Monday, 28 January 2013

Scutter Up The Gutter

coldberry gutter west side

I had extra company for this jaunt up Teesdale – readers with really good memories and, frankly, a very suspicious eye for detail about what I’ve been up to in the blog may well remember that when me and Dawn went up the Cheviots last February, we chanced upon Mick and Yvonne out on a walk…?  Well it was Yvonne who came on this walk – a nice change, as it happens, from just Bruno’s company. I mean Bruno is OK, but his conversation is limited and he always demands some of my lunch and Yvonne had brought her own, although as it turned out it was far too draughty to sit around scoffing butties.

hudeshope beck

The original idea had been to wander up on to Fendrith hill from hanging Shaw pickernick place , visiting Moking Hurth caves on the way and taking advantage of the still frozen bogs up top, as it were. When we arrived at Hanging Shaw, however, it was blowing a bit of a hoolie and it was snowing and blowing in a particularly unfriendly kind of way. On top of all this, the snow all around was melting fast and all streams, ditches, footpaths and substantial bits of road were underwater or a mix of soggy slush and water. So we didn’t go.

this is supposed to be a path

Instead, we had a stroll up Hudeshope by the raging Hudeshope beck and up to the mines. All of this was extremely sloppy and/or with deep,, soft snow and little becks in spate. Quite hard work, in  fact. One path was a deep, running stream, probably knee deep, although I was reluctant to expose my knees to this icy flood.

skears hushes

Sometimes the sun came out and at other times it slashed it down in a specially unfriendly kind of way.

hudeshope mine shop

coldberry gutter east side

We found the foot of Coldberry Gutter, using the magic of Ordnance Survey mapping and splattered off up the hill using, as far as possible, the bits of hill that had just emerged from underneath the snow. Some slithering was done as we eventually got ourselves into the gully, which we followed uphill and over the top of a huge snowdrift at the summit.

in the gutter

Its remarkable how much this looked like the Lairig Ghru or maybe the Chalamain Gap, but much smaller and less bouldery.. in fact … not really……..  anyway…  Coldberry Gutter is a deep lead mining hush forming a double-sided gully system and which is a significant feature in the Teesdale landscape – that is to say, you can see it from lots of places!

newbiggin high road landslip

We splodged onwards, emerging, eventually, wet and wind-ruffled on the high road back to Middleton, which was partially blocked by a collapse of part of the wall/hedge and bankside, probably due to the weight of sloppy snow drifted up against it in the field.

We did seven miles. This is the equivalent of fourteen in the conditions according to Tranters Aunty Mary’s Formula – in view of the headwind, the serious damp underfoot conditions and the lack of a chicken sandwich.

kirkcarrion from the high road

Remarkably, my feet were completely dry at the end, although I did have a wet bum from sliding down the hillside at one point.  The dryness of the tootsies are down to my new Meindl boots and the gaiters I bought when I thought I’d left my first pair at Buttermere (I found them in Bruno’s toy box)

Despite, or probably because of the weather and the new company, it were a right enjoyable do. I’m not sure Yvonne will be back for more of this kind of torture, or my relaxed attitude to walk planning however!

Yvonne has a blog too and it’s here:  where there might be another version of this tale at some point…




chrissiedixie said...

Was just thinking that that gutter thing reminded me of the Chalamain Gap and then you went and mentioned it yourself. It also looks like a nice walk to remember for future visits in the area. Our walk this last Sunday involved a lot of slithering in the snow too. In fact the slithering got worse and worse as the day went on and the temperature crept up...

AlanR said...

The kind of day that you think it's solid and then your up to your knees in it.
It sure looks cold up top.

I expect the newbie boots are of the Burma type and not the Respond type. Although i do like the look of the responds.
I know your a leather fan at heart.

4 Winds said...

Love the names of those places. Couldn't make 'em up!

Al said...

It was right slobbery up Kentmere yesterday to.
One of my favourite spots for lunch when on the bike or m/bike is on that lane to Newbiggin from Middleton.
I expect you to get all that mud and choss cleared forthwith, so I can get to "my" bench on there...chop-chop no slackin!

Mike Knipe said...

Chrissie - More Chalamain than Ghru, probably - but remarkably similar....
Alan - Boots are "Softline Light". I can't find how to switch on the light, though, but this would be very handy for night walks.
4 Winds - I'm afraid I must admit to making them up sometimes... whoops..
Al - I have me shovel and barrow out just now, in fact...

AlanR said...

i have a pair of the Softline Ultra GTX. First pair i got the sole started to detach so i had them replaced.
The second pair have been fantastic, i like them a lot.

Yvonne said...

Great report and photos Mike. I will be back for more so, be warned :-) And I will put a report on my blog too...hopefully, in the not too distant future.

Thanks again for a grand day out and your excellent time can we pre-order better weather though...pretty please?!

Dawn said...

It looks all slithery and wet Mike. However, I am sure you had fun! Glad to see the boots are doing well

Mike Knipe said...

Alan - I like my boots alread - so much so I've waterproofed them... (unusual for me)
Yvonne - You must be mad. However, I have mentioned the poor quality of the weather to the "Authorities" They don't care, though and we're all in this together, apparently....
Dawn - Sloppy is the word. Not good for camping! (it'll be better in a week or so..!)

Yvonne said...

Yes I'm a little mad....particularly with the 'Authorities' who don't seem to care about my inability to cope with the inclement weather conditions that have been prevalent recently!! But, hey ho, I guess I'll get over that disappointment :-)

See you soon.

PathWays said...

Looks like a great walk despite the cold and the slithery snow. I love the names of the places too!

Tony Bennett said...

So the Lairig Ghru is just one enormous, kick ass hush then? And I always imagined it had been created by Finn McCool, that well know Scottish snow-boarding giant, as a massive half pipe ;)