The Cheviot

Monday 19 August. Back to solo walking today so I thought that I would tackle The Cheviot. It’s the highest hill in the Northumberland National Park at 815m or 2,675ft.

The drive to the start of the walk was “interesting” with the last 3 miles being along a single track road to Langleeford in the Harthope Valley. When I got there, at about 09:15, there were only 2 other cars. Five hours later there must have been nearly 20 and this is clearly a popular starting point for a number of walks.

The outward leg of the walk was alongside the Harthorpe Burn which narrowed the further that I went towards the head of the valley. The first 3½ miles of the walk saw a gentle rise of about 1,000ft but involved a crossing and re-crossing of the burn no less than 14 times. The water level was low so it wasn’t too difficult and in the end the burn was no more than a foot wide and I was able to step across. Leaving the burn behind my route then turned north and involved a 1-in-3 climb of about 500ft to Cairn Hill. At this point, I was only 3½ miles away from The Schil which we climbed last week. The majority of the climbing was behind me now and I picked up the flagged path to the summit of The Cheviot. I only met one fell runner and a couple of walkers on the way up but passed at least a dozen other walkers on my way down. It was only 2½ miles back to the car but the relentless and often rocky path left me with sore feet – yet again! Walking isn’t supposed to be a masochistic pastime. For the record, this walk was 8½ miles with 2,160ft of ascent.

The Cheviot is an unspectacular mountain, no more than a large trig point in the middle of a broad topped moorland expanse. There are far more enjoyable and less demanding hills and this isn’t one that I’ll be visiting again. It was windy on top today with 90% cloud cover. I certainly wouldn’t want to be up there in really bad weather.

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