Thursday, 14 January 2016

Middlehope Moor Weardale - Eventually, Winter

On the lane up to the border

Each January, for the last three or four years I've lead a Durham County Council Guided walk from Cowshill in Upper Weardale to the County Boundary with Northumberland, then across some lovely moors with fabby-whiz views of Weardale and alongside the RiverWear back to the start. My motivation for doing this was an occasion, about six years ago when me and Bruno walked the same route in hard winter conditions when the snow was deep and solid, the walking easy, and the sky was blue and, I hoped that at some point, a bunch of Durham CC guided walks punters might experience the same conditions. It's always been cold and often snowy, but never quite the same, as yet.
Driech conditions last Monday (brrr)

I titled the walk "A Shivery Walk to the Border". A bit naff, I suppose, but the walk title has stuck and a few die-hards brave the Neville's Cross traffic lights and the long drive up to Cowshill every year.

Lucky in his new coat on the reccy

LTD and summit cairnette Middlehope Moor 2009 feet amsl

Me and Lucky did the reccy for this last Monday. Lucky was wearing his new toasty dog-jacket, and just as well too, since the weather that day was on the turn from the soaking warm-but-outrageously-wet November and December to a something a bit more snowy and wintery.  Monday's precipitation was still mainly wet, but there was an edge to the cold and occasionally, sometimes, there was stinging bits of snow in the rain. There was snow on the moors too, and I took Lucky to the 2009 foot summit of the moor so he could bag the Nutall. He wasn't specially impressed, though. I could tell.

Weardale/Teesdale ridge from Middlehope Moor
In fact, I used the group shelter for me and LTD for lunch in the folds at Race Head.
Crossing Middlehope Moor

On the Wednesday, fourteen people and Bailey the doglet turned up and the day was a notch colder with less snow but blue skies and a nithering wind. Shivery, in fact.

Wednesday's views of the snow-clad Teesdale/Weardale ridge in particular were stunning and, apart from a few incidents involving deep boggy bits, the walk went well, I think.

Lunch in the sun
It seems that the winter may now have arrived. There was snow on the roof of one of the main drumtowers at Knipetowers this morning and the chains of the drawbridge scattered ice particles all over the postman.
On the Race Head road
And its perishing cold outside.

The walk is 8 miles and there's a map below. Some people with GPS devices thought it was 8.5 miles. I though it was 8.6 if you go to the summit.

And there's some nice samples of fluorspar along the Race Head track - particularly under the roots of a fallen tree in the little wood at the end of the track. I've got a huge lump. And I'm not really bragging....


Dawn said...

A cracking walk Mike

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Oh yes, winter's here. For the moment anyway. My eyes were stinging looking at your photos. As long as the rain holds off..!