Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Hartside to Hedgehope Hill

This walk covered approximately 8miles however quite a bit was following the snowy paths leading up to Hedgehope hill. If you have ever had the misfortune to hike the hills through knee and thigh deep snow you would realise Hell doesn't hold the patent on all forms of torture.  I must admit that at one point in  this wonderful hike I was lying prostrate with my face buried in the compact snow of Hedgehope hill wondering how long it would take the emergency services to airlift me from exhaustion.  Being a photographer I have always combined my walks in the hills with the opportunity to capture some great landscape shots, however this does mean you have to carry all of your camera equipments, lenses, tripod etc along with heavy weather kit, kettle, litres of water and sandwiches.  The weight of my very large rucksac would pose problems for the military but you never know when you might get that special shot - such is the mentality of an idiot/photographer (delete as appropriate).  Combine a very heavy rucksac with thigh deep snow and you start to get the picture of the pain I went through for the sake of enjoyment....!!  The following images take you from Hartside in Ingram Valley, through Linhope and to the waterfalls of Linhope Spout, upwards between Great Staindrop and Dunmoor Hill to the majesty of Hedgehope and back.

Before I lead you through the delights of the Cheviots I would like to share a quote from the author George MacDonald Fraser when he wrote his very informative book on the region and the Border Reviers - "The Steel Bonnets"

The whole region, the very heart of Britain, contains some of the lonliest and some of the bleakest country in the British Isles.  Along the central part of the frontier line itself is the great tangled ridge of the Cheviots, a rough barrier of desolate treeless tops and moorland with little valleys and gulley’s running every way, like a great rumpled quilt……One walks in them with head constantly turning to the long crests on either side, but seeing nobody.  Like their relations, the Cumberland fells and the broken foothills of the Southern Uplands, they are melancholy mountains; probably only the border people feel at home in them, but even the incomer will recognise them as the most romantic hills in  the world 

George MacDonald Fraser, “The Steel Bonnets”.

The road from Hartside to Linhope

From Linhope to Linhope Spout

In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Linhope like this:

LINHOPE, a hamlet in Ingram, Linhope, and Greenshawhill township, Ingram parish, Northumberland; on the river Breamish, under the Cheviots, 8½ miles SW by S of Wooler. The name Linhope signifies "the valley of the waterfall, ''and alludes to a cascade called Linhope Spout. The cascade is a fall of 56 feet, over a precipitous rock, into a dark ravine, flanked with high birchclad rocks. Remains of an ancient fortified British town are at a spot called Greaves-Esh; and comprise three circular encampments, each with surrounding ramparts, enclosing perceptible foundations of houses. The W encampment is the largest, and has 18 hut-circles. A small silver cross, inscribed with the name of Acca, Bishop of Hexham, and thought to have been one of the crosses given to the Hexham pilgrims, was found, in 1861, at the foot of the adjoining Cheviot hill Hartside.
Linhope