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Monday, 11 April 2016

Oh, To Be In England Now That April Is Here – Once You’ve Shaken The Snow Off The Tent, That Is.


 
 
Pointing the way back to Chew Green, the start of our Saturday walk

We’d been looking forward to our first serious hike of the year and, all things considered, we weren’t disappointed. We had a delightful weekend in the Cheviots, just a short hike from the Scottish border. We stayed at the Deer Hut, way up the Coquet valley, about forty minutes’ drive beyond Rothbury.  

A ten-mile circular on Saturday began in beautiful spring sunshine.
 

 

… and we enjoyed a picnic lunch at a Mountain Rescue Hut with a very odd name:
 
 

 
Later the clouds gathered and the temperature dropped, but we were thrilled to have  a close(ish) encounter with the beautifully camouflaged Cheviot goats. It appears that these wild and woolly beasts were introduced to the area by our Neolithic ancestors some 6-7,000 years ago. Many remain feral, although several herds are managed.
 
Long-term residents, grazing 
The hut we hired had beds for six. A and I graciously let our pals take those while we tested a large tent, one big enough for people like me (stiff joints, long legs) to get in and out of without grunting, or making other goat-like noises. It was indeed commodious, although I was awoken throughout the night by the sound of rain pounding on the roof. Thankfully it let up around five, having turned to snow.



 
It can try a fellow’s patience to trudge across sodden, snow-covered grass, turn on the car radio and hearing the forecaster glibly announce that it’s a grand day in the north-east, with wall-to-wall sunshine. But a strong cup of coffee and a clearing sky can work wonders….


I think this is what that forecaster had in mind
Sunday’s walk took us through the forest and down into a sheltered valley where we leapt across a beck, and paused for lunch.


 ...and the rest of the hike was simply glorious.

 



 



The end of the hike - and there, in amongst the trees to the left, is our temporary home.