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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Big Pup on the Haute Route

bruno ignoring his new stick

Ok, As a route, it’s not very “haute”, in fact, it’s highest bit of hautness is 1153 of her Majesty’s Imperial feet above datum. But, it’s hauter than the other route, which is lower. It is, in fact, yet another walk from Wolsingham to Tunstall, but a different one from before, at least, some of it is different….  Its a reccy, anyway.

After a hurried breakfast, which ended at approximately lunchtime, I bundled Bruno into the back of the knipemobile and hurtled off to Wolsingham.

frosty fields at wolsingham

It was frosty. The ground was frozen hard. The lunchtime temperature was just minus two. We skiddled and skited over the hardened mud up to Baal Hill and Thistlewood and along the High Way towards Salter’s Gate, Tow Law’s premier dogging spot (gays during the day, couples at night). We didn’t visit but battered on over the sunny moors to join with the old railway line which used to go from Crook to Sunderland, collecting iron and steel and coal and fireclay on the way. (There was a coalmine at Saltersgate which is of little local interest nowadays, apparently…)

cattle more cattle

old railway line to sunderland

I noticed that there were cattle on the moor above Thistlewood, and a large herd above Tunstall, right on our descent route. Both me and superdawg sensed bother and prepared for a diversion. I waited by the gate so that the cattle could spot us and so that I could precipitate anything that might happen with a quick escape route. Nothing happened. We walked gingerly through the middle of the herd. A few watched us, most were busy with their hay supply. These are sucklers. There’ll be calves here in the summer. I might not try this again when there are calves…  It seems odd not to have these moocows in their sheds at this time of year. But I’m not a cattle farmer, so I have no idea, obviously…

tunstall haute 013

The rest of the route was along the eastern shore of the reservoir and by High Jofless, Park Wall and Fawnlees, a reverse, in fact , of the route we’d done a few days ago. This will be a new County Durham walk for the summer programmes. Its a good walk.

big pup

There’s no stock on the high moor and many of the fields are empty too. There were some sheep flocks, who gathered and followed us across their pastures but in the stockless places, Bruno could bounce around, carrying lumps of ice and crunching them up; finding sticks and running about like an old dog should know better.

I did eight miles. Bruno did about twenty.


Oldmortality said...

Having driven (quite quickly) through Tow Law on many occasions, it never struck me as the sort of place to have a thriving gay community. Come to think of it, though , a guy in the Coop offie did call me a bonny lad.

Mike Knipe said...

The use of the words "bonny lad" are often ironic, Oldmortality. But you're quite right, gayness is technically against common law in Tow Law unless you're searching for the soap in the pit baths; the local dogging spot is a North-East-wide facility. I understand...

Alan R said...

Hi Mike,
I can read your writings but i cannot get your pics at the minute.
Minus 2! Only about 32 degrees difference from us at the moment.
Somehow i wish i was in Yorkshire.

Mike Knipe said...

Minus 5.5 this morning, Alan... brrrr