Monday, 24 March 2014

Windy Gyle - Day Two In Northumberland

Woke up to glorious sunshine and remembering the snow I'd seen on top of the Cheviots decided I needed to go there. Found a walk in the Walking The Cheviots  book. Walk No 38 Barrowburn to Windy Gyle via The Street.

Description - "An easy climb up to one of the highest peaks in the area. Distance: 17km(10 1/2 miles). Grade: Moderate."

I couldn't understand why I found it so hard to find the destination on google maps until I got there. It took a long time to drive there. Had to drive pass Craigside House, through Rothbury, Thrapston and then the roads get smaller! Or perhaps I should say narrower. Then to Alwinton to a signpost that says dead end in 12 miles! That was the road I needed. Also it is an area known as the Otterburn Ranges. It is a military training area. Second largest live firing range in the country and has been used since 1911. It covers over 90 square miles. Fortunately they were not practising firing! It is a most beautiful area and one I shall return to again. Lots of cyclists about enjoying the freedom of a quiet road in the most terrific scenery.

Ok back to the walk, parked at Wedder Leap carpark and then started the walk.

Started along the road nice and flat for a while and then uphill!

This fence may not look much to you but this is the Border Fence between England and Scotland.

This is Black Braes

Does anyone know what this star is? I saw a couple on the walk but they had no writing or sign on them. Tis mystery all?

The walk then joins the famous Pennine Way. I should say it was about this stage that I had become aware of soreness in my feet. Knowing that I was doing a proper walk decided to wear my walking boot socks, but I have not worn them for years. Mmmmm why didn't I remember that because I am sure that was what caused the blisters. Trouble was it was just as far to go back as it was forwards. Sorry no idea what button I've hit to change the print!

Then the wonderful sight of the summit of Windy Gyle - 619 metres. Apparently the unique feature is the large cairn. This was a Bronze Age burial mound but in recent times has become known as Russells Cairn in memory of Lord Frances Russell who was fatally shot.  Oh but NO NO NO snow!

Sorry rubbish picture but its not called "windy" for nothing! And it was too cold to mess around with the camera.

Picture for those of you who have never had the oppurtunity to see a Pennine Way signpost.

Note the warning sign!

In the distance I could see what I thought were rain clouds coming but it tuned out to be hail - much preferred that to rain. Glad I was not having to walk into it though.

Then in the middle of these hills, middle of no where - this sign - seemed so bizarre and out of place!
There are no roads! Anyone understand this?

This is Hexpethgate, a neutral meeting place during the years of Border troubles back in the 15th and 16th century. The march wardens had meetings here to try to resolve the local disputes. It was here that Lord Francis Russell was shot, 1585. This all seems very interesting especially at this time of Scotland thinking about becoming independent again. If they do will there be wardens here again sorting out disputes in the middle of this wilderness. Me thinks not - if they've got any sense they'll be in the local pub!

The walk leaves the Pennine Way and heads down Clennell Street, an ancient trade route.

Then down through plantations. Should say I am feeling every step with blisters on the back of my heels and a huge blister under my heel. So have to be honest and say that whilst the scenery was breath taking I wasn't truly appreciating it. I know I would like to come back here another day to enjoy it more.

What became a little evil of this walk was that the walk was not all downhill and the going up became a bit of a killer.

Another hail storm, but it did look so magical in these woods. Wish I could have taken a picture better.

Then just as I am almost finishing the walk then there is the most ridiculous stile to negotiate!

Whilst struggling to get through it I notice a gate and used that instead.

And finally back to the car park. What relief to take my boots off.

Needless to say tomorrow will be an easy relaxing day!!


  1. I wonder if the star sign denotes the perimeter of a Roman camp - see

  2. Oh well done for finding the answer to my star question. Fascinating.