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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Lumsdon Law and Hearts Toe (Cheviot Hills)

lumsdon law from harry's pike
I’ve had Lumsdon law on my bucket list of Fings Wot To Do for years and years……..  it lies just off the Border ridge not too far from Carter Bar and is a huge great lump of a thing and it’s hugeness and lumpiness is probably why I’ve always been put off from leaving the Border fence for the bagging of it.
But today was the day. I let superdawg drive the knipemobile up to Byrness as he’s much better at keeping within the speed limit than me and I was a bit sleepy from the porridge.
lumsdon law
We heaved our fat and wobbly carcases up the Northumberland County Council comedy bridleway through the forest to Harry’s Pike and Hungry Law. Its a joke because for the most part it runs parallel to the forest road , but in the forest and the gate at the top is chained and padlocked and you’d never get a horse over it, so horses aren’t allowed. As a bridleway, it’s a bit of a failure, but then this seems to be a bit of a pattern where Northumberland rights of way are concerned  (The last time I pointed this out to Northumberland, their pathetic reply was that they’re like that because nobody uses them. It hadn’t occurred to them that nobody uses them because they’re an utter joke.)
hungry law trig
Anyway, on top of Hungry Law, it was bright and sunny  and if it hadn’t been for the howling gale, it would have been quite spring-like.
bruno reacts when I tell him I forgot to feed the cat
Getting to Lumsdon Law involves a bit of a traverse around a large and beautiful corrie and a tussocky plod over squishy sloppy stuff, followed by lunch involving a boiled egg and tomato butty and a choccy bar, and then a short heave up to a flat and windy top. The location of the highest tussock may be debateable.
huge and beautiful - and windy - corrie
hearts toe
We returned to the border, more or less whence we came, and climbed up to Hungry law on the Scottish side. It was noticed that the English fence was letting in quite a draught from England. We sploshed along over Greyhound Law to Heart’s Toe. I think this is a spelling mistake, and so does Bruno. There’s a bit of ground near Heart’s Toe which may , under certain lighting conditions, and with the eye of faith, look a bit like a deer’s foot – so maybe, Hart’s Toe…  Anyway, its the place where an old route crosses the border. The customs and excise officers were on their teabreak when we passed…
wild camping site marker
Another comedy bridleway leads off down through a wide gap in the trees to a comedy wild camping spot. Here, there is nowhere to put up a tent. This might be why it’s been designated by the Forestry Commision Practical Joke and Jolly Jape Department as a wild camping spot. The bridleway continues through many a tussock and bog and quite a lot of forestry brash in the general direction of Spithope Bothy. No dignity will remain for anybody who tries to follow the route to Spithope, especially when the frazzled walker, picking yet another sharp stick out of his bleeding thigh, realises that there’s a much easier route using a forestry road and a footbridge.
Spithope seems to be a nice place, though. Quite small – with room for six or so, and a good stove and a shed with saws and axes and spades. We spent half an hour there drinking coffee and reading the bothy book. (Bruno just had a snooze…)
the new path
The comedy bridleway continues up some “informal” muddy steps up a steep bank (may be too steep for a horserider!) and has a couple of waymarkers till it hits a forestry road. here, I found a large supply of slabs. I guess these are for building a path to Spithope.
A long plod through Christmas trees followed till I got to Byrness Hotel and the short but bijoux path back to the car.
We did 13 miles.
That’s probably why my legs are stiff….
Here’s a map.
lumsdon law


Reifyn said...

This is a great post. I would have liked a photo of Bruno driving the car, though. I could tell you were on the borderlands, because of the presence of many highland cattle having a lie-down in the foreground of the corrie pic (at least it looks like they're having a lie-down). Next I loved the pic of the sole of a giant shoe with a big red X on it which you might have mistook for a wild-camping spot (no wonder it was a lousy place to pitch). The bothy pic is lovely; if you look closely, there is what looks like a pay-telephone mounted on the wall inside. And there's a mysterious 'red thing' lurking behind Bruno in that picture too. I wish they weren't making it so easy for folk to get there, building paths and whatnot. If they claim to be padlocking the gates because nobody uses the path, why do they pay money to make a paved path? I wouldn't put it past their ingenuity to put locks on each of the stones if they feel it's under-used. And the bothy door. They should admit that nobody uses the gates BECAUSE THEY'RE LOCKED. By the way, how does old Bruno get over stiles and over locked gates?

AlanR said...

That “Large and beautiful corrie” is certainly a very large and beautiful corrie. Stunning pic Mike.

Dawn said...

Often forestry areas give me the screaming ab dabs. Nice one though Mike.

Mike Knipe said...

Reifyn - Bruno's a bit shy about pics of him driving, specially after that incident with the paparazzi in Paris. The red thing , apparently sticking out of his bum, by the way, is his retractable lead. And Bruno's current method of getting over stiles etc is either to find a way underneath or to be lifted, wriggling and struggling and growling, over the top. He used to be able to jump over most stuff, but he's getting old now... (this goes for me too by the way...)
Alan - That's what I thought! The light was spectacular at the time but I failed to capture that, unfortunately.
Dawn - yes I know... there was a bit of swearing and blasphemy towards Sptihope... (very nice bothy , though!)

Andrew said...

So Bruno can drive. Got me thinking that despite being a long time reader of "Northern Pies", and admirer of superdawg, how little I actually know about the dog himself. Is there any chance of an in depth blog posting to fill us in on the history of this canine legend, or better still an interview with himself?

Mike Knipe said...

There's a thought, now, Andrew. Most of his life has been spent asleep, but the short and periodic episodes of consciousness he's had over the last 13 years might add up to just the one blog post, I suppose...

Anonymous said...

As I started reading I was thinking to myself, 'I'm sure there's one of those Kielder wild camping spots at Heart's Toe.' And so there was, you found it. Funnily enough, many of the other Kielder wild camping spots have nowhere to put a tent up either, although I have persevered at a few of them and had some lumpy sleeps. The doggies never complained though.

Mike Knipe said...

There's loads of those "wild" camping spots around Kielder, Chrissie. Many have no water at all and most have remarkable tussocks. They seem to keep them secret, though. Probably in shame...