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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Bowden Doors and St Cuthberts Cave

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Me and Dawn and LTD had a nice little trundle around a bit of the Kyloe Hills very recently – a small group of fairly low but rocky and interesting lumps – or that should be Tumps just to the left of Lindisfarne and to the right of the Cheviot hills.
There’s a small National Trust car park, signposted “St Cutthroats Cuthbert’s Cave” just by Holburn Grange farm which we used as a starting point just because it was a good place to start a walk.
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First up was the cave. Apparently, this is reputed to be where St Cuthbert’s body was rested overnight on it’s way to Durham Cathedral. Those familiar with the story of St Cuthbert will appreciate that he didn’t go straing to Durham but was paraded around the North of England for quite a while before actually being installed in a shrine there. People in Durham are specially fond of St Cuthbert it seems. The people who’s last bivied there and left litter and the remains of a campfire were less fond, apparently.
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Our first Tump was Greensheen Hill – a heathery lump with a fine view of Lindisfarne to the left and the Cheviot Hills to the right (depending on which way you are facing, obviously) This pleasant spot has a little rocky and unnamed top which provides a similar view, the opportunity for some mild scrambling and a chance for one’s pooch to lick the face and ears of a complete stranger having a snooze in the heather. She accepted my apologies with good grace, I’m happy to say. Still, it’s better to have a dog who does things like that rather than one who likes to take a nip out of strangers.
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Onwards and backwards (we retraced a bit) for the bagging of Cockenheugh. Cockenheugh’s top is at the junction of derelict walls deep in the woods. This provided a bit of a challenge, as did the location of a key bridleway which lay deep in vegetation well guarded by hordes of blackfly.
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We wandered further and accidentally found the right path which goes through to Colour Heugh aka Back Bowden Doors. This is a fabulously beautiful sandstone crag some forty feet high containing overhangs, slabs and corners of all shapes and sizes and facing West into the sun. The picture immediately above appears to be “Holly Tree Corner” mild vs 4b and th fluings to the left of the deep corner contain the finishes to “The Arches”  Very Severe 5a and “Hard Reign” 5c.  They’re all too hard for me anyway.
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And so, after a little wander across Dancing Green Hill, we traversed the top of Bowden Doors in a shower. We didn’t see much of the crag, but my Northumberland climbers guide  - and it’s a fairly old guide, runs to ten pages plus crag diagrams. Maybe we should have explored this a bit more…
St Cuthbert’s Way brought us back to the car park.
Just about 7 miles for 3 Tumps. It felt further, for some reason…
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Dawn Linney said...

It was a grand wee walk Mike.

Tony Bennett said...

The cave was featured in an episode of Vera not so long back.

And any route on Northumberland sandstone is too hard as far as I am concerned. It's just a horrible rock to climb on! The whin sill dolerite under Hadrian's wall is better. At least it has some decent holds.

Chrissie Crowther said...

Just told Dawn, St Cuthbert's Cave wasn't spooky enough when Dixie and I walked The Way. She was very disappointed. I saw it on Vera, too.