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Shillhope Law

Shillhope Law


Postby nigheandonn » Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:12 pm

Date walked: 29/12/2016

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This was an adventure which I'd looked at for a while but which almost didn't happen - I was sitting on the 8am train south, one of the few which stops at Alnmouth, when they announced that the engine had broken down and everyone should get on the 8.30 train instead. Would it stop at Alnmouth? No, they said, but the next train which did wasn't going to get me onto the Coquetdale bus, so I decided I was better off heading straight to Wooler from Berwick. Only at Berwick the train suddenly decided it was stopping at Alnmouth after all, and there I was.

The bus up Coquetdale runs three times a week - the same loop from Rothbury twice each day, four hours apart - and it was just luck that this was a Thursday when it ran. The journey from Alnwick to Rothbury was already glorious - I love this middle strip of Northumberland, neither the coast nor the hills, possibly more than either of the others.

But I was heading for the hills, and the bus dropped me at Alwinton at quarter past 11 - I was the only one to get off the bus, but there were more people than I expected coming from cars.

This first part of the valley was quite broad and flat, but pretty in the sunshine. I'd perfectly happy wandering about the farmlands of the Borders, so I was surprised by just how excited I got when I came past the first little pointy hills.

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Heading up Coquetdale

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The first hills

I was heading for Shillhope Law, which caught my eye because it's a Marilyn - which more importantly makes it the highest of the little summits around.

Naismith in the route planner (whose name I can never remember - was it Neidpath or Laidlaw or...) had told me it would take 2 hours and 8 minutes to go up and 1 hour and 49 minutes to come down, and I'm usually slow on hills, so the quicker I got along the road the better - he also said that it would be quicker to go over the hill path than round by the road, so I toiled up the slope, passing a group who were taking it more gently but who didn't have a bus to catch.

It's a slightly confusing place, with the clearest path on the ground heading up towards the summit of Green Side, but once I realised this was wrong I looked around and found that right way was marked with a post. The only other problem here was a tiny bog which pulled off my shoe despite not being much bigger than my foot, but I retrieved it and headed on.

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Over the pass

From up here there was a good view up the wiggly river. It seemed a shame to go all the way down again, but there were a few more side valleys between me and my goal.

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Up the river

At least the path didn't climb the next hill, but contoured round it. The next again was more or less the same but with added cows, so I dropped down into the sheep field below to come out at Shillmoor, which seemed to be half farm and half army store.

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Contouring

The path throws you out on the road between the farm and the next house before you know what's going on, but I could see where I needed to be so could work out how to get there, turning up the army's track which soon split in two, the main track heading on into the valley and the one I wanted heading uphill.

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Tracks on Shillhope Law

From higher up the slope there was a good view of the interlocking hills beside the Usway burn.

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Over the Usway Burn

(The sideways sheep wasn't really meant to be in the photo, but it seemed to want to be.)

The track climbs quite steeply at first, following a succession of fences, but it's one of those hills with steep sides and a fairly flat top, so at least the worst of it was over fairly early on. Up on the top there are two rounded summits with not much dip between them.

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Summits

Most of the top is a nice grassy track, although it got a bit rougher and wetter towards the main summit. The track leads on past the trig point, but there didn't see to be any path turning off towards it, so I cut over towards the summit, picking up a rough track again after a while.

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First sight of the summit

I reached the summit about quarter past 1, which pleased me - I'm never ahead of time when hillwalking, and although it's not a race usually, I was racing the bus today! The shelter round the trig point was a bit damp inside, but I managed to find a stone to sit on.

Although it's the highest point the summit is so flat that the views are actually better from the way up, when you can see into the valleys - but there were still nicely extensive views over the firing range and up to the bigger Cheviot hills, although it was clouding over quite a bit round the edges.

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Shillhope Law summit

I'm not keen on descending the same way, but I didn't really have a choice here - and down was simple, because all my difficulty on the way up had been the slow toiling kind, not the clambering kind.

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Descending

I had plenty of time to go back down by the road and vary the route a bit. From the bridge the road up the valley looked very tempting - there's something about a road between hills that I find hard to resist, even if I know it goes nowhere.

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Back on the road

The road winds down to cross the river between a cluster of farms, and below a nice dramatic landslip place. It was interesting to see from below the places where I'd crossed the edges of the hills on the way out.

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Linbriggs

Back in the village I even had time for a quick drink - although the bus messed with my plans by turning up more than 10 minutes early (I suppose the driver knew he had all his return passengers, but I'm sorry for any new people who'd been trying to catch it! He told me he wouldn't have left without me, though.)


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nigheandonn
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Re: Shillhope Law

Postby ChrisW » Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:08 am

This looked a lovely hike in equally lovely conditions well except for...........
The only other problem here was a tiny bog which pulled off my shoe despite not being much bigger than my foot,
:lol: :lol:

I'm surprised the bus went early, in fact I'm always surprised when the bus is on time :roll: :lol: :lol:
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ChrisW
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Re: Shillhope Law

Postby nigheandonn » Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:34 am

I have a bad habit of taking off my shoes without undoing the laces, so I suppose they're in practice - but I was still surprised! And by the bus too, although it did race round the roads.
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nigheandonn
Wanderer
 
Posts: 665
Munros:6   Corbetts:4
Grahams:3   Donalds:16
Sub 2000:14   Hewitts:79
Wainwrights:141   
Joined: Jul 7, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

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