Date: 5th March 2010
Distance: 6.6 miles
Ascent: 1490 feet
Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Start Grid Ref: NY987996
A walk through the snow to the highest tops in the Simonside Hills including Tosson Hill and the craggy Simonside itself.
Route Summary: Hepple Whitefield - Whitefield Shank - Boddle Moss - Tosson Hill - Simonside - Dove Crag - The Beacon - Lordenshaw
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: While staying in Rothbury for a long weekend Lisa and I took the chance of doing a rare linear walk which entailed us being dropped off at Hepple Whitefield Farm and walking back over the Simonside Hills to Lordenshaws where we had earlier left our own car.
There was still a lot of snow on the hills up in this part of the country – to the north The Cheviot and Hedgehope Hill looked like they had been painted white. While we therefore expected some snow on the ground on the Simonside Hills we did not expect it to be as deep as it was.
This was not a problem on the initial climb up the bridleway from Hepple Whitefield as the path was broad and the snow had been compacted by quad bike tracks. There was however little sign of the concessionary path across Boddle Moss to Tosson Hill so we struggled along as best we could following for the most part what looked to be fox prints along the line of where I supposed the path to be.
While there is something exhilarating about walking in the snow it had begun to get quite tiring and tedious by the time we reached Tosson Hill the highest point of the walk. It was quite cold and windy at the summit so we did not hang around too long before heading off towards Simonside.
There was at least a trodden path through the snow for the next stage but it didn’t really make walking much easier. By the time we reached Simonside the paths were more distinct but were also getting quite icy and I did have second thoughts about attempting the steep final section to the top of Simonside. In the end we managed it without difficulty to arrive on a fine summit marked by a sprawling cairn on the highest crag.
Once again we didn’t hang around long and so we headed next to Dove Crag, which had some particularly fine outcrops and strangely distorted rocks, and finally The Beacon. As we descended from the latter the path changed from snow and ice into an eroded peaty quagmire which we broken up by stretches where work was clearly been done to lay a stone path.
The conditions underfoot made this walk much harder than it needed to be but we both still thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on a walk which was full of interest.