The Cheviot, via Langleeford
01 September 2012
8.35 miles (13.44 km)
Sights and Sounds
Starting from a car park just east of Langleeford we began by heading up Scald Hill. It was a while since either of us had been out hiking so this first climb up to 549m was interspersed with more than a couple of breaks and a tendency not to look up that the main goal for the day, The Cheviot. The summit of Scald Hill was a fairly underwhelming affair, soon dropping down into a boggy plateau before the main climb of the day. After loading up on minstrels and a couple of peanut m&ms we went for it. The going was slow and hindered by a strong easterly wind. Spotting a couple of folks heading downwards, looking relieved to be on their way to some less blustery altitudes we ploughed on into the clouds.
The ground was reasonably dry and solid, with the occasional bit of run-off resulting in small patches of softer soil. Upon reaching the 750m mark we encountered fields of loose rock which had to be traversed carefully but my new Salomon Comet GTX 3D boots were up to it, even if my legs were struggling by this point. The wind was really testing us as we reached the cairns that marked the plateau that sits atop the climb and my Montane Featherlite Smock was rattling about something chronic – maybe a move from a large to a medium would be advisable before more autumn summits? The sight of Northumberland National Park Authority’s stone boardwalk was sweet relief to tired legs as we headed to the trig point that marked the summit (still shrouded in mist) that was occupied by a man and his two boys who were looking a bit secretive about something; not wanting to appear the weirdo by staring at them I engaged in a bit of polite banter and managed to spot a small, screw top container in dad’s hands. Turns out there’s a geocache on the summit of The Cheviot.
Finding a spot for lunch in a dilapidated stone shelter, the cloud broke a little and provided a nice view of the way we’d ascended but the way down to the north was still obscured by the seemingly endless peat bogs which crown this Northumberland giant. Some spilled coronation chicken and a wet wipe later we were heading down towards the farm at Goldscleugh. Since we’re into grouse season now it was not surprising that we spotted lots of them emerging from the heather, catching the wind and noisily making their way through the valley.
Heading east we aimed for the saddle between Broadhope and Blackseat Hills. There were some minor detours and changes of course but Steve’s finely tuned map reading skills got us to where we needed to be.
One interesting spot was a mammal trap, presumably part of GWCT’s Upland Predation Experiment. Even more interesting was the well-dead ermine stoat trapped inside – I guess grouse bring in more money than biodiversity…
The pace eased as we ambled through the last valley on the way down to the car park, but a quick look back rewarded us with a magnificently colourful view.
Dropping ever downwards we landed back at the car with aching legs and massive hair (well, I did at least). I ticked off my second Trail 100 hill and had a pleasant day in the process.
Coniston Old Man is the next one…