This is a personal blog mainly to do with hillwalking things but with other stuff as well.....maybe the odd rant..
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
North Pennine Fun in the Sun
In view of the fact that there seems to be a fat ole sun in the sky that keeps falling…. I decided that after a day of my plans to be tramping through the heather with my best girl on my arm (ashley, it’s a dog..) had been frustrated by domestic duties and in view of the fact that the clocks had been interfered with for the summertime season, I would, in fact, escape to the Pennines. My afternoon bagging target was Harwood Carrs – a 502 metre heathery flat that had somehow missed out on the delicate caress of the knipe boots and paws. The late afternoon plod up the shooters track to a handy jumping off point for the shy little summit cairn, in , frankly, hot sun, and dressed in shorts and a short-sleeved base layer, was an absolute joy. As the evening crept in, my second target was to be Knockshield Moor, a 574 metre flat-topped heather moor just a bit North from Killhope law. I marched along Jacob’s Tea Trail, noting dawn’s bootprints from the other week…. and, as I rounded the hillside, the object of my attentions came into view. From the summit sprouted a huuuuuge cloud of white smoke. There were vehicles moving around and people, apparently jumping up and down on my summit. It was on fire. They were burning the heather. I could come back later… Instead , I visited Three Curricks – that is three or maybve four cairns on the hillside, and, later, watched the sun go down behind The Dodd, the sky colours changing subtly each minute. It was quite remarkable (which is probably why I’m remarking on it)
Summer evening birds were calling (curlew, snipe, oyster catchers, plover, lapwings, skylarks, meadow pipits and grouse). Thats enough of Pink Floyd anyway… So this afternoon, I met Brian at Bowlees and we abandoned the knipemobile in the car park there and drove up to Swinhope Head, at the summit of the road between Teesdale and Weardale. The objective for today was to have a look for some possible rock art, in the form of cup and ring markings at a bouldery outcrop on the side of James Hill, at just around the 2000 foot contour. As we were starting a hundred or so feet higher than this, the walk to the boulders would be downhill, as would the six mile return trip to Bowlees, a cracking plan I’m sure you may agree. I’d heard about a possible hoard of cup and ring marks from one of the walkers on the last DCC guided walk and I determined to go for a look. (He also gave me some interesting hill routes through the Co Durham Pennines which taken together form a chain, so when I get time, I’ll be looking at those, too. Thanks Eddie. We strode over the tussocks and sphagnum, noting the wildlife in and around the boggy pools (a lizard, some water boatmen and beetles and a large party of frogs, apparently having a party. We soon came to the boulders and discovered that they were indeed covered in cups, but no rings. In fact, there were more cups than you could shake a walking pole at. It would seem, though, that the gritstone seems to be in two or more layers and the softer, top layer (which is still relatively hard, should you collide with it) is worn into cups by some natural process. It could well be, of course , that some of the cups are natural and others are man-made. But there’s a lot of cups. No, I mean loads of them. Really.. a lot of cups. Some had water in them. Others had stones or a layer of grit. I don’t believe I’ve seen so many of these things in one place before. We thought they were probably natural, or mainly natural, but, to be fair, I have no idea. If anybody has any views about this group of rocks, and whether or not this is the hand of man, I’d be more than interested to hear. We also had a look for some millstones which Brian had found hereabout on an earlier visit, but we found none, and, later decided that the outcrop with the milstones was a bit further along the contour. We returned via Flushmere – which has lots of hushes and holes and bell pits and spoil heaps as it happens, and Broadley Gate farm which doesn’t. The first trip was about 9 miles and this one was about 6… Distant bells, new mown grass smells soo sweet… (stoppit) Is this the summer? Will it last till summer, or will winter be back next week?
I am a retired NHS Personnel person. All I do nowadays is walk about.
I used to have my pet dog Bruno with me (in the front page pic). he was Superdawg but he died. Now I have Lucky the pup. He's a bit like Bruno, only smaller and more suspicious.