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Triple tour of Northumberland & Southern Upland Bothy’s.
by mountainstar » Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:58 pm
Date walked: 05/03/20145 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Triple tour of Northumberland & Southern Upland Bothy’s.
I decided it was about time I added a few more Border Bothy’s to my portfolio. My first plan was to do Tunskeen, the furthest west of my planned Bothy trip, but with wet weather forecasted for Western Scotland on the first couple of days, I changed my plans at the 11th hour and decided to ditch Tunskeen and head for another Bothy I hadn’t done before Wainhope further east in Northumberland.
So with food, drink and the essential coal packed ready for the following days, I set off from Wales at 10am for the 200 mile drive north.
Wed 5th March 2014.
Wainhope Bothy from Kielder.
8k/5m. Ascent 202m.
Weather. Cloudy with a few spots of rain.
I reached the village of Kielder at 3.50pm. The sky as leaden and cloudy, but at least it was dry for my walk.
A track follows the reservoir for a few kilos then turns left up a forest road. I chose the road to the east of the Plashetts burn, but on my return I walked the western track, which I think would have been the best option both ways.
After about 1.45 hours I reached the fine looking Bothy, which is probably an old farmstead, it has 2 rooms to choose from, I chose the left room which seemed a slightly more cosy room.
Wainhope (4) by mountainman55, on Flickr
Wainhope (5) by mountainman55, on Flickr
The LHS room.
Wainhope (6) by mountainman55, on Flickr
The RHS Room.
My first task was to saw up some wood for the night to go with the large bag of coal I had carried in. After that task it was time to light the fire for the evening, No one else turned up so a quiet night was enjoyed by the fire.
Wainhope (3) by mountainman55, on Flickr
Wainhope to Kielder.
7.20k, 4.48m. Decent 112m.
Weather. Cloudy again, some fine drizzle.
With no hurry today I had a nice lie in until about 9am. 45 minutes later I was packed and off then back at Kielder 1.30 hrs later.
Wainhope (2) by mountainman55, on Flickr
The Bothy as I left.
Wainhope by mountainman55, on Flickr
I drove to the Borders town of Hawick, where I met up with a Walkhighlands buddy Stuart (Radman) for a beer in Wetherspoons.
As I left Hawick the rain set in for the rest of the day.
Dryfehead from Waterhead.
6.33k/4m. Ascent 225m.
Waterproofs on I left the road-end at Waterhead to follow the forest tracks past the remote lodge called Finniegill, which I was surprised to see occupied. I noted a bridge across the river just past the house, but I was unsure if I would be able to walk up the west bank of the river with the forest so close to the river on that side, in retrospect I wished I had gone with that option. After 1.5km I met a big problem where the track crosses the river…with no bridge , I imagine that this crossing is normally just a paddle, but not today with the heavy rain that had fallen in the last few hours. I walked further up the river to find if there was a better place to cross, but thick fir trees down to the edge of the riverbank blocked my progress. I had 2 options, turn back…that was dismissed as I was so so close to the Bothy…my second option…boots and trousers off and wade through …At least I had my 2 walking poles with me, without them I would not have attempted it at all. In true Bear Grylls style I just went for it, in at knee height to start, it was very cold and very fast flowing, I edged slowly across, and slowly it got deeper, one slip and I would have been in serious trouble, to say the least! By the time I was almost touching the far bank it had got to its deepest…just below the crown jewels! ...and unfortunately the water was also above my dangling boots (with socks inside) so they ended up full of icy water…bugger! One last step and a oh so welcome grab of the river bank and I had made it, Bear would have been proud! (Apart for the soaking boots and socks that is!) By now the light was fading and I was so wet and cold, but I knew that the Bothy was only about 10 minuets away from the crossing. Wet socks, boots and waterproofs back on and I marched on in haste of finding the haven of shelter and warmth. What a welcome sight when it came into view. Even more welcome was the large pile of wood stacked on either side of the stove, in record time I had the fire going…absolute bliss! What had become an almost desperate situation had now melted away as I changed into dry clothes, had some hot soup and a hot meal whilst listening to some good music…all was good again. After a couple of hours even my soaking socks were dry with the cracking fire I had going that evening (another bag of coal carried in…so well worth the extra weight)
Dryfehead (2) by mountainman55, on Flickr
Warming up nicely.
