I think this is the third time this walk has been done as part of the Durham County Council Guided walks programme.
On Wednesday, I met 25 peeps, including the stewards Maria, Eric and Compulsory Dave at the Fossil Tree in Stanhope in mizzly rain. As soon as we set off, though, it stopped raining and all we had to contend with then was the howling gale.
Two walkers – Robert Cunningham and Graeme Ferguson have sent me some pictures, so I’ve used many of them here in the blog post. If anybody else wants to send pics of guided walks, I’ll try to include as many as possible. No prizes, though …. at least, not yet (!)
Stanhope Dene comes first, of course, and this went reasonably well until we hit the slope failures just above the mines. These broke the group up nicely and we were running just a bit late, so lunch was declared at the East Whiteley Burn. This is often a bit sheltered, and, quite a nice place to combine yourself with a cheese butty and some chocolate. It was a bit draughty today, though….
Stanhope Denes has a few signs of spring – some daffies and a primrose or two lambs in the fields– a chiff-chaff and some kind of raptor wheeling around and calling – lots of greenery in the form of newly sprouted ransoms, a bit of frogspawn and multiple dead rabbits. Anything that eats carrion is in for a bit of a meaty bonus following that long and extended winter, I think….
The slope failures, up and down diversions and the long, heaving slog up to the CtoC railway line took it out of several walkers (including me), so it was a relief to get into the Park head cafe for a nice, hot cuppa.
Deep drifts , and then, a day or two later…..
The snow enjoyed so much by superdawg on the reccy a few days earlier has almost all gone…
Turning South, we hit the headwind, so there was little respite from hard work until we finally hit the shelter of Shittlehope Dene. Instead of wind and contours in here, we just had slippery mud and a fallen tree…..
There was some staggering to be done on the final march into Stanhope. Since we’re British, of course, heads were held high and The Bonny Moor Hen had just a bit of extra custom. We do like to support local businesses, innit…?
Quite hard going today, really….. thanks to Robert and Graeme for the pics, and to the stewards, and the proprietress of the Park head cafe and the landlady of the Bonny Moor hen, and the ordnance survey for the maps, Sainsbury’s for the fair trade coffee in me flask and Lancashire for the cheese in me butty.
9 Miles. (Hah!)