Fresh from my success in the Borders (koff…) I decided to go and have a proper little walk.
I’d borrowed “Walking in the North Pennines” from Crook public library by Paddy Dillon (Published by Cicerone) – which is a grand guide to all kinds of walks all over the North Pennines. I’d considered this walk once before as my contribution to a walking club programme and so I was pleased to be reminded of it by the ubiquitous guide-book writer Mr Dillon. Its an excellent book anyway.
And so, armed with a Lancashire cheese and tomato butty, a banana and some healthy chocolate bars, me and Bruno dumped the knipemobile outside somebody’s house in Castle Carrock.
The route took us past The Weary – a foody pub, next to “The Weary Sportsman” – a bar… apparently, and up and out of the village to the sides of Tarmonath Fell.
There was no snow and the sun was shining. There was a great view of the Solway Firth. We tripped along, lightly, singing rambling songs and , in the case of Bruno, rolling about in the grass. It were grand. I was down to two layers!
It must be spring! The mind turns inevitably to Kylie Minougue’s impossible bra strap. Or hot cross buns anyway….
Geltsdale Forest takes it’s name from the River Gelt – which is Norse for “Mad”. The forest bit doesn’t mean a forest with trees, it means an area where forest laws used to apply – usually things such as “no hunting”, give the King three bows, two hounds and a bit of fencing every year and join in the hunt as a helper. Its not a hunting forest any more, its an RSPB reserve specially for Hen Harriers and ground nesting birds wot are scared of hen harriers.
We lunched by the bridge over the Old Water – a peaty, cold beck with a peaty, cold waterfall. Its an expensive bridge for a bridleway (I noticed they’d locally misspelled this as “bridal Way”. Just for brides only, obviously) I suspect its the water works – there’s a reservoir downstream. They have to get vehicles to the water inlet thingies, I suppose.
The second bridge on the walk isn’t there. Its gone. Its been gone a lot time. There’s just the one buttress and some slippery slabs with cold, red water sliding over them. Well, I woke up dis mornin an’ my bridge wuz gone. I got dem freezy tootsie paddle blues. I took the boots off and paddled. This was somewhat painful. Bruno gasped in amazement and tiptoed (?tip-pawed) across, shaking his head and going “Tut”.
We continued, re-socked and booted over the hill to Newbiggin where, due to a lapse of concentration, I forgot to turn onto a bridal way..er. bridleway and did some road walking to Cumrew instead.
The second half of the walk is lanes and lambing fields and we were soon back in Castle Carrock
Its a grand walk. 13 miles and 1700 feet of uphill.
You have to keep on moving on y’know.