. Very windy and cold. The wind went straight up the fell. I practised some micro nav as I went along. The map I used (1:25K) had a GP abbreviation near the head of the nick. This means either a Gas Plug or a Guide Post. I didn’t check it out but reckon it’s probably the latter.

Tremendous views. The nick is the result of lots of volcanic and glacial action and more latterly, mining. See the village web site.

Back down in 1 hour and 1/4. Reversed the route because I didn’t fancy a long scree section to go back along the valley.

From about 8 miles away
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MTL Holme Chapel to Hurstwood 14th May 2017

The last section. Very glad to have Babs with me to finish it off. After a bit of confusion on my part at the Ram Inn and giving the man who was minding the pub car park a good laugh, we set off. The morning’s hail storm was a memory and my wet clothes soon dried off in the heat of the sun.

The route takes you to the Long Causeway via lots of lime hushings which are the hillocks caused by all the flushing of the stone they had to do. There were once 50 kilns in this area but now dismantled and turned into walls.

Then it’s across to Cant Clough reservoir and a short hop to Hurstwood reservoir and Babs’s car. Back to the Ram where we had a drink which I had promised the publican we would do!

Now it’s over. The route is only 47 miles and tough cyclists do it in a day. I’ve walked nearly twice the miles. Babs and I did the 2 car thing twice. I did a short and not very nice section by bike. I walked in all weathers. So what’s next? I’m probably going to walk the full Calderdale Way because Carol and I never actually finished it when we did it about 12 years ago.

The last few sections from Lumb were top notch and I feel sure Chris would have loved it too. Here’s to you my darling love.

Babs says I have an invisible dog on a lead!,
Hurstwood reservoir
Huge area of hushings
Oh my, so camp!
Stuart and Cath’s seat
More hushings
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MTL Deerplay to Holme Chapel 13th May 2017

This was a back to front chunk. I parked in the Ram Inn at Holme Chapel. Once under the railway line the way goes past a couple of farms, one with far too many dogs, thankfully all chained up. One was massive and scary. A train passed by. Then up quite a steep hill to Mary Towneley’s stone. Up a bit more to another farm and then along past lots of sheep and lambs including some black ones that looked like Gnasher the dog, scrawny with spindly legs.

Turned back at Deerplay for the clockwise experience. There were young cows out near the railway but they ran away from me! A train went past. And then I was back at the pub. Just a couple of hours.

Pendle Hill
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MTL Lumb to Deerplay 7th May 2017

Fabulous day. Warm at last. Out with Babs. We started off with a visit to Babs’s sister who lives near Lumb.

From Lumb it’s a lovely section of the Loop through rolling hills. And at last some horses on the bridleway! It had seemed as if I was going to walk the entire Mary Towneley Loop without seeing a horse on it. And today we were rewarded with a bunch of 4 and then a man and boy with the horse pulling them in a slo mo version of a quad bike.

We had a bite to eat at Deerplay (great name) no deer in sight and then returned by the same route.

Clough Bottom reservoir
First horses actually on the Pennine Bridleway
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MTL Waterfoot to Lumb 6th May 2017

Back on foot for this little section. Still very chilly in the dry east wind. The first part is through a built up area. But soon out onto the hills with the sheep.

It took an hour to walk to Lumb and then I turned round and went back. I knew Carol’s dad was from Rossendale but hadn’t realised he was from Lumb. Will see a bit more on the next stretch.

Real leopard
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Easter 2017 Mary Towneley Loop Watergrove to Waterfoot

I'm walking the MTL clockwise and so the section entries are in the clockwise order not the date order.
Tuesday 18th April Watergrove to Broadley

Met up with my pal Babs and we did the car thing where we both drove to the end point, then one car to the start point which for some reason I find makes my head hurt to think about.

It was a gorgeous afternoon and the route was a delight, and made up for the 2 other days I’d had this long weekend on the MTL which were both hard slogs and not particularly nice.

I guess when Chris and I were thinking about doing the MTL on our bikes in 2 days, we were both a lot fitter, now it seems completely impossible.

We set off from Watergrove and took a route that kept the reservoir in sight for quite a long while. It was only 4 miles but seemed a lot longer, I blame Babs!! Only joking!!


Showing off the Map and Compass hat
Is it a llama?
Friday 14th April Broadley to Top of Leach

After some time away from the MTL I wanted to crack on with the western side. I knew this section would not be madly exciting on foot because it involves a long lonely stretch across the moor along Rooley Lane which is an old road.

So in the true spirit of the Loop I got the bike out and into the car. This is the first time the bike has been in the Yeti and it fits phew (with the front wheel off). I thought it would but nice that it actually does.

The first section from Broadley goes through the end of Healey Dell across the river and then through a mix of littered woodland, des res hamlet, water board land, grubby old farms until it reaches the bottom of Rooley Lane.

The entire ride to Top of Leach was uphill which was quite tough for my first outing in a very long time plus the wind was against me. The surface on Rooley Lane was either big lumpy stones or stone setts. I pushed the bike on the truly awful bits and got an all over bone shake on the setts.

It would have been easier to walk but also I would probably have despaired even more on foot as it was so bleak. I stopped at Top of Leach which at 474m is the highest point of the lane and of the MTL.

The ride down was a breeze even with the shaking, almost half as long.

Stone setts on Rooley Lane

Monday 17th April Top of Leach to Waterfoot

This was another back to front section. I parked up in Waterfoot and basically pushed the bike about 3/4 of the way to Top of Leach. It was less cold and less windy which was nice but it was very steep and very rough under wheel. I did ride the part on the flat through a large extinct quarry area. I felt a bit vulnerable there and there were a couple of dodgy looking men so I was worried about having to return the same way. At the moment it takes very little to make me anxious. I got to Top of Leach, ate my emergency supplies and then rolled back down. The quarry was fine and there were a few more people about with maps and rucksacks which made me feel more secure. I still had to walk the bike down the very steep parts but it took about a third of the time to get back down that it did to get up.

I’m glad most of this part is over as I haven’t really enjoyed it that much. Cycling the parts I’m not happy about is a good strategy as I always think I could put the speed on if I needed to, not entirely sure that is true as I was extremely slow on the ups today.

Cairns near the quarry
Scout moor
Cowpe reservoir
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