Leader : Barry Lee. Distance : 8 miles
Left click route & profile to enlarge
Bill; reports :-
The weather was lovely, clear blue skies and warm sunshine were to be our companions for the day tramping the plethora of paths and trails around Durham’s world-wide attraction: Beamish Museum. The museum was the brainchild of Frank Atkinson the Director of Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle and opened its doors to Joe Public in 1971. Alas today’s outing did not include for a visit but through most of the walk various ‘noises off’ gave a clear indication that things were going on.
Once assembled in the ‘FREE’ carpark near the museum’s impressive entrance we numbered 16 and around 10.30 we set off along the adjacent minor road passing the Shepherd & Shepherdess hostelry where we would later enjoy our post walk booze up.
Soon we left the hard underfoot surfaces and entered what was to be the first of many woodland tracks we were to encounter. The light cover provided by the canopies, some admittedly showing ominous signs of approaching autumn, provided comfort for periods from the last of the summer sun. We were not alone either in search of an enjoyable day out and during our gentle descant to the first of many crossings of the little River Teem a couple of equine characters demanded use of our path for a while- we acquiesced.
Still heading almost due north we exited the wood and engaged in a spell of open field walking with comfy underfoot conditions. All around us was evidence that local farmers had taken advantage of good weather and ‘all was safely gathered in’.
Another spell of woodland walking followed and indeed this interchange was to be pretty much the pattern for the remainder of the day. Some tracks were level and comfortable but regular level changes kept everyone on their toes although, as with all walk leaders, our man assured us significant climbs were not on the cards.
A short while into our second open field stretch saw us meet up with the redundant Bowes Railway track. Dating from the mid-19th Century it passed very close to the St Andrews Station which services the Tanfield Heritage Railway, claimed by some to be the oldest railway in the world.
By now nearing 13.00, lunchtime was called and we all enjoyed our little al fresco snacks.
A long and pleasant stroll along the old track ensued until on nearing the outskirts of the old mining village of Kibblesworth we turned right and commenced what effectively was the third leg of our triangular journey. Again our route continued the previous pattern and took us over open fields with extremely robust boundary stiles and through small copses. People and dogs were abundant, most friendly, some not so- the dogs that is not the people. Our leader even paused to give two lost young ladies and their K9 some directions- good luck to them!
One or two more minor ups and downs, and a few irregular steps, followed culminating in an unannounced ‘sting in the tail hill’ close to our finish. To be fair we were afforded frequent rests and refreshment breaks and thus arrived back at the car park a bit puffed but after a delightful day out.
The Shepherd & Shepherdess welcomed us for our traditional liquid repast.