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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Tunstall Haute Route

tunstall haute

OK, it’s a bit of a pretentious title for an eight mile walk on the edge of the Pennines. but it’s just a joke, see? And it’s a higher route than the other Tunstall walks wot I do for the council – hence the “haute” bit.. (Apols for being cheeky to the camera by the way, but this kind of behaviour is starting to be expected by some customers….)

Anyway, me and the Dawg reccied this walk the other day – the day, in fact, that it finally stopped raining after dumping all of six inches of the wet stuff on the North of England, causing all kinds of damp chaos including the closure of the A1(M) motorway  for several days and inundating York yet again, and washing away some of Wolsingham’s ducks. (They seem to have returned a couple of days later)

Dave and Anna stewarded the walk on Friday, and seventeen people turned up for a potentially sloppy round.

path under water!

Bruno discovered that parts of the walk were found to be underwater on the reccy, so a few adjustments were made. It had dried out a bit by Friday, but the ground was still pretty much waterlogged and generally a bit sloppy in places.

climbing up to north moor

And the path along the moor top, which is the main point of the walk in that it’s a high-level poddle with extensive views into the Tunstall dale below – has been trashed somewhat by those people in four wheel drive vehicles. But they like a quagmire. Its no fun without a quagmire. Durham County Council punters, on the other hand are not so keen on deep mud.

It’s a nice little walk, though, with nothing threatening, apart, perhaps than the occasional suckler herd; although me and the dawg weren’t bothered by the kie who just watched us pass by with just a hint of interest.

4wd damage

Me and the dawg lunched in the shelter of the walls of the disused Crook to Sunderland railway line, but with the guided walk, we sought instead the shelter of the picnic area near the head of Tunstall reservoir, there being a bit of a chilly autumn drift from completely the wrong direction for the comfortable scoffing of a beef and onion butty and some ginger cake.

tunstall reservoir

The old railway line went over the hills from Crook to Tow Law and joined the Stanhope/Weardale line at Waskerley and it was  this junction in World War Two that was chosen for a large ammunition dump – the remains of which are still extant and used for storing old fire engines and buses and also for the exploits of the County Durham doggers – a cold and draughty spot for that sort of thing, I would have thought.

the biggest stile in the world

A brief shower produced a rainbow and the Biggest Stile In the World produced some mild excitement  before we followed the easy path beside the old park wall back to Wolsingham.

It’s eight and a bit miles. Here’s a map. Bring your own banana.

tunstall haute











Note that due to flooding the route alongside Tunstall reservoir was not followed. Instead, we went along the road on the West side of the pond.

There was also a minor diversion in Wolsingham due to a white van driver with a load of “stuff” who blocked a path. He was till talking to himself as we left him to it.


Dawn said...

Gosh, some sloppy there Mike!

chrissiedixie said...

We've done several walks near Wolsingham, but always on the south side of that red road through the town.

Was that ginger cake home-made? Geoff just found a recipe for a ginger cake and made one last Friday - it was absolutely delicious. It had treacle, butter and golden syrup in as well as ginger...

Mike Knipe said...

Very sloppy, Dawn. In Lancashire, they call it "slutch". Lovely stuff....
Ginger cake was from Peter's bakery, Chrissie. (although I have made it in the past and it was quate naice.)
There's a couple or three walks Northwards from Wolsingham - or you can walk to Crook, calling at the pub at Fir Tree on the way!