Friday, 11 December 2015

Northumberland - Darden Rigg

Key Heugh from Darden Rigg

Blogger and Livewriter are playing silly buggers again, so this post is written in Blogger, which isn't as pretty as livewriter. I suspect its got something to do with my new phone which accesses google and has various extra security levels which defeat livewriter. Its annoying anyway. I may have to migrate the blog to wordpress or something....

Anyway.. here goes
LTD and Dawn on the way up

Walkers wandering along the beautiful and interesting Simonside ridge overlooking Rothbury have the option of continuing through the heather, bogs and tussocks to Darden Rigg and beyond. They’d have to be fairly tough, though whilst at the same time having an affinity for some quite hard work.

There’s an easier way to get to Darden Rigg, though, from a little layby on the road between Eldon and Hebble from where a sign announces that a circular walk of some four-and-a-half miles to Darden Lough is available with the opportunity to carry on to Simonside. What it doesn’t say is that carrying on to Simonside would be hard work and you’d have to get back again.
Darden Pike

Our plan (Me and Dawn’s and ratified by Lucky The Dog) was to go up the left wing of the circular walk to Darden Lough and either follow the forest boundary fence to the 407m Darden Rigg summit or to find a way through the forest should the fenceline prove too rough or the fence too high to get the dog over.

The ridge towards Simonside

Both Darden Loughs

So, with the low winter sun in our eyes and a wutheringly biting wind in our faces, and to the sound of heavy artillery fire from the ranges just over there ---> we slithered off through the post-Desmond mud on a clear but narrow path through the deep heather to Darden Pike where we had a break in the shelter of the summit hillock and snuggled down in the deep heather.  Meanwhile LTD did some shivering. Darden Pike has a fine cairn and a trig pillar, is close to Darden Lough, a wind-blown and beautifully bleak little tarn, and is, perhaps a bit more interesting than Darden Rigg itself.

Little Darden Lough in late afternoon light

Some rough-stuff followed as far as the forest fence, which was found to be low, devoid of barbed wire and easily crossed, and a bit of a track alongside.
We passed Little Darden Lough – just a  smaller but equally bleak version of “Big” Darden Lough and fairly easily  along the ridge to the high point – a piece of heather higher than the other pieces of heather – and back to an ancient cairn fashioned into a square shelter for lunch.
Darden Lough

After retracing to Little Darden Lough, where Dawn disappeared briefly into a hole doing minor, but probably, painful damage to an ankle,  we took the other wing of the circular walk back to the start. This was sloppy and slippery at the same time.

On the way down
 The other, probably easier option for the bagging of Darden Rigg, would be to use the bridleway from Hepple Whitefield farm to the  forest edge and then the forest road which passes close to the summit on it’s South side. This gives all kinds of problems for a return route, though, unless you want to return the same way. So our route was better, see?


Dawn said...

It was a nice day out, apart from the ricked ankle.

Chrissie said...

just read about this on Dawn's blog - I hate those invisible holes.....

John J said...

Aye, they're a just can't see 'em. That's how they got their name y'know.

Anonymous said...

That heather looks like hard work.