Another trundle through the Pennines

Hewitts: Viewing Hill, Westernhope Moor

Date walked: 21/05/2018

Time taken: 1.9 hours

Distance: 10.5km

Ascent: 185m

Hewitts: Viewing Hill, Westernhope Moor.
Date: 20/05/2018.
Distance: 5 km + 5.5 km.
Ascent: 105m + 80m.
Time: 50 minutes + 1 hour.
Weather: Warm, overcast, some sunny spells.
A couple of short walks breaking up an 85 mile cycle from Haltwhistle to Sunderland

Last time I cycled through the northern Pennines was at the beginning of December, on my first weekend living in the NE, so it seemed fitting to bookend my time here with another similar pedal. There were of course a couple of easy 2000 footers that could be picked off from high passes, which made my route more interesting and convoluted!

Cycle route map

An upside of the recent Northern Rail timetable reshuffle is direct Sunday trains between Sunderland and Carlisle - could've done with that a few months ago! I was off the train at Haltwhistle shortly after 11am pedalling south into a warm breeze. Although I knew I would be battling the wind for the first part of the day, it was nowhere near as bad as most of the gales I've been cycling in all winter thankfully.

Cold Fell from near Haltwhistle

There is actually an old railway repurposed as a cycle route between Haltwhistle and Alston, but I preferred the back roads with their ups and downs and sweeping views. Some steep ascents and descents put me briefly on the main road at Slaggyford, before crossing back over the South Tyne and going up and down again.

South Tyne near Slaggyford

I had only been going for a little over an hour but I thought cafes might be in short supply on my journey, so I pulled into a tea shop in Alston for some tea and cake. As usual, food was followed by lots of uphill!


Garrigill and Tyne Head

I decided that Viewing Hill would be my first short bag of the day. The climb up to Tyne Head past the Burnhope ski area was long but not overly steep, and I was soon crossing the peat hags towards my summit. Except I had screwed up and stopped about a mile too early, and was walking towards a different pile of heather! Fortunately I spotted my mistake after 5 minutes or so.

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Back off the bike a few minutes later, it was an easy approach to the hill along a good track, before veering off into hag central. Fortunately having been so dry recently, I was able to reach the summit without getting wet. Well, there were views of sorts, but not really what you might expect for a summit called Viewing Hill. The sense of remoteness was quite noticeable though - the area to the west of here must be one of the biggest expanses of nothing in England.

The Dun Fells and Cross Fell from near Viewing Hill

][url=https://flic.kr/p/26hMBpG]Cow Green Reservoir and Mickle Fell from Viewing Hill

Trying to take a shortcut back, I managed to find a wet bit of the moorland. Back at the track, I wondered why I hadn't thought of cycling this bit - could've saved myself 20 minutes or so.

Back on the bike, the descent into upper Teesdale was exhilarating and the sun came out a bit more. As I dropped further down the valley, the road became busier, particularly as I passed the carpark for High Force. I stopped here and dropped quickly down to the river - I didn't go all the way to the falls but the gorge was nice, if rather busy.

Descending into Teesdale

Upper Teesdale

Below High Force on the Tees

Un-named waterfall on the Tees

At Newbiggin, it was time to turn off the busy road and cross over to Weardale. a long, gentle climb with practically no traffic took me to a cattle grid at almost exactly 2000ft. From here I decided I just about had time to walk out to the second Hewitt of the day - Westernhope Moor.

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Ooh, exciting - the plateau to Westernhope Moor

Unsurprisingly, the walk was pretty unexciting, following a decent track next to a wall at first, before hopping over hags and bogs - this hill wasn't so dry! The best way to experience these hills is in a complete deep-freeze as I'd had back in late February, but even then I hadn't fancied adding this one onto the end of a 24 mile bog traverse!

Chapelfell Top from Westernhope Moor

West from Westernhope Moor

...then back to the bike. I think I've spent too much time on these sort of hills recently, so probably a good thing that I'm off back to Inverness - if I ever do get around to the rest of the Hewitts, I'll need a good long break from them first!

