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Hedgehope Hill

Hedgehope Hill


Postby OpenC » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:08 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Hedgehope Hill

Date walked: 11/01/2016

Time taken: 3.5

Distance: 12 km

Ascent: 650m

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Inspired by Guinnessman's efforts, I felt the need to get out but it was something a bit more bucolic for me; a genuine Northumbrian classic hillwalking day, and on Hedgehope, the hill that started it all for me, and happily only 25 minutes from my door. Had an unplanned day off work and was guessing I'd have to spend most of it arguing with doctors. As it happened, business was resolved fairly quickly and on the drive back from Rothbury with blue skies, no wind and glinting new snow on the highest tops of Cheviot and Hedgehope, it was fairly clear that I was going to have to go walking :)

The path from the top of the Ingram / Breamish valley is well known to a lot of North East scenery lovers as the way to the fabled (but disappointing if you ask me) Linhope Spout, one of very few waterfalls in the Cheviots. However, the more intrepid can carry on past that path on estate tracks to tackle Hedgehope, second highest of the Cheviots at 714m and the source of the burn which feeds the aforementioned Linhope Spout.

Leaving the car at the road end, you're already in fairly deserted countryside with the steep-sided Breamish Valley behind blocking any sign of civilisation. Some of the smaller central Cheviot hills are around here, like Shill Moor. The long downhill start to the day is a grim portent for how the day will end.
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At Linhope itself, the map and situation on the ground aren't entirely clear. The path looks like it continues straight through the grounds of whatever big old house is at the bottom of the road, but the actual footpath takes a left and circumvents that house, climbing round the side of Ritto Hill. At the top of this fairly steep and rough little path, the path to Linhope Spout branches right and in summer this is where you'd leave the crowd (most of whom will be thinking that you're lost). A couple of yards further up the hill and you see Hedgehope properly for the first time.
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Crossing the grouse moor for around a kilometre and crossing a river brings you to the foot of Hedgehope and the start of the ascent proper, with around 400m of climbing to do.
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The track is for farm vehicles, really, and after rain it is filthy :)
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The stony top dome of Hedgehope keeps disappearing from view but feels, encouragingly, much closer every time it reappears.
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There's no doubt where Cheviot itself is in conditions like this; that extra 100m obviously makes all the difference
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The views of the National Park as you approach the summit are great - as long as you like wide open spaces and no pointy mountains :)
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The top cairn is across a couple of hundred metres of gently tilted plateau which was today frozen solid and difficult to walk across (left my crampons at home thinking I wouldn't need them). Hedgehope is one of very few hills in the Cheviots that feels like it comes to a definite top, and this huge cairn is visible from miles and miles away as a tiny nipple on the top of the hill :)
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Cheviot from Hedgehope - that extra hundred metres again, the snowline was fairly easy to place at around 675 - 700m today
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Hedgehope does not have spectacular views, alas, although it's the best of the Cheviots for viewing South East Northumberland. So instead, a bit of summit ambience:
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The National Park on the way back down. This place doesn't have the drama of other upland areas, but it has a feel all its own which most closely resembles the Southern Cairngorms
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The easiest way down is to reverse the route of ascent but it leaves you with a half hour uphill road walk to end your day, which is obviously not ideal. There are plenty of alternatives to make things more circular, though - particularly going by Dunmoor Hill and its crags in dry conditions is a good way to avoid that reascent on the road at the start (although of course you have to ascend Dunmoor instead, which is much the finer option).

Conditions were awkwardly soft then slippery today so it took me a bit more than three and a half hours; I should imagine most reasonably fit folk would do it in closer to three. A true Northumbrian classic to much the finer of the two high Cheviots, and an option for anybody whose family wants to go for a picnic to Linhope Spout and won't mind you disappearing for an hour and a half :)
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OpenC
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 441
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Location: Northumberland

Re: Hedgehope Hill

Postby Guinessman » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:45 pm

Like it OC, good trip report and it looks as though you had a perfect Cheviot day for it. It's been too long for me since I've been on Hedgehope which as you know is one of my favourites as well. Ill have to get up there soon.
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Guinessman
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Re: Hedgehope Hill

Postby trailmasher » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:35 pm

Great report, great pics, :clap: and a great hill :)
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trailmasher
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Re: Hedgehope Hill

Postby ancancha » Tue Jan 12, 2016 1:27 pm

You got some nice colour in the photos there OpenC :clap:
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ancancha
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Re: Hedgehope Hill

Postby ChrisW » Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:49 pm

Lovely to see the rolling hills of home, the view from the top is beautiful and your shots really do justice to some great countryside. I like the hoar frost shots too, great stuff :clap:
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