I’ve got just about two weeks to reccy three walks to get them into the Durham County Council Summer guided walks programme.
I had a go at this walk a few weeks ago and was rejected by a river. This time me and superdawg had worked out a new route which doesn’t cross the river.
And so, after parking prettily in Stanhope on a slithery car park, we marched off up Stanhope Dene. Stanhope Dene is a deep, wooded gill which is a little bit spoiled in places by some caravan parks and some not very old mineral mines. Some people quite like caravan parks and mines, though.
The walk follows the Dene past the mines and into an upper dale. This has a narrow path which encounters a few tricky landslips at one or two points. These are easily avoidable by forward planning (i.e. going a slightly different way). There’s also a deep pool (ideal for a swim in the summer) which has a small waterfall at it’s head. This is a really good spot to watch salmon jumping on their way upstream to spawn. November is the time to do it, so wrap up well and take a flask and a dog to sit on.
We crossed a small re-entrant and wandered up over the moor to the CtoC cyclists route, which at this point is an old railway line. This leads unfailingly (provided you go right and not left) to the cafe at Park Head. I called in to have a chat to the owner about what would happen if forty ramblers turned up wanting tea and buns. He said it’d be OK, provided we warned him beforehand. I will do this. This cafe is a fine establishment, well known to many cyclists and we couldn’t just walk past.
Onwards and downwards along the old line to Crawleyside and then along Crawleyside Edge – a quarried gritstone edge with a good view of Weardale and places to sit and not do very much. And then, into Shittlehope with it’s slightly scary but fenced-off path teetering over a limestone slot of a gorge. But we’ve been here before. There is the cave, of course – Lynnkirk – but the scramble down the river to get to the entrance would be too much for DCC’s Health and Safety to endure. So we won’t go there.
The walk is 9 miles and has 1000 feet of ascent. The idea is to do it on the Sunday of the Backpackers Club AGM in May. If it gets accepted onto the programme, I’ll put some more info about it in this very blog.
Its a good walk, though – I’m happy with it now. It’ll be grand in springtime.