Windy Gyle & the Border Ridge
Date: 18th June 2010
Distance: 13.7 miles
Ascent: 2837 feet
Time: 6 hours 5 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NT866103
A superb multi-top expedition on to the border ridge visiting Windy Gyle, Beefstand Hill, Callaw Cairn and Mozie Law.
Route Summary: Wedder Leap - Rowhope Burn - Trows Law - Windy Gyle - Windy Rigg - Mozie Law - Beefstand Hill - Callaw Cairn - Lamb Hill - Beef Stand - Carlcroft Burn - Swineside Law - Hindside Knowe - Wedder Leap
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: This was my first walk of a weekend based at the Rose and Thistle in Alwinton and my first visit to upper Coquetdale. I could have made the walk shorter by parking at the entrance to the valley of Rowhope Burn but chose instead to start at the Wedder Leap car park so as to give me the chance to sample some of Coquetdale itself.
This part of the Cheviots is criss-crossed with old Roman roads, drovers ways, smugglers routes and bridleways. For my ascent of Windy Gyle I chose the bridleway that follows first Rowhope Burn, then Trows Burn before following the ridge above Trows Law. It was a fairly easy climb and rather happily the day was brightening up nicely.
Windy Gyle is on the Anglo-Scottish border and its summit is marked by Russell's Cairn, named in memory of Lord Francis Russell who was murdered at a nearby March Wardens meeting in 1585. The cairn itself is one of the largest and oldest in the Cheviots having originally been a Bronze Age burial mound.
Windy Gyle is probably the best viewpoint I have yet come across in the Cheviots. It is a long journey south to a higher summit - Cold Fell in the North Pennines. To the north the huge bulk of The Cheviot is far away enough to be an important part of the view rather than blocking it. I was particularly taken with the view north into Scotland and the Scottish Cheviot foothills.
From Windy Gyle I headed west along the Pennine Way visiting the tops of Windy Rigg, Mozie Law and Beefstand Hill. The highlights of this section of the walk were the view north along the valley of Calroust Burn and coming across some wild goats near Foul Step.
So far the walk had been along clear paths but after heading south-east from Beefstand Hill I made a couple of detours firstly to Callaw Moor which is completely in Scotland and then from there on to Lamb Hill back on the border ridge. The detour to Callaw Moor was definitely worth it, that to Lamb Hill less so.
After heading back to Beefstand Hill I then cut across open country to Beef Stand before descending to Carlcroft Burn and then climbing on to the adjacent ridge. Sheltered in the valley it was really quite hot so I was quite relieved to make it to the top of Swineside Law where I had a rest before following the path called 'The Street' back to the entrance of Rowhope Burn and back to the car.
This was a fantastic walk. This was the third section of the Border Ridge that I have walked and each time I have loved the experience. Windy Gyle was an exceptional viewpoint for the area while Coquetdale was as beautiful as I hoped it would be. I definitely hope to come back up this way again.