At the summit of the Swinhopehead pass

Still, the main draw of the day was the cycling, and that was top notch. A rapid descent down Swinhope reminded me that I really needed to sort my brakes out again, then there was a lovely evening blast along Weardale to Stanhope.

Descent through Swinhope

Although I still had a lot of distance to cover, there was only one big climb left out of Stanhope. Having gone this way before Christmas, I knew it was a real bugger low down, with a 1 in 5 gasp through Crawleybank, before levelling off a bit on the moorland above. I burnt off a lycra-clad 'proper' cyclist here, which made me feel good :lol: .

The reward of this climb is a long open descent to Waskerley, which I enjoyed. Unlike last time however, I decided to use the C2C cycle route after the initial descent -this would lead me all the way back to Sunderland with little in the way of up and down, since it follows the line of an old railway off the moors. On my last visit here (and on another attempt in February), the cycle route was full of snowdrifts and unusable.

Hisehope Reservoir

Smiddy Shaw reservoir and the road down to Waskerley

After crossing the Hownsgill Viaduct, I entered Consett by a retail park and decided to head to an open petrol station to get a bottle of water. It was approaching 7pm now and I was keen to get back to Sunderland before dark as I hadn't got around to replacing a set of bike lights which were stolen a few weeks ago. I thought it should be possible.

Derwent Valley from Hownsgill Viaduct

Around Consett and Annfield Plain, the route is a bit crap, with far too many gates, road crossings and twisty bits to make decent progress, but after that it was an easy gradual descent to Sunderland. The worst thing about the cycle path was that it was a constant tunnel of vegetation and a complete greenfly magnet - they were all over me!

Aagggh - greenflies!

Fortunately as the evening cooled, the flies were less intense, and before long I was at Cox Green, which is the closest thing to a pleasant secluded corner that Sunderland has. I got off the C2C here and crossed the Wear, picking up another cycle path on the south side, which led me home quicker.

River Wear at Cox Green

Now back to Scotland for some proper hills!

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Comments: 2

A stroll in the Yorkshire Dales

Attachment(s) Hewitts: Darnbrook Fell, Fountains Fell, Gragareth, Great Coum, Ingleborough, Pen-y-ghent, Plover Hill, Simon Fell, Whernside
Date walked: 13/05/2018
Distance: 75.5km
Ascent: 2830m
Comments: 6
Views: 180

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Attachment(s) Corbetts: Beinn Damh
Date walked: 07/05/2018
Distance: 11km
Ascent: 1010m
Comments: 3
Views: 237

Slightly unplanned: Strathfarrar Munros traverse

Attachment(s) Munros: Carn nan Gobhar (Strathfarrar), Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, Sgurr na Ruaidhe
Date walked: 05/05/2018
Distance: 22km
Ascent: 1650m
Comments: 4
Views: 382

A fine day on the Manor Hills

Attachment(s) Donalds: Cramalt Craig, Dollar Law, Drumelzier Law, Middle Hill, Pykestone Hill
Sub 2000s: White Meldon
Date walked: 29/04/2018
Distance: 28km
Ascent: 1540m
Comments: 2
Views: 184

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Attachment(s) Corbetts: White Coomb
Donalds: Erie Hill , Garelet Dod, Lochcraig Head , White Coomb
Date walked: 28/04/2018
Distance: 21km
Ascent: 1150m
Views: 101

Snowdonia part 2: Y Garn and Foel-goch

Attachment(s) Hewitts: Foel-goch (Glyders), Y Garn (Glyders)
Date walked: 24/04/2018
Distance: 7.5km
Ascent: 750m
Comments: 1
Views: 120

Snowdonia part 1: Barmouth to Beddgelert with Moel-y-Gest

Attachment(s) Date walked: 22/04/2018
Distance: 4.5km
Ascent: 230m
Views: 89

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Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Cruachan Min
Date walked: 16/04/2018
Distance: 8.5km
Ascent: 470m
Comments: 4
Views: 214

Craignure Meet Part 1 - Magnetic Meanderings

Attachment(s) Grahams: Ben Buie, Creach Beinn
Sub 2000s: Carn Ban (Mull)
Date walked: 14/04/2018
Distance: 19.5km
Ascent: 1690m
Comments: 3
Views: 235


