It’s not a mistake to allow your pet dog to study maps y’know. LTD had been pawring (see what I did there?) over OL Whatever-It-Is – a 1:25k map of the Cheviot Hills when suddenly he pointed at a small and obscure ring of contours and barked excitedly. On investigation, there, hanging off the Souhtern slopes of Mozie Law was, indeed an intruiging ring of two contours. Due Diligence proved this to be the very obscure but rather lovely Tump named Mozie Law South Top. I expect that this isn’t really it’s name, but it’s the name given to it in www.hill-bagging.co.uk , the web-based bible for all things important and many things not really very important in the Ramblers version of trainspotting, the bagging of hills.
So, we went. We were diverted from our trip up the A68 by a multi-day-once-in-thirty-years resurfacing of the road..er…surface at Ridsdale on to some obscure road that drifted aimlessly in the approximate direction of Stockton-on Tees, which made us late. What made us even later was my arrival at the Chew Green car park after two hours driving when I had already passed my intended car park at Buckhams Bridge some time earlier and had been held up by a herd of cattle chewing the cud in the middle of the road and/or tucking in to the contents of a road-salt bin and covering said road in slippery poo. I’m not sure if road salt is good for cows or not. I wonder if it curdles the milk?
Anyway, eventually we set off and after a bit of a moorland wander populated by many cattle, turned up at Yearning Saddle Mountain Hut in time for lunch out of the lively and chilly breeze wafting off the Solway Firth and tight up the kilt. I mean Right Up.
We were joined by a friendly Pennine-Wayfarer who gave me the news that Colin and Joyce are selling-up their hostelry at Byrness. It’s probably deserved, but they’ll be missed by Pennine Wayfarers and the odd (some would say peculiar) wanderers along the Scottish/English Border. They dried my boots and socks and fed me and beered me, so it’ll be a bit sad, but, hopefully somebody will carry-on the good work. There’s not much else in Byrness to be fair.
Mr Pennine-Wayfarer marched off towards Hen Hole for the camping out of the wind and we followed him a bit – as far as Mozie Law and then down steeply to discover a steep green mound with a small cairn on the top – Mozie Law South Top. It was much too windy to hang around drinking coffee and eating baked black olives (my latest addiction) So, to the East of this lump, a couple of hundred feet below in a deep valley, there’s a flat green sward providing somewhat of a sheltered sun-trap. A group of about a dozen feral goats had also noticed the sheltering effect of the gill immediately above and these were sitting about reading the Guardian and sipping Pimms with nibbles, or just scoffing the grass. We didn’t bother them.
A brief but brutal lunge up the hill brought us to The Street – an ancient road to Scotland - where, back in the wind, we had a breeze-assisted traverse over Swinside Knowe and Bought Knowe to descend through more cattle to the farm at Carlcroft. They have a lot of dogs at Carlcroft and we were greeted by a couple of adolescent collies, the local alpha-male collie who sniffed LTD’s bum, and a couple of levely pups, off on some adventure, but beating a hasty retreat into the farm buildings on encountering a grumpy LTD. No harm done, though. The cattle weren’t interested in us or made off in an opposite direction and the farmer waved.
A quick march up the road returned us to the knipemobile which was still where we’d left it.
Ten miles and a couple of 2200 feet of ascent and a severe hair-ruffling. Winter draws on, I think. I might have to start wearing trousers quite soon.