With only three of us available for our first hike of 2017, it was decided to do a walk closer to home. So we set off north east up the A696 and turned off at Knowesgate to cross the moor past Sweethope Loughs. Parking in Whiteacres in West Woodburn as we had done previously when starting a walk from this village, we quickly kitted up, and then set off south alongside the A68 before turning off left towards Broomhill Farm.
The weather was cool and overcast, and we were soon striding along past some lovely, large stone-built house which enjoyed distant views northwards along the River Rede valley. We turned right and then left along the old Wansbeck Railway track for a short distance before turning off uphill. We strayed from the marked route a little, climbing the hill, which led us to a wet, boggy patch near the gate into the higher field. What a struggle, due to the fact the gate was securely tied, and we had to climb over.
After successfully negotiating this obstacle, the going was relatively easy, and we emerged onto the minor road near a house called The Broom. A farm track led off from here towards High Shaw and we followed this to the south side of the house, and then dropped down towards a stream. It was here that Steve fell rather badly, which necessitated a brief stop to enable first aid to be administered. We decided to err on the side of caution with regard to Steve’s condition, because there was quite a lot of blood from a cut above his eye. A phone call to Rosemary brought a speedy response, and Steve was soon being whisked off to see a doctor. Thankfully, it turned out he was only shaken, not stirred.
Geoffrey and I decided to continue with a slightly truncated walk, but after we had walked beneath the old railway route, we were stymied by a lack of bridges over the Lisles Burn. After much meandering, we emerged onto a good metalled track and crossed the Burn near Linnheads, where we turned eastwards along the farm road to Blakelaw Farm. A kind young lady in a smart 4×4 directed us to the correct path back towards East Woodburn, and we crossed back over the Burn at Chairford Bridge.
Rather than prolong our walk by heading north to follow the Border County Ride to cross the River Rede, we strode quickly back to the main A68, popping in to visit the small church of All Saints which was helpfully open for visitors. A charming, simple structure with an external octagonal bell turret and some lovely carved woodwork internally. We tarried awhile in this peaceful place, before heading back to the car and home.
It turned out to be an eventful day, but, as the saying goes, “All’s well that ends well” and so it proved thankfully. Footloose live to walk another mile !