20-03-12 Warkworth (Charles Bragg)

North of Druridge – looking south

Total Distance:-        25.9 Km         (16.1 miles)

Ave Speed:-             4.03 Km/Hr    (2.50 mph)                 [9.24 am – 15.50 pm]

Max height:-             39 m            (128 ft)

Total ascent:-           negligible

Charles led, 9 in group.  Leaving the coach just after the roundabout at Ellington, in bright sunshine we headed towards the coast on what turned out to be a very muddy track/path.  In some places, the water spread right across the path so it was easier just to plodge through it.  Approaching the coast, we crossed the path separating the two parts of Cresswell Pond, the wind creating waves on the water’s surface.  After crossing a minor road, a short walk through the dunes brought us onto the beach at Druridge Bay.  With a very low tide, there was plenty of hard sand to walk on as we turned NNW parallel to the dunes.  After a short time we headed to the edge of the dunes where we had our coffee stop.  On our way again, we continued NNW, twice having to cross fast flowing streams of water which fortunately were not too deep although there was not much of Angie’s boots showing above the water at one point.  Looking back down the beach, there were attractive views with the sun glinting off the sea and pools of water.  As we came level with Druridge Bay Country Park, we turned inland and made for the path around Ladyburn Lake.   Unfortunately, unlike the previous week, there were no reflections in the lake as the wind was breaking the surface of the water.  However, the presence of reeds blowing in the wind made for an attractive view.  Arriving at the stepping stones at the NW corner of the lake we were slightly surprised to see that the level of the lake was quite a bit lower than the surface of the stepping stones.  Consequently, we all made it safely across although Angie did take her time.  We later heard that one member of another group had fallen into the water.  As we walked around the lake Charles advised that because we had got off the coach much earlier than expected and made good time up the beach, his planned lunch stop would be delayed, which was probably just as well as the tables at the park were exposed to the wind.  After rounding the headland beside Silver Carrs, we headed to the edge of the dunes where we had our lunch stop, fairly well protected from the wind.  After lunch, we joined the track heading through Low Hauxley before heading back onto the sands after passing through the hamlet.  Continuing NW, we had excellent views of Coquet Island, the lighthouse shining brightly in the sunlight.  We headed through the dunes again as we made our way to the south pier at Amble Harbour.  As the tide was still relatively low, there was no issue with waves over the pier, so we made our way SW along the harbour and through the town.  After crossing the A1068, we continued WSW, initially along the road to the cemetery and then along a narrow footpath to New Hall.  As we approached New Hall the sky became darker and there were some spots of rain.  After crossing a minor road we continued WSW on a footpath,, stopping behind a small wood where we had an afternoon stop in relative shelter from the wind.  After the stop, we headed SW and then turned N.  Near New Barns we joined a tarmac surface and it was here that we had a good view of a rainbow seeing both points where the pot of gold should be.  On reaching Olds Barns, we had an excellent view of Warkworth Castle before we made our way to Howlett Hall and the R Coquet.  Walking alongside the river there was virtually no wind and the river provided a good reflection of the castle.  At the north end of the town we crossed the old bridge and then made our way to the coaches which were parked just off the road leading to the golf club.  Thus ended a very good walk, even if the pace was a bit fast and the wind was an issue when it wasn’t behind us.

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2020-02-18 Wooler (Charles Bragg)


There’s a path here somewhere – just before the dene

Total Distance:-        20.79 Km       (12.9 miles)

Ave Speed:-             3.58Km/Hr    (2.22 mph)                 [9.59 am – 15.47 pm]

Max height:-             287 m            (941 ft)

Total ascent:-           523 m            (1715 ft)

