Saturday, 18 March 2017

To sea or not to sea........(Northumberland )    March 17th
The tail end of the storm that caused chaos on the eastern seaboard of the USA (but not Canada, it kindly stopped at the border they always do if you watch BBC news.) threatened northern Britain today. The jovial jock on local TV on Thursday suggested Friday  could be wet. We had two walks planned, one in the country and one by the sea. Six of us out, two cars, we met at the entrance to Hulne Park, Alnwick to make a decision. (For Hulne Park see February 14th blog with Cyrillic heading)
The six of us; John x 3, Dave, Harry and me soon came to a decision.
The forecast had changed, the day would be overcast but mainly dry until early evening. So we chose the country and left for Eglingham,  a pretty village north of Alnwick.
Directions: north on the A1, turn off and go through the arch in Alnwick, turn right on the main street, turn left at the castle entrance, drive about five mikes, mostly alongside the wall keeping the riff raff out of Hulne Park. There is some off road parking on the lane going down to the village church.
The map to use is OS Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble and it is advisable to take one, or a laminated photocopied sheet to amuse your daughters. A compass might also be handy! The parking spot is at GR NU106195, and here it is.
Car parking for a few vehicles near the church.

St. Maurice's church, Eglingham. It dates back to the 12 and 13th centuries but was sacked by referendum seeking Scots in 1596 and rebuilt in the 17th century.

Leaving the church we walked down the village street, past the Tankerville Arms, searching for the sign post that would send us on our way. It was hidden by foliage;

Spot the sign post. It says Public Bridleway and Titlington.
Having found the post we followed a poorly marked footpath across fields in a south east direction before coming to Kimmer Lough, a smallish lake with a number of feathered inhabitants.

Friendly  locals and a distant Kimmer Lough.
Beyond the lough we turned south along a muddy track before finding the dilapidated gate below.
Dilapidated gate and distant Jenny's Lantern
Beyond the gate we stumbled over a field of Lauder Grass (qv in Glossary) and heather, slowly ascending to Jenny's Lantern. Not sure whether this ruin is a peel tower or old farm house but on a cold and windy day it made an excellent Herbie Spot.

Jenny's Lantern outside and in. There are two versions of the origin of its name.

Jenny was the farmer's wife and waved a lantern at night to help guide her husband home from the tavern in Eglingham. The sort of wife a man should have.
"Jenny's lantern" is the local term for "will o' the wisp". Of course I prefer the former. For our feast today we shared pork pies, Mars Bars, home made biscuits and the last of my supervised batch of flapjacks. Some of us had soup too, with croutons.
(For anybody following this route Jenny's Lantern here is the one marked on the OS map with a height of 144m, not the Jenny's Lantern Hill to the south west)
Lunch over we headed west, round the end of a plantation, past a small pool with Canada Geese, Grey Lag Geese and teal before reaching this unmarked cairn.
                                     Out of focus pond
                      and unmarked cairn.
 On a previous walk we headed downhill and across fields towards Titlington Mount where we were met by an angry farmer who verbally abused us for trespass and offered an ASBO. This time we took the path downhill across a field with horse jumps made from old tyres until we hit a track, turned left and went to Titlington, which is an equestrian centre and bus station.
From here there is a marked footpath across fields and gently uphill to the road towards Titlington Mount. At the road we turned left and after a few hundred yards found the footpath on the right that went uphill, gently, through Titlington Wood. Emerging from the wood we followed a track across moorland to Titlington Pike, which has a trig point, one of the few we have spotted with a dedication.
                                John and the trig point on Titlington Pike.
From the pike you can see a lot of Northumberland, even on an overcast day. Also visible is Shepherds Law, a monastery. It is, I think, an outpost of the Anglican monastery at Alnmouth.

                               Shepherds Law. It has a fine apse.
From the monastery we headed roughly north past the remains of ancient field systems and boundary walls to Beanley Plantation. The wood has been thinned considerably since the last time we were here but the paths are just as muddy. Emerging from the trees we split in two, amicably. Harry, John Ha. and I crossed a field to a minor road, turned right at bthe end and walked back to Eglingham, passing Eglingham Hall on the way.
John C., John H. and Dave took the footpathto Rigses Fort, a Roman British settlement which is impressive but I don't suppose it has changed much in the five years since I saw it.

Eglingham Hall, built in 1728 and incorporating older houses from the 16th and 17th centuries.
Changed we visited the village pub, the Tankerville Arms. Very friendly and with two real ales on offer, Alnwick Amber and Tyneside Blonde.

