Monthly Archives: May 2016

Sutton Bank

Tuesday 24 May 2016. I broke my journey home by stopping off in Boroughbridge for two nights. This gave me a chance to call in and see my nephew and his family and to do a walk today. I made the short drive to Sutton Bank for today’s 7.8 mile walk with a total ascent of 1,600ft. The last time that I was here was in July 2014 with Karen when we walked south to visit the “white horse” carved out of the chalk hillside. For a change, I walked north following the Cleveland Way across the ridge top for 3 miles before descending for my mid-point coffee stop in the hamlet of Boltby.

There were incredible views to be had from the ridge top and I could see beyond Harrogate to the “golf ball” radar globes at the Menwith Hill listening station. Looking west across the Vale of York I could see a range of distant hills some 30 miles away. At the time I was unsure what they were but it now seems as if it was Penhill which isn’t too far from Aysgarth.

For my return I could either walk through the forest at the foot of the ridge or in more open countryside in the valley bottom. It was such a lovely sunny day that I chose the latter to make the most if the views. I crossed through mixed woodland carpeted with bluebells before arriving at Goremire Lake. I knew that I would have a climb to finish with and the last mile required a steep pull of 600ft. Despite this rather taxing end, it had been a beautiful walk and a good end to this holiday.

Sutton Bank – walk route




Sunday 22 May 2016. My last walk on this Northumberland holiday was an 8.1-mile route with 940ft of ascent starting from the picturesque village of Ford. The first part of the walk was across farmland and it came as no surprise that I soon encountered a field of oilseed rape where the footpath hadn’t been reinstated nor had the path in the next field which had been sown with wheat. I was able to walk around both of these fields but will be reporting these obstructions in the hope that they can be cleared for the benefit of other walkers.

The second half of the route was better as it skirted around a peat bog nature reserve “Ford Moss”. I should have taken the path around the northern edge but somehow found myself on a more southerly route. I think that my main concern was not sinking into the bog. My route back was further obstructed by another 2 fields of oilseed rape, only one of which had a clear path.

Having finished the walk, I made the short drive to Hay Farm to have a look at their “heavy horses”.

Ford – walk route


Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

Friday 20 May 2016. My 65th birthday on 30th June is drawing ever nearer but, for me, today has more significance as it marks the 11th anniversary of my retirement from work. I was extremely lucky to be able to retire at just 53 but feel that I’ve put the time to good use in pursuing my passion for walking in the countryside. For today’s walk I made the short drive to Lindisfarne or Holy Island. The tide times were such that all visitors had to be off the island by 1:10pm or risk being stuck until the tide changed and the causeway became driveable again.

I made an early start and was off walking by 8:45am. I did a 5-mile route with just 200ft of ascent which took me north across the middle of the island to the coastline at Coves Haven which could almost be mistaken for a desert island. I walked for over 4 miles before seeing anyone else and I seemed to have the whole place to myself. Mine were the first footsteps across the tide-washed Sandham Bay as I headed for the pyramid-like structure on Emmanual Head. The next stop was Lindisfarne Castle, £7.30 entry but free with SNT. This was a homelier and more liveable castle than many that I’ve visited and you can read more about it here.

I needed a coffee after my early start and then went to look at Lindisfarne Priory which is managed by English Heritage with an admission price of £6.00. Needless to say I didn’t pay but took a quick picture from the outside before returning to the car to complete my walk.

Holy Island – walk route


Farne Islands

Monday 16 May 2016. I don’t really have a bucket list but one of the things that I’ve wanted to do for some time is to visit Inner Farne during the bird nesting season. This was the main reason for coming to Beadnell at this particular time as Seahouses is less than 3 miles away and boats depart from the harbour for trips around the Farne Islands with a chance to get off for a walk around Inner Farne. I’ve been waiting for the weather conditions to improve and today was the day. A gentle breeze and a near flat calm sea. I’m no great sailor but this was the gentlest crossing ever.

I booked for the 12 noon sailing which got under way 20 minutes late with the boat, Glad Tidings VI, being crammed with the maximum of 80 passengers. As you will see from the route pdf below, we headed out to the east of the Islands stopping for a short time to look at the seals on Little Scarcar. The boat went very close but the seals took no notice of us. We then headed out around Staple Island with the boat getting within 20ft or 30ft of the birds nesting on the steep cliffs.

