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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

North Pennines Walking Festival: St Johns Chapel to Race Head Guided Walk

ford on the wear

Today’s walk was my little contribution to the North Pennines Walking Festival organised by the Friends of the North Pennines.

This year, we were asked to provide walks based on local eateries and, as I already had a prepared walk based on St Johns Chapel, it wasn’t difficult to link this walk to the Chatterbox cafe which is, of course, in St John’s Chapel.

lucky leads the way

Me and Lucky did the reccy last week in warm sunshine but a sort of wind that seeks out any wardrobe chinks and freezes whatever skin is lying inside the chink.

upper weardale

The reccy was straightforward enough, apart from my neat parking of the knipemobile in the way of the transporters taking sheep from the St Johns Chapel auction mart away dahn sahf to places such as Gloucester. Indeed, the drivers cab door of one huge sheep bus was handing over the knipemobile’s boot. I heard  dark mutterrings of Weardale farmers….

lucky's daft ten minutes

Lucky, on the other hand, had a significant development in that for a couple of long sections of the walk, he was off the lead for the first time. Most of this time he walked to heel without being asked to do that, but he did manage a daft runabout for a bit, and at one time he hid in the grass and “ambushed” me as I got near. Wot fun.

starting to rain...

On the day, 24 people were booked , plus me and the two stewards, but in the end there was 29 of us.

rain chasing us up sedling rake

I started the day well with a bacon butty and huuuuuge pot of tea in the Chatterbox and, eventually, we all set off on the walk up by the River Wear to Wearhead and then steeply up the hill to Sedling Rake and Race Head where views weren’t quite as fine as on the reccy due to an Atlantic cold front which determined to deposit low cloud and a bit of drizzle on us.towards sedling rake

By the time we finished the walk, the sun was shining again and about ten or so of us took refuge from the searing heat [koff] to drink tea and coffee and have civilised things such as jammy scones and teasted toecakes and so on….

Lucky couldn’t come on the guided walk bit – he’s not allowed to come with me when I’m leading walks as a County Council voluntary ranger – but when I returned, I did treat him to an hour at Crook dog club where he learned that if you get lairy with a Rotty pup, you get sloshed with cold water. He now has an incipient phobia concerning plastic water bottles. (dhuhh).

lucky waiting anxiously at home

I’ll be cheering him up shortly with his nightly doggy walk up the Deerness Valley Way in his new flashing greenish yellow collar (It does quick flash, slow flash, constant glow or “off”)

After all this we are mainly going to Wales for a couple of weeks, so there’ll be little or no more blogging till I’ve climbed something Welsh.

pulley from slitt mine headgear

More info about the North Pennines walking festival can be got by clicking this link: North Pennines Walking Festival

race head walk

And the Chatterbox Cafe facebook page is here for anybody wandering about Weardale and needing large (or even small) quantities of tea and other sustenance, specially those wandering with a pooch because it’s a dog-friendly spot.. In fact, along with the superbly fine cakes to be had in Wolsingham which I may well have mentioned before, maybe I should do a review of Weardale cafes and tea rooms and , maybe, pubs….. 

Thanks to John for the spondoolies into the Mind fundraising account by the way…  it slowly grows….. 

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5 comments:

Quinn said...

My dog was suddenly and horribly gassy the other night, and I thought of you. Well, you and Lucky. Mostly Lucky, actually. (You know, this comment isn't really going well. I hope I am not offending you!) Anyway, I put a spoonful of Probios powder on a little bowl of dampened kibble, and the gurgling (and more explosive activity) soon ceased. Which was good, because we were not in a tent, and it was really chilly to have all the windows open.
Have a grand time in Wales!

Dawn Linney said...

One of these days I am going to manage to visit the Chatterbox cafe.
Like the idea of Lucky's Morse code collar!!

Mike Knipe said...

Quinn - There's nothing worse than a flatulent dog... I may try some Probios myself, though...(the dog has been complaining)
Dawn - You'd like the Chatterbox...

Linda said...

Lovely series of photos.

Mike Knipe said...

Thanks Linda - sorry about the hiatus, I've been to Wales, see...?