Thursday, 15 January 2015

Weardale/Middlehope Moor Guided Walk

setting off in sunshine
Me and Lucky did the reccy for this walk about a week ago in breezy but sunny and cold conditions. In the Durham County Council guided walks leaflet, the event is titled “A Shivery Walk to the Border” – the border being the County boundary with Northumberland and the shivery bit being the fact that its at a fairly high level and its in January.
shivery reccy 001
middlehope moor
So I was a little bit gruntled that the night before the walk it snowed and blew a hoolie and there were dire warnings on from the met office and various of the more hysterical newspapers concerning the start of a new ice age complete with stranded council gritters,and either walls of ice and snow and the reappearance of a number of  bad-tempered woolly mammoths or raging floods and tornados.  This kind of loose talk was bound to put off people travelling from the tropical climes of places such as Brandon and Shiney Row for the dangerously iced-up Upper Weardale. As it happened, thirteen people turned up including stewards Compulsory Jane and Voluntary Clare. It was, however, nithering but sunny. And quite beautiful.
the british are coming!
...seem cheerful....
As we climbed towards the border, it started to snow and the wind was rising again. The “shivery” part of the walk title was thus fulfilled. We battled to the gate at the summit and then wandered off along the contouring right of way towards Sedling Rake, passing our camping spot of the other day and only falling through the ice into the smelly black icy watery stuff a couple of times.
snowing again - sedling rake
snow blowing over the wall - sedling rake
Just above Sedling Rake, we were met by Matt who stayed with us for the next 3 miles to Ireshopeburn. We lunched in a brief spell  of sunshine in the sheep pens at the head of Sedling Vein at which point the blizzard started again as we followed Sedling Rake to the road and down to Newhouses. Some of Matt’s pics are included in this blogpost.
We followed the Weardale Way back to Cowshill – a gentle riverside ramble to complete eight and a bit miles (It says 9 in the walks brochure)
lucky on middlehope moor
lucky lunches in the big orange bag thingy
On the reccy, Lucky enjoyed being off the lead for much of the time, once I’d realised there were no sheep about and generally walked to heel even though I’d have been happy to have him run about a bit. But there are pregnant ewes in the intakes and fields, so, for everybody’s peace of mind, he had to be on a short lead where there were sheep. This stopped him getting into bother with some farm dogs but didn’t stop him being attacked by a fairly venerable but beefy collie from some stables. Lucky for lucky,the dog only managed to get a mouthful of Lucky’s jacket and, probably, lucky for the collie, Lucky seemed totally unaware that he’d been attacked. (He seems to be a master of the pre-emptive strike on dogs which seem to be aggressive and so far has put two farm collies and a fox hound to flight just by the element of surprise – he doesn’t signal his intentions in any way. But no harm done so far – he’s never actually connected up to now)  Anyway, next time I go that way with my liddle dog, I’ll be packing a water pistol! (They don’t like it, y’know)



Dawn said...

Awesome stuff Mike!

Unknown said...

Looked rather nice, that!
Tilly doesn't like a water pistol....