The Matrix MMXVII KK
                                                                        steps                          miles
NAK                                                              27717                            10.93
Dave's 3D                                                      22833                            10.05
"" USB                                                          21741                             10.26
"" NAK                                                         21645                             10.24
IPhone                                                          23089                              10.3
etrex                                                                                                      10
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                  10
John C                                                                                                   10.2

Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2017

Friday, 10 March 2017

Go West Tor Old men.(Northumberland)      March 10th.
Another familiar walk. From Hethpool at the entrance to the College Valley and up on to the Newton Tors. I think the College Valley the most beautiful of the Cheviot valleys. Because it is a private valley with limited access it is peaceful, the surrounding hills roll along giving views of the whole Cheviot range. It is possible to drive down the valley but it is necessary to buy a permit from John Sales Estate Agent in Wooler. The permit cost £10. But there is a car park at the entrance, at Hethpool, which is free and the walk starts from there.
To get to the start take A1 north, A697 at Morpeth, drive through Wooler, turn left for Kirknewton at Millfield, pass the memorial to the ancient Saxon capital at Gefryn and turn left at the sign post for Hethpool. Four miles down the minor road and the car park is just beyond the row of cottages.
The map is OS OL 16 The Cheviot Hills.
We did stop for tea/coffee/bacon/scones at the Terrace café in Wooler. Nice and friendly.

                      The cottages at Hethpool. The hall at Hethpool, once the home of Admiral Lord Collingwood, Nelson's number two at Trafalgar offers bed and breakfast. It is at a point just before the cottages.
                        Getting ready in the car park.
We walked on the road going south down the valley. At Cuddystone Hall, the valley community centre there is a memorial to the planes and crews of the RAF and the USAAF who crashed in the area. Some wreckage of some of the planes is still on the hilltops.

                       The memorial and a map indicating crash sites. Sorry for the quality.
A short distance from the memorial the road divides, we took the left fork and walked on to the farm at Southernknowe.

              Southernknowe, and a telephone box! Could be useful, we all failed to get a signal on hitech mobiles. (Cell phones to American readers)
Just beyond the farm a signpost on the left indicates the rough track that climbs uphill to Harelaw. A steep track and muddy after the recent heavy rains. At the junction we headed to the left and walked north to Harelaw which has a cairn, shelter from the wind and superb panoramic views, so we called a Herbie Spot.
                Some snow remains on the gully called the Bizzle.

           Getting ready to move on after lunch, which consisted of Soup for some (with croutons), sandwiches, Mars Bars, cookies, ginger biscuits from Ben, cheese scones from Mrs A and flapjacks from the blogmeister himself. (Supervised by the kitchen elf of course.)
From Harelaw we followed the path along a fence line before turning north east to climb up to Wester Tor, a rocky outcrop.
                                   College Valley from the tors.
After scrambling like teenagers on the rocks we came to our senses and invented a path south east across heather and Lauder Grass (qv in glossary) until we found the track to Easter Tor,  another rocky outcrop looking down on Hethpool. Leaving the tor we spotted half a dozen of the feral goats that inhabit various regions of the Cheviots.
                This blur is actually a goat
                  Hethpool Hall and pool. Heth refers to hillforts, there are several in the valley.
There are good tracks, but muddy from the tors heading north east. At junctions there are low level sign posts. After walking generally East for a mile we turned north east (mile 7) and walked downhill before turning south west and passing Torleehouse farm which has gates eaten by hungry horses or goats.

                  Torleehouse Farm and eaten gates.
From the farm the footpath, now well marked, crosses fields, a wood and scrubland before it reaches the College Burn.
                                         College Burn.
We crossed a few more sheep filled fields before turning sharp right up a farm track and back to the cars.
On the way home we stopped for refreshment at The Shoulder of Mutton in Longhorsley, three ales on offer and a friendly welcome.

Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2017.
The Matrix MMXVII K
                                                                    steps                            miles
NAK                                                           27969                          11.47 (generous)
Dave's 3D                                                   22930                          10.55
""" USB                                                     21112                           9.99
"" NAK                                                      21032                           9.95
IPhone                                                        24326                           10.3
Brian Fourtrek                                                                                 9.77
  ""   Viewranger                                                                             9.35
John C                                                                                             10.4
Ben                                                                                                  9.6
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                             9.8