Tuesday 18 June 2019

Long Walks:: The Cheviot 6

This was yet another walk in our programme of monthly
At 09:00 on Sunday morning, as the world was apparently still asleep, me, Li Yang, Marie, Lucky The Dog and Bramble The Other Dog gathered at Hartside in the Ingram Valley to have a go at bagging all six of the Cheviots 2000 - foot tops.

Our first was Hedgehope Hill - 714m - which, being at the start, involved the longest climb. But, apart from Bramble being a bit distracted by some grouse hiding in the heather, went smoothly and we progressed fairly easily if a bit boggily to Comb Fell 652 m, marked by a big stick on the top.

 I made a bit of a mess of route selection on the next bit and, after more bogs, we descended into rough stuff - deep heather and heathery gullies which eventually brought us to the bealach between Comb Fell and The Cheviot. Following the fence might have been easier. Or it might not...

We lunched briefly at Scotsman's Cairn, out of the chilly breeze, before plodding along the Lancashire Mill slabs to the summit of The Cheviot, at 815 metres, our high point. This was occupied by several walkers from Seaham who were keen to talk about attacks by ticks and how far everybody was walking today.

From Scotsman's Cairn it's 4 miles to Windy Gyle and this goes fairly easily on more stone slabs. At the Clennel Street crossing we met a gorgeous/handsome(according to Marie) Scottish lad and we all took pictures of each other before heading to the top of Windy Gyle, our fourth top at 619 metres. Second lunch time.

Onwards and downwards to Uswayford Farm including an attempt on one of Northumberland's comedy rights of way - a bridleway through the corner of some forestry, well blocked with wind-blown trees and impossible to get through without a chain saw. So we went around. It rained a bit at Uswayford but we were soon bashing our way up and out of the valley for...

...our fifth top - Bloodybush Edge at 610 metres. It should really be called Squishybush Edge, although there's not much of an edge, really, it being a very rounded hill and close by... was our final top - Cushat Law at 615 metres. At least this has a cairn in which to shelter and scoff the final few cashew nuts lurking in a pocket with some fluff and some empty poo bags....

We ended by a long downhill plod , mainly on tracks to Alnham Moor farm and then on tarmac to our cars which were exactly where we'd left them and for which I still had a car key (see previous post)

The whole thing was 23 miles and 5065 feet of ascent, taking eleven and a half hours, which may seem slow, but it was mainly fairly rough going and , frankly, we didn't rush and stopped for several chats with other walkers.

We have more jollies like this planned....

Saturday 8 June 2019

When You Lose Your Car Key - Askham

Me and LTD went to Askham - a bijoux village quite near Lowther Castle with 2 pubs, a shop/café and a swimming pool (!) and, most importantly, a car park where they ask for donations and suggest just one English Pound.

The weather was, on the whole, a bit ropey. It was that fine, driving drizzle that gets you really really wet. I put a waterproof jacket on but not the overtrousers. Cos I don't really get on with overtrousers. We bagged Heughscar Hill - a Wainwright Outlier well populated with people with dogs.
We progressed, damply, to the Cockpit - a  stone circle where, nearby, a couple were searching in vain for the Roman Road. GPS said it was 30 metres away. But it wasn't. There was a thin path heading off in the correct direction, but it wasn't very close to High Street. They followed it anyway.

We further progressed, this time a bit more wetly to White Pike and then Arthurs Pike where it was lunchtime. The drizzle here was driving harder and we were now in the hill-fog. We sheltered in my lovely big orange group shelter where it was warm and steamy. The camera lens seamed up. The dog steamed up. I had to take my specs off.

Having done some serious damage to an egg and tomato butty, a banana, some cashew nuts and a piece of 74% cocoa chocolate, we braved the spray and abandoned our plans to head up any higher and, instead, trogged off Eastwards for the bagging of the obscure but lovely 406 metre lump they call "Knotts" . It was here that the day's sunny interval happened. Not for long...

Having now successfully stymied my plan for a lovely long walk in the sunshine, the weather dried up. So I visited various ancient cairns, the cop stone (should be the cop stone key, surely...) and one with a stone cist in it- and returned to the car..where...

My bum bag, where I keep the car key, was very light on the it's usual number of ignition keys, by a factor of one. I emptied it onto the car park. No key. I searched all my pockets and looked around the car park. Keyless.  The shortage of important keys continued unabated. Bugger. The spare was on the sideboard in the Large Buttery back at Pietowers - some seventy miles away. Again - bugger. It occurred to me that the most likely place for me to have lost the key was by some trees up Heughscar Hill - which is where I put my raincoat on. We retraced. Not there. An intermittent phone signal to Mrs K made arrangements for her to bring me the key - she couldn't leave straight away, though and it would be three or four hours wait. There were 2 pubs and a café - so, not so bad. I returned to Askham and enquired at the shop/café , one of the pubs and the swimming pool. Everybody was friendly and helpful but nobody had received a car key. I returned to the knipemobile and, from a distance, noticed something resting on a rear tyre. It was my key. Somebody had found it, probably tested which car it was from, hadn't had it away with the car or stolen my Beatles Rock and Roll cd, and had put it on the car for me to find. I rang Mrs K as soon as I got a proper signal - just by the A6, in fact.

I am now a great fan of the village of Askham and the shop does bacon butties and nice coffee too, so....  The lesson, of course is to use the little clip inside the bum bag which is for putting your keys on. Dhuhhh...