Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A-Walking: Cotherstone Crossings

After last weekend's wonderful walking spree on the North York Moors, our expedition today located us back in County Durham again - a circular route from Barnard Castle {NZ 050 166}. Our trek took us along the side of the River Tees to Cotherstone, south-west to Loups's Hill and then east back to Barnard Castle via Deepdale.

We set off from Morrison's car park in Barnard Castle {NZ 051 166} (see picture below) at about 10.15 am. There were 9 people in the group: JB, PB, RB, MC, KF, JG, CH, JJ and LM. PB led the walk.

Morrison's Car Park
From the church at the end of Galgate (see here), we set off in a north-westerly direction along the route of the Teesdale Way (TW). Our route followed the course of the River Tees (along its east side) fairly closely. We passed by East Holme House {NZ 029 189} (see here) and West Holme House {NZ 027 191} (see here). As we headed north, we had some very good views of the River Tees.

We crossed the river by means of a footbridge near the confluence of the River Tees and the River Balder {NZ 013 202}. At this point we left the TW by turning west towards Cotherstone. After crossing the River Balder using the bridge at {NZ 013 201}, we climbed up into the village. We entered Cotherstone at {NZ 011 198) near the village green (see here). Walking through the village in a north-westerly direction, we crossed the River Balder (again) using the road bridge at {NZ 009 200} (see here).

Just after the bridge we picked up a westerly-going public footpath (on our left) that took us towards Doe Park {NZ 005 201}. We continued on our westerly bearing (crossing the dis-used railway track at {NY 995 203}) until we reached the track leading to West End. We now turned onto a southerly bearing and made our way to a footbridge at {NY 992 200}. We used this to cross the River Balder (our third crossing!). Continuing on our southerly bearing we reached a minor road at {NY 991 197} near Osmond Bridge. We turned right here and followed the road to {NY 990 197} where we turned left onto the track leading to High Corn Park. Now following the route of Osmond Beck we made our way to Booze Wood where we stopped for a quick lunch break - taking shelter from the strong winds behind some farm buildings at {NY 986 190}.

After lunch, we joined a minor road at {NY 985 189}. Turning right along it, we followed the road in the direction of Briscoe. We left the road at {NY 978 193} and made a south-westerly trek over the open moorland towards Loups's Hill {NY 964 175}. This gave us the opportunity to enjoy a long, uphill 'pull' against a very strong head-wind. As we turned east and made our way along the ridge to the high ground (see picture below), we had some wonderful panoramic views of the surrounding terrain. The view north to Hury Reservoir was particularly spectacular (see here).

Loups's Hill
We continued along the ridge to East Loups's (a deserted farm house) and then followed a good track along the route of Scur Beck. At {NY 996 175} we joined a minor road at North Gill Bridge. At this point, one or two people who had got significantly ahead of the leader went the wrong way. We had to do a 'whistle blow' in order to attract their attention and 'bring them back'.

After re-grouping at the bridge, we followed the road in a southerly direction towards Washfield Bridge {NY 996 170}. As we went along the road we passed the Ministry of Defence's Battle Hill Rifle Range on our right. We continued along the road until we reached {NY 993 162} where we took a public footpath on our left. This led us in an easterly direction to the crags at Crag Hill {NY 996 162} - see the picture below.

Crag Hill
We passed through the farm at Low Crag and made our way down-hill towards Crag Pond - passing this on our left. Just after the pond (more like a lake!) we took refuge behind a wall and had a short tea stop at {NZ 005 162}.

After our brief stop, we continued on our easterly trek into Deepdale Wood. Keeping the river (Deepdale Beck) on our right (and below us) we continued along - an often very muddy - track through the wood until we reached the B6277 road. We had intended crossing the River Tees here using Deepdale Aquaduct. Unfortunately, due to restoration work on the bridge, this was not possible. Instead, we used the A67 road bridge at {NZ 048 164}. From here we followed a good path up-hill around the west side of the castle to reach the church at Galgate. It was now just a short walk back to Morrison's car park where our coach was waiting.

We had a wonderful expedition today - lots of mud, wind and excitement! Some of the views we saw were really quite spectacular. Use the buttons below to see where we went, how we did and some of the sights we saw.




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