Total Distance:- 22.6 Km (14.0 miles)
Ave Speed:- 3.58 Km/Hr (2.23 mph) [9.59 am – 16.18 pm]
Max height:- 221 m (725 ft)
Total ascent:- 309 m (1014 ft)
Peter led, 4 in group. Leaving the coach at the junction of the B6342 and Carriers Way, we headed down the Lane (a good track) towards East Hallington Reservoir. As we walked across the end of the reservoir, the view to the SW was magnificent with the background of trees in silhouette giving a perfect reflection in the totally still water of the reservoir. As we passed through the gate and headed along the SE bank of the east reservoir there were more excellent views formed by the blue sky and white cloud, the still water, the reeds and the trees. We all agreed that this was one of the best starts to a walk we had ever experienced. Before reaching the first dam we had our coffee break sat in the open, grateful for the total absence of any wind. We then walked along the second dam from which the Hallington Burn flows before walking across the dam between the east and west reservoirs. All the way around, the views were excellent, particularly due to the reflections. After heading around two sides of the west reservoir, I looked for the track down to Liddell Hall. As usual, the two renegades were in front and refused to join me on what seemed like a muddy track, being convinced there would be a better way ahead. After continuing another 100 m or so around the top of the reservoir it was obvious there was no way down so we found a rough route back towards the track I had seen. On reaching it, there was soon a fork and as the left fork seemed to peter out, I opted for the right fork as it seemed to be turning in the correct direction. What a mistake!!! The path soon disappeared and after forcing our way through shrubs and waste forest, we came to a wire fence topped by barbed wire. Suffice to say, the girls did not wish to climb the fence so we followed the fence right around the perimeter of the wood until we were back at our starting point. With the assistance of a mole catcher, we were directed onto the original left fork which brought us out at Liddell Hall. From the hall, we followed a path eastwards which for the most part was fairly good although there were two or three very wet/muddy stretches particularly when crossing the Small Burn. On reaching Hallington, we headed south along a minor road (St Oswalds Way) which climbed gently up to a memorial at a cross roads. The concrete base was ideal for our lunch stop. On our way again, we continued climbing up the road towards New Bingfield after which we joined a rough track for a further climb up St Oswalds Way. As the ground levelled out, the path became quite indistinct but we found the gate where the two paths separated and taking the left path through the gate we made our way on a gentle descent to the farm at Click’em in. As we were well behind time due to our perambles through the wood, Tom suggested we miss out Great Whittington and head straight for Matfen. This we did and had an easy walk along a minor road while watching young lambs in the fields. A seat and a concrete plinth provided a spot for our afternoon stop in Matfen and then we were on our way again, heading east on what was initially a minor road but which deteriorated gradually and by the time we reached Fenwick Shield was a track. We followed the track past the attractive buildings and then took a path curving away to the NE. Tom reckoned this path would be wet as there were drainage channels marked nearby on the map and he was correct. However we soon reached the road leading into Stamfordham where we washed our boots in a horse trough during which Angela slipped and landed on her back, fortunately her rucksack preventing any serious injury. An excellent start to the walk with mixed enjoyment thereafter.
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