User avatar
Location: Inverness/Sunderland
Occupation: Civil Engineer
Interests: Walking, Scrambling, Cycling, Mountain Biking
Munro rounds: 1
Corbett rounds: 1
Graham rounds: 1

Munros: 282
Corbetts: 222
Grahams: 219
Donalds: 67
Wainwrights: 102
Hewitts: 254
Sub 2000: 200

Filter reports



Trips: 26
Distance: 600 km
Ascent: 30495m
Munros: 7
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 5
Donalds: 21
Sub2000s: 7
Hewitts: 49
Wainwrights 20


Trips: 59
Distance: 1009.8 km
Ascent: 54765m
Munros: 27
Corbetts: 11
Grahams: 9
Sub2000s: 36
Hewitts: 23
Wainwrights 9


Trips: 55
Distance: 1132.8 km
Ascent: 59985m
Munros: 18
Corbetts: 20
Grahams: 20
Donalds: 4
Sub2000s: 33


Trips: 50
Distance: 1009 km
Ascent: 58815m
Munros: 10
Corbetts: 18
Grahams: 35
Donalds: 5
Sub2000s: 26


Trips: 52
Distance: 1143 km
Ascent: 56245m
Munros: 11
Corbetts: 23
Grahams: 43
Donalds: 33
Sub2000s: 23


Trips: 45
Distance: 1121.2 km
Ascent: 52310m
Munros: 9
Corbetts: 23
Grahams: 36
Sub2000s: 26


Trips: 61
Distance: 1911.9 km
Ascent: 64050m
Corbetts: 8
Grahams: 16
Sub2000s: 19
Hewitts: 95
Wainwrights 16


Trips: 49
Distance: 867.2 km
Ascent: 45165m
Munros: 5
Corbetts: 21
Grahams: 31
Sub2000s: 11
Hewitts: 18


Trips: 45
Distance: 987.3 km
Ascent: 49290m
Munros: 7
Corbetts: 33
Grahams: 32
Sub2000s: 10
Hewitts: 4


Trips: 43
Distance: 741 km
Ascent: 35725m
Munros: 8
Corbetts: 35
Grahams: 14
Sub2000s: 5
Hewitts: 1


Trips: 47
Distance: 540.5 km
Ascent: 37865m
Munros: 15
Corbetts: 22
Grahams: 18
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 6


Trips: 40
Distance: 471.5 km
Ascent: 30550m
Munros: 22
Corbetts: 19
Grahams: 7
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 4


Trips: 36
Distance: 472 km
Ascent: 32785m
Munros: 39
Corbetts: 6
Grahams: 4
Hewitts: 1


Trips: 29
Distance: 464 km
Ascent: 27635m
Munros: 29
Corbetts: 7
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 2
Hewitts: 5
Wainwrights 8


Trips: 43
Distance: 839.4 km
Ascent: 47975m
Munros: 60
Corbetts: 6
Grahams: 2
Donalds: 2
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 1


Trips: 45
Distance: 798 km
Ascent: 51905m
Munros: 68
Corbetts: 5
Hewitts: 5


Trips: 47
Distance: 634 km
Ascent: 42245m
Munros: 46
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 3
Hewitts: 24


Trips: 61
Distance: 738.5 km
Ascent: 59035m
Munros: 45
Corbetts: 1
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 52
Wainwrights 23


Trips: 51
Distance: 512.5 km
Ascent: 42190m
Munros: 19
Corbetts: 2
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 55
Wainwrights 26


Trips: 47
Distance: 504 km
Ascent: 43786m
Munros: 23
Corbetts: 1
Hewitts: 49
Wainwrights 4


Trips: 37
Distance: 378 km
Ascent: 33525m
Munros: 12
Hewitts: 46


Trips: 43
Distance: 512.1 km
Ascent: 44205m
Munros: 19
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 1
Donalds: 2
Hewitts: 62
Wainwrights 6


Trips: 40
Distance: 476.5 km
Ascent: 40740m
Munros: 12
Corbetts: 2
Hewitts: 74
Wainwrights 17


Trips: 2

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