Total Distance:- 24.1 Km (15.0 ml)
Ave Speed:- 3.75 Km/hr (2.33 mph) [9.39 am – 16.05 pm]
Max Elevation 239 m (784 ft)
Total ascent:- 653 m (2142 ft)
Peter led, 12 in group. Leaving the buses at the Boatside Inn, Bridge End, on a very overcast day, we headed west along the road until we reached the paper mill. Leaving the road for the riverside path we saw a notice advising that the path was closed due to flood damage. As the alternatives were to continue along the busy road or make a fairly big detour, I opted to continue along the path. In the event, this was the right decision as there was only a short stretch where the path was very narrow with a drop into the river. However, it seemed the path had been closed for some time as it almost disappeared in places. Arriving at Fourstones, we were met with a locked gate but this was easily overcome. A little further and we stopped for coffee before carrying on to Meggies Dene Burn where we left the R Tyne and headed north thro an attractive dene and then along a minor road to Newbrough Lodge. The road then became a track and after passing thro a gate near the electricity pylons it disappeared completely. By this time, the overcast sky had turned to heavy drizzle. Heading for a small wood we drifted to the right, across very difficult terrain before reaching the top of a long slow climb where we corrected and headed for a gate in the fence ahead of us. Thro the gate there was more difficult tufty and muddy terrain before we reached the military road. Along the military road, we then headed NNW again along another muddy track. After crossing the Crook Burn we turned east at Greenhaugh. This brought us onto a tarmac surface which was a pleasure after the previous terrain. Ignoring pleas for lunch from the usual suspects we continued ENE to Simonburn. This was my planned lunch stop where we were able to make use of the porch of the large St Mungos church and the seating nearby. After lunch, we headed NW along a rough track which became increasingly muddy until we reached Red Burn. Having missed my intended path a short distance before the burn and after discussing with the group, we continued north alongside the wood heading for the road (Ward Lane) rather than continuing NW for 2 Km over more muddy fields on my intended route. Heading west along Ward Lane, the sky began to clear and there were glimpses of sunshine as we left the Lane to head north to Pea Hill. A tea stop by the river and then we were on our way again with the sun now shining strongly. Having lost a lot of time because of the difficult terrain and the extra distance in heading to Ward Lane, I omitted the loop to Longlee and headed due east over the fields to High Moralee before joining a minor road which zig-zagged to Low Moralle. From there we headed east along an attractive wooded road to Latterford before joining the B6320 to head north to the buses parked on Wark Bridge.
A hard walk of 15 miles, due mainly to the heavy going along the muddy tracks and fields. The only consolation was that all the other walks seemed to have experienced similar conditions.
Apologies for the small number and poor quality of the photos. The wet weather and my difficulties in getting far enough ahead of the group were the main cause.