Lint Lands & Shill Moor
Date: 10th April 2014
Distance: 12 miles
Ascent: 2424 feet
Time: 6 hours
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NT976162
A fine walk in and above the upper Breamish valley visiting the top of High Cantle, Lint Land's and Shill Moor.
Route Summary: Hartside - Linhope - Rig Cairn - High Cantle - Salter's Road - Lint Lands - Broad Shin - Salter's Road - High Bleakhope - Low Bleakhope - Salter's Road - Shill Moor - Snout End - Alnhammoor - Hartside.
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: The previous summer I'd visited the lovely Breamish Valley for the first time when I climbed Dunmoor Hill and Hedgehope Hill. However, I'd hardly set foot in the valley at all. This second visit had two main aims, firstly to explore more of the actual valley and secondly to bag two more Deweys, Lint Lands and Shill Moor.
Parking up at Hartside where the public road in the valley ends the walk started with a nice easy stroll down into the little hamlet of Linhope. Initially taking the track towards Linhope Spout I soon left it on a bridleway climbing up to the hillside beyond Ritto Hill.
The bridleway soon petered out but by continuing on to a fence running east-west I came across a track which took me through a gate and then on to my first objective, the cairn marked as Rig Cairn on the map. It is worth noting that the bridleway as shown on the map doesn't exist as such on the ground, this can be clearly seen by the fact that the actual path is nowhere near as straight and also passes right next to Rig Cairn.
By this time the early morning sunshine had disappeared and the low cloud clinging to the top of The Cheviot and Hedgehope Hill was looking quite ominous, it was also quite windy though thankfully nothing at all like it had been on Newton Tors four days previously. From Rig Cairn I continued on along the path towards High Cantle. All along this stretch I enjoyed good views of Shill Moor and Cushat Law to the south and Great Standrop to the north.
Nearing the top of High Cantle I briefly left the bridleway to make my way up to the summit cairn which proved to be a fine place and which provided me with my first proper view of Lint Lands, the first of the two Deweys on the walk. The flat-topped Lint Lands, partly covererd in plantations had looked rather unpromising on the map so I was pleasantly surprised at how shapely it looked from High Cantle.
Having dropped down from High Cantle it was time to press on to Lint Lands. For most of the way I was able to make use of the wide track marked on the map as 'Salter's Road', presumably one of the old saltways which was used for transporting the valuable commodity of salt from one part of the country to another. At the broad saddle between Lint Lands and Bloodybush Edge I left the track to head north along a fence up on to the top of Lint Lands.
The top of Lint Lands is very flat and unmarked so I spent a bit of time tramping around in the heather until I was satisfied that I must have stood on or at least very near the highest point. My original plan had been to return to the Salter's Road and retrace my steps back in to the Breamish Valley. However, on my way down High Cantle I'd noticed what looked to be a clear path descending alongside the fence on Broad Shin. To reach this I struck out across the initially pathless moor to a couple of prominent wooden grouse butts from where I picked up the path and commenced a lovely descent with the upper Breamish Valley spread out below me. At this point the cloud also began to break up and for the rest of the walk I enjoyed some good spells of sunshine.
Back down in the valley I basically followed the Salter's Road east past the remote farmsteads of High Bleakhope and Low Bleakhope before climbing up to the saddle between Shill Moor and Cushat Law. The views back down along the valley were superb and this was a particularly fine stretch of the walk. At the saddle I left the track to follow a fence on my left all the way up to the waiting summit of Shill Moor. Adorned by a cairn, trig point and shelter all in close proximity it was a fine place with extensive views of the surrounding Cheviot hills as well as east towards the Northumbrian coast.
From the summit I dropped down to find a path that descended beautifully to meet the access road to Low Bleakhope. The highlight of the descent were the views of the foothills further down the valley towards Ingram. Once on the access road it was then an easy stride down to the farm at Alnhammoor and then up on to the public road at Hartside where I'd parked the car.
This was another cracking walk in the Cheviot hills and one I'd strongly recommend. The Lint Lands 'loop' is not particularly necessary except to Dewey baggers but even then it does have its own rewards with the views of the upper Breamish Valley on the descent of Broad Shin.