|Cheviots from near Blawearie|
Not many sandstone-based moors have caves - but Cateran Hill - looming in a not-very-looming-kind-of-way above the Northumberland village of Eglingham does have a cave. Actually, it's more of a rift or gap between sandstone blocks but goes deep underground and is a bit hard to find if you don't know that there's actually a bit of a path to it.
|Cateran Hill summit cairn|
So, I collected Dawn from where she lives and we hurtled off up the A1 to Alnwick and then to Eglingham where we parked specially prettily outside the old school.
|Dawn and Lucky march purposefully off towards Cateran Hill|
From here, we wandered up a gently tilted road, then a track, then a thin trod through the heather to the magnificent summit of Cateran Hill 267m which has TWO cairns and some heather. Locating the hole from the top is a matter of some compass and detective work and the entrance is quite obscure, but places in a shallow sinkhole with the only bit of green grass around.
|Lucky attempts an escape from Cateran Hole|
A few steep steps lead down into a passage which bears some chip-marks on the walls reminiscent of similar marks inside the coffin level in the mines at Scope End. Such chipping seems to have been abandoned as the passage widens a bit and once daylight was left, me and Lucky, who wanted to escape at this point, were faced with a duck under a lodged stone for further progress, which, without a hard hat and not willing to get covered in cave-shite, we abandoned further exploration to rejoin Dawn at the entrance.
|Eermerging (hurriedly in the case of LTD)|
Dawn had, more sensibly, decided to wait on the outside. Lucky didn't like it at al and was keen to re-establish contact with the warm wind outside and the distinct sniff of heather
and moors and life in general. One of the things I really enjoy about underground stuff is the smell and buzz of life when you emerge from the dark and damp stuff. It's a bit like being born, I should imagine, and coming out of Cateran Hole does have some similar aspects, I think (see the photo )
|Blawearie and distant Cheviot Hills|
After snuggling down in some friendly and deep heather for a relaxed lunch, we progressed along soggy bridleways to Blawearie - a ruined terrace of buildings which may well have been a farm. Blawearie, it seems to me, is a magical spot, ideal for a summer camp-out. There's more to the place than meets the eye, including, apparently, a garden, which we had no hint of. There's some nice green grass for a tent, though.
|Corbie Crag hillfort and LTD sniffing the wind for suspicious pasties|
Just on a bit further was a hill-fort - maybe a fortified settlement, quite typical of similar places up in the Cheviots, but with a double ditch. Quite an effort to defend a small settlement, I think. Again - a nice and breezy spot for a tent in summer. And just below, we explored the little beck and gorge containing Corbie Crag and "Grey Mare's Tail" waterfall, which turned out to be quite small.
|Dawn and Corbie Crag|
A boggy path took us back to Harehope Farm - which seems to be several cottages, and some roadwalking back to the car which was exactly where we'd left it.
This area will likely bear a bit more exploration. It's quite gentle if you stick to the paths and there's the expectation of more interest to be had. And worra crackin place is Blawearie fpr a summer overnight.
I made it 8 miles. Dawn thought it was 9. Lucky's idea was more like 7 and suggested that next time I might take a bonio or something, at least....