Coming back on a more westerly course we stopped off for an hour on Inner Farne where I took pictures of Guillemot, Razorbill, Artic Tern, Eider Duck, Puffin, Ringed Plover, Shag, Kittiwake and Black Headed Gull. I came prepared with my hat to protect me from being attacked by the Terns but only a few were sitting on eggs and they were relatively calm although flying within a few feet of visitors. I was amazed by how the birds built their nests so close to the paths with one Tern nest being built in the middle of the path.

The cruise cost £15 which for nearly 3 hours was great value. The NT charge £8 to land on Inner Farne but this was covered by my SNT membership. The cruise covered 10.9 miles with less than one mile of walking. It made a great break and I would recommend it to any birders or lovers of wildlife.

Farne Islands


Emergency Waders

Thursday 19 May 2016. I follow Stuart Greig on Twitter (@LoneWalkerUK) and it was in one of his blog post ( in May 2013, when he was walking the Southern Uplands Way, that he wrote about using carrier bags as “emergency gaiters” to help him get across the boggier sections of this trail. The idea struck a chord with me as I have often found myself dithering on the banks of small streams wondering how I can get across without getting my feet wet. I decided to adapt his idea and, since reading his blog, I’ve had a few charity collection bags in my rucksack to use as “emergency waders”. After 3 years of carrying these charity bags, today was the day when I finally got to put them to the test. I hadn’t fully read the instructions for today’s walk but discovered about half way around that I would have to make two crossings of a small stream, about 20ft wide. Too wide to jump; no stepping stones and about a foot deep. For the first crossing I used a single bag on each foot but the small holes (to stop children suffocating) let some water in. For the second crossing I adopted a double bag solution which worked better but there was still some water ingress. This was certainly better than letting the water overflow the top of my boots or removing them and going across barefoot. For the future I think that I’ll use some large bin bags with draw cords to secure them at about knee level.

Enough of the dramas of river crossings and back to today’s walk which was 7.3 miles with 1,000ft of ascent. I get a lot of my routes from and they are generally okay but I have to say that this wasn’t one of them. I should have known when I started at the top of a hill that there would be a climb to finish with and so it proved with almost half of the total ascent being in the last mile. The one highlight of the walk came after a couple of miles with a visit to the ruins of Edlingham Castle where I stopped for coffee. The remainder of the walk was fairly boring being through farmland; something that I could do equally well at home.

Edlingham – walk route



Holkham Hall

The walk today saw 12 members plus the leader start off from the car park just outside of the hall. We headed towards the hall for a toilet stop and by doing this did not visit the column or get close to the deer.

As we headed around the lake we did see some ducks and ducklings about to take to the water. There were several ducklings in the water and from here we headed out of the park looking at how the horse chestnut trees were all trimmed to a set height..

As we walked along the path we also saw some red flowers that looked like clover these were crimson clover ( looked it up at home). After a lengthy road walk we took a coffee stop and then we headed for the coastal path. As we approach the coastal path we noticed that there was a large herd of cows running about but could not work out why. On the other side of the path geese were feeding.

Once on the coastal path we saw several bird watchers looking inland. It was while we were walking along the path we heard the boom of the bittern but could not see it.

The group split into two some to walk on the beach the rest to walk along the dunes meeting up on the beach for our lunch stop. The weather warming up as the day went on. There was a large group walking along the sea shore and this was followed by horses paddling.

After lunch we headed along the beach and then headed up to the woods and walked along the lane towards the route back to the hall. As we walked up the long drive the horses were being put back into their horse boxes after a drink and some food.

We all returned back to the cars some then visiting the tea room. After a short rest Linda led two of us to read the inscription on the column and it was here that I took a picture of the deer. A good walk in the warming sun enjoyed by everyone.


Wednesday 18 May 2016. The weather forecasters got it wrong today. Heavy showers were predicted so I didn’t go walking. However, other than a few spits and spots around breakfast time, it turned out to be a bright and breezy day. At lunchtime I decided that I needed some fresh air so I drove the short distance up the coast to Bamburgh. I just had a quick mile and a half walk from the free car park, across the dunes, along the beach and back into the village for a pint before driving back to the caravan to watch the Giro d’Italia on TV.

2016-05-18 12.26.092016-05-18 12.35.462016-05-18 12.35.562016-05-18 12.55.50