Long Crag & Thrunton Wood
Date: 8th August 2013
Distance: 7.5 miles
Ascent: 1500 feet
Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NU085097
Long stretches of paths and tracks in Thrunton Wood either side of Long Crag and the superb views from Coe Crags.
Route Summary: Thrunton Wood - Black Walter - Coe Burn - Coe Crags - Long Crag - Thrunton Wood - Callaly Crag - Thrunton Crag - Thrunton Wood
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: After wearing Rhiannon out on our short ramble around Lordenshaw Hill that morning followed by a two hour play in the small swimming pool at Rothbury I set off late afternoon for this walk, the aim of which was to bag the Marilyn top of Long Crag.
In preparation for this walk I'd done a bit of research on the internet and printed off some route instructions from the North of the Tyne walking website. I wouldn't normally do this but as the walk involved long sections in the plantations of Thrunton Wood I decided it would be easier to do the walk with some proper directions.
For the first half of the walk the directions worked a treat. After a couple of miles of easy, though somewhat dull, forest tracks the walk picked up in interest after crossing Coe Burn to begin a steep climb through the woods to finally emerge out in the open just near the top of Coe Crags.
Just 11m lower than neighbouring Long Crag the top of Coe Crags was a nice little hump topped by a large cairn with great views over Thrunton Wood and west to Long Crag. Just beyond the summit were some superb outcrops which I enjoyed spending some time exploring. Indeed it was with some reluctance that I left Coe Crags behind to continue the walk up to Long Crag.
The path round to Long Crag was most pleasant especially with the surrounding heather in full bloom. The path largely stayed well clear of the crags themselves so all in all Long Crag proved to be rather less memorable than Coe Crags. There was however a trig point which was briefly illuminated by the early evening sunshine at the same time as ominously dark clouds appeared overhead.
The descent from Long Crag was fairly steep and in places quite eroded so a certain amount of care needed to be taken, thankfully the ground was fairly dry as it would probably be quite awkward if wet. So far the directions I'd printed off had been spot on but at the foot of Long Crag the next stage was much less clear. Eventually I decided to follow a route which consisted of thin paths and fire breaks but which also happened to coincide with the occasional wooden post. Although it was obvious that I was no longer on the route I'd printed off and despite the occasional worry that I was going to get lost deep in Thrunton Wood I held my nerve and with careful checking of my map I eventually reached a wide track near Callaly Crag. I was now back on route.
The following section of the walk was on a path that runs along the top of Thrunton Crag. Occasional breaks in the trees to my left revealed tantalising glimpses of some exceptional views north. There must have been a time when the trees didn't encroach quite so high up the crags as I also came across a number of viewing seats where the view was now almost completely blocked by trees. It was a shame as some careful pruing of the trees would make the path along the top of Thrunton Crag a wonderful promenade.
While the beginning of the walk was slightly dull it is one I would definitely do again as the scenery up on Coe Crags and Long Crag was absolutely first rate. The exercise in route finding on the way back was also interesting and it is worth noting that the North of Tyne website no longer has a link to the directions I printed off but instead states, "This walk is being brought up to date some major route changes since 2007 BACK SOON".