Leader : Steve Hook. Distance : 10 miles.
For various reasons the advertised walk to the Sitting Man and Fat Betty was postponed.
The leader/secretary had advised members that the walk would begin at Broompark, near Durham.
Despite snow overnight and the forecast or light snow and wind for the rest of Sunday 8 people were waiting for Steve at the Art Centre.
Boots on at 10:00 am and it was off on the Deerness Valley Railway Path
After 1.5 hours of walking on the flat surface, sheltered by trees, we turned off to cross country towards Esh Hall in the village of Esh.
Esh Hall is a grade 2 listed building probably 1687 rebuilt in 1857 along with the nearby cross known locally as St. Cuthbert’s Cross.
Legend has it that the monks rested his body in the village when they were on tour for a final resting place.
We carried on cross country to Ushaw College,founded over 200 years ago to educate students for the catholic priesthood.
It had been founded by scholars from the English college Douai who fled France after the revolution.
Unfortunately access could not be gained to the front of the College to view the Victorian Gothic architecture, so shelter was taken in the cloisters
of the graveyard. After lunch we headed towards Witton Gilbert and the Lanchester Valley Railway Path, again on a flat surface we made good time.
On this path towards the end Steve pointed out the remains of a Prior’s House and Chapel of Beau Repaire which is French for Beautiful Retreat.
Built between 1244-58 later destroyed by the Scots in 1346 at the Battle of Neville’s Cross.
Over the centuries Beau Repaire became Bearpark.
We arrived at the car park at 1430, safe and sound, everyone commented what a good walk it had been and commended
Steve for putting it on at short notice.
Drinks were had at the Stonebridge Pub.