Charles led, 9 in group.  Leaving the coaches at Ingram, we headed north past Reaveley, before turning left into a field.  This was the start of a long slog up the hill against the very strong westerly wind and patches of deep mud.  After the third fence, we turned NW but still climbing until we reached the dilapidated farm house at Reaveleyhill.  This gave us some shelter as we stopped for a coffee.  On our way again, we headed WNW, crossing the Roddam Burn with some difficulty as the surrounding ground was swampy.  Soon after, we turned right onto a bridleway coming from Linhope, crossed a stile and followed an indistinct path heading NNE.  We have had trouble following this route in the past and although our track does not tally exactly with the path on the map, heading more towards the sheepfold and a tin hut, Charles brought us out onto the decent track which heads towards the rough road leading to The Dod.  I remember the first time I came here, probably about 50 years ago, and this was a reasonable metalled road.  Anyhow, we turned NW onto the road and then about 300 m before reaching The Dod  we turned NNE onto a fairly wide earthen track.  Although muddy in places, this was a reasonable track and after crossing the concrete bridge over the Threestone Burn, we continued northwards to Middleton Dean, initially on the track and then on fairly indistinct paths.  After crossing the dene we had a lunch stop on an east facing slope below the Middleton Dean house.  The house had been deserted last time I passed, but was now being renovated and with builders present, it was not opportune to use the wall as a wind-break.  An enjoyable lunch, where most of the group enjoyed a cup of wine and we all had a piece of cake to celebrate my forthcoming birthday.  After lunch we took a rough road NE to South Middleton.  Just as well we had had lunch as there was nowhere there to sit out of the wind.  From South Middleton we headed NNE across the fields, under the electricity pylons to North Middleton.  From there we made for the footbridge next to Coldgate Mill and then turned left into Happy Valley.  An attractive spot, it was a nice walk through the trees, but about 1 Km east of the Carey Burn, the Coldgate Water turns west, ie. right into the wind, so it was hard going until we reached the Carey Burn.  Our progress wasn’t helped by two areas of flooded ground which we managed to cross with some difficulty.  We followed the Carey Burn for a short distance before turning off to climb NNE up to Earlehillhead.  This was to prove my undoing.  Having had problems with my left knee for most of the walk, climbing the hill, I now found that I had little strength left in my legs and was finding it difficult keeping up with the group.  After passing just to the north of Wooler Common, we turned north towards Browns Law.  As we headed down towards the stream, I thought, I cannot manage another hill, I’d best go straight into Wooler along the road past the nature reserve.  Calling to Charles, I told him of my plan and John B agreed to accompany me.  We then had a leisurely walk down into Wooler although the steep descent at the end killed my knee.  The rest of the group continued by heading north to Humbleton before turning east to Wooler.  As torrential rain started shortly after they arrived at the outskirts of Wooler, if I had delayed them and caused them to suffer a soaking I would not have been popular so I probably made the best decision for them as well as myself.  It was a shame about the wind and my leg problems as, it spoilt a very good walk.

PS – The next day my knee felt OK and my legs were better than they normally are after a walk so apparently no long-term issues.

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2019-12-19 Richmond (Charles Bragg)

Approaching Catterick Bridge

Total Distance:-       18.95 Km      (11.78 miles)

Ave Speed:-            3.34 Km/Hr   (2.08 mph)                 [10.07 am – 15.47 pm]

Max height:-            193 m           (633 ft)

Total ascent:-          359 m           (11784 ft)

32 in joint group (led by Charles, Dave, Jeff), 8 in subsequent group led by Charles.  There was a good selection of Christmas headgear including Moaty’s brussel sprout hat – trust him to think of food.  Leaving the coaches at Skeeby Grange, the three combined groups headed SE initially along the road but then on a bridleway which was quite muddy.  This was to be the order of the day, overcast sky, although dry until the last half hour, but mainly muddy underfoot.  After another stretch southwards along a minor road, we eventually reached Brompton Bridge.  By this time Angela’s daughter, Helen’s, ears must have been burning.  After several years of Helen trying to persuade nurse Angela to have a flu jab, she had eventually relented the previous day and having had both flu and pneumonia jabs was complaining bitterly about her sore arm.  However, we carried on, following the R Swale downstream past Brompton on Swale.  Several comments were passed re the volume of water in the river and the speed at which it was flowing.  “You would just have to go with the flow” was one comment.  As we were walking on grass at this point, it was quite wet with mud in places.  Reaching Catterick Br, we crossed the river via the old railway bridge.  We saw Catterick racecourse and then headed west along the south bank of the river.  On reaching Colburn most of us noticed that the pub was open but it seemed that the 3 leaders were oblivious to the fact and this is from the one leader who is tea-total.  After crossing the Colburn Beck, the underfoot conditions became worse as we were walking across fairly wet grassy fields.  It was also around this area that the frequency of stiles increased.  Just before reaching Hagg Farm, the leaders decided to stop for lunch on a grassy bank dotted with muddy patches.  With everyone having brought food to share around, we all had a good feed but we were pleased to get on the move again as the wind became stronger and colder.  At this point, the 3 groups split up and Charles led his group past Hagg Farm and through part of Park Wood.  Above Iron Banks, the mud became worse, particularly where there were gates or stiles.  However the fact that we could see Richmond on the opposite bank of the river gave us hope.  After passing Holly House we headed NW and down to Boggy Lane.  Fortunately we were only on this lane for a very short distance as it lives up to its name.  However, the path we took westwards to the south of Round Howe Wood was just as bad and by now Angie had become thoroughly miserable due to her painful arm compounded by having to walk thro mud and across stile after stile.  By this time, dusk was starting to encroach so Charles decided to shorten the walk and we headed down towards the river and then took the higher footpath back eastwards towards Richmond Br.  I guess the lower footpath across the rocks would have been under water.  The rain had started at this point so we hurried across the bridge and up to the buses parked near the cricket ground.

