Date: 23rd June 2008
Distance: 9.3 miles
Ascent: 2832 feet
Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NT954225
A superb walk above the Harthope Valley visiting the three highest tops in the Cheviots including the mighty Cheviot itself.
Route Summary: Langleeford - Housey Crags - Long Crags - Hedgehope Hill - Comb Fell - Scotsman's Knowe - Cairn Hill - The Cheviot - Scald Hill - Langleeford
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Of all the walks I wanted to do while in Wooler this was the main one. The previous evening I had been given a taster (though a damp one) of what the area had to offer but this walk enhanced my initial impressions ten fold.
The initial climb to Housey Crags was not as steep as expected and the outcrop itself proved to be an excellent vantage point. By this time the patches of cloud covering Hedgehope Hill had moved off and the cloud over The Cheviot follow soon after.
Long Crags was less exciting than Housey Crags but still quite interesting while the climb up Hedgehope Hill was a long and steep one. It was worth it though for the fantastic view at what was probably the best summit I visited while in the Cheviot Hills.
The weather was fantastic now though there was a chilly breeze. I stopped for a while at the top, which I shared with an excitable though unafraid Golden Plover, and had something to eat. The views towards Windy Gyle and Cushat Law were particularly good.
The next stage of the walk was the dullest section with both the climb and descent from Comb Fell involving a fair bit of bog and peat hopping. This would not have been so bad but the top of Comb Fell was a bit of a non-event with not even a cairn to reward my efforts.
Things got more interesting as I finally moved over from Comb Fell on to the flanks of The Cheviot and the steep climb up on to Cairn Hill with the Pennine Way sign post (surely one of the highest sign posts in England) and the massive Scotsman’s Cairn.
The climb from Cairn Hill was made easier by the fairly new flagged path way without which this section would have been fairly unpleasant. The top of The Cheviot was as boggy as it promised to be but with the aid of the path this proved to be no problem. I was particularly fascinated by the plinth mounted trig point.
While the view from the summit was not brilliant the view across to the Northumberland coast from the path down was unsurpassable. I could make out the Farne Islands, Bamburgh Castle and Lindisfarne as well as huge areas of hill country including the remains of the fort on Yeavering Bell several miles to the north. All in all this was one of the most enjoyable descents in terms of views that I have yet had the pleasure of.
Even including the tiresome section over Comb Fell this walk would rate very highly in my all time favourites helped no doubt by the fantastic weather.