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Thursday, 12 June 2014

Eight Borders Hills at Hermitage Water

north from geordie's hill

As I was saying to the Foreign Secretary in bed this morning - “I’m a bit stiff today, due to all those Scottish contours”". It’s your turn to make the cornflakes by the way”

Due to not being able to sleep, I set off to Scotland outrageously early- early for me anyway – and passing the drawer with the dog leads in , noticing the lack of a dog gazing hopefully at the drawer whikst wagging his tail (sniff….) and pointed the knipemobile up through Tynedale and past Kielder to the extremely lovely and soothingly quiet  little dale containing Hermitage Water. And, after parking badly on some juncus, I marched purposefully up the road and across a soggy moor to the top of Geordies Hill.

ewe hill across the dale

Geordie’s Hill, 464m for those who like this sort of thing, is a Sub-HuMP. that is to say that it’s not quite a HuMP, having only 90 metres of re-ascent.

From here a grassy and ever-so-wet ridge presents itself and , with a fence to guide the walker who’s breakfast has worn off already, a number of tops are fairly easily bagged, although the going underfoot is variously tussocky , heathery and soggy.


Thus Tamond Heights 450m comes and goes, followed closely by Mid Hill 436m and then the more shapely ridge of Unthank Pikes leading to Pike Fell at 499m and a proper HuMP.

Here, the drizzle and mizzle had stopped and the cloud slowly lifted in the strong but cold breeze and an early lunch was had hiding in a peat hag.

After this, there’s a big drop to Ludsgill Sware – a pass or bealach  joining the Tarras with Hermitage – and a bit of a heave up on to Scawd Bank – a Donald Dewey at 547 metres. Rough going leads to Wetherhorn Hill, another Donald Dewey at 522 metres and a lovely , sunny spot behind it’s big, sheltering cairn for another lunch. Wetherhorn looks nothing like a sheep’s horn, but , being off the main ridge and a bit isolated, it has fabulous views across a beautiful green jumble of hills.


More rough stuff followed and a contouring traverse to an estate road brought a bit of relief before yet more deep heather and failing legs to the top of Din Fell at 529 metres and yet another Donald Dewey.

Finally, I did the long tail of Ewe Hill 471 metres and furnished with lovely, soft bilberries on which to have a bit of a nap, just out of the nithering wind and just hot enough to burn. Ewe Hill needs to be visited in August with a basket or a bag in which to put all your bilberries. Its a fine view from the top as well, so…..

wetherhorn hill from ewe hill

I came down to a steep track leading to Twislehope where a huge pack of hounds announced my arrival at a vast number of decibels. Anybody considering sneaking up on Twislehope should be advised to forget it… they’re still howling now, I should think.

The knipemobile was still where I left it.

steep, innit?

I did twelve and a half miles with just about 3000 feet of up. This was quite hard going for somebody who’s been a bit lazy recently and, also considering that I didn’t have my usual tow up the hills (all you needed to do was mentions wabbits or pussycats).

Incidentally – a great big thanks to all who commented nicely on the previous post – the Life and Times of Bruno the Superdawg – not many scraggy old mongrels get so much attention when they go – and a specially BIG thanks to Ben D who bunged some spondoolies into the virgin money giving account in memory of Bruno. Its all a great comfort. And I do need another dog , now….

Here’s a map.

geordies hill


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Dawn said...

A cracking walk Mike. Looks a lovely area for some wild camping?

Mike Knipe said...

We were within a couple of kilometres of the little pass at the Southern end of the walk when we went to Langholm, Dawn. Its a bit greener on this side, though - some nice spots in the valleys but the hilltops are bumpy and wet!

John J said... can get a good pie in Langholm y'know.
You can even get a cheese & macaroni pie if that's what floats your boat.

Good to see you getting out.


chrissiedixie said...

Might not be my place, but just thought I'd say anyway, that I've always coped with very-hard-times by getting another man's-best-friend within a few weeks. Always helps me, and every new doggy is a brand new character - not a replacement. They all have their own special memories that can never be erased.

Mike Knipe said...

JJ - We have some experience of the Langholm pie shop - we had pie and peas on our last backpacking trip there....
Chrissie - I will be getting another dog in due course. It wouldn't be fair just now, though as it would have to spend time alone at the moment.... In the autumn, things will be better for a new dog.