Not one of Charles’ better walks but that was due to the conditions and I doubt if any of the leaders received much praise at the end of their walk.

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2019-11-14 Saltburn (Charles Bragg)

Entering Great Ayton Moor

Total Distance:-       23.8 Km        (14.8 miles)

Ave Speed:-            3.60 Km/Hr   (2.24 mph)              [10.09 am – 16.48 pm ]

Max height:-            307 m           (1010 ft)

Total ascent:-          644 m           (2112 ft)


Charles led, 7 in group. Leaving the coaches at the Cross Keys pub on the A171 on a rather overcast but dry morning, we initially headed south to the route of the disused railway line.  From there we headed east on an excellent path through Pinchinthorpe, where we had a coffee stop, and on to Hutton Gate.  Taking a track heading SE through Bousdale Woods, we then joined the road heading to Hutton Village.  Just before reaching the village we turned off the road onto a track which swung around to a southerly then SW direction through Hutton Lowcross woods.  Leaving the woods, we headed ENE on good, if somewhat wet, paths across the wide open moor, eventually arriving at Highcliffe Nab.  As ever, even under the grey skies, there were excellent views over the woods to Guisborough and beyond, especially to the east.  At first, I couldn’t believe that we were still only level with Guisborough and not further east!  Our route then took us along good paths/tracks on the Cleveland Way through Guisborough Woods during which we found a good spot to stop for lunch.  Reaching Spa Wood, we had a pleasant walk through the trees and the fallen leaves while descending to the A171 at Slapewath.  Crossing the A171 near the pub (Charles refused to take us in for a second lunch!!) we left the Cleveland Way and headed NE along the Cleveland Street footpath.  It has to be said that this was not as good as the Cleveland Way as the recent heavy rain had made the footpath very muddy.  Charles was certainly not gaining brownie points at this stage, although it is fair to say that there were probably very few paths free of mud on the day.  Passing to the north of Boosbeck, we reached the minor road heading into Skelton Green.  At this point, Charles put on a loop heading on a footpath towards N Skelton and then returning westwards to the outskirts of Skelton Green.  It became obvious that Charles was now endeavouring to build up his brownie points as we were walking on good solid surfaces. Things improved further as we rejoined the Cleveland Way and headed into Skelton and through the streets of a housing estate.  After crossing the A174, we descended into the woods alongside Skelton Beck and crossed the beck beside the viaduct carrying the railway line.  This area was quite attractive with yellow leaved trees on both sides of the beck.  There was also an additional point of interest in that a workman was suspended from the top of the viaduct apparently making repairs.  As we continued on the Cleveland Way I was surprised that the footpaths were in such good condition.  It might have been expected that following the recent bad weather they would be in the same condition as the Cleveland Street footpath but this path was much better.  As we headed to the mouth of the dene in the fading light, we lost the shelter of the trees from an increasing wind.  At the sea front, the wind was whipping up the sea and we were grateful for the nearby Ship Inn and the adjacent coaches.

A good walk with the exception of the muddy bits in the middle.  Excellent views from the Cleveland Way above Guisborough.

