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Sunday, 6 December 2009

Watery Weardale Walk with One’s Wow wow

rookhope 017

Y’see , when we were in Wales, I noticed that toddlers and their mums referred to the dog as a “wow wow….)

pause for tumbleweed to roll past………

rookhope 001 Waterfall at the entrance to Slit Wood, Westgate

Anyway, it seems to me from reading various blogs and other sources that many people are just a bit fed up with the winter so far. It has been damp, after all, but, you know (sounding like Margaret Thatcher now….) faint heart never frecked a pig and it really is best for all concerned if one or two of you out there could just stir yourselves from your cosy armchairs and have a refreshing wander o’er moors and dales. Its only water, y’know. Thats why we have waterproofs. Its just early winter.. Its like April, but a bit darker….

rookhope 004 Flood damage Slit Wood

The unlived who never climbed up a hill ever experienced that brief moment of joy at finding there that small and untidy heap of stones. But those that have lived (the dislived?) and are still abed (or at least a’armchair) may think themselves cursed that they were not here, as Ken Shakespeare once said

I bring you an eight mile walk in Weardale which didn’t have an untidy pile of stones, but did have several rainbows, some sunshine and some Pennine stuff chucked violently against the hood of my Paramo. But fun. all the same, and the dog liked it too.

And so, me and superdawg went up to Westgate in Weardale and tramped the now familiar Slit Wood – the beck being almost in spate and having, it seems, done some recent damage to the path, it nevertheless saved us from the attentions of an over-attentive cow on the opposite bank, whom, by the time she’d built up courage to cross the torrent to attack us, saw us disappear up the hill and far away.

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I can see a rainbow

We sheltered briefly against an icy squall inside the ruin of a stone shed. A banana was fatally damaged.

We progressed to the top of Scarsike Head and then, down the road towards Rookhope, we turned off over a stile (see video!) and through a nature reserve, boggily and battered by brief but spiky storms with rainbows – to Rookhope village where, due to forgetting to bring any money, we ignored the pub. (foolish!)

An old railway trackbed took us back towards Westgate, where we were joined briefly and energetically by a horse with her foal (I expect they wanted food…) but we took a long shortcut over the hill and then steeply back to the start. It was a long shortcut because , whilst shorter than the main and more level Weardale Way path, took longer because it was uphill through lots of soft rush – which is hard to walk through.

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Another squall in Weardale

There was sun and rain and a cold wind and more sun and a bit of hail and a cheese ploughmans sandwich. If you ever see a cheese ploughman, I ate his lunch. Squally showers were still processing along Weardale. There must be a queue of them somewhere.

8 or so miles and 1300 feet of uphill. It were fab. You should try it sometime.

So rise up from your cushions my soft furnished friends; gird up thy gaiters and walk!

rookhope walk

Watch the vid – its got sound! – But, its only superdawg making a dog’s breakfast of surmounting a stile.


fatdogwalks said...

Impressive scrambling skills exhibited by the "Wow wow". My "Wow wow" would have made a more entertaining YouTube video of stile climbing - but I don't think I could have coped with the humiliation.

mike knipe said...

We once tried to get a black lab over a deer fence. They are quite heavy aren't they - and this one went very floppy.
Bruno has to be instructed not to jump over fences/stiles etc - and he does come a cropper more than occasionally.... there is yelping, sometimes...

fatdogwalks said...

I can lift Maisie over a standard fence (just)! A deer fence just doesn't bear thinking about. She hates being lifted but very quickly learned to squeeze through incredibly small gaps.

Sometimes I need to remove her collar then slabber her in duck fat...

mike knipe said...

Sometimes I need to remove her collar then slabber her in duck fat...

Phwoar - some things just make life worth living....

Harkon said...

Nice post Mike. I'm sure the walk was very enjoyable for both you and the wow wow :) You're right, so what if the weather's not great, we should get up and walk. The challenging conditions are often more envigorating and rewarding. I'm planning a walk this Sat around the Worth Valley and looking forward to it immensely.

Can't wait to tri the gaiters out, never used em before :)


Harkon said...

Hi Mike,

Not sure if you've come across this website but I thought it may be of interest to you:

The blurb runs as follows 'The Yorkshire Dales as you've never seen, heard or tasted them ever before ..l a series of real ale pub walks within the Yorkshire Dales national park.'

It certainly whets the appetite :)


mike knipe said...

Worth Valley in New Gaiters, John?
It'll be mucky, so you might well need them.
I used to live near there, as it happens - and I worked at Airedale Hospital.
I'll have a look at the yorkshire website.
Beer, eh? Whats that like then?

Phreerunner said...

Nice vid, Mike. It's the helmet cam for Xmas then?