Date: 8th April 2014
Distance: 4.3 miles
Ascent: 940 feet
Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY958981
A nice little walk on a lovely spring evening following the waymarked path to Darden Pike and the moorland tarn of Darden Lough.
Route Summary: Waymarked route from the layby half a mile north of the farmhouse at Grasslees on the B6341.
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Whilst holidaying in Rothbury I wanted to take advantage of the longer days to go out at least once for a short evening walk and hopefully enjoy some nice late evening sunshine. As it happened this was the only evening of the whole week that I had the opportunity and so I set out for this walk in the Simonside Hills.
The walk basically followed the route of a way marked circular path from a layby on the B6341 to the north-east of the farmhouse at Grasslees. On my edition of the OL map it is marked in red as a permissive path but on newer editions it has been changed to green designating it as an official public right of way.
After dropping down a field from the roadside I crossed Grasslees Burn and when the route forked decided to take the left hand path and follow the route clockwise. A couple of unexpected showers briefly got me worried that I wasn't going to get the late evening sunshine I'd hoped for but the clouds soon moved on much to my relief.
The walk proved to be hugely enjoyable, if somewhat wet and soggy underfoot. Especially on the way up it was one of those paths that attracts any moisture in the ground and quickly becomes quite boggy. The views included much of the Cheviots as well as some interesting local features including some impressive looking crags on Key Heugh on the opposite side of Darden Burn.
Darden Lough was exactly how I imagined it to be, a large peaceful pool surrounded by heather. Following the path from up to Darden Pike from the lough it was a short detour from the large cairn over the fence to the trig point. The combination of concrete pillar, heather and the deep blue waters of the lough provided a lovely contrast and all in all it was a lovely spot.
Crossing back over to the cairn I then descended the waymarked path, again it was quite boggy near the top but further down this western part of the loop proved to be much drier underfoot than the outward path. All the way down I enjoyed lovely views of the surrounding area and, just as I'd hoped, some beautiful golden late evening sunshine towards the end of the walk.
If the opportunity came I'd definitely visit Darden Pike and Darden Lough again. Indeed if suitable transport were available it would make a good start to a potenitally interesting linear walk north-east over Darden Rigg and Tosson Hill to Simonside.