2017-11-28 Felton from Longhorsley (Tim Van Zwanenberg)

2017-11-28 Felton from Longhorsley (Tim Van Zwanenberg)

Total Distance:- 19.8 Km (12.3 ml) Ave Speed:- 3.60 Km/hr (2.24 mph) [9.52 am – 15.45 pm] Buses did not leave baths until 9.00 am Max Elevation:- 151 m (495 ft) Total ascent:- 401 m (1315) Tim led, 6 in group. Leaving the bus in Longhorsley, we were filled with apprehension. With a forecast almost as bad as the previous week (Bamburgh walk) and a black sky to the east, we all started out wearing waterproofs. Heading west thro the village, we turned north at the end of the houses and after a short distance turned west again on a reasonable if slightly muddy path followed by nice short grassy fields. On reaching a minor road just north of Throat Wood, we turned south down the road before once again heading through fields SW to Paperhaugh, enjoying excellent views of the Simonside Hills along the way. Coffee was taken sat next to the bridge – so far so good, although mainly cloudy, the sun was shining on some parts of the countryside including on the R Coquet – more importantly, no rain yet. Crossing the R Coquet, we joined St Oswalds Way, heading SE to Thorneyhaugh albeit via a slight detour. Continuing on the Way which generally provided good walking, we arrived at Middleheugh after which we had a very partial view of Brinkburn Priory thro the trees. Continuing on St Oswald’s Way, the path, sometimes not really visible across grassy fields, brought us thro Brinkheugh and, after passing the track to Thistleyhaugh, down alongside the R Coquet. With plenty of water flowing over what is marked as a weir, although in practice it appears to be a natural rock formation and with the sun shining on it, this proved to be a nice spot for a lunch stop. After lunch, a short walk brought us to the old Weldon Bridge and after passing under the A697 we joined a tarmac track heading to High Weldon. We saw what appeared to be Rob’s group ahead of us but after passing thro High Weldon, we never saw them again until the pub. Surprising that they did not take the shortest route back!! Heading NE along a track, we arrived at an attractive house which we then had to pass on the NW side before following the fence-line around a curving wood. This path proved rather tricky as first Alan slipped and then I did the same, ending up on my backside which from all accounts was rather muddy. Tim then had some problems a few minutes later as the path seemed to be diverted and we ended up walking about 500 m io. 50 m. Anyhow, we could see a farm and Tim’s new GPS confirmed it was Elyhaugh and so we proceeded down the side of a field, back onto St Oswald’s Way. By this time, although low in the sky, the sun was shining constantly as we walked across grassy fields on the north bank of the river. We then had an afternoon stop on a grassy bank in the sunshine. Continuing on St Oswalds Way, we headed south then east mainly through woods to reach the bridge carrying the A1 above us. Through some more wood on a decent path and then as the surrounds opened out, Dave’s group caught up with us and we headed into Felton together. Some of the group went down to the river to wash their boots before crossing the river to the buses. Unfortunately, Charles slipped as a branch of a tree snapped and he ended up to his waist in the water. His waterproofs seemed to save him from being completely soaked, but it was unfortunate after escaping the rain all day. A good, enjoyable walk in excellent weather, despite the forecast, although after spending 15 – 20 min on the bus getting changed, in the 50 m from the bus to the pub, I got soaked as the rain started in earnest. Arriving home I was advised it had rained and snowed almost all day. Peter Bell
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