Attentive walkers may remember that I’m trying to do a 20+ mile walk each month in the ru8n-up to this year’s TGO challenge (I might well continue afterwards as it happens) This also suits various other peeps who seem to enjoy joining in.
Sooooo January’s 20-miler was a traverse of the four hills in County Durham categorised as “Deweys”. These are hills between 500 and 610 metres with 30 metres of re-ascent on all sides. And they’re fairly close together, ranged, as they are, on the Northern side of Weardale’s watershed. The list is as follows: Dry Rigg (an ironic, or, possibly sarcastic name) – just above Rookhope; Bolt’s Law, Horseshoe Hill and Collier Law.
Linking these together from a start at the Dales Centre in Stanhope involves a walk of around 22 of the Queen’s miles.
So, five of us turned up at 08:00 in the dark at Stanhope – plus doggies Bailey and Lucky The Dog – and we stumbled off into a lively headwind up by the River Wear to Eastgate and then , by Bolt’s Burn to Rookhope for lunch#1 in the bus shelter there.
The crux. or at least, the first crux of the walk is the ascent to the wathershed ridge by following the line of the lead-smelter’s flue (aka “chimney” which runs for a mile and a half up the hillside above Lintzgarth. The summit is a short splosh away over bogs and tussocks.
The traverse to Bolt’s Law is fairly straightforward by following paths beside the fence or from the road to the summit where the wind was specially fierce for some reason. We found a sheltered and sunny spot beside a shelter a little way down the hill for lunch#2. It was here that Bailey and LTD decided to have a fight. I suspect it was Lucky’s idea cos he’s Just That Sort of Dog.
The old railway line which rinhs to Parkhead will be familiar to Coast-to-Coast cyclists and this gave us an easy but long (and a bit dull) trundle to Parkhead and then down the hill a bit towards Stanhope, with an intervening short but brutal up-and-down climb for the bagging of Horseshoe Hill where the weather seemed to be brightening but cooling quite a bit.
Finally, quarry tracks took us to the top of Collier Law and, in fading light, we descended to Stanhope on steep grouse-shooters tracks.
The next Long Walk is on 3 February, probably from Wolsingham Station. It has become traditional (quite quickly) to do these long walks on the second Sunday in the month, but me and Dawn are in Wales on the 10th; there’s a ceilidh in Nottingham on the 16th, which precludes a walk in the North-East on the 17th and I’m leading a Wolsingham Wayfarers walk on the 24th (fab walk by the way – Coldberry Gutter from Bowlees – be there or be square, innit… and it’s free…)
I must say that I’m quite enjoying these long walks, apart from the stupidly early getting-up. I’m not finding them too taxing although LTD was limping quite a bit on Sunday night. He seems to be OK now and he’s had a very lazy day today. I’ll keep an eye on him. Maybe 20 miles is his limit, but there was a fair amount of hard tracks on Sunday. We’ll see…….