Lambley to Kirkhaugh

pw-lamley-kirkhaugh26 October 2016 – 14.4 miles

We parked in the village of Lambley then walked the short distance to the Pennine Way (where we should have been yesterday!). Despite being along the route of a Roman road – the Maiden Way – it wasn’t terribly dry going. However, there were boards set around the stiles to get you over the worst bits.pw-lamley-kirkhaugh-2

The weather was a bit greyer than yesterday and getting a bit chilly. We could hear shooting going on up higher on the moors and at one point, as we walked past, a man shouted and waved a red flag, signalling for the shooting to stop as we passed. I assume they weren’t firing towards the Pennine Way, but that they stopped to lessen the danger of someone swinging round in our direction!pw-lamley-kirkhaugh-3

We got down to the valley at Burnstones, crossed by a railway viaduct, and had lunch above the river, facing a rather nice manor house (Knarsdale Hall) which we decided was where the shooting parties were based.

The Pennine Way then runs parallel to the disused railway line and we could see a few people walking along it – nobody on the Pennine Way! At one point, behind a small row of cottages, the Way takes you over their back walls and through their gardens (there are fields behind!).

We reached the delightfully named village of Slaggyford, where there was work going on along the railway as the narrow gauge line is being extended to here.

pw-lamley-kirkhaugh-4A short walk along the road took us to a path along the River South Tyne and then to Lintley, the end of the narrow-gauge railway, where we stopped to watch a train leave!

pw-south-tyne-railwayIt was drizzling off and on by now, so it was good to finally reach Kirkhaugh Station for the return journey along the railway. We did have to retrace our route around Slaggyford for a while because of the works, but otherwise it was an easy and straightforward route back. pw-south-tyne-railway-2We did end up walking through the front garden of the disused station house at Lambley, but in our defence, the sign that makes it clear that this is private was on the far side! We got back to the car at dusk, not as dark as yesterday!

lamley-to-kirkhaugh

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Haltwhistle to Lambley

pennine-way-hadrians-wall25 October 2016 – 18 miles

Today was possibly one of the best and worst days of the Pennine Way!

Staying in a holiday cottage just outside Haltwhistle, we had a short walk up the road to join the Pennine Way where it runs alongside Hadrian’s Wall. It was a beautiful, clear, sunny day. Walking along Hadrian’s Wall was great, interesting and easy wayfinding. There were quite a few walkers about, some obviously just visiting the Wall with others looking as if they were doing some long distance walking. We had lunch at Walltown Crags picnic site, showing how the area had been quarried in the 19th and 20th century – it seems unthinkable to be quarrying until relatively recently in such an historic area!

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Walking further along the route of the wall, we came to the rather impressive ruins of Thirwall Castle.

pennine-way-hadrians-wall-3Shortly after this, the Pennine Way splits from the Hadrian’s Wall Path, and we saw no othe walkers – apart from one man in the distance on the moors.

After crossing the busy A69 we headed towards open moorland, first on a good track which soon petered out. Some of the ground was very wet – there was a board walk along one stretch but as there was a huge muddy area in front of it, we skirted round. The path was very difficult to find and we ended up following a fence line to get back on course. Even looking back, the path was not really visible on the ground. Blenkinsopp Common was very wet, and we just had to find the best route across while staying on course (luckily the Pennine Way runs in a pretty straight line). This was where we saw the other walker – he was walking alongside a wall – I wonder if the ground was any more solid? At least it was just wet, not as muddy and peaty as some sections further south.

pennine-way-hadrians-wall-5The next section was similarly wet, with some boardwalks, but not nearly enough! I think we were not quite on the route for some parts, but we were just keeping going to get off the moor!pennine-way-hadrians-wall-6

The next section was rough ground, but a lot drier. The GPS had been going through batteries all day, and now the last set gave up. But we set off in what we thought was the correct line, then ended up at the road about a mile north of where we should be. We had over-compensated to the left, but this was no bad thing as we walked down the road to where we had intended to be – much easier!

This took us to the village of Lambley from where a disused railway line has been turned into a foot & cycle path to take us back to Haltwhistle. It began at this viaduct over the River Tyne.pennine-way-hadrians-wall-7pennine-way-hadrians-wall-8

We had realised that it would be getting dark and so a railway track would be a feasible walk. It was completely dark when we got back to Haltwhistle, very glad to be there and very glad of the hearty dinner in the Black Bull (which had been recommended!).

haltwhistle-to-lamley

Wales Coast Path: Beaumaris to Mariandyrys

wcp-beaumaris-824 August 2016 – 9.8 miles

Another lovely day. We packed up the tent and left the car at the campsite, then walked down to the coast. We had walked back to the campsite along the Coast Path on-road route last night; this morning we did it again, but along the shore. The tide was well out, but some of the shore was rocky, some parts were muddy, but there were lovely views across to Snowdonia, and Puffin Island coming into view at the corner of Anglesey. We saw a few boat trips from Beaumaris heading out that way. wcp-beaumaris-2

We then moved inland at a small car park where a river came down to the sea. I’m sure I saw a flash of a kingfisher here!

We had a rest on a dangerous bench.wcp-beaumaris-3

wcp-beaumaris-4The route was now mostly along the road, although it was fairly quiet. We passed some old works – presumably from the quarry a little further inland – then arrived at Penmon Priory. We took a little time to look round the priory ruins, the church and the dovecote before continuing along the toll-road.

Penmon point was quite busy. It is such a familiar view from photographs, but neither of us had ever been here before. There was a little excitement – I think someone had decided to swim out to the lighthouse, and had got into difficulties. People on the shore began to shout and wave at a passing yacht to get help, but soon dismissed it shouting “It’s okay. He’s alright now!”wcp-beaumaris-7

We met very few people once we headed away from this point. The route heads away from the coast, but still gave views back towards Puffin Island for a while. We then headed through farm paths and lanes, until we reached a small junction near Mariandyrys which seemed a convenient point to stop.

wcp-beaumaris

From here it was a straightforward couple of miles back to the campsite.wcp-beaumaris-to-mariandyrys

 

Wales Coast Path: Tal-y-bont to Beaumaris

wcp-bangor23rd August 2016 – 4.9 and 8.2 miles

A walk of two halves.

We camped (in our new tent, following our Shetland adventures) near Beaumaris. We took a morning bus into the centre of Bangor then walked to the pier where we took up the coast path. Always the hardest bit of navigating, finding your way out of a town centre!

The route out of Bangor started on a disused railway line, through shady woods. We saw hardly anybody, despite it being a pleasant, easy path on a sunny August day! I think the line had been used to take slate to the harbour.wcp-bangor-2

At the end, there was a short walk along a road, then a sign, which we nearly missed, lead us across a field then onto an ‘estate’ of new roads but with no buildings whatsoever! It looked like it was earmarked for business or light industry but there was nothing there except the road. Very odd. It was popular with a group of skate boarders though. wcp-bangor-3

We were quite glad to get to the end as it just didn’t feel right. On the map this is shown as an alternative route and it does stop you from having to walk along the road as on the original route. Another mile or so took us past the village of Tay-y-bont and onto the main road where we caught the bus back into Bangor. Forewarned, we didn’t believe the timetable and kept a watchful eye on the road – sure enough, a bus came along, completely unrelated to the timetable!

We got off the bus close to the coast near the pier where we had started. Very convenient. The route then went along the coast, past the University, and through woodlands above the sea.wcp-bangor-4 There was a bit of a walk along pavements to get to Menai Bridge and so cross into Anglesey. It was good to walk along the bridge and see the views along the Straits. I’ve always had the impression of Anglesey as being a bit dull, but when I go I am always surprised and impressed with how lovely it is!wcp-bangor-5

It was a little unclear which way the path went, but we headed through the town of Menai Bridge, following the coast, through clusters of small houses. We stopped for a welcome drink at the Liverpool Arms (all pubs round here are called the Liverpool Arms …) then headed inland across the main road.

The path here is set inland from the coast, following a quiet residential road for quite a way with wonderful views across to Snowdonia. wcp-bangor-6It started to feel like it had been a long walk and I was rather glad to get back to the coast and enter Beaumaris which was busy with tourists crabbing off the pier. wcp-bangor-7wcp-talybont-to-beaumaris

Wales Coast Path: Conwy to Tal-y-bont

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23rd July 2016 – 14.4 miles

A nice early morning drive to Conwy. We parked outside town at the Marina. We had walked from the centre of Conwy to here last year as a short afternoon walk. I haven’t written it up, but we did do it! We passed a memorial with the information that some of the D-day Mulberry harbours had been constructed here. 20160723-p1070157

We walked along the beach for the first part of the walk, following the last part of the Conwy estuary, then turning the corner of the coast with Anglesey coming into view. wcp-conwy

The next part runs along the busy A55, and while it might not be the most picturesque walking route, it was interesting as we have driven this way so many times. We followed the bike path round the outside of the cliff through which the Penmaenmawr tunnel runs.20160723-p1070163

At the next tunnel, the footpath is taken between the carriageways on a footbridge, which we had never noticed when driving, up onto the hillside. Here we met many cyclists on a charity ride. I didn’t take a photograph of them and wish I had now.20160723-p1070177

We entered Llanfairfechan through a rather grim estate, but it eventually turned into a rather pleasant, quiet seaside town. We had lunch in a park shelter (it had turned rather breezy) watching a swan with cygnets on the lake. wcp-conwy-8

The next section was very different, as the road moves inland, and we followed the coast through wetland nature reserves with large flocks of birds on ponds just set back from the shore. 20160723-p1070188

It was satisfying to see that we were making progress. Where Anglesey had been on the horizon this morning, we were now past Puffin Island and opposite Beaumaris. In the distance, we began to see the tower of Penrhyn Castle on the outskirts of Bangor.

wcp-conwy-9The route here moves inland around the grounds of the castle. When we got to the main road, we saw a bus stop and checked the timetable for the next bus back to Conwy – another 20 minutes to wait … and then one zoomed past! We looked after it in surprise and another one appeared. We quickly stuck our hands out and got on! It dropped us off a short distance from the Marina, where we had a pleasant coffee and cake sitting outside.wcp-conwy-to-tal-y-bont

Garrigill to Kirkhaugh

south-tyne1st June 2016 – 15.4 miles

We packed up our campsite and drove the short distance to Alston, where we parked the car and bought a few supplies (lunch!). It was a bit drizzly, and we met another walker sheltering in the square who was waiting for his friends to do a similar walk to our planned route to Garrigill.alston

We left Alston along the river bank, skirting the back of the  Youth Hostel, and trying to recognise it as the one we stopped in about 20 years ago (we think it could be a different building). The path went through fields, following the river, but some way uphill for much of the way. There were plenty of sheep with lambs in the fields and many dry stone walls to cross. We met a couple of families of walkers coming in the opposite direction, which is unusual enough to mention.lambs

As we got closer to Garrigill, the valley got narrower andthe path ran closer to the river South Tyne. Where we crossed the footbridge, we met the man from Alston, who obviously had not met up with his friends, heading back towards Alston. He was doing a circular route and he told us something about a diversion on his route.

The last section seemed further than expected. The guidebook says something about it being dreary amd full of spoil heaps and scrap yards. That did seem a bit of an exaggeration. Yes, there were a few spoil heaps closer to Garrigill, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed them if the guidebook hadn’t mentioned them. And, yes, there was one scrapyard, but it was quite an interesting and rather eccentric place!scrap-yard

I was glad to reach Garrigill and have lunch. We returned by the same route – which, as usual, seemed much quicker. sialge

The afternoon had brightened up, so we continued north from Alston. We passed Harbut House, rather grand, with a peacock, then crossed the A689 and headed uphill  to more open country. Route finding was not always obvious, but we did manage to get it right. Crossing a stream meant we had crossed into Northumberland Рpretty much the last leg of the Pennine Way, but it is a pretty big county!boundary

I noticed some unusually shaped mounds in the distance and was quite surprised when we got closer to see we had reached the Roman fort sooner than expected. I also hadn’t expected the fort to be earthworks – I think I’d expected some visible stone walls. earthworks

At this point the Pennine Way lead back downhill and across the main road. The South Tyne trail runs nearby, along the South Tynedale narrow guage railway.

We followed this all the way back to Alston. It was nice to have an easy, level route back after a pretty long day (a long three days in all!). alston-eveningAnd the sun shone in the end!garrigill-to-kirkhaugh

 

 

Garrigill to Cross Fell

Greg's hut

Greg’s hut

31st May 2016 – 15.9 miles

We drove a short way over the hills from Haggs Bank campsite to the village of Garrigill. The Pennine Way follows a wide track out of the village and uphill between fields. There must have been nesting birds in the land either side as the lapwings and curlews were very active and vocal as we passed. We saw a few birds we didn’t know (not surprising as we aren’t particularly clued up on birds), standing on small mounds and calling. I took a rather blurry picture for identification – golden plover, so now there’s another one I know!

Golden Plover

Golden Plover

The open country higher up is obviously managed for game. There was a line of grouse butts and there were traps set into logs running across drainage ditches.

trap

Trap

The area was once heavily mined for lead. There are shafts, levels and workings marked on the maps. today we saw a few capped shafts – most are now filled in, leaving just hollows in the ground. We didn’t see any evidence of where the miners lodged though and wondered if they slept in the levels (although the Internet suggests they could have walked to and from the workings each day – a long walk!).

Capped shaft

Capped shaft

The weather was better than yesterday, and there was only a little cloud around at the top of Cross Fell, where we had another welcome break in the shelter, along with two German women.

Cross Fell shelter

Shelter on top of Cross Fell

We had decided to loop back to the south of Cross Fell and follow a bridleway back tothe Pennine Way. We walked up and down the saddle point looking for where the path left, eventually resorting to the GPS and going across trying to avoid the worst of the bogs. We soon came to a gate with a blue ‘bridleway’ waymark so knew we were in the right place, but very soon the path petered out. There was nothing visible on the ground so we decided to contour round Cross Fell and rejoin the Pennine Way. It wasn’t as bad a route as it could have been (we only had to climb over one fence).

We were very glad to rejoin the Pennine Way, with the German women just behind us. We leapfrogged each other a few times, going down the path. It seemed a long way back, with the landscape not changing much a few points of reference until we reached the grouse butts, and we were soon back to the lapwings and curlews warning us off.

Garrigll

Garrigill

Garrigll Post Office

Cross Fell to Garrigill