Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Winter Walks Reccies – Westgate to Rookhope in Weardale

walk high point

As my winter programme of Durham County walks is due to start very soon (they go up to eleven by the way) – it’s now time to start doing the reccies. Today’s walk was the first one and the first walk of the season where I’d worn merino wool undies. I had other clothes on as well, obviously….. Justr as well because the max temperature in Upper Weardale today was just four degrees. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr……

westgaterookhopereccy 001

So me and Superdawg went to Westgate in Weardale and walked up Slitt Wood yet again. This time the beck was on the point of being in spate and the leaves are turning colour. But the sun shone and the dog seemed to be happy enough judging by the angle of his tail (The angle of Bruno’s tail is a really good mood indicator. Today it was “up” and only drooped a bit towards the end of the day when we were being lashed – that’s LASHED by a specially energetic squall.

seat over a deep deep hole

The only change up Slitt Wood that I noticed is that the outrageously deep shaft has been capped with concrete and now sports a place for sitting. If people sitting there were aware of the enormous yawning hole beneath  their little bottoms, perhaps they wouldn’t be so smug with their chicken and spring onion butties and cadbury’s choccy bars…


Anyway, we progressed happily up Slitt Wood and on to the moor lane where a shepherd and his dog were doing some shepherding. The first lively shower struck at this point and the wind did a bit of howling from somewhere in the rough direction of Alston. We plodded over the moor and down the other side of the hill towards Rookhope, where we met a blind lamb, panicking at the sound of Bruno and running around in small circles. It’s eyes looked like the Master’s in Kung Fu. (“Ah Glasshopper”, “Yes Master what would you have me do?” “Nip down shop and get me twenty B&H. And don’t get into fights”  Some people might remember this…..)

cows sheltering

There was a series of protracted heavy showers, interspersed with rainbows and the wind was just enough to unbalance. Some cows sheltering behind a wall couldn’t bring themselves to chase Bruno. It must have been bad.

a brief respite

Anyway, an even fiercer show was in progress, so I sheltered in a sheep shelter for a bit, then in a derelict house and, due to the spooky noises from upstairs, I decided that we would be better off in the pub, so we went there. Unfortunately, and despite the notices outside that it was open all day, it was firmly shut. Grumbling under our breath, we sploshed along the Weardale Way ex-railway line, into a headwind and an even yet more worser squall than before. Its at this point that I couldn’t remember turning off a pan of hot water on the stove this morning. I imagined the fire brigade stretcheriing out the frazzled corpses of two cats and a geriatric dog on my return. “”Yoo left the ferkin pan on” accused Fire Chief Dave. “Now look what’s ‘appened, yer idiot.”

westgate in weardale


I did see the Crook fire engine on the drive home. It was outside somebody else’s house and I had turned the pan off…

We did nine miles today. Bruno was OK. he fluffed one stile, but he stood up to the rotten weather without complaint. I noticed one broken stile, which I’ll report to the council. It won’t be fixed in time, but its not a big problem. The walk is OK. I have another to do at Barnard Castle in a few days. In the meantime, I might go and bag a Birkett or something….. 




Jules said...

Autumn has definitely arrived in the last few days.

As I sit here gazing out of the window it looks beautiful outside, but open the door and it's bloody freezing! And that's here in the soft south.

Mind you, wish I was walking rather than working .....

Mike Knipe said...

Both me and the dawg enjoyed the walk, Jules - much better than working. I should be walking today, really as its a beautiful day...