Today was the day for another reccy for the summer guided walks programme in which I’m planning to do the County Durham bit of the Pennine Way. This was the third of five routes and this one, like the last one, starts in Middleton in Teesdale.
But this one goes South to Birk Hat in Baldersdale and then returns by a different route. Birk Hat is the farm once occupied by Hannah Hauxwell who’s land management techniques have accidentally preserved some fine examples of Northern Haymeadows which are now managed by Durham Wildlife Trust. Its no coincidence that our guided walk will take place next July when the haymeadows should be in their full flowery glory.
But today, me and superdawg got plastered by some very large snowflakes although the sunny bits in between the showers had a little bit of warmth. There was a fair covering of squeaky fresh snow, which cheered Bruno up no end. I followed the Pennine Way past Kirkcarrion and caught up with a couple of walkers. (The diet must be working, I caught up with somebody. This could be significant. I caught up with somebody….. )… anyway, I decided to let them do the navigating and followed them at a discreet distance. Unfortunately, they went the wrong way. Just a tip here, for budding navigators – following somebody else may well not be the most efficient navigational technique.
I relocated the Pennine Way a bit over there -------> and the couple followed me instead – I followed Bruno who seemed to know the way. We duly arrived at Grassholme reservoir, where two things happened. Firstly, the couple disappeared, presumably on their own route and probably not by some kind of space/time continuum accident as per Doctor Who (but you never know, innit…?). And secondly, it started snowing in a really mad and enthusiastic way – and the world disappeared in favour of some kind of white swirling thing. As I arrived at Birk Hat, it stopped and the sun came out as if nothing had happened. We sheltered in the bird hide which is handily placed at Birk Hat for the efficient watching out for birds and the even more efficient scoffing of a wensleydale cheese butty and a banana. Bruno had a peek out of the window but there were no pussycats, apparently.
I did see five hares today. All in different places, so it probably wasn’t the same one. Bruno noticed the scent of a couple of them, but failed to spot them bounding off into the distance.
Next was an easy plod along the shores of Blackton and Hury reservoirs where we turned North once more over an outrageously sloppy moor which finally got my socks wet, to go along with everything else, and down to the Teesdale railway path which goes almost back to Middleton.
We did 13 miles. Next time I won’t get lost. next time I won’t get wet. Next time the sun will be shining and the skylarks will be up and singing. Next time, I will be drinking pop instead of hot coffee…..
Its a good walk, though. More walkies on Sunday. In the meantime, the radiators at Knipetowers are occupied.