Leader : Arthur Dobson. Distance : 8 miles.
Left click route & profile to enlarge.
Bill reports :-
The idiom tells us that good things come in small packages and so as the eight of us assembled In Raby Avenue Barnard Castle overlooking the allotments it was clear we fitted that bill for the day’s trot around the area. In reality we as a group we should qualify for parking season tickets at Raby Avenue so many times have we enjoyed visiting the wonderful town.
But who was our great leader for the day? Richard was the name on the programme but it seemed he had seconded the role to Maz who had recced the trail earlier and had then passed the reins to Arthur who agreed to guide us round one of his favourite walks. The best walk on the club programmes he decreed.
So in good order we left our bogeys and headed south down an easy simple path for a while before bearing NE to join a delightful wooded section of the famous Teesdale Way. One of the great long distance trails The Teesdale Way runs (a misnomer if ever there was one) 100 miles between the Cumbrian Pennines and the North Sea coast. It was to be our companion for most of the day. A lovely stroll through light woodland followed with only the above ground varicose vein roots of elderly trees posing as booby traps for the unwary.
Ere long we broke cover from the copse and headed for the 17th century Lartington Hall now pretty much out of bounds courtesy the occupant’s recent footpath diversion and associated wattle fence- but the ducks and geese still made us welcome. Exiting the grounds we passed under the disused railway and trailed over a couple of fields where the long grass underfoot was fantastically verdant and lush. From there it was a short section of roadside walking before turning the corner and parking our derrières on the welcoming benches of the Cotherstone village green- lunchtime was calling.
Post lunch we began what was effectively our way home and on re-joining the Teesdale Way relied upon it to guide us. Climbing slightly on a country lane we paused awhile for a photo call warning of the perils of trespass and then we descended to the immediate banks of the mighty river itself, the steps down being just a little uncomfortable for those of a certain generation. The riverside walk though was delightful but was interrupted for a while when we embarked inland on a little unscheduled magical mystery tour. Fortunately with the assistance of various maps and GPS gear we were soon back on piste and enjoying our reunion with the river and the Way.
As we gradually climbed from the riverbanks to open pasture once again the first signs of precipitation began to appear. Shame because to that point the conditions had been perfect for walking. And so it was those with sense, who paused to don waterproofs for the first time in the day, those choosing bravado later rued their choice. The onward walk through a couple of fields led us to duck under the disused railway line again and required a certain amount of gymnastic dexterity as a result of locked gates and tricky stiles- but all survived without too much loss of dignity.
From that point it was simply a wet walk down to cross the river via the well-known pipe bridge and up the slight incline to Raby Avenue and our waiting chariots. A post walk aperitif was sacrificed in deference to the inclement weather.
Thanks to Arthur for, notwithstanding the rain, it was a delightful ramble over a well-known friend.