The Stang is not a County Durham racing driver staying incognito as he drives a reasonably priced car around a disused airfield covered in old tyres, but a bit of forestry on the Northern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park – just in County Durham, in fact. It’s navigation from the tumbleweeds drifting down the main drag in Barningham provides one of the dullest bits of walking in County Durham, unless, of course, you’re with the Wednesday-Saturday Walking Group (aka Wednesday walkers walking on Saturdays) diffidently lead by LTD, followed two metres later on the othe rend of an extendable lead by Yours Truly (who was supposed to be leading the walk) AND in the teeth of the tail end of Storm Gertrude who was determined to prevent walkers from walking anywhere with any dignity.
Thus, a steeply-angled (at about 45 degrees) walking group of nine people and three dogs batterred along into a viciously nithering headwind, occasionally accompanied by short but lively blizzards. The mind-numbingly boring road walk
was enlivened by sophisticated conversation on such subjects as thye effect of sheep subsidies on the local agricultural economy and which well-know celebrity would be next to meet his (or her) maker) wasn’t even accompanied by any lively conversation, since speaking above the roar of the hurricane and in the teeth of flying pellets of stinging snow was utterly impossible.
So, it was with some relief that we eventually acheived the shelter of the trees of The Stang.
Suddenly, just after passing through the hamlet of East Hope/Far East Hope, we turned left in favour of forest tracks heading towards the Barningham Moors, lunching in an unusually warm and sunny spot just on the edge.
Oddly enough, the moor proved to be less of a fight for survival than expected and the howling nither had calmed itself into a lively blow, hardly even disturbing the rythm of the walkers heading ungrumblingly (made up word) up over the steep edge towards the trig and ancient cairn which provides the 447 metres high point of the walk. This provides a cracking view of a huge lump County Durham and substantial bits of Teeside and the North Yorks Moors and group photos were taken.
Another series of vicious little snowstorms began once again and saw us off the top to follow the wall and the new estate roads back to Barningham. These are a mess, frankly, and do nothing to beautiify the place, although , it could be argued that beautification is less of a motivation than the transport of people with far too much money and a desire to kill things up to the grouse butts and, of course, the huge sums of cash they spend on buying the day’s shooting plus the scoff and booze they consume whilst they’re at it.
Me and LTD did the reccy for this walk in much more benign conditions a couple of days earlier in the little gap provided just after Frank and before Gertrude.
The walk is 8 miles. I got it out of a badly-written guidebook about walks in The North Pennines.
If anybody else’s pictures arrive in my in-box, I’ll probably publish them as well by the way.