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