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2019-06-04 Askrigg (Charles Bragg)

Total Distance:-           23.4 Km           (14.5 ml)

Ave Speed:-                3.79 Km/hr      (2.34 mph)       [11.01  am – 17.11 pm]

Max Elevation             301 m              (987 ft)

Total ascent:-              612 m              (2007 ft)

Charles led, 4 in group.  Alighting from the bus in Poole in Wharfdale, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the weather was somewhat better than forecast.  Heading up the A658 we climbed to the southern edge of Poole before turning west along a good path.  This involved a further climb as we headed for the top of Pool Bank where we crossed the A660 to join the Dales Way along the top of Calay Crags and into Calay Deer Park.  Although the sky above was fairly overcast, there was occasional sunshine and we had excellent views across Wharfdale and looking backwards, distant views of the Wharfdale Viaduct and Almscliff Crag.  We stopped in the forest for coffee and then it was on our way again thro Chevin Forest Park until we joined a minor road for a short distance.  Leaving the road we followed the combined Dales Way/Ebor Way westwards above The Chevin.  This provided more excellent views of Wharfdale and as we headed further west, a good view of the “undulating” runway at Leeds – Bradford airport.  At Beacon Hill we had a lunch stop, with the huge vista of Wharfdale in front of us.  As we entered the wood at the west end of Guiseley Moor, a succession of mid-size planes flew low over our heads en-route for the runway we had seen a few minutes earlier.  Joining the road, we continued westwards thro Chevin End and into Menston.  As we passed thro the streets of this urban area, the cloud thickened and by the time we had reached Burley Woodhead, light rain was falling.  Charles had elected to take a path alongside Carr Beck and as we climbed onto the moor the rain became slightly heavier.  Meanwhile, Jeff’s group, who we had passed in Menston, were seen below us, having taken a lower level path.  After crossing Coldstone Beck, the path became less obvious and we took a short cut to rejoin the Dales/Ebor Way.  Although rather a rough path, we headed NW towards the Cow & Calf rocks although we couldn’t see them until almost level with the hotel of the same name.   Walking around the back of the rocks we descended slightly on a path heading west and then stopped in the adjacent woods for a tea stop, Dave W’s group already being there.  By the time we were on our way again, the rain had become heavier and we hurried eastwards across the road and then the golf course.  We then descended down Ben Rhyding Drive past some very attractive and no doubt expensive houses, eventually arriving at Ben Rhyding Station.  If the railway had gone through Askwith, we no doubt would have jumped on the next train as by this time the rain had become torrential.  Just before reaching the A65 and then on the A65, we saw two very near misses with cars cutting across other cars.  Anyhow, with some difficulty we crossed the single track Denton Bridge and made our way along the very busy minor road past Crook and to the pub at Askwith.  With no pavement, torrential rain and a surprising number of inconsiderate drivers, it was not the optimum way to finish a walk.  An overall enjoyable walk with some excellent views earlier in the day was unfortunately spoilt by the rain and the long road walk at the end.  However, a full change of clothes on the bus, followed by a “sprint” across the pub car park to relax with a drink, did improve matters.

To see the route (red line) click on  19-06-04 Askrigg

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2019-05-29 Waterhead (Charles Bragg)

At Loughrigg trig point

Total Distance:-           20.1 Km           (12.5 ml)

Ave Speed:-                3.42 Km/hr      (2.13 mph)       [11.32  am – 17.25 pm]

Max Elevation             335 m              (1099 ft)

Total ascent:-              804 m              (2637 ft)

