Ravens Knowe & Hungry Law
Date: 28th February 2014
Distance: 9.7 miles
Ascent: 1703 feet
Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NT763027
An often squelchy walk on to Ravens Knowe and Hungry Law with super views of the Cheviots and Border Country.
Route Summary: Byrness - Byrness Hill - Houx Hill - Ravens Knowe - Ogre Hill - Grindstone Law - Greyhound Law - Hungry Law - Harry's Pike - A68 - Byrness
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: This was the first walk of a long weekend based at the Forest View Walkers Inn in the tiny village of Byrness in Redesdale. The aim of the weekend was to bag some of the Dewey tops (hills over 500m) in the area.
My first targets were Ravens Knowe and Hungry Law high up on the eastern flanks of upper Redesdale. Starting from Byrness I was able to follow the Pennine Way for the first 3.5 miles of the walk. The initial climb up to Byrness hill was on quite a slippery path through the woods and I have to say it isn't the most auspicious of starts to what is the final long leg of the Pennine Way from Byrness to Kirk Yetholm.
Immediately upon reaching Byrness Hill the views opened out superbly, especially up Redesdale towards Catcleugh Reservoir. The walk from Byrness Hill over Houx Hill to Ravens Knowe was very enjoyable despite the presence of a fair number of bogs along the way. In fact almost the whole walk was squelchy, hardly surprising considering the UK has just had its wettest winter on record.
After enjoying my lunch sat by the cairn on Ravens Knowe I continued north crossing over Ogre Hill before a fine walk down to the border fence. The views from Ravens Knowe had been good but now they were opening up north across the border into Scotland and included the silhoettes of the Manor, Moorfoot, Eildon and Lammermuir Hills. Closer to hand the three large cairns on Thirl Moor could clearly be seen, as could the foundations of the Roman camp at Chew Green.
At a gate I left the Pennine Way and crossed over into Scotland to begin following the border fence towards Hungry Law. Almost immediately I decided on a detour to the top of Grindstone Law. It was a tussocky excursion to an unmarked top but I did get some nice views down towards Upper Hindhope and along the north side of the Border Ridge.
Back at the fence I picked up a faint boggy track leading over The Heart's Toe and Greyhound Law and on to Hungry Law. Hungry Law's summit sits right on the border and indeed the trig point is on the Scottish side of the fence. The views were once again superb and now included to the west Leap Hill, Lumsdon Law and Carter Fell.
It is worth noting that the bridleway shown on the map leading from Hungry Law back down through the plantations to the A68 no longer exists. New plantations have been planted across the route where the map currently shows open fell. There is however a faint track following the fence south but twice it has to leave the main fence to access the high stiles belonging to the original bridleway. Once into the plantation itself there is little sign of the bridleway at all and the best thing is to turn right on the forest road and follow it all the way down.
The descent through the plantation wasn't as claustrophobic as I'd expected. Large sections of it had been felled or contained fairly young trees thus providing some open views south along Redesdale and also back across to Ravens Knowe and Houx Hill from the beginning of the walk.
The constant slopping about across the wet and often tussocky ground was quite tiring but overriding this was the real pleasure I felt at being back in the Cheviots and enjoying some quite excellent views of an area that is largely unknown except to Pennine wayfarers.