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A Long Old Wander Through Northumberland

A Long Old Wander Through Northumberland


Postby OpenC » Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:08 pm

Date walked: 19/02/2017

Time taken: 6.75

Distance: 24 km

Ascent: 900m

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Got my girl to drop me off five miles up the road this morning and have just returned from a roundly satisfying 15 mile meander back, taking in the northern hills of Thrunton Woods, Cartington Hill, the Debdon estate, a possibly slightly trespassy look up through Cragside estate to the lakes, then out at the far end and a wander back to my hometown, out on the edge of the prairie (reference for very few or no readers there) via the public footpaths across the fields.

No staggering views but the walk really demonstrated how much Northumberland has to offer to the walker. The only terrain I missed was beaches and high mountains, pretty much everything else was covered - forests, woods, open moorland, hills, lakes, fields and grassy riverside haughs. Loved it, both the navigational challenge and the freedom to go wherever I liked within the constraints of my own endurance.

Was around 24km and 1km ascent, and took a shade under seven hours. Slowed considerably by a path through tangled heather which was definitely on the map not existing on the ground .

So, the aforementioned not-very-interesting pictures. Walks don't always have to be spectacular, though :)

Thrunton Woods, beloved of dog walkers from around my way, as well as mountain bikers and horse riders. After about half an hour, I was able to slip through a little-used gate in a wall to reach..
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..Castle Hill, a strange old place with huge and presumably fairly ancient trees growing out of the crags.
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A steep descent from Castle Hill and similarly steep reascent on the other side passes this strange little cave, almost exactly big enough for a single person to comfortably sit in. Bizarre. The woods past this point are natural rather than being planted for profit, and are much more pleasant to walk through.
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That said, woods are my least favourite thing to walk through (what with them looking pretty much all the same - just loads of trees, really, aren't they) so I was pleased to reach the end and start seeing glimpses of the Cheviots to the North, albeit under cloud.
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The open moorland at the end of the woods was boggy and purgatorial, there's no other way to put it. A path through the heather which I'd been counting on failed to materialise, so there was no option but to just stomp through it, bog and all. Lola was not keen on this bit..
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I found this wall but still no traces of a path. It looked like it was heading basically where I wanted to go, so I just followed it down.
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After 45 minutes floundering around in heather and bog, a bulldozed track like this one is a pleasure to behold (which isn't something I say very often, as a fan of an unspoiled outdoors). You can see the path continuing to Cartington Hill in the distance. I didn't end up using the bulldozed track; there was an easy alternative through the grass to the left.
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Have very rarely been so pleased to finally find a Public Footpath sign :)
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Hedgehope coming out in the distance beyond the small cottage/shooting lodge/bothy of Sunbrough.
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The view back to the Cheviots from just past the summit of Cartington Hill
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Looking the other way from Cartington Hill; that road leads to Debdon and my feet were soaking by here so I couldn't wait to get stood on it. I met a couple - the first people I had seen other than a solitary dude in the distance wandering along the Southern hills of Thrunton Woods - and discussed routes and conditions and just how great Northumberland is in general for ten minutes before I pushed on toward the Debdon estate.
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The immensely pleasing road to Debdon
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From Debdon I crossed the main road into Rothbury and headed into the Cragside estate. Knowing that I wanted to come out at the far end, I climbed all the way to the top of the estate and went past the two big lakes on the top. Also an opportunity to clean and water the dog :) She didn't enjoy Cragside much given that it was all road work so she had to be on her lead, which she's alright with but doesn't really enjoy
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A long, long walk through Cragside and a steep descent down a crag to the now-reopened road which the townies use to get to Rothbury brought me to the farm at Crag End. I was starting to feel it by now and was running low on water so was pleased to see this
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Simonside looking moody in the other direction
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A traditional Northumbrian public footpath through close-fitting gorse and bramble
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So! Very! Close!
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Outstanding feeling to finally get onto the same screen as your home town :lol:
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And, just a mile from home, a heaven-sent rain pond to clean the dog up (she got filthy again before we got back, like)
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Was weary by the time I got back but it was great to just be able to sit down outside and get a beer rather than have to think about a four hour drive home :)
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User avatar
OpenC
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 441
Munros:79   
Donalds:2
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:53
Wainwrights:63   
Joined: Aug 4, 2013
Location: Northumberland

Re: A Long Old Wander Through Northumberland

Postby ChrisW » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:18 am

This looks awesome OC, and a great idea to get dropped off and walk back (I've been thinking of something similar over here but with helicopter drop off into a wilderness area...but the price :shock: ) Anyway, great to see some lovely old woodland, don't knock it mate all we've got is pine forests for thousands of miles :roll: .

Your little dog looks so happy in every shot and full of energy' really enjoyed this mate :clap:
User avatar
ChrisW
Scrambler
 
Posts: 4938
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Joined: Jan 25, 2011
Location: Cochrane- Alberta - Canada

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