6.2 miles Leader Ian Bagshaw
Piercebridge to Gainford and return. Wednesday 7th February 2018.
‘As Cold as Greenland’s icy mountains’ is a fair description of the temperature but it was dry and it was sunny and the sunlight was sparkling off the surface of the River Tees as we set off having parked in the extensive car park at The George.Piercebridge. The Roman Fortress at Piercebridge was built about 300 AD and it is at the river crossing for the main Roman road from York to the Scottish borders. We are claiming 18 walkers but fair to say that one man left before we had even got into County Durham from North Yorkshire !! He had clearly joined the wrong walk as he was used to walking 27 miles and on roads!! We followed The Teesdale Way which never fails to please. Underfoot the ground was firm from frost and delightfully free of mud. Our pace was determined and we just walked along enjoying the conversation of our fellow walkers and commenting upon the really quite beautiful countryside so close to our front doors.
Approaching Snow Hall the leader decided that it was time for elevenses and we enjoyed the view of Snow Hall to the North and the River Tees to the South. The colours and shades of the trees under which there were banks of snowdrops were notable below Snow Hall. To prove that he was a Yorkshireman our leader sang ‘While Shepherd’s watched their flocks by night’ to the tune of Ilkley Moor !! Very embarrassing for all concerned.
Onward towards Gainford but not before we checked on our ‘gates’ under the disused railway line. The track has had a fence erected on each side of the path and one walker we met said that it felt as though she was in a prison camp. However another walker said that it was much safer for dog walkers as it kept animals and dogs apart. You win some you lose some. We had a most interesting discussion with our friend Tom who was mucking out his horses. He did not give any tips on his horses winning in any forthcoming races !!
Gainford Green was an oasis from the noise of the Barnard Castle Road and we had a pleasant 20 minutes eating our lunches in bright sunshine. Talk revolved around the Gainford Acadaemy Theatre and Gainford Academy where Stan Jefferson (Laurel) had been a pupil. Laurel and Hardy to jog the mind.
Our return walk was just a little more claggy but simply because the sun was a little warmer.
Coffee was taken at The George and we can report that My Grandfathers clock seems to be keeping good time! ‘Cold as a hot water bottle in the morning’ probably describes the temperature on our return – slightly warmer than Greenland !!