North Pennine Walks
Killhope Law & Middlehope Moor
Date: 22nd March 2011
Distance: 9.1 miles
Ascent: 1212 feet
Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY860453
An easy walk up to the fine viewpoint of Killhope Law followed by a rough moorland crossing to the top of Middlehope Moor.
Route Summary: Allenheads - School Plantation - Dodd Reservoir - Carrier's Way - Killhope Law - Stangend Rigg - Middlehope Moor - Shorngate Cross - Allenheads
1. Looking up to Faw Side from School Plantation
2. Looking down Blackcleugh Burn to East Allen Dale
3. Killhope Law from Dodd Reservoir
4. Looking back down Carriers' Way to East Allen Dale
5. Approaching the top of Killhope Law
6. On Killhope Law with East Allen Dale behind me
7. The trig point and wooden pole on the top of Killhope Law
8. The currick on Killhope Law - heather burning in the background
9. The extremely flat section of moor on Stangend Rigg
10. Middlehope Moor from Stang End
11. The small cairn marking the top of Middlehope Moor
12. The currick and trig point on Middlehope Moor
13. Looking across Weardale towards Dead Stones
14. The impressive Shorngate Currick
15. The Northumberland boundary sign - Killhope Law in the distance
Walk Detail: The forecast for the whole week was very promising so I decided to use up the last of the my leave entitlement for another Nuttall bagging expedition into the North Pennines. After a lovely drive along Weardale and the valley of Rook Hope I arrived in Allenheads, a small village at the head of East Allen Dale, a place that I had not visited since Lisa and I had come here for a walk above Byerhope nearly six years ago.
The initial stages of the walk from Allenheads, through School Plantation and on to Dodd Reservoir, mirrored the route Lisa and I had followed but this time when I got to Dodd Reservoir I turned up Carriers' Way, a track that ultimately climbs all the way to a ruined shooting hut close to the summit of Killhope Law.
It was a pleasant and easy walk with improving views all the while of East Allen Dale. Killhope Law is the highest Pennines summit in Northumberland and its summit is fairly unusual in that, in addition to a trig point and currick, the top is marked by a 30ft high wooden pole.
The views were superb, especially of both East and West Allen Dale. Nearly all the 2000ft North Pennine summits were on display while peaking over the top of Melmerby Fell I was surprised to be able to see Blencathra and Skiddaw. To the north the Cheviots could also be faintly seen.
After taking numerous photos I set off on the next stage of the walk, a three mile trek over rough moorland to the second Nuttall of the day, Middlehope Moor. The route roughly followed the County Durham / Northumberland County Boundary. Unusually there was no fence, wall, posts or boundary stones marking this stretch of the boundary. I'd read that instead it is marked by a shallow ditch though I saw little evidence of this on the ground.
The fact that I didn't see much sign of the ditch may have had something to do with the fact that for a section of the walk I had to detour round to the south to avoid the smoke from some heather burning that was being carried out on my planned line of route.
After passing the scant remains of Stangend Currick I descended to the summit of the Allenheads / Cowshill road before making the short climb up to the unremarkable top of Middlehope Moor, the highest point of which was marked by a small cairn. I didn't hang around long and instead made my way to the trig point a third of a mile to the south-east. This was a much more satisfying spot which also featured a small currick and stone shelter. There were also some fairly decent views of Great Stony Hill, Burnhope Seat and Dead Stones on the other side of Weardale.
From the trig point my next port of call was Shorngate Currick at the top of the Allenheads / Rook Hope road and, after a brief spell in Co. Durham, a return to Northumberland. This was the roughest section of the walk as I had to negotiate numerous metre deep peat channels as well as a few 'moist' areas. From the impressively constructed Shorngate Currick it was then an easy walk back into Allenheads.
The weather had been glorious and I thoroughly enjoyed this outing, the views from the top of Killhope Law especially were worth the relative lack of effort it took to get up there.