With the car thermometers registering only 2 degrees Celsius, we embarked on another leg of our North Tyne trek. Meeting up in Bellingham gave us the opportunity to enjoy a pre-walk coffee in the Rocky Road café, and it was so good we promised to return later if it was still open.
Anticipating little in the way of rain or snow, but expecting a cool wind from the south east, we all had warm clothing to put on once we’d arrived at Wark village centre for the start of the walk. We crossed the river and turned north along the minor road, but where it veered off to the right, we continued straight on towards Blindburn. The path hugged the riverside all the way around the huge bend in the river, until we were practically going south rather than north.
At Low Carry House, we rejoined a farm track and climbed towards Thorneyhirst, where we rejoined the minor road for a short distance before turning off in the direction of High Carry House. The path contoured for a while before descending some steps to the track of the old railway, which we were able to follow past Heugh all the way through Countesspark Wood to Redesmouth, eschewing the riverside path. We nearly came to a sticky end here because the path divided around the old Redesmouth station buildings, and both tracks were really well churned up by cattle which had seriously poached the area. It was interesting to see how some of the old buildings had been re-used, whilst others were still derelict.
Details of the old railways in this area can be found at the excellent website http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/r/reedsmouth/.
After a couple of abortive tries to get into the village, we plodged through the mire on the west side and then crossed a field to emerge into the village proper. We turned down towards the River Rede and, as the slope increased, the Rede road bridge came into view. Crossing this, we could see the abutments of the old railway which must have wound its way north westward to Bellingham. About half a mile further on, we walked underneath one of the old railway bridges and then turned off the road down to the riverside. This track led us towards Boat Farm, where we joined the metalled farm road. After a a few more yards, where Boat Road veered right, our footpath headed off left by the side of a lovely stone built bungalow.
A very friendly ginger cat greeted us here, and accompanied us along the fence top for a while, until we outpaced it for the last mile to Bellingham. The path turned north to follow Hareshaw Burn from its junction with the Tyne, and we emerged back onto Boat Road amongst some very attractive bungalows, before entering the village centre near the Lyndale Guest House and the car, parked near the Rose and Crown and the War Memorial. Having made good time on the walk, we partook of further refreshment at the Rocky Road café before journeying back home !
Birds that we noticed on this walk were the ubiquitous heron, and some, what we thought were, tree sparrows. These little brown jobs fluttered ahead of us as we walked down a track bounded by a wire fence, on one stretch of the walk.
The day never really brightened up, but at least there was no rain. It was a chilly walk, as shown by how well wrapped up we were for our usual lunchtime photo. Only two legs to go now to the finish … and then on to pastures new !