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Cheviots Walks

Shirlaw Pike

Date: 11th April 2014
Distance: 2.8 miles
Ascent: 250 feet
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NU088050

Walk Summary:
A short trig-bagging expedition across the moor from the top of the B6341 to Shirlaw Pike and back.

Route Summary: Straight across the moor from the top of the B6341 returning via the fence to the north.

Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

The view from the layby on the B6341 towards Shirlaw Pike
The grass and stony bump of Gowk Hill
The cairn on the 265m ring contour
The trig point on Shirlaw Pike
The house at Debdon Whitefield hidden in the trees
Looking back at the top of Shirlaw Pike
A random tree
One of a number of boundary stones along the fence
Another boundary stone
Looking along the B6341 towards Alnwick Moor

Walk Detail: I'm never very good at sitting still whilst on holiday and so when I found myself with a couple of hours to spare between a very enjoyable day out to the coast and and an end of holiday family meal out in Rothbury I decided to squeeze this short walk in.

This was a trig-bagging trip pure and simple so I parked up at a small layby by a gate on the highest point of the B6341 between Rothbury and the A697 and set off across the pathless moor making directly for my objective. The only features of note on the way was the small grassy mound of Gowk Hill which also had a smattering of rocks and another grassy bump, identified by the small 265m contour ring on the OS 1:25000 map and which was topped by a small stone cairn.

Shirlaw Pike itself asserts itself fairly prominently over the surrounding moor. The top is marked by a trig point on the west side of a fence and a large shelter cairn on the east side of the fence. The lovely sunshine from earlier in the day had long since been replaced by cloudy skies but despite this the views were still extensive and included, far away to the south-west the unmistakeable silhouette of Cross Fell and the Dun Fells in the North Pennines.

Instead of simply retracing my steps back to the car I varied my return route by following the fence north before then turning left at the next fence. This allowed me to go looking for the boundary stones that are marked on the map. There proved to be quite a number of them. Each one was marked with an 'S' on one side and an 'N' on the other. According to the English Heritage website these initials represent 'Swinburne' and 'Duke of Northumberland'.

If the going underfoot had been fairly straightforward this would be quite a nice little ramble but the direct route, whilst occasionally making use of animal tracks, also encounters some quite deep heather and the return route along the fence was along a quad track which has morphed into a long line of luminescent green bog. Not a walk therefore that I would recommend except to trig point and boundary stone enthusiasts.

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