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A Dog Walk With A View: Windy Gyle

A Dog Walk With A View: Windy Gyle


Postby OpenC » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:54 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Windy Gyle

Date walked: 20/10/2013

Time taken: 2.5

Distance: 9 km

Ascent: 400m

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Lola, the new cocker, has been getting increasingly frantic around the house and appears to be suffering from a surfeit of energy. It was clearly time for her first proper day in the hills. So, I packed all three of them into the car and headed for my favourite dog walk: Windy Gyle in the Cheviots, one of the best viewpoints in England (although it's not: the summit is in Scotland).

It's a remote hill, one of the most out-of-the-way of the Cheviots, and there are lots of ways to get there and lots of ways to get off. Today, I went the short "just a dog walk" way, and I record it here for posterity and on the off-chance that it might inspire anybody in this area who fancies heading for the heights but doesn't have the time/energy/enthusiasm to do a big five or six hour loop.

The first fifteen minutes are spent walking along the private road to the old (abandoned?) farmhouse at Trows. This part of the walk is alongside a sparkling burn and hemmed in by a shallow but steep-sided valley; it's not very photogenic, though, and so it goes unrecorded here.

After passing the farmhouse and getting onto the hillside, things start to improve.

The start of the track
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The path up the hill is never overwhelmingly steep, and I would imagine that even non-walkers would find it easy enough (with appropriate rests for the purpose of puffing and blowing, of course). This is also a surprisingly dry part of the Cheviots, with none of the bottomless pools of bubbling peat which bedevil the two higher hills to the East. Even after a couple of days of heavy rain, the ground is reasonably solid under your feet.

Windy Gyle from just above the start of the track
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The path heads up across open access land which is used for sheep and cattle. My dogs have now been bellowed at enough times, and chased by enough tups and bulls, to steer clear of them. The views over the rest of the Cheviots get more and more impressive (if bare rolling hills are your thing) as height is gained.

Path, including the final ascent
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Border Ridge
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Finally, after an easy hour of walking, you reach the fence that marks the border between England and Scotland, and see the gigantic cairn that tops the hill. I guess at this point they'll have to build a passport control, depending on the vote next year.

Welcome to Scotland
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Windy Gyle Summit Cairn
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The best thing about this route, as opposed to other ways up Windy Gyle, is that the majestic view into Scotland from the top is hidden until the very, very end. You get an idea of the landscape you're about to see, but until you arrive at the summit cairn, the best is hidden.

Cheviot Hills (Cheviot on the right, looking better from here than it does from the South)
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Detail of the Schil
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Summit Cairn
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Unfortunately, after five minutes on the top the Ordnance Survey went to the Meteorological Deed Poll office and officially changed the name of the hill to Windy And Rainy Gyle, and no more pictures were taken...

..except for this one, to commemorate Lola's first summit
Image

The quick descent is by the same route, and rounds off a lovely little dog walk. I'm biased, because it's just half an hour from my house - but on the right sort of day, I find it impossible to think that anybody would be disappointed by a look up to this unassuming little hill, and given the options to extend the route, anybody near the North East of England who hasn't yet tried it really should give it a go.
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OpenC
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Re: A Dog Walk With A View: Windy Gyle

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:52 pm

That looks a lovely and tempting outing, looks easy enough to turn into a circular as well. Fair drive for me to get up there but certainly worth putting on my "to do" list.
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Re: A Dog Walk With A View: Windy Gyle

Postby OpenC » Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:06 pm

The obvious (and great) circular version is to start further down the road at Barrowburn, head up to the border via Middle Hill through the forest and then the side of Hazely Law, to join the Pennine Way at the Border Gate up from Cocklawfoot. You can then either come down the way I did or (even better) continue West on the Pennine Way and come down via Black Braes and Swineside Law, which also reduces the road walking. That's the only problem with longer circuits - they tend to have an enforced finish back down the road, which can take the edge off things (not that it's a busy road by any means). That makes it a nice five-hour-or so stretch. The best "middle" option is up the way I describe above, and down by Black Braes which drops you straight onto your car, with no road finish at all :)

Save it for a day with clear skies and you won't regret it (and I'd almost guarantee that you'll see three or four other people maximum the whole day). It's a wonderful place; best part of the Cheviots in my humble opinion.
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Re: A Dog Walk With A View: Windy Gyle

Postby Border Reiver » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:37 pm

Enjoyed that report and photos of my home county. Sadly, other than climbing Cheviot 3 times, I've barely walked in that area. Yes, I know it's beautiful, with wide open spaces, but the pull of Scotland has always been greater.
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Border Reiver
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Re: A Dog Walk With A View: Windy Gyle

Postby OpenC » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:41 pm

Oh, and for me too. But when you can only get away after midday in October, there's only so much you can do in Scotland :)
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OpenC
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Re: A Dog Walk With A View: Windy Gyle

Postby brianandkay » Mon Sep 26, 2016 2:16 pm

A great walk. Your description tempted us to ty try this route, following a long and arduous walk the previous day, and we weren't disappointed. Lovely grassy path underfoot, great views, no steep climbs and just 2.5 hours there and back.
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Re: A Dog Walk With A View: Windy Gyle

Postby OpenC » Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:28 pm

It's still my favourite easy-ish walk in Northumberland (and Scotland). I'm lucky to live so nearby (probably been up and down another five or six times since I posted this) :) Pleased you enjoyed it. Did you see any other people..? Despite it being part of the Pennine Way and despite the majestic views, it's a very quiet hill usually.
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OpenC
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Re: A Dog Walk With A View: Windy Gyle

Postby ChrisW » Wed Sep 28, 2016 4:40 am

Good stuff OC, love those views (yeah rolling hills are my thing :wink: ) best shot is still those 3 doggies all living the life a dog should live, I'll bet that new cocker can't believe her luck :clap:
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Re: A Dog Walk With A View: Windy Gyle

Postby OpenC » Wed Sep 28, 2016 4:51 pm

Lola is 3 now and has 20 or so Munros to her name :) the other two have reached the time of life when the really big walks leave them sore for days (like me) so they don't get out so much any more, although they got around Cairn Gorm and the corries ok last month :)
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