Leaving the bus at the Grasmere car park under a very overcast sky, we headed SE past Dove Cottage and onto White Moss Common.  Leaving the Coffin Route, we descended a rough path to the car park on the A591.  Crossing the road we then had a coffee stop near the river before crossing it. We then headed south before climbing up to Loughrigg Terrace.  The view, while still interesting, was marred by the low cloud and consequent poor visibility.  Towards the SW end of the terrace we began the climb to the top of Loughrigg.  This is a tough climb although to watch the large numbers of youngsters moving quickly over the rough rock steps, both up and down, was somewhat upsetting, particularly for myself who was struggling to keep anywhere close to the group.  It has to be said, being overweight is not conducive to climbing up steep paths.  Anyhow, I eventually managed to join the rest of the group at the trig point. Unfortunately by this time we were experiencing frequent periods of drizzle so the descent from Loughrigg to the WSW was slightly tricky on the wet rock.  At the bottom of the descent we headed for the road, having a lunch stop just before reaching the road.  After crossing a field, we then took the road into Elterwater where we briefly met up with Rob’s group.   After passing the hall we climbed SW up a track which Angie and John know well.  Evidently it is more difficult in the early afternoon cf. early morning, ask them for an explanation!!.   At this point, it was suggested that Angie took over the lead from Charles because of her local knowledge but she declined.  Before reaching Dale End we turned left on a good path which brought us down to Wilson Place.  Another good path brought us down to Stang End where we joined the Cumbria Way and headed east to Colwith Force.  The drizzle mentioned earlier, had by now turned to fairly heavy rain so that our afternoon stop above the waterfall consisted of soggy sarnies.  The fall however is quite impressive, more so imo. than Skelwith Force which we reached a further 1.5 Km eastwards.  At Skelwith Br., because of the rain, Charles offered us the option to head straight to Waterhead or keep to his original route via Loughrigg Tarn.  Being brave souls, we opted for the Tarn.  So we headed north on tracks/footpaths over Little Loughrigg to Crag Head.  As we then walked around Loughrigg Tarn, Angie was almost in tears as we looked across the tarn to see her beloved Langadales only to see a grey murk and getting wet into the bargain.  Around Ivy Crag, we then headed eastwards via Brow Head Farm to join the road into Ambleside.  Heading south on this road we bypassed Ambleside and arrived at the Watersedge inn at Waterhead.

A good walk despite the mainly atrocious weather.  I suspect the views would have been excellent given some sunshine.

To see the route (red line) click on  19-05-23  Belford

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2019-03-20 Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge (Charles Bragg)

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After lunch at Church Houses

Total Distance:-               23.38 Km         (14.53 miles)

Ave Speed:-                     3.90 Km/hr      (2.42 mph)

[10.55 am – 16.55 pm]

Max height:-                    407 m                (1335 ft)

Total ascent:-                   468 m                (1535 ft)

Charles led.  7 in group.  We left the bus at the Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge in beautiful sunshine although there was a fairly cool strong wind.  After passing the north side of the pub, we headed westwards and downhill on a rough path until we reached the track of the old mineral railway.  This provided an excellent surface for walking as we zig-zagged across Farndale moor with excellent views south down into Farndale.  Further along there were good views to the north up the Esk Valley.  Ignoring a RoW which I had tried to find on a previous walk, Charles continued westwards until he arrived at quite a good wide grassy path marked on the 25K map by a black dotted line.  This proved to be a good path allowing an easy descent to Elm House.  At this point we joined the minor road heading SE down Farndale.   As we walked down the valley, the views across the valley to the SW were arguably even better than those seen earlier from above.  At Minthorpe Houses there was an excellent display of daffodils and aubretia.  Continuing SE, we arrived at Church Houses where we made our way to the seats outside the church to have lunch.  We enjoyed an excellent lunch in warm sunshine, enhanced by Pam providing wine and cakes in celebration of her forthcoming big birthday.   After lunch, and after photos amongst the daffodils, we left the road and made our way down Farndale on a good footpath.  Unfortunately many of the daffs were not yet in flower, but it was still a pleasant walk alongside the River Dove.  At Low Mill we turned east and then started a steep climb to Cragg Cottage.  As with the descent into Farndale, Charles found a much better ascent out of the dale than we had used previously. On the map, this initially followed an RoW but then a black dotted line FP.  Reaching the road along Blakey Ridge, we headed north for almost 1 Km and then turned NE across the moor.  Again, this proved to be a much better path than we had used previously and it brought us easily to the old mineral railway above Rosedale.  Once again there were excellent views as we looked down into Rosedale.  Heading NNW along the track of the old railway, the sun picked out features on the far side of the valley including the two calcining kilns.  After an afternoon stop overlooking the north end of the valley, we continued NW for a while before leaving the track for a footpath leading to the Lion Inn.  As we made the short climb up the path, we were deafened by a couple of jets heading up the valley and then swooping low over us.  For some, an hour in the pub then ended an excellent day, good walking surfaces and some brilliant scenery capped by excellent sunny weather.

Peter Bell

To see the route (red line) click on  19-03-20 Lion Inn


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