I was supposed to do this reccy for Wednesday’s Durham County Council guided walk on Sunday. The walk’s on Wednesday and starts from Balderhead reservoir at ten o’clock. However, it was wet and windy at Pietowers on Sunday, so I put it off till today.
This morning, it was snowing heavily at Pietowers and reports from the Knipe/Gray Eyrie up high in the Pennines indicated swirling blizzards and even blizzardier blizzards than in Crook. So I had another cup of coffee. And the last chocolate biscuit.
At some point mid-morning, in a short period of caffiene-induced enthusiasm, I decided I’d better set off. I put the dog’s saddle on, loaded him into the knipemobile and set off down the A68, which was clear and fast. The road to Hamsterley was no problem, but the high road over the tops was covered in highly polished ice and snow. Despite all this, I successfully avoided the white van that slithered towards me sideways at one point and arrived at Hury Reservoir without a scratch, ding, or small bush sticking out from the front bumper.
And not only this but the sun was shining and Lucky was happy, more than happy, really, to have a bit of snow to bounce around in (about two inches is my guess)
We weren’t supposed to be at Hury, obviously, because the walk starts at Balderhead, but it visits Hury and my guess was that the Balderhead road would be just one scary point too scary, whereas…
Hennyway, we progressed into a buffeting and arctic headwind, but in bright and beautiful conditions. After two miles, though, we hit the blizzard, or, rather, it hit us. I had my snow goggles on, so I was pretty much OK, but Lucky could make no progress at all into this storm and was intent on heading off towards Darlington. This was a worry cos I got the pooch from Darlington and it wouldn’t do to have him suddenly turn up at the Dog’s Trust all iced up. So, we turned to shelter behind the dam wall. This wasn’t much help, to be honest and I couldn’t help noticing that the moor above the reservoir was a chaos of speeding clouds of drifting snow. There was no prospect that man nor dog – specially not a goggle-less dog would be able to cope with this – and this is where the walk goes next. So I packed it in and, with the wind now pushing me along – almost hurrying me away from the place, I retired to the knipemobile for chicken and turkey butties and chocolate and coffee.
The storm abated and the sun came out. But it was too late now. I might try again tomorrow.
As a consolation prize, I went off down the A66 and bagged a small but bijoux Tump – one Diddersley Hill – 209 metres, and right next to the road. You are forgiven for not knowing where this is, or even, I should say, caring much about not knowing where it is. It does have a very good view, though.
We did four miles. That’s four out of eleven. But I still have my dog.
Click the logo!!!