11 Miles

29th July 2017

Looking through these photos, you might think they were taken on different days, going by the various skies.  Let's just say, the weather was 'changable'.

The walk begins at the FC car park to the north of Simonside.  The initial ascent of Simonside is a lovely woodland path strewn with its fair share of roots and rocks.

joes woodJoe's Wood




joes wood 2Joe's Wood




It turns out we were on the Sandstone Way, but this is where we leave it.  We turn left for a short stint on forest track, before turning off, to head up to Dove Crag.

sandstone way at simonsideSandstone Way at Simonside. Southbound.





looking east over the beaconLooking east over The Beacon, on the ascent of Dove Crag.  The North Sea on the horizon.





ascent of dove crag from the eastAscent of Dove Crag from the east.





 dove crag cairnDove Crag cairn.





dove cragDove Crag north face.









The path is paved using some interesting slabs of rock...






paving 2





 heading along to old stell cragHeading along to Old Stell Crag.

There's a bit of fun to be done at Old Steel Crag, if you explore even just a little.




rain to the southRain to the south.





between old stell crag and simonsideBetween Old Stell Crag and Simonside.





crags at simonsideCrags at Simonside.










crag poolsCrag pools.










crags 2Add in a person for some perspective.





walker approaches simonside summitA walker approaches Simonside summit.





looking south west from simonsideLooking south west from Simonside. Our chosen route will head across that felled area.




So after our journey over the Simonside 'ridge', we head south.  This path is a little hard to follow, so keep an eye out for the usual sign posts which crop up ever so slightly later than would be ideal.  Of course, basic map reading skills will also keep you on track.

heading south at bob pyles studdieHeading south at Bob Pyle's Studdie.





the vague path towards ousen sikeThe vague path towards Ousen Sike.





the vague path towards ousen sike 2Even more vague path towards Ousen Sike.  Selby's Cove visible, top right.





ousen houseOusen House.





ousen house 2Ousen House.





selbys coveSelbys Cove.




Alongside Selby's Cove, the bracken gets rather tall.

low viewpoint of tall brackenLow viewpoint of tall bracken.




Out of the bracken, and a good clear view across to Harwood Forest.  Boardwalk visible, just above center.

heading towards harwood forestHeading towards Harwood Forest.




At the boardwalk keep your eyes peeled for lizards.  They obviously like it sitting on the boards.  I saw four. 

boardwalk over some serious peat bogsBoardwalk over some serious peat bogs.




This section should have a warning sign.  Because when you reach the end, if you were to step straight off, you would end up in a very deep peat bog.  I spotted it, so I stook a foot in for fun, and the whole thing wobbled like jelly.  I wonder how many unsuspecting walkers step off, thinking that because the boardwalk ends, the bog ends.  Probably not many, but it must happen.

boardwalk over some serious peat bogs 2More boardwalk over some serious peat bogs.




Continuing southwards, into Harwood Forest.  I've cycled in here, but only once, and it was at night, so I would never know if I was retracing any of that route.

in harwood forestIn Harwood Forest.




Reaching the southernmost point of the route, we join St. Oswald's Way.

joining st oswalds wayJoining St. Oswald's Way.





north through harwood forestStill in Harwood Forest, now heading north.





forest beeForest bee.




Coquet Cairn (just off the right of this photo) is at the forest boundry, as we head back over the moorland, towards Whelp Law.

by coquet cairnBy Coquet Cairn.





crossing forest burnCrossing Forest Burn.





approaching spylawApproaching Spylaw.





spylaw cottageSpylaw Cottage.





two gates two stilesTwo gates, two stiles.





st oswalds way signStill on St. Oswald's Way.





heading towards grain sikeHeading towards Grain Sike.





descent to lordenshaw car parkDescent to Lordenshaw car park.

Funny story.  When we reached the car park, there were several chaps about to bump start a car, presumably because of a dead battery.  There was a young man behind the wheel being given instructions on what to do, by one of the other three older chaps.  So they pushed the car, and after gaining a little speed, the 'instructor' shouted for the driver to release the clutch.  He did, and the engine started.  But for reasons unknown, the driver kept driving.  Just slowly, but faster than walking pace.  He turned onto the road, and kept going, leaving his companions on the side of the road, looking slightly bemused.  As we continued on our way, I kept looking back to see what was happening, and eventually the car re-emerged from the copse of trees further up the road.  Still moving slowly, but this time backwards.  Reversing to pick up the stranded souls.  



Cup and ringed rocks on Birky Hill.






 descending to whittondeanDescending to Whittondean. Rothbury, behind. The house at Cragside, visible in the trees to the right.





looking over to whitton hillheadLooking over to Whitton Hillhead. 






whitton hillheadWhitton Hillhead.





back on the sandstone wayOn the Sandstone Way, once again.





shorn the sheepShorn the sheep.



Thanks for reading, and well done if you got this far.  I think I need to go easy on the shutter release!

Please comment in the section below if you have anything to share in relation to the route, or if you have any questions.