Saturday, 8 December 2018

Corbridge heritage trail

Today John & Marie led us on a seven mile walk which we think may have been the Corbridge heritage trail. There were regular markers indicating 'CHT' and we did pass some heritage.

Firstly we walked up to Aydon castle past Gallows hill which a site of execution in ancient times. Flints from Neolithic times have also been discovered here.

We came across a man with a timid Rottweiler but saw no sign of the bull. Not clear why there is a red plastic thing there but it looks like a bull may have got angry about it.

The ascent to Aydon castle.

It was off-season for the castle but not for these pheasants. Shotgun fire could be heard.

From Aydon we headed north toward Halton....

Another sunny day of course and not too cold for the time of year.

Not too many natural picnic spots but we parked ourselves by the side of the road.

As we descended to Corbridge we passed these kilns which were built in 1840. They are called bottle kilns presumably because of their shape. The third photo was taken inside one of the kilns - it looks like a near death experience from what I have read.

Refreshments were had at the Angel Inn in Corbridge who were very pleased to accommodate a group of walkers. The day turned wet whilst we were in there and double rainbows were seen on the way home. I managed to catch one of them from Terry's car..

Thanks to John & Marie for leading us again. Next walk is January 5th.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Chester- le-Street

Today we started out from the car park near to the cricket ground in Chester-le-Street and did a bit if roadside walking before going into the woods.

John and Marie had not had a chance to do a full recce before the walk so maps needed to be consulted.

The sun did get out a bit and it was fairly mild.

I do like an interesting tree.

This old packhorse bridge was a good spot to check we were on course. Later it turned out that we were not but is this not part of the fun?

There were quite a few ladybirds about. This seemed unusual for November.

Going under the motorway bridge we had the chance to see an art exhibition

A stop for Luncheon

Arriving back at Chester le Street we came across this flotilla of wildfowl

These are Goldeneye ducks (I am told).

After refreshments at the Red Lion on the great north road we returned to Stella. Thanks to John & Marie for leading us. Next walk is on December 8th.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Ovingham revisited

Today we did the same walk as in July but in reverse and a bit extra. The weather was grim as we set off with snow flurries (in October!) but as soon as we arrived at the car park near Prudhoe station it cleared up and we enjoyed a sunny autumnal day- perfect for a woodland stroll.

Having arrived at the lunch venue a bit early the walk leader ie yours truly led folks off on an impromptu and unsuccessful expedition to find the Whittle Dene reservoir (actually there are two). A map would have been useful.

This was our picnic spot.

Sorry about the blurry photo, I had the camera on manual focus for some reason. That is Terry and Sue in the back getting ready to have lunch in a tree trunk. Unfortunately Andrea and Jackson could not come this time.

It was less green than this in Whittle Dene but I am colour blind so perhaps not!

A nice sharp picture taken by Anne.

In the Swan, Ovingham which was decorated for Halloween. Have a look at the July entry for photos of the walk in summer. Next walk November 17th- location to be decided.

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.