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Sunday, 11 December 2011

Five Pikes in Weardale – Bruno Eats His First Snow of the Winter

dog on snow

I could tell that Bruno was feeling a bit cabin-feverish and neglected by the way he was chewing my leg this morning.

So, after a hurried breakfast, lasting about an hour and a half, and involving almost a litre of coffee (coffee machine birthday present) I saddled up the hound with his harness and lead and orf we jolly well went to Bollihope in Weardale, parking irritatingly neatly just by the bridge over Bollihope Burn.


We followed an old mines track on the East side of Howden Burn, through an interesting but devastated area of mines and quarries. THis continues as an estate track up onto the moor at Pawlaw Pike – a heathery drumlin.

first snow

There was snow. Bruno likes snow. The first bit we met was but a small patch, which the dog stamped about in and ate. A bit higher, there was hard, thawing neve in big patches – ideal for running about on and digging up. I left this task entirely to the dog.

five pikes 009

The met office’s forecast of a cloudy day, brightening up was witnessed by a cloudy day turning a bit dark with lowering clouds and a light drizzle. Close, but no gold star this time. At least it was mild….

five pikes trig point

We bashed the heather a bit and climbed to the summit of Five Pikes. Now Five Pikes, you might imagine, would be a more dramatic version of a lake District Pike – all rocky and pointed and covered in people. Not so. The Pikes on Five Pikes are old shepherd’s cairns, built by old shepherds who clearly had nothing better to do. Apparently there are five of them. Three are in view from the trig point.

one of the pikes

We headed towards the Elephant trees – a copse which has appeared in this blog many times. many, many times…..

bollihope burn footbridge

And then we went down to White Kirkley and followed Bollihope Burn back to the car which was still there and with it’s lights turned off and all it’s wheels still on. This was good. Not so good were the holes in the footbridge over the burn. these could scare a small dog of a nervous disposition and a phobia about falling through small holes into a raging beck of brown and peaty water and thus getting washed away and ending up in a canine rescue centre in Sunderland (which is where all that water goes eventually). So I’ve reported it to the County Council. Regular readers will appreciate that this is not a waste of time and that sometimes, often, something Gets Done – one way or another.

Anyway, the walk was seven and a half miles. Its a nice little walk.


Peter Crawford said...

Bruno was just hungry.

How long will it take the council to fix that footbridge ? Let us count the days.....

Mike Knipe said...

Bruno's not hungry now, Peter, he's full of snow.
As it happens, the path is a high priority one - part of the Weardale Way and a thing called the Mineral valleys project, and its currently well up the priorities list - so I suspect it'll get done in the next six months or so. Unless somebody falls through a hole.
The bridge is only about ten years old - before that it was a deep and, at times, scary ford. Cold, too....

Jules said...

Glad to see Bruno having a good time!

Conditions look a bit better than for your recent Pennine Tent-In.

Dawn said...

Lovely write up Mike. Looks like good walking country. Have you trained Bruno to dig out snowed in tents yet?

Mike Knipe said...

Jules - Definately easier walking... Bruno's tail is up all the time if there's snow about!
Dawn - the walking's grand if you're on a path - otherwise it can be tough going. On the other hand, its quiet, and the local keeper gave me a cheery wave despite there supposedly being a ban on dogs in this area.
Bruno wil not only dig outt yor tent, but will eat the snow.Then , when thoroughly soaked, he'll then fall asleep on your sleeping bag!

Dawn said...


Alan R said...

I hear Bruno coffee from South America is one of the best choices. Has he been trained to sniff out a good supplier as well as collect snow for melting.?

Snow didn't last long did it.

Mike Knipe said...

I'm using Dowe and Egberts... Not heard of Bruno's coffee... Somebody gave me some with a slight butterscotch flavour and it's quite fab.
The snow's still here in patches above about 350 metres, and, more generally, a dusting above about 550 metres.
The cat's just come in and mentioned that its sleety outside just now - so it looks like the snow is back.

Tony Bennett said...

Why don't dog's feet get cold?

Mike Knipe said...

There was just one occasion last winter where superdawg couldn't bear the cold of the snow, Tony - it was minus 22 at the time. So Bruno's limit is somehwere just above this.
Hairy, leathery feet y'see. the dog's feet are the same.... arf arf...

Louise said...

It's not just small dogs of nervous disposition and with a phobia of falling through small holes you'd have difficulty getting over that footbridge!!