83. St. Oswald’s Way 13 – Detchant to Beal – 1st March 2017

With a full complement of Footloose fellas once more, we turned our thoughts and wheels to St. Oswald’s Way once more, and, on a dry, cold morning, drove up the A1 to rendezvous at the small car park near the Holy Island causeway. Our walk began though, back at Greymare Farm to the west of Detchant, wreathed in woodsmoke. It was a pleasure to climb the track up towards Greensheen Hill, but we turned off north before achieving the summit to enter Detchant and Shiellow Woods. We had super views over to Holy Island from our viewpoint near a large pond – a suitable spot for a group photo.

The track through the woodland was somewhat boggy in places, but of a more open aspect that we’d anticipated. Some felling had taken place to create clearings, and the trees were not all conifers, which meant that we could see the sky through the deciduous canopy at times. We eventually emerged at the edge of a large grassy field which sloped gently towards the sea, giving us views of the coastal strip and our destination once more.

We approached and passed an attractive pair of stone built houses with the fascinating name of ‘Blawearie’ (from the Gaelic, meaning a ‘pleasant fold on the shieling’ or summer pasture) as we turned towards the sea. Dropping down the minor road to the hamlet of Fenwick, we came across a handily placed seat where we stopped to eat our sandwiches.

It was a short walk down to Fenwick, a turn to the right and then briskly over the A1 before continuing down the minor road to the derelict Fenwick Granary steading – definitely in need of a little TLC ! We left the road and climbed steadily up the flank of Fenhamhill, before dropping down between some low lying arable fields towards the main East Coast railway tracks. As before, we had to contact Tweedmouth Control to ascertain when it would be safe to cross, and this time, we had to wait until two trains had passed before we ventured over.

There was now a quick zig and zag before we reached the line of concrete cubes which had been installed during the Second World War to hamper any invasion by tanks http://www.pillbox-study-group.org.uk/other-wwii-defensive-structures/anti-tank-obstacles/

The path followed this double line of concrete blocks until we reached the road at the start of the Holy Island Causeway. A kindly BT Openreach engineer took our group photo for posterity.

What a lovely day it had been – cool but sunny, and just one more leg to go. I think we’ll wait for the weather to warm up before we cross the Pilgrim’s Path to Lindisfarne though.


About gardeningdave

Retired - living in Northumberland - walk, usually every two weeks, with a group of three or four friends in the wider Northumbria.
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