Monday, 24 September 2018

Wolsingham & Tunstall reservoir

Today was a new departure for our group in that it was a Monday outing. Whilst the monthly Saturday walks will continue as normal (next one is last Sat in October)  there are likely to be  weekday walks in future as well.
Some of us (myself included) had not been to Wolsingham before. It is a very pleasant town in the North Pennines but not to be confused with Walsingham in Norfolk which is also pronounced differently. Walsingham has the national shrine of our Lady whilst Wolsingham has a holy Well (which we saw but your photographer did not think to record).
As is so often the case the weather was outstanding- autumnal but bright.
Sadly Andrea and Jackson could not join us but we welcomed a few new strollers as well as folk who have not been able to come for a while.

No we were not waiting for the bus- just working out where the walk starts!

After finding our way out of Wolsingham and a bit of road walking we made it to Tunstall reservoir.

This seemed an excellent spot for lunch but seconds after this photo was taken we had to move quite fast due to a swarm of flies of some description.

Buildings connected with reservoirs always look so solid- this looks like a church but it is not!

Fine views beyond the reservoir

Unfortunately my camera lens does not pick out the blip on the horizon but locals call these the 'elephant trees' because they look like a herd of elephants. You have to be there!

Awaiting instructions...

After negotiating some cows we arrived back in Wolsingham but the pub was closed so we went to a Cafe instead. Apologies for there being fewer snaps than usual - either the camera or photographer was having an off-day. Feel free to send me any pics that you would like adding.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Wylam and the Spetchells

Starting from the car park in Wylam we walked to the old railway bridge known by various names (Points, Half-moon, Hagg Bank, Bird Cage or Tin bridge according to Wikipedia).
This was a photo I took from the bridge which looks like something from a distant galaxy (can you make out a certain cartoon character?).

Jackson was back after missing a few walks- as handsome as ever if you ask me.

Not your usual garden furniture

Walking toward Prudhoe we passed the 'Spetchells'. Folks got to read an information board and learnt a thing or two.They are chalk mounds which were created  as waste from a nearby ICI fertilizer factory. This was to create fertilizer for the 'dig for victory' campaign during WW2. Here is an interesting blog that tells us about the flowers and plants that grow there as well as other local sites. It is the only chalk habitat in Northumberland.

Up some steps to the top of the Spetchells- the origin of the name is unclear from my quick Google search.

The tissue factory - now called Essity!

The view from our picnic spot with the water pumping mill across the Tyne. Worth coming back in the autumn (although technically we are now in Autumn!).

It looks cloudy but it was warm and the sun was starting to appear.

We found this impressive pond on the way back to Hagg Bank. We also passed some fine allotments with huge pumpkins. I should have taken a photo- that is why I am not a professional photographer!

We repaired to the Boathouse Pub - I managed to miss Andrea out of my photo and she took this one.
In the car park we met Peter & Olwyn who were heading to the same pub to try some of the 14 real ales on offer!

The next 'official' walk will be on October 27th and will be a re-run of the July Ovingham walk- the autumn colours should be nice. Because that is a while off there will also be an 'unofficial' walk on Monday 24th September (usual time/place at the start). Apologies to those still in gainful employment- we could not fix on a Saturday in late September when most of us would be here.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Return to Saltburn

For our annual weekend away we returned to the Brockley hall hotel which once again was an excellent choice.

After refreshments at the hotel we set off on the same cliff top walk as last year...
 Try beating that view....
 This was a metal sculpture probably using machinery from a nearby mine pumping station

 Walking toward said pumping station...

At mass the priest announced the presence of some walkers from Blaydon. Back at the hotel dinner awaited....

Ken and his crazy cushion

Andrea's sister joined us

much putting world to rights...

 A reminder that gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins

 On Sunday we walked along the beach.  On the pier the local knitters were displaying their work on a literary theme. See if you can work these out...

 Once again the weather did us proud.

 On the funicular train up the hill

A lovely weekend at a gentle pace (a lot of us not being in peak physical condition). Next year we have agreed to go somewhere else but I am sure we will miss Saltburn.
Next walk September 1st.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Craster via Rumbling Kern

Eight of us set off in two cars and arrived at Craster car park. The forecast was for an overcast day but once again we confounded expectations and had a  sunny and pleasantly warm outing. Some of us did not bring our sun cream though.

Instead of the traditional route to Dunstanburgh we headed off along a path behind the car park to fields adjacent to the old quarry.
Those trees look interesting.
Here we are (apart from me -and Terry who was on the phone)
We gathered around a trig point with splendid views- Dunstanbrough castle, the Cheviots and this.

This cow was serene in its very own muck heap but moved on when it drew a crowd.

Lunch was at idyllic Rumbling Kern. Mary sought the shade

There was not a lot of rumbling as the tide was out!
Approaching Craster along the St Oswalds way

Checking out Anne's holiday snaps at the pub afterwards!

A super walk- thanks to John & Marie. Next blog entry will be our weekend away at Saltburn!

Saturday, 14 July 2018


With folks on holiday or with other commitments just five of us enjoyed a five mile stroll in perfect summer weather. Starting at the car park near Prudhoe station we crossed the bridge into Ovingham and past the church to join a footpath that took us to Ovington village past fields of corn, barley and oil seed rape.
From Ovington we turned north-east and found these blue flowers - species unknown but if anyone wants to leave a comment about them please feel free.
Then we entered the Whittle Dene which provided some welcome shade. This is a wooded gorge with a small river (a Burn in these parts) coming down from the reservoir on the other side of the military road. Well worth a visit when the leaves turn brown.

After a gentle climb we emerged from the woods and crossed the A69
A peaceful spot was found to have our lunch. That's Ann in red keeping cool

These butterflies were feeding off salt by the stream (so I am told)

We then backtracked for a bit and walked down the Whittle Dene back to Ovingham passing some charming holiday? lodges in the woods. Refreshments were had at the Swan in Ovingham and this snap by Ann fairly sums up our mood after a not too strenuous but varied walk. Worth doing again in the autumn perhaps?