Ok, As a route, it’s not very “haute”, in fact, it’s highest bit of hautness is 1153 of her Majesty’s Imperial feet above datum. But, it’s hauter than the other route, which is lower. It is, in fact, yet another walk from Wolsingham to Tunstall, but a different one from before, at least, some of it is different…. Its a reccy, anyway.
After a hurried breakfast, which ended at approximately lunchtime, I bundled Bruno into the back of the knipemobile and hurtled off to Wolsingham.
It was frosty. The ground was frozen hard. The lunchtime temperature was just minus two. We skiddled and skited over the hardened mud up to Baal Hill and Thistlewood and along the High Way towards Salter’s Gate, Tow Law’s premier dogging spot (gays during the day, couples at night). We didn’t visit but battered on over the sunny moors to join with the old railway line which used to go from Crook to Sunderland, collecting iron and steel and coal and fireclay on the way. (There was a coalmine at Saltersgate which is of little local interest nowadays, apparently…)
I noticed that there were cattle on the moor above Thistlewood, and a large herd above Tunstall, right on our descent route. Both me and superdawg sensed bother and prepared for a diversion. I waited by the gate so that the cattle could spot us and so that I could precipitate anything that might happen with a quick escape route. Nothing happened. We walked gingerly through the middle of the herd. A few watched us, most were busy with their hay supply. These are sucklers. There’ll be calves here in the summer. I might not try this again when there are calves… It seems odd not to have these moocows in their sheds at this time of year. But I’m not a cattle farmer, so I have no idea, obviously…
The rest of the route was along the eastern shore of the reservoir and by High Jofless, Park Wall and Fawnlees, a reverse, in fact , of the route we’d done a few days ago. This will be a new County Durham walk for the summer programmes. Its a good walk.
There’s no stock on the high moor and many of the fields are empty too. There were some sheep flocks, who gathered and followed us across their pastures but in the stockless places, Bruno could bounce around, carrying lumps of ice and crunching them up; finding sticks and running about like an old dog should know better.
I did eight miles. Bruno did about twenty.