We had a little hibernate over the l;ast couple of days due to the fact that it’s been raining a lot in Pieland and, frankly, my doggybed by the radiator was much comfier than wandering about the coutryside getting wet. So, mainly, we stayed in. Pieman went shopping. I didn’t.
But today, the sun seemed to be shining, at least till we got to the car park at Tunstall reservoir, just a bit up from Wolsingham. Here, it was chucking it down in a sleety sort of way and, whilst waiting for one of the forecasted “mainly sunny” bits, Pieman ate his egg and tomato butty and banana whilst I barked at the ducks who were gathering threateningly around the Knipemobile demanding food. When it stopped and as Pieman put his boots on, I saw ‘em, off. They came back, though, so I saw ‘em off again. Persistent, is them ducks.
I had my big coat on today as it was baltic and we wandered up throught he soggy fields to join the old railway line wot used to go from Crook to Consett over the moors. This provides easy walking and is very good for running about daft, sniffing and leg-cocking activities.
The track stops suddenly at a gate with a discouraging sign. This, apparently, is the site of a WW2 ammunition dump – the shells being produced at Aycliffe and transported up here by train for distribution from Sunderland later on. It’s all fenced off and, apparently, now holds a collection of buses and fire engines and stuff. A google earth view reveals the site nicely, and is complete with old ammo stores with blast walls and anti-aircraft emplacements. The old fence surrounding it is more or less derelict, though, so security seems to rely on the inducement of paranoia by the placing of signage. There might also be a man with a notebook sonewhere. Or a stick. Or a thing that squirts water. I really hate things that squirt water.
There’s also the site of a coalmine. It didn’t produce much, if any, coal, though but there was quite a lot of fireclay , and there’s an old pit for that nearby and a gantry thing which is likely to be a station platform for the mine.
This, by the way, is Saltersgate and there are signs (as opposed to signage) that the area has been heavily used for nefarious purposes, and apparently [looks both ways and adopts a conspsiratorial attitude] it is the site of County Durham’s Number One – and chilliest – dogging location. However, in my opinion, there’s little evidence of much in the way of canine activity, but quite a lot of broken glass, campfires and general litter all around and especially in the forestry. Pieman and his pal Brian did once discover a very large bra hanging off a tree, apparently, but the less said about that the better, I should think.
The walk gets much better after this and progresses through a couple of pastures, where, being unnoccupied by any stock, much running about could be done, if one could be arsed. Given so much space, I generally walk to heel as this is much more disconcerting to the Pieman than charging about, cos he never knows quite where I am (I’m right behind him). This also uses much less energy than the other stuff.
So, we descended to Backstone Bank wood – which is a really old wood according to a sign wot I can’t read, and has old platforms where charcoal was produced up to about 600 years ago. Probably for barbeques I shouldn’t wonder.
Back to the Dangerducks by a short road-walk, there being a footpath through the woods, but also a bunch of toffs shooting towards pheasants with some of their servants waving flags and blowing whistles and stuff.
The walk is 8.39 km (5.2 miles) and 239 metres of up (nearly 800 feet)
There’s a map: