Well, here we are, the final walk of our Tyne Trek. Needless to say, the sun was shining as Geoffrey and I made our way to meet up with Steve at Hole House in the upper Tyne valley. The sun gradually disappeared though as we wound our way westwards, but it remained dry, with a stiff easterly breeze, which took the edge off the temperature.
We followed the farm track from the road down towards the farm buildings, crossed the Tyne over a very pretty bridge and then turned south on the South Tyne trail, observed by a couple of handsome Swaledale tups. There were more of these woolly gentlemen in the next couple of fields, waiting for the busiest time of their lives.
As we walked, we disturbed a heron and a snipe, the latter flashing away, low over the vegetation. Tynehead was the next farm that we came to on the route – possibly not now a working farm; the main house was in the process of renovation, for what was unclear. We crossed a tributary of the main river here, climbed a short steep bank past a ruined building, one of many in this area, and continued to follow the signposted track parallel to the river.
Another heron flew off as we walked ever southward, but when we had the option to take a lower path through a herd of somewhat disturbed Galloway cattle or leave the official route for a more elevated way along a fence, we decided not to risk the ire of the beasts. The fenceline path was rather boggy in places, good snipe country (for we put up another), but we came to the ruined building by the side of the road without mishap. A lichen covered signpost again pointed us south, and the sound of grouse croaking their ‘go-back, go-back’ call kept us company as we climbed steadily to our destination.
The road passed old mine workings, while the young Tyne splashed and murmured its way through the rocky bed, getting ever narrower as its source became nearer. The road surface turned slatey as we gradually ascended, until finally the marker stone came into view – we had walked the Tyne from mouth to source !
To be honest, the commemorative stone was a bit of an anti-climax, being so close to the road, but we had the regulation photograph to record the event, and ate our lunch sat on the base ! We missed looking through the hole to view the spring which was the actual source though !
With plenty of light left in the day, and easy walking, we decided to continue for a while to look at the Tees, that other great North East river. The track meandered about a bit, gently rising and falling, until finally veering right down to a bridge over the River Tees, at the edge of the Moorhouse Nature Reserve. Having risen on the slopes of Cross Fell, the river was already quite wide as it made its journey through these Northern uplands. We enjoyed good views across to the west, with Great and Little Dun Fells, and the massive outline of Cross Fell.
We returned back to the car along the track that had mirrored our route all the way from Garrigill. We were unsure where it led to the south – possibly to Cow Green reservoir in Durham, or over to Dufton in Cumbria. Must walk this route sometime.
So, our journey complete, it was with a somewhat muted sense of achievement that we headed home, but the prospect of walking the North Tyne to capture the whole of the catchment was appealing – could we fit it in before the winter weather confines us to the fireside ?