It's hard to believe that Langleeford is so close to Wooler and indeed the main roads, because once you drive into the secluded valley and the Cheviots rise above you, it feels like you're a million miles from anywhere. The weather was almost unbelievably fine, and we parked up in time for am 11am start. Rather than follow Harthope Burn and ascend The Cheviot the way other walkers seemed to be, I decided to head up the slopes on my left first and start at Housey Crags. A fairly steep but short and easily-identifiable path leads straight up the hillside to this rocky outcrop, and the views up the valley to Hedgehope Hill and Cheviot were stunning.
View from Housey Crags by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Navigation is not needed on this walk, as there is a clear path all the way. The path led me on to Hedgehope Hill, the first Hewitt of the day. A steep ascent straight up the hillside was followed by a welcome break at the cairn/shelter, with great views of The Cheviot. The path then descends and takes you over boggy ground to Comb Fell. I had read about the infamous bogs in the Cheviots, and for all the weather was hot and dry so conditions were hardly bad, the going was slow and negotiating the hags along this stretch between Comb Fell and Cairn Hill was more arduous than I had thought.
Atop Hedgehope Hill by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Boggy Ground by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Comb Fell, looking back at Hedgehope Hill by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
The path follows the line of the fence down to Scotsman's Knowe (more hags!) before climbing steeply up to the next objective - Cairn Hill.
Hags on the way to Cairn Hill by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
At this point the path joins the Pennine Way and leads up to the summit of The Cheviot. I decided to take a short detour, however - following the flagstone path to Auchope Cairn, with it's impressive views over the crags and down into Hen Hole. I then rejoined the Pennine Way and retraced my steps the mile or so to Scotsman's Cairn. From here the path leads gently up to the summit of The Cheviot. It was nice to be the highest person in Northumberland, albeit for a few short minutes
The Pennine Way by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Auchope Cairn by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
People say the summit of the Cheviot is disappointing, but on a glorious sunny day the views were fantastic, and even better as you leave the trig point and head to the stile before the descent.
The Cheviot Trig Point by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Stile on the summit of The Cheviot by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
The path descends fairly steeply and the ground is mostly rock and scree, but it does level out and the path leads down to what would be my last hill of the day - Scald Hill. Descending The Cheviot affords great views of the surrounding landscape, and north to Scotland. Having done a horseshoe route today, I was rewarded with views of Hedgehope Hill and Housey Crags, before dropping back down into Langleeford.
Descending the Cheviot by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Looking back up at Housey Crags by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
View from Scald Hill by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
All in all, a great day's walking in these beautiful hills. In hot weather the ascents are quite intense, but the views are fantastic, and it's a great way of taking in several Hewitts in one easily-navigable walk. A return trip will hopefully see me wild camping near the Hen Hole and of course tackling the hills I didn't climb today - next stop Windy Gyle?
A final look back at the hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
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