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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Adopt-a-path stuff in North Durham
















May (Yes, yes, I know its still April) is the other time that I do my twice-a-year walk around the moors, pastures and moors of the very North bit of County Durham – so far North, in fact that the walk starts in Northumberland. Its only 20 miles from chez Knipe, so its no big deal.
Superdawg is banned from this trip, partly because of the fact that its lambing time and the foelds are full of new lambs and/or very fat sheep – and there’s the little matter of three big fields full of suckler cattle. These girls seriously mugged me once when I had Bruno with me. I’m not letting that happen again. So I diverted the dog with his ball thingy that you put doggy bics in and he chases around trying to get them out again – and sneaked out of the house. There may have been some howling.
Anyway, two walks. Number one started at Blanchland and went through some woods, down a track (where I fell over and put a hole in my leg – lucky I had a spare…) up to a hamlet, up onto the moors, a bit more woodland and back to Blanchland. About 5 miles.
I should explain that the reason for this patrol is to monitor the footpaths and bridleways for the County Council. I report any problems on line. There was just one report to be made where a steep path is shored up by timber, and its starting to collapse.
I also clipped a few bits of overgrowth and ate a banana. I also came across a little blind rabbit. I believe this is a symptom of myxamatosis – a disease deliberately spread in the 1950’s to reduce a rampant wabbit population. This particular wabbit appeared to have just a few days left. It knew I was there, but couldn’t see me, and couldn’t run away. Not a good position to be in…
After a short lunch, I went off to the next village, Edmundbyers and had a good old thrash up a long bridleway onto the moors and back again on a footpath through those pesky cows. Fab weather – sunny and breezy and warm – and a really good old bash through the heather. No footpath problems to report. And I get expenses for this…..
I’ll be back in October.
The bluebells are just coming out and this year there seems to be a lot more lapwings – and curlew, oyster catchers and a large bunch of golden plover. So the moors were fair buzzing today.
A total of 14 miles and 1800 feet of uphilliness. Some readers may recognise the footbridge in the pic. A few may recognise the rabbit.

Incidentally “Blanchland” was so named because it had an abbey which was run by white monks – that is monks in white robes. Unfortunately between the Scots and Henry VIII, the place was ruined – the only bits surviving in tact being the Church and the pub - and, maybe the gatehouse. The rest was rebuilt by Lord Crewe, a Bishop of Durham, using stone from the abbey, and forming a square. All of the land to the South belongs to the Blanchland estate – originally Lord Crewe’s land, in fact.Edmundbyers, on the other hand is named after it’s one time owner, King Edmund. So there you are….

8 comments:

Diane said...

I thought 'twas sunbathing bunny, but no, sick bunny. Poor bunny! I hope it doesn't suffer too long. Sniff!

mike knipe said...

Some of these mixied rabbits do survive but they're left with a lot of scarring around the eyes. But this one was desperately poorly, I think. It would have been a kindness to despatch it to it's maker, really. But thats not something I could do. A local fox or farm dog would probably have it I expect.

Gordon Green said...

The rabbit's name is Ermintrude. Poor thing, she was really quite lively at one time.

mike knipe said...

Brright eyes- you've heard the song, you've seen the film. Now try the pie...

Tykelad said...

Where's Elmer Fudd when you need him?

mike knipe said...

Elmar would mess up, I think - he was never all that efficient. In fact, I seem to remember that the rabbit always got the better of him.
Incidentally, don't pheasants look like the road runner?

Tykelad said...

To be fair to Elmer, Bugs Bunny was never incapacitated by some foul man-made gubbins.

(Except for the controversial episode "Bugs Bunny's Warren Surfaces At Porton Down" which was withdrawn by the censors for some reason :( )

mike knipe said...

Is that where he first coined his catchphrase "What's up Doc? No, really, Doc, what's up?"