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Sunday, 24 April 2011

Thirl Moor and Some More Border Explorations

borderwalk 013

 

Today was the day for bagging Thirl Moor – a HuMP and Dewey on the edge of the Otterburn Ministry of defence Shooting Things range. They shoot very big things up here, and I mean very very big things that make loud bangs and make people disappear, so its wise to visit when they’re having a rest. Once such time is lambing time. Lambing time is now.

summit of thirl moor

So we loaded up the rucksack with cakes and snouts and drove off up Coquetdale to a layby at 509 metres and  about a kilometre away from the summit of Thirl Moor. It was easily bagged sans rucksack or big boots. The top has three ancient cairns and a trig point and some of those metal star things they use in the Cheviots to denote archeology. There’s lots of archeology up here, in fact, the layby is on the roman road from York to Perth, built in 70 to 80 AD without laybies, and latterly called Gamels Path – latterly being the 13th century. This was before tarmac, obviously.

We (me and the dawg) were about to nick off to another car park when a TGO Challenger turned up – Doug Cockburn. he was on a mission to support his wife’s bike ride and we had a long chat about the TGO and our respective cardiac problems. fascinating stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. TGO challengers seem to have a nack of turning up out of the blue.

towards yearning saddle

Eventually, we relocated to a car park by the bridge at Buckham’s Walls Burn – Buckham, apparently, being a whisky manufacturer sought after by local farmers, publicans and excisemen alike. can’t stand the stuff meself  (koff)

Anyway, there’s a very nice path beside the burn which reveals lots of very nice paddling a plodging pools and quite a lot of very nice camping spots.

ten mile hut

We made our way by a series of unplanned loops to the Ten Mile Hut or Yearning Saddle Refuge which sits on the Pennine Way. The idea was to follow the border a bit from here, instead of the Pennine Way. This is what we did and, I have to say, it was a lot nicer than the Pennine Way. The hills are green and dry and the views North into Scotland are extensive and beautiful. Its less than a kilometre from the PW at any one point, but the sense of remoteness is remarkable.

big view north

We dawdled. We sat about. There was nobody else but me and the dawg and the skylarks. We bagged Raeshaw Fell which has a linear earthwork and Scraesburgh Fell and up on to Blackhall Hill, which has two ancient cairns and a BIIIG green view.

After a bit, we joined Dere Street towards York (its 130 miles to Legio IX HQ, apparently) – and this reveals quite a bit of engineering as it cuts through the side of a hill on a 6 metre wide rake. The road surface is somewhere beneath lots of turf and some bog, but there’s a culvert at one point…

dere street/pw junction

After crossing the PW, we used a bridleway to get back to the start. We disturbed two feral goats with a kid. Bruno was in pack hunting mode, or would be if it hadn’t been for his lead.

The conclusion is – bag Thirl Moor in April and, if you want to walk the Border (like wot I did last August) – don’t follow the PW all the way, but take Dere Street then follow the very lovely and interesting edge to the Ten Mile Hut. This is much, much better than the PW.

And expect to meet TGO Challengers around every corner….

Altogether, we did ten and a half miles and 1500 feet of climbing.

Nice, sunny day, too… AND, I had me new trousers on…

border walk

8 comments:

Andrew W said...

Nice looking walk Mike.
I am beginning to think ut is time to move from the Fens. Now I just need to persuade the rest of my family. Or do I?

Louise said...

New trousers! Rather nice first walk for them.

Gayle said...

It may well be lambing time, but the red flags were flying at Otterburn, and Very Big Bangs were heard, when we passed through a couple of weeks ago. I was more peturbed by the gun wielding soldiers than the big artillery bangs, mind.

Mike Knipe said...

Just leave a note on the mantlepiece, Andrew...
Louise - yes - new kecks - I got two pairs for forty squids at Mountain warehouse in Durham. The Ronhill shop has closed down. I think the new ones could be more robust....
Gayle - lambing is mid April till the end of April. Its very quiet up there just now..no red flags ner nowt... you could walk Dere Street to Melrose if you wanted to.

Helen Fisher said...

You never disappoint with your more Northern ramblings (compared to my more southern ones)!
Glad Bruno is in fine form.
Keep calm and carry on...more please!

aroundthehills said...

TGO Challengers do get everywhere. I bumped into one (Bill Howden) on Saturday when I was on my way to see another one (JJ). I think the good weather brings them out of the woodwork.
Another good write-up, Mike.

The Odyssee said...

Did any holes come with the new trousers then? What about ventilation?
Good price £20 per pair. I went in MW in Kendal on saturday. They have some good stuff at low prices. I nearly succumbed but had already bought new walking shoes and sandals.

Mike Knipe said...

The back pockets appear to have drain holes, Alan. I expect this is in case of very heavy rain or a shaky footbridge accident.
Just under half price, so we're all very proud...