Back in the Hills – 12 miles in the Cheviots over Shillhope Law and Windy Gyle, just me and the British Army!

Finally, time to be released back into the hills once again! It.s been 9 long weeks since the last trip up in the North West Highlands during summery September. So winter gear was dug out, boots cleaned, and poles extended. Forecast for the Lakes looked miserable so off to Northumberland’s Cheviots for an old favourite up Upper Coquet and Windy Gyle.

  • Distance  =  12 miles (19.31 km)
  • Duration  =  5 hrs (start 11.05am, finish 4.05pm)
  • Total Ascent  =  2,800 (853m)
  • Start/Finish  =  Trows Rd End, Whitebridge, (Slymefoot) Car Park
  • Date  =  Sunday 17th November 2013, cloudy, deteriorating to late drizzle
  • Click on Route Map below to zoom in/out
Cheviots Route Map from Slymefoot (Trows Rd),  Barrowburn, Shillhope Law, Border Ridge, Windy Gyle, The Street, 12 miles

Cheviots Route Map; Slymefoot, Barrowburn, Shillhope Law, Border Ridge, Windy Gyle, The Street

It was a stunning drive up from my mates in Hexham with autumn colours and mist hanging over valleys. All looked encouraging until the Cheviot hills loomed into view shrouded in cloud. The starting point is the small parking area at Trows Road End also known as White Bridge or Slymefoot (site of dodgy old smugglers pub), half an hours drive west of Rothbury along the superb Upper Coquetdale Valley. Despite lots of army trucks to avoid on the narrow road I was well chuffed to see no other cars parked at Slymefoot. Whilst lacing boots one turned up, just one though and they set off west up The Street whilst I went in the opposite direction south east back along the road to Barrowburn. Taking a gate & path just before the Barrowburn Tearoom behind the farm buildings & crossing a stream via a small footbridge. After 100yds the path turns  left past the Tearoom Bunkhouse over a stile. A feint track angles up above the main path towards Shillhope Law and that was the point I realised 9 weeks without exercise was gonna hurt. I nearly deferred Shillhope especially as there would be no views but decided to carry on up. Nearing the top I heard lots of voices which turned out to be 15 soldiers all of whom were staring at me emerging suddenly out of the mist. I fancied a light hearted exchange so said “right, you’re surrounded”. Luckily they smiled, then disappeared west. One was an attractive blonde female and I did wonder if she might want to interrogate me, maybe?

On Shillhope Law in cloud, alone with the British Army

On Shillhope Law in cloud, alone with the British Army

I didnt even sit down at Shillhope and felt the need to keep going even though initially it was to retrace steps down, always nice to emerge out of cloud, a hint of sun too!

Descending Shillhope

Descending Shillhope, Barrowburn farm & tearoom below. The car is further up the road

Nice views descending Shillhope

Nice views descending Shillhope

Horses with Shillhope behind now clearing

Horses again (not so wild), with Shillhope behind now clearing

After a descent I stuck to high ground up over Kyloe Shin (great name) then down again.

Ahead through the forest & the Border Ridge in cloud

Ahead through the forest with the Border Ridge in cloud on horizon

Back to Shillhope now clear

Back to Shillhope now clear of cloud

Leaving the forest & a walk up to the Middle

Leaving the forest & a walk up to a cute little hill, The Middle

Here’s a 360 video from a favoured spot on the high point of The Middle, sorry about the commentary I forgot what everything was called (as usual)

Looking back over The Middle, right

Ascending again, looking back over The Middle, right

Further up, looking back

Further up, looking back down, Shillhope Law on horizon left

The path ahead up to the Border Ridge

The path levels ahead up to the Border Ridge

Nearly at the Border Fence on the Pennine Way & Border Ridge

Nearly at the Border Fence on the Pennine Way & Border Ridge

The Border Fence & sudden views over The Schill & cloudy Cheviot shoulder

The Border Fence & sudden views over The Schill & cloudy shoulder of the Cheviot

The paved path up to the false top of Windy Gyle

The paved path west up to Windy Gyle

On way up Windy Gyle looking back over Border Gate to the lumpy Cheviot

On way up Windy Gyle looking back over Border Gate to the lumpy Cheviot

Higher up Windy looking back down east

Higher up Windy looking back down east

Looking up the path to Windy Gyle summit briefly appearing

Looking up the path to Windy Gyle summit briefly appearing

Top of Windy Gyle ahead over the stile

Top of Windy Gyle ahead over the stile

Windy Gyle

Windy Gyle, it’s a really fine hill

View from Windy Gyle summit, lasted 30 seconds

View from Windy Gyle summit, lasted 30 seconds

Lucky to get some grey views up on Windy Gyle as it had been covered most of the day, this lasted only a few seconds before the top was engulfed. Was going to come straight down south to the car then changed my mind for the longer loop down The Street ( an ancient bridleway). Normally I’d stick an extra layer on for the next bit as it gets a little nippy but it’s sometimes a challenge not too. So for the next 20 mins I was freezing 🙂

Leaving the cloud from Windy Gyle heading west

Descending Windy Gyle out of the cloud and heading west

Slightly lower, cold & windy down from Windy!!

Slightly lower, cold & windy down from Windy!!

Views north over the Schill & Cheviot

Views north over the Schill & Cheviot, doesn’t show the wind.

Windy Gyle from where the Pennine Way meets the Street route

Windy Gyle from where the Pennine Way meets the Street route

The way down, over the shoulder of the hill to the right

The way down, over the shoulder of the hill to the right, Bought Law.

Cloud down & drizzle

Cloud now well down & drizzle

Last one in the car park again

Last car left in the car park again

It was bloody great to be out in the hills and apart from fit blonde squaddies, the day was mostly spent peacefully alone, I did see others but always far far away. The last 15 mins were in drizzle with the cloud well down so it was all timed pretty well and even back to the car before darkness. Thanks for reading. Now to finish some Scottish trip blogs from July & September!!

Other Routes From Slymefoot

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About MART IN THE HILLS

Hillwalker with dodgy knees and dodgier sense of humour. Lover of the outdoors, Lakes, Highlands, Cheviots, nature, good food, real ale and leaf tea.
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2 Responses to Back in the Hills – 12 miles in the Cheviots over Shillhope Law and Windy Gyle, just me and the British Army!

  1. sarahwwilde says:

    I’ve never been to this area, my car automatically turns left off the M6, but I need to make the trip – it looks beautiful.

    • Mart Lawton says:

      Thanks Sarah, my car often tends to head west to the Lakes too, but as I live on the east coast the Cheviots are nearer 🙂
      Took me 20yrs living up here to discover them, one great thing is that you can often have them all to yourself.
      If you visit, you must do Windy Gyle.

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