The rain continued well into the early morning, studying the map I contemplated my options for the walk out, either wade through the river again, possibly even deeper, or follow the much longer and higher windy forest road back out…I chose the second option.
Dryfehead to Waterhead.
11k/6.6m. Ascent 284m. Decent 394m.
Weather. Mainly dry, just a few rain and sleet showers.
Dryfehead (3) by mountainman55, on Flickr
Dryfehead in the morning.
Dryfehead by mountainman55, on Flickr
After another nice lie in until 9am, I set off at 9.50am, at last the rain had stopped, but the river was still swollen…the forest track it was then, it sweeps high and around the Finniegill burn, eventually joining my upward track south of the Finniegill Lodge. I was back at the car in 2.15hrs. Time to move westward, and as I drove the sun started to make an appearance for the first time over the past few days.
Burleywag from Michellslacks.
4.5k/3m. Ascent 175m.
Weather. Mainly sunny.
I parked near the farm at Michellslacks and set off at 3pm, once past the farm the path climbs slowly uphill, in very pleasant scenery, and thankfully no forests to block the views.
Mitchellstacks by mountainman55, on Flickr
Burleywhag track by mountainman55, on Flickr
The track up hill.
After 3km it passes two ruined houses high up the Glen, both look as if they were lived-in in the not too distant past.
Burleywhag track (2) by mountainman55, on Flickr
The two ruined houses.
The Bothy sits in a grand situation, next to a winding burn and surrounded by fine looking hills, more like a Highland scene than the rolling hills of the Southern Uplands.
Burleywhag by mountainman55, on Flickr
Burleywhag (5) by mountainman55, on Flickr
Burleywhag (4) by mountainman55, on Flickr
Burleywhag (3) by mountainman55, on Flickr
Burleywhag (2) by mountainman55, on Flickr
And the Bothy itself was a little gem, it has two rooms, one is a storeroom. Again I was pleased and surprised to find a good store of wood and bags of coal left. But again I had my bag of coal and a few planks of wood I had carried for the ruins to last me the evening.
Burleywhag, inside by mountainman55, on Flickr
It had taken me 1.20 hrs to reach the Bothy in the lovely sunshine, once the sun had set behind the hillside I lit the fire for the evening and life was good again.
Burleywhag (6) by mountainman55, on Flickr
A friend on Facebook commented on this picture…
“What a romantic!”
I replied “Aye...but stood up again!”
His comeback “That's sheep for you Alan!”
Thanks Paul! lol
Burleywhag (7) by mountainman55, on Flickr
Burleywhag (8) by mountainman55, on Flickr
All stood up on my lonesome!
It remained clear during the night with a slight frost; the stars looked magnificent when I popped out for the call of nature in the wee hours.
Burleywag to Michellslacks.
4.5k/3m. Decent 175m.
Weather. Cloudy and light rain.
Today I was heading home, so decided to get up early, hopefully for some nice sunrise pictures, but when I got up in the twilight at 5.40am the stars were no longer in view, and the sunrise was a grey damp squid. Soon after leaving at 6.40am it started to rain, at least it was easier heading home with the weather change, I would have hated leaving under blue skies.
I was back at the car in around 1 hr and home again in about 3.30hrs, it had been a great raid north to bag these lovely Bothys, and I will be back!
I've done a short video of the trip, watch it here....
by Border Reiver » Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:40 am
I think the Forestry people used Wainhope as a materials store for a while.
by SusieThePensioner » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:26 pm
Pity about the weather at the start of your trip but then you can't always expect sun all the time Although there are some who always seem to have good weather whenever they walk (eg. PP)
by Gable Gable End » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:27 pm
by mountainstar » Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:57 am
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