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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Weardale Skyline Day 3 and a Bit (The Black Bull Ending)

ruins of park wall farm

I fell asleep straight after dinner and woke up at about midnight. It wasn’t very dark and I decided that after all I would be able to watch the sun come up and started tucking into my generous supply of cheap scotch.

During the next couple of hours I was visited by some grumpy sheep who considered that I was camping on their overnight snoozing spot, a jacksnipe going “whirrrrrrrr” and what appeared to be a rat sneaking by hoping not to be noticed.

either shorngate cross currick or a stone spaceship

At about 3:00 am there was some kind of time/space continuum accident during which a timewarp collided with The Earth, and concentrating it’s magnetic forces in an invisible Cone of Power on Middlehope Moor, just, in fact, where I was sitting enjoying the last dregs of my whisky,  I was suddenly transported forwards in time by about three hours. It was now full daylight. There was hot sunshine and a text message from Brian about what a bonny sunrise it had been. Luckily I had been returned to exactly the same spot, so I wouldn’t have to retrace my steps to finish the walk properly. This was a relief, I can tell you.

Somewhat dazed by this experience, I breakfasted on porridge and prunes (a backpacking favourite) and marched off to bag the summit of Middlehope Moor, just a few hundred metres North.

retrospect to killhope law

I continued Northwards across some more really rough stuff (gwan, ask me how rough it was…) to cross the Allenheads road at Shorngate Cross Currick – apparently a popular parking spot for CtoC cycling support vans. (Support vans hah! Wimps!)

I continues even more Northwards for a bit and then back towards Denmark over the excessively rough and bobbly Redburn Edge/Dry Rigg which has a trig point which isnlt marked on my map for some reason.

bolts law

Yet more tussocks and damp were crossed, finally to the road summit at Packlett’s Gate where all became sweetness and light again and, apart from a very short section on the descent from Bolt’s Law, it was now all on tracks or good paths.

old train line

I followed the track or good path to the top of Bolt’s Law – probably the finest viewpoint for a sunrise in Co Durham, through the heather on the other side to join the CtoC route which runs on the  old Rookhope – Sunderland railway line. This is not the skyline, really, but does allow the ever-so-marginally fragged rambler to make quick and easy, if a bit dull, progress to the cafe at Park Head where a hot beef butty and a cuppa can be enjoyed with the cyclists.


The views are good but the only excitement on this part of the walk is the wanky signs which start with “Attention All Cyclists. Very Important Notice” which , basically say that people on bikes aren’t allowed on certain bits of road cos it’s really dangerous and if they go there, all sustrans routes will be banned and they’ll get the blame. Its not dangerous for walkers, though.

view to crow coal hill

park head cafe

Hennyway, having enjoyed my cuppa and butty, I headed down the Waskerly Way – another railway line route which heads for Stanhope, but I turned off on the road to the wireless mast on the top of Collier Law. Now the wireless mast has disappeared, just in case you’re using it for navigation. Its not there anymore. There is a modern mast some distance down the track, but its not the same one. The road’s still there which presumably means that anyone with mobility issues (i.e. problems) could drive up to the site of the mast to watch the sun come up or, indeed, have an illicit and discreet liaison with a care worker’s friend with little chance of discovery. Just a tip there for anybody searching for a suitable location for such a situation.

bijoux hut

The next landmark is a small  but bijoux shooting hut some two and a bit kilometres in the approximate direction of Belgium. The rough heatheriness is relieved somewhat by the fact that the  heather has been burned at various times into small squares and by moving in patterns not dissimilar to a rook (in chess, not a small crow), an easy passage can be worked out to arrive, more or less in one piece at the lovely little stone house.

carr stones

Carr Stones and Park Wall Edge follow and excitement grows as the outer suburbs of Wolsingham come into view.

wolsingham meadows

All that remains are the green and pleasant meadows and pastures leading into Wolsingham and the waiting Mrs Pieman – usefully waiting, in fact, outside the Black Bull where rehydration took place. (Rehydration is important to ward off any further time/space continuum incidents. This is a well-know medical fact and I would go so far as to post a notice starting with “Attention All Ramblers. Very Important Notice”)

That’s the end of that walk, then. For anybody interested in giving it a go (are you mad or something?) , the route here is 50 miles and 4800 feet of uphill (which isn’t a lot for 50 miles). I thought it was quite hard work.

Maps below.

weardale skyline pt 7

weardale skyline pt 8

weardale skyline pt 9

weardale skyline pt 10

weardale skyline pt 11


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Dawn said...

Looks fantasmagorical Mike

AlanR said...

Gwan, how tough was it!

Reifyn said...

Is that little hut open to the public or locked up?
If you ever find a route you have to walk like a knight instead of a rook, you will let us know I hope. I never could get the hang of that knight business. I think that's way some people who get knighted often give back the knighthood: so they don't have to walk/ cycle/ drive either one or two steps in one direction, then one or two in a sideways direction. Makes sense.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how those space/time continuum things are definitely becoming more common. In fact I had one just last weekend.

Mike Knipe said...

Dawn - It was so, in a tussocky sort of way.
Alan - See above. Quite rough and tough. And hot, too...
Reifyn - I suspect it's a private hut containing grouse estate supplies. Its quite an effort to get to unless you've got a 4WD.
Chrissie - I had another time/space thing late last night. Strangely, all my merlot disappeared at the same time. I suspect the cat.