Start: Freeman Hospital.
Thank you to Gemma for driving me down to Newcastle. It’s going to be a day of walking on tarmac, mainly urban pathways and plenty of vehicle noise to keep me company.
I set off from near Freemens Hospital and moved off towards Four Lane Ends metro and then to Gosforth where I stopped off at McDonalds for a toffee latte, ummm. I didn’t hang around for too long as I planned on getting to Morpeth for around 3.30pm to meet up with Gemma before driving home together. Arriving at Seaton Burn I walked close to where myself and Gemma had lived some 27 years earlier. I could have taken a short detour but decided against it. All this time I had been walking along pavements next to traffic, not my ideal walking but sometimes it’s unavoidable, particularly if your considering walking LEJOG. From Seaton Burn I crossed a bridge over the A1 and was aiming for Stannington where I could have my sandwich. I arrived at Stannington about 1.10pm and considered popping into the Ridley Arms for a quick pint but then realised I didn’t have any cash and my line of credit was probably exhausted. After eating the sandwich I marched on now heading towards Stannington Station. Once again I had to cross over the A1 and not for the first time today I was amazed, no disgusted by the amount of rubbish lying by the side of the road and in hedgerows. It seemed particularly bad near roundabouts where inevitably you will find a fast food takeaway of some kind and I swear I could have refurnished my house with the pieces of furniture lying by the road.
After Stannington Station I turned North heading for Morpeth via Hepscott. I stopped in the bus stop at Hepscott for a short sit down and a sip of water. Before I could take a second sip I received a text from Gemma to let me know she was on her way. I got back onto the path alongside the traffic and moved up a gear as I wanted to make it to Morpeth before Gemma turned up and spoilt my fun. I managed to get as far as the Sainsbury’s local before I looked across and saw Gemma in the car park waiting for me, about half a mile from Morpeth town centre.
Summary: Good weather for walking, overcast but no wind or rain.
26.2kms (16 miles)
5hrs and 20mins.
Once again left home early and took it easy in the icy conditions. Things were decent until l reached the minor road to Meggethead from the A708. The snow and icy causing a few shaky leg moments. Not far along road, maybe 2 miles I saw Karen parked up and surprised her.
We both drove on for further mile before I parked up and jumped onto Karen’s car and off to Megget Stone. On reaching Meggethead we had to stop as the road conditions were getting too dangerous.
Walked last 3 kms to reach the underwhelming Megget Stone before starting the ascent towards first Cairn Law and then the Corbett, Broad Law. The weather had been nice up until this point but the wind picked up at the top of Broad Law and the biting cold ensured that we didn’t linger at the trig point for too long.
Briefly admired the debris on top and moved off quickly towards our next target, Cramalt Craig. Both the next descent and ascent towards CC were tough going. The snow was deep and difficult to walk through and hence the going was slow. We stopped briefly to take in some water and my ginsters peppered steak pasty. We reached the pile of stones at Cramalt Craig and moved on quickly. We had seem several people walking behind us towards Broad Law but hadn’t seen them again so assumed that they had reached Broad Law and gone home to watch the footie.
After bumping into two guys between Dun Law and Dollar Law and talking hills we continued and again the going in the white stuff was slow. We reached Dollar Law about 2pm and the cairn photo was taken. On the way down towards Cramalt we retraced our steps briefly before turning onto the obvious track for the last 3kms. On returning to the car realised that we were stuck and spent the next ten minutes trying to manoeuvre the car back into the road. At one time Karen even had to get out and push, well done you.
Summary: 18.4kms (11.0 mls)
ascent; 831 mts and 6hrs 4mins
Date: 3rd January 2017.
Distance walked: 18.4kms
Woke early for first proper walk of 2017 and was quickly on my way to The Borders area of Scotland.
I arrived in Millknowe on the Northern edge of the Whiteadder reservoir for 8.05am and was quickly suited and booted. Took the decent quad track up to Spartleton and though the gates to face the flock of sheep. The wind was strong but not causing too much trouble. As I climbed towards the summit of Spartleton I spotted the wind turbines for the first time. Had a bit of a whinge to myself about the turbines and the views being ruined, not just to the North but also to the West and the South.
Reached summit of Spartleton after about 30mins and usual photos were taken. Another curse and shake of the fist at wind turbines. Back to car in just under 1 hour.
Me and Alfie got back into the car and made our way swiftly towards the minor road above Faseny Cottage. There’s a short drop down an excellent track provided for those people who like shooting game,not the walkers, before you reach the cottage.
The path then splits off into several directions and I had to check the map carefully to make sure I went in the correct direction. The track heads off West staying next to Faseny Water for about 3kms and I had to jump the water several times. I then headed South and once again was walking towards the wind turbines. 70 near Spartleton but only about 50 here. By the time i’d reached the summit of Meikle Says Law the wind had died down. I sat down next to the trig point and had a short break and a drink.
Moving on I left the track and went off-piste across the heather. I then headed down back towards the Faseny cottage without any problems meeting the track again further down. A short climb from the cottage and I arrived back at the car after 2hrs and 2mins. Not bad going for 9.8kms.
On returning to the car both me and Alfie had a drink and something to eat. I then drove down to Longfornacus and just West of the village I headed off once again. The initial track onto the Cowhill plantation was blocked by a locked gate which I walked around and squeezed through the barbed wired fence. I then continued up Cowhill heading up towards Dirrington Hill with Dirrington Great Law in the background. I one point I had to pick up Alfie and lift him over another wall because the gate was padlocked. I was surprised by the fact the landowners round here were locking their gates, it’s not something I’ve ever experienced before in Scotland. I reached the top and was unimpressed by the lack of a clear marker. Anyway I didn’t longer but instead I just turned around and headed back down. I was heading down and realised that i’d mislaid my go-pro. Bollocks, I figured I’d probably dropped it when I picked up Alfie, so ran down the hill as quickly as I could. I found it lying in the grass at the spot where I threw Alfie over the wall. I was back to the car 15 minutes later.
In summary: 18.2kms (10.5miles) in just over 4 hours. Windy to start but calmer later on. Great area and I’ll be back to climb up more hills around here.