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Sunday, 21 March 2010

Teesdale – Monks Moor with a new lead

bruno and the last patch of snow

Readers will no doubt be relieved to hear that Bruno’s recent MOT at the Vet’s in Bishop Auckland resulted in no treatment or advice beyond the usual flea and worm treatment. He proved that his bowels were in perfect working order by delivering an enormous steaming pile in the waiting room (he was just trying to embarrass me) and I had to inform the Vet that he weighed 21.5 kg. At least, thats what he weighed when he came in. he was significantly lighter on the way out.

So we bought a new lead and determined to have a bit of a walk to try it out, which is what we did today.

cairn on monks moor

I drove to Middleton in Teesdale – round about 20 miles or so from here, which ensured an early start. The walk was also a bit of TGO Challenge distance training, which is why it was a bit long….

We progressed up to Snaisgill by road, for speed, you understand – and up on to Monk’s Moor. A bit of Monk’s Moor, incidentally has a little isthmus of access land, attached to a much bigger lump of access land, which is only access land in September. The sign which says so, says so in a very roundabout civil-service type of way, but thats what it means. seems a bit pointless to me….. specially as it has a public footpath running through it which is, of course, open all the time. The rare ground nesting birds will be just as disturbed as ever, I would have thought. Whats the point of having access land thats only access land for one month each year, though? Eh?

monks currick

Anyway, we sploshed on over the moor. Bruno was pleased to see a bit of snow behind the wall, which he stamped in then ate, then a bigger patch a bit higher up which was too big to eat. The ground is now soggy but still frozen in patches. But spring was springing. I heard a couple of curlew and a bunch of golden plover and some larks – and one, just the one meadow pipit. But despite the sun, the wind was still nithering and quite a bit “refreshing”.

great eggleshope beck mineworkings

We dropped down to Great Eggleshope Beck mineworkings and then used a trespass path (for the dog who wasn’t allowed off the ROW) to get to the mines dam and then to Little Eggleshope beck for access to the Sharnberry glacial overflow which leads into Hamsterley Forest. [Incidentally, I notice that in this part of Teesdale, there are “becks”, whereas over the hill in Weardale, we have “burns”. It would seem that the Yorkshire Danes dindn’t really get as far as Weardale…]

mines dam

Once in Hamsterley Forest, there were frogs – many frogs having a bit of a party in various ponds. very noisy, they were. I took a video. Its not specially good, but if I got any closer, they stopped what they were doing.

We lunched in a suntrap in the forest. Bruno ate some sticks.

I had a chicken and pickle sandwich.

We batterred our way up the hill back out of the forest and on to Eggleston Common – an expanse of grouse moor – and along a bridleway on which pack horse trains used to carry lead ore for smelting at Copley. In fact, we passed the saddle house – a small stone hut once used for storing spare saddles for the packhorses.

teesdale way

Our walk then took us along the Teesdale Way, which runs in a green and pleasant kind of way alongside the River Tees back to Middleton. Its a popular walk. There was plenty of company here. My advice, if you do this walk, is to empty your bladder on Eggleston Common as there’ll be nowhere to do it in private down here.

riverside path teesdale

Then it started raining, so we went home.

The total distance today was just over 16 miles and with a surprising total of 2750 feet of climbing uphill (some of which was a bit of a pain, to be honest…)

That’ll do for now. More miles in April.

Incidentally - The video is below the map - that is to say underneath it. I mean if you scroll down, you can look at the video. Its not very good. Its got frogs.

monks moor


Louise said...

I saw some very similar frog activity on my walk today, so spring has got this far oop north. Also saw a couple of newts, one of which was definitely dead. The other was either dead or doing a very good impression. Shame, they'd 've enjoyed the activity they were going to take part in I'm sure...

mike knipe said...

Ahh - shame about the newts. I've no idea about newt reproduction - some things bonk and die - I wonder if that goes for newts?
I did once see a pond full of dead frogs.
That must have been quite a party....

afootinthehills said...

Only frogspawn up here at present - as far as we can tell anyway.

mike knipe said...

I noticed a fair amount of frogspawn about - but I'm assuming that the behaviour I saw was a pre-frogspawn party. One of the frogs had a small camcorder.....