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Thursday, 6 January 2011

A Weardale Walk for the Backpackers – Reccy

imagine these are backpackers club members

I’ve got just about two weeks to reccy three walks to get them into the Durham County Council Summer guided walks programme.

I had a go at this walk a few weeks ago and was rejected by a river. This time me and superdawg had worked out a new route which doesn’t cross the river.

bruno discovers snow again

And so, after parking prettily in Stanhope on a slithery car park, we marched off up Stanhope Dene. Stanhope Dene is a deep, wooded gill which is a little bit spoiled in places by some caravan parks and some not very old mineral mines. Some people quite like caravan parks and mines, though.

salmon pool

The walk follows the Dene past the mines and into an upper dale. This has a narrow path which encounters a few tricky landslips at one or two points. These are easily avoidable by forward planning (i.e. going a slightly different way). There’s also a deep pool (ideal for a swim in the summer) which has a small waterfall at it’s head. This is a really good spot to watch salmon jumping on their way upstream to spawn. November is the time to do it, so wrap up well and take a flask and a dog to sit on.

ctoc route

We crossed a small re-entrant and wandered up over the moor to the CtoC cyclists route, which at this point is an old railway line. This leads unfailingly (provided you go right and not left) to the cafe at Park Head. I called in to have a chat to the owner about what would happen if forty ramblers turned up wanting tea and buns. He said it’d be OK, provided we warned him beforehand. I will do this. This cafe is a fine establishment, well known to many cyclists and we couldn’t just walk past.

crawleyside edge

Onwards and downwards along the old line to Crawleyside and then along Crawleyside Edge – a quarried gritstone edge with a good view of Weardale and places to sit and not do very much. And then, into Shittlehope with it’s slightly scary but fenced-off path teetering over a limestone slot of a gorge. But we’ve been here before. There is the cave, of course – Lynnkirk – but the scramble down the river to get to the entrance would be too much for DCC’s Health and Safety to endure. So we won’t go there.


The walk is 9 miles and has 1000 feet of ascent. The idea is to do it on the Sunday of the Backpackers Club AGM in May.  If it gets accepted onto the programme, I’ll put some more info about it in this very blog.

Its a good walk, though – I’m happy with it now. It’ll be grand in springtime.

dvcrs walk 2 Well, I must say, we’ve been very adult about Shittlehope this time. Well done. Have a star.



QDanT said...

Never mind sit on the Dog if you go missing, the fell rescue boys will have to look for a pile of gnawed bones with a Dog tied to it.
I’ll put this (Walk) into my Expeditions (To Visit) folder. cheers Danny

Meanqueen said...

That walk looks very interesting, good luck with that. I'm sure your band of happy trekkers will appreciate your efforts.

Mike Knipe said...

Thanks Dan and Llona - I think the walk will be grand. And there's a cup of tea at half time...
The salmon at the pool, by the way are quite a sight - and they rest on a ledge just about two feet from where you can sit....

QDanT said...

Hi Mike,is there two f's in Gaff ?
or have you got the killer Dawg trained ? how about filming a HSBC advert ?
cheers Danny

Mike Knipe said...

I did have to restrain superdawg on one occasion. It would be very easy to capture a fish here, in fact, I did once witness a young lad carrying a very large fish wrapped up in his school jumper down Wolsingham Front Street.
Its frowned on, of course, and , after swimming up so many watery steps, there's often not much flesh left on some of the fish. Its quite sad to see the state some of them get in. You wouldn;t need a gaff, in fact, or any type of fancy equipment. Just reach out and pull one out.

QDanT said...

Hi Mike another thing on the to see/do list as I've never seen a swimming wild Salmon ! had a couple of guest days on the Ribble when they were supposed to be running but they must have been in stealth mode.Thanks for reminding me though of camping with the motor bike at Enerdale bridge back in the 70's, it was an exe dairy farm that had hundreds of Bee hives in the meadows and the old shippon was used to collect (spin) the honey, back to Salmon every tree on a bend in the stream going to Enerdale Water had a large staple and a swivel hammered in !
cheers Danny

Mike Knipe said...

Stanhope Dene would be a fine spot to watch the salmon swim. I did try to video this a while ago and was only marginally successful. They only seemed to jump when the camera was off, or I was looking the other way. Patience and determination are the key words!
And they seem to go around in small gangs - so that there'l be a little frenzy then a long period of nothing. (Is it possible to have a little frenzy, I wonder?)

Mike Knipe said...

Cairns Hostels. Theyre fucking crap. Never stay in a Cairns Hostel.
As I say, they're absolute shite.
And they try to put spam on your blog.

smiler03 said...

Thanks Mike! Three of us did this walk on Wednesday of this week and had wonderful sunny weather. We started at Crawleyside Bank and missed out Stanhope to keep our walkies a bit shorter. We also walked a bit further north than planned but ended up taking in Steward Sheild Meadow as a result. Plenty of friendly sheep & lambs to be seen and a bit more of Stanhope burn.

Thanks for the lovely walk!

Mike Knipe said...

S'oright, Smiler - although maybe you did a different walk!
I'm supposed to eb doing this walk again tomorrow for timings and risk assessments and a cuppa at the cafe.