Me and Lucky collected loadsa stuff from Dawn’s, although Dawn herself couldn’t walk today, so it was just me and LTD.
So, on a pretty grey kind of day, we went to Harbottle and parked in a forestry commission car park at the start of a public footpath signposted to “Drake Stone” Now I thought Drake Stone played a Private Detective in Black and White on ATV in the mid 1960’s, on Thursdays when I should have been doing Physics homework or learning a Latin verb or something, and just after a couple of hours with my pal Neil Harvey on the bench up on the Earby moors with Radio Caroline and a packet of Benson and Hedges (Two and fivepence halfpenny for ten from the shop next to the library). (Thats nearly 12p by the way) But no – its a huge great rock. Its just as well that its not on the actual summit of a hill or I’d have to try to climb it, and it looks tricky.
The path winds up easily through deep heather to a small tarn or “lough” as they have it up here in Northumberland. Oddly enough, this one is called Harbottle Lake. Lucky got too close to the edge and fell in, and then couldn’t get out again. There was a brief period of panic.
We plodded on through rougher stuff along a narrow trod through more deep heather, and all to the sound of heavy armaments battering something not too far away. Eventually, as the army either had lunch or finished early for whatever they do in the mess on Friday afternoons, we achieved the summit of Cold Law where it started raining.
The descent (after lunch during which I discovered that I’d left my flask of coffee at home) was through increasingly difficult forestry, with bogs and wind-blown trees, but emerging eventually on a good ride and a short walk back to the start.
Harbottle Crags is a nature reserve which cuddles up to the Otterburn training area and it’s covered in boulders and outcrops and lots of deep heather. Judging by the paths, most people make it just as far as the Drake Stone – a few more get as far as the lake and one or two do a circuit over the moor, so, for solitude, follow the fence to Cold Law – this does get a bit rough in places.
Pics are generally a bit dull…. my new (cheapo) camera sometimes fails to record a picture. And, of course, all the best ones haven;t come out. Its a kind of modern version of getting your pictures back from the chemist only to find that most of them are rubbish. I may have to buy yet another camera.
The walk was only about six miles. I’m not getting excited about it, although it’s probably quite a good walk for a short winter day when you’ve a party to go to…