North Pennine Walks
Date: 24th November 2012
Distance: 8.6 miles
Ascent: 891 feet
Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY964505
A ramble on Blanchland Moor visiting the trig points on Hope Fell and Warlaw Pike via the Carriers' Way.
Route Summary: Blanchland - Shildon - Pennypie House - Blanchland Moor - Warlaw Pike - Carriers' Way - Hope Fell - High Beldon Plantation - Baybridge - Blanchland
2. The ruins of a smelt mill above Shildon Burn
3. The trig point on Warlaw Pike
4. Heading south along the Carriers' Way
5. Hope Fell
6. The hut on Blackburn Head
7. Lilswood Moor
8. On the top of Hope Fell
9. The shooting track leading down into the valley of Beldon Burn
10. The bridge over the Derwent at Baybridge
11. A frost lined River Derwent
Walk Detail: The main aim of this walk was to explore a part of the North Pennines I'd not visited before, the north-eastern corner around the Derwent valley. On two previous occassions I'd gazed northwards across this area, from Bolts Law and Collier Law respectively, but as I'd climbed these tops from the Weardale side they didn't really count.
The previous night had been very cold and it was a horrible grey and foggy drive up the A1, fortunately after passing Scotch Corner I drove out of the fog. When I arrived in Blanchland there was some blue sky overhead but this didn't last long and the sunshine that was forecast never materialised and as the walk went on the skies got really quite dreary.
The walk started from Blanchland, a village dating back to medieval times and which was just as pretty as I'd expected it to be. Apart from two pathless detours to the trig points on Warlaw Pike and Hope Fell the majority of the walk was on good moorland tracks. The route between the two trig points was along the Carriers' Way, an old packhorse route used to transport lead from the Allendale mines to the coast. It was clearly well used at one stage as the route has cut a deep groove in places through the moor.
Despite the leaden skies the views were still quite extensive and from both Warlaw Pike and Hope Fell I could make out the long line of the Cheviot hills to the north culminating in the large bulk of the Cheviot itself. Of the two trig points the panorama from Hope Fell was probably the better of the two as it had an excellent view down into the valley of Devil's Water.
From Hope Fell a short pathless section brought me to a shooting track which in turn led to a wide track above the valley of Beldon Burn and eventually to the small settlement of Baybridge. The walk finished with a pleasant three quarters of a mile alongside the River Derwent back into Blanchland. Curiously the fields by the river were still covered in frost while up on the moor the ice and frost had thawed earlier in the day.
This was a good walk and while I was disappointed the sun hadn't made more of an appearance in reality I was fairly lucky with the weather, as I discovered when I got part way home in the car to find that the fog was even worse than in the morning. I'd definitely like to explore more of the Blanchland area in the future.