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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

DVCRS Guided Walk Westgate to Rookhope

ray climbs a stile

Today was the day for the County Council walk that I reccied last week. The weather forecast was reasonable, although the Beeb managed to issue two slightly different versions in the same hour, using the same forecaster i.e. “The heavy rain will be slow to clear from North-east England” and “The rain will quickly clear from North-East England leaving a breezy but dry day”

As I peered out from one of the arrow loops in the North bastion of Knipetowers (the one overlooking the deer park and the new moat) – it seemed that version one of the forecast was the most likely. It was dark and wet and glaury and appeared to be set in; the sort of day for drinking coffee and eating toast after having returned to bed with a fresh hot water bottle and a warm dog.

slitt wood

But I could have none of these luxuries and I fended off the dog and set off for mizzly Weardale. The two stewards, Ian and Ray turned up and I had a brief chat with Charlie returning from a dog walk. One punter, a Weardaler and ex Westgate resident turned up, so off we went into a brightening Slitt Wood.

We’ve been to Slitt Wood before haven’t we? We know a song about it. We’d all been to Slitt Wood before, so I didn’t spend much time doing show and tell but progressed briskly to the heaving slog up to the top of the road and the squishy bog down the other side into Rookhope.

down to rookhope

The pub was still closed, so we sat outside for our butty stop.

A lady approached and asked if we’d like tea. It was Valerie who owns and runs a bunkhouse in short staggering distance from the public bar. She gave me a tour. It was very cosy and comfy. Most of Valerie’s customers are cyclists following the cycling version of the Coast to Coast route but the bunkhouse holds twelve, with space for a couple of tents outside and the pub is open afternoons and evenings and provides food. There’s a link here:

Afterwards, we finished off the route  in short order by following the Weardale Way. It was a bit muddier than last week, but the sky had brightened and nobody fell off anything or otherwise died , so it was all fine.

We took just short of five hours to do the nine miles.

Onwards to Barnard Castle. I’ll probably give Slitt Wood a rest for a bit….



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