2017-02-21 Hexham from Whittle Dene Reservoir (Peter Bell)

Lunch at Tynedale Park with the Birthday Boy in the front

Total Distance:-           25.7 Km           (16.0 m)                                  

Ave Speed:-                3.66 Km/hr      (2.27 mph)       [9.27 am – 16.29 pm]

Max height:-                144 m              (472 ft)                        

Total ascent:-              315 m              (1033 ft)


Peter led. 21 in group.  Leaving the bus on an overcast but dry morning, we headed west for a short distance to the cross roads at the reservoirs and then turned south thro Welton Hall, then east on a reasonable track towards Whittle Burn.  Then, heading south, initially alongside the burn, we crossed the A69 and entered Whittle Dene.  While the dene is attractive, the same can’t be said about the path which was pure mud in several places.  After a coffee stop in the dene, we headed SW to Ovington and then across grassy fields almost to Bywell.  Joining a minor road we continued west to reach the A68.  Heading south on the A68 we crossed the river Tyne and then headed westwards to Riding Mill.  Crossing the railway line by the footbridge, we took the path at the back of the station down to the river Tyne.  A good path then led us along the south bank of a very calm river for about 2.5 Km before we started climbing Farnley Scar.  At this point we had a choice, don our cosies and start swimming upstream to follow the Right of Way, or keep about 30 m to the south through the trees.  In explanation, suffice to say that the landslip a couple of years ago which obliterated the railway line, also washed the RoW into the river.  In several places it was possible to see the effect of the landslip and it was quite spectacular, if that is the right word.  After descending, with some difficulty, beside the old railway tunnel at the SW of the scar we rejoined the RoW along the bank of the river, sometimes very close to the river until we reached Tynedale Park where we met up with Pam for lunch.  As I was only a couple of days short of 70, it was a special lunch and we all enjoyed plenty of food and most people supped a reasonable amount of wine.  This lunch spot was designed both to enable Peter & Pam to swop places and also to minimise the afternoon walk for those who had partaken of too much food or drink (probably both in some cases!!)  On our way again, we headed back to the river and around Dilston Haughs.  Crossing the railway line and then the A 695, we began the climb on a good track up to Dilston Park, passing Physic Garden on the way – must look in there sometime.  About 500 m after Dilston Park, the path deteriorates and it is necessary to find the optimum route through the mud.  However, it must be said that we have often found it a lot worse than on this walk.  Reaching Dukes House, we were on a good track again and here we had a short drinks stop.  There had been several places during the walk with good displays of snowdrops and around Dukes house was no exception.  However, Linda declined to be photographed lying among them!  On our way again, and after a few hundred metres we turned north and followed a fairly good track down to the houses at the south of Hexham.  A short walk westwards and then it was north down a very muddy path in between fields.   This path is never good, but on this occasion the mud was worse than ever.  Anyhow, surviving the complaints from several members of the group, I led them through the streets to the Weatherspoons pub in Hexham.  An enjoyable day, particularly the lunch stop.


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