And so, following all the recent excitements, it was back to guided walks.
This one was proposed by one of the walkers who, if her name wasn’t Kathy, would be anonymous. It appeared initially in the Grauniad newspaper and after I’d finished with it, it wasn’t exactly the same…
I did the reccy on the Saturday and we walked yesterday (Wednesday) when, despite the terrible weather forecast and, indeed, the terrible weather, there was sixteen of us including me and the stewards Eric and Neville. I have no idea what gets into these peeps to turn out on such a drippy day.
The reccy went reasonably well and, it was noted, that once over the border with Darlington Borough Council, the footpath signs either disappeared or had suffered fatal damage, many of the paths were outrageously overgrown, there were locked gates, wobbly stiles and generally, it was tough going.
This was partly due to the crops and the deep and wet grass which made progress quite a bit like walking through deep,wet snow. But we remained defiant and cheerful (I was cheerful anyway…) and we were let into the little church at Bolam so we could have our lunch break out of the driechness. There had been a plan for coffee and scones at the church, but this couldn’t be organised in time, so we had our own stuff. It was good to get out of the rain, though.
After this we battered on regardless until all difficulties had, through sheer determination and stoicism, and an extra mars bar or two, been overcome.
The walk’s theme was the historic 1825 railway system, an old extension to the Darlington-Stockton line using static steam engines to winch the trains over the hills, horses, and gravity. More histeric..er historics lay on the line of Dere Street, the strategic roman road from York to Edinburgh (one of our longer established rights of way…) and the unmarked site of a roman marching camp and then back by devious and very damp (occasionally flooded) means via the outer suburbs of Heighington, the noisy traffic-blasted Redworth and various Granges and Mills.
It were right damp.
Twelve and a half miles and here’s a map for anybody daft enough to try it (although many of these paths do need pedestrian traffic quite badly)
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