Following yesterday’s floundering fiasco up the wrong end of Weardale, I was determined to break the 2010 duck, yet at the same time, stay out of any very deep snow.
A quick look at the OL wotsit map of Bishop Auckland and Crook, revealed a bit of woodland I’d never been in, and a suggestion that it would be a nice idea to have a look at Weird Darren’s Oakenshaw Nature Reserve, since I’d never been there either. A nice, logical circular route from Chez Pie revealed itself.
Pretty scene on the Deerness Valley Walk at Crook
It had snowed again overnight. This cheered up the dog no end.
After prevaricating a bit with cups of coffee and boiling an egg for the egg and tomato butty, we set off up the Deerness Valley Walk.
A bit further along the Deerness Valley walk
This was quite pretty and well populated with families and their dogs and people who were in the first throws of delivering their New Years Resolutions concerning doing more walking together and using those new walking poles.
A blizzard came and went.
We turned off the DV walk and wandered across some fields and into some woodland. The path, whilst served with “public footpath” signs and waymarks wasn’t really there. there was blundering to be done. We blundered. It got better, though, and we struggled through the deep soft snow up to Baal Hill where we joined the “road” ( inverted commas included for irony) The road was well under hard packed snow and wasn’t really useable without 4WD. Boots and paws slithered.
I may have to report this!
We followed the road and joined the Bishop-Brandon walk – Another railway walk – more families with their dogs and more resolutions in the first throws of deliverance.
Haliwerefolk countryside near Brancepeth
We had a quick visit to Oakenshaw NR – I searched for three-legged dog tracks, but failed. It seems, by the tracks, to be fairly popular. The local ducks were enthusiastic but remained unfed.
whitespider1066’s pond at Oakenshaw NR
I followed field paths and a Roman road to Willington with some difficulty. The snow was drifting and getting difficult again.
I abandoned my original planned route and followed the road back to Crook. Its not so bad, there’s an off-road path all the way.
Drifting at Willington
The population of Willington was it’s usual friendly self – five people said “hello” and “happy new year” and “all the best”…..
When I got home I was, to be frank, quite knackered. I resolved this with hot cocoa and cold beer and a snooze with the dog before tea.
12 miles and 1050 feet of up. A reasonable start to the year, and quite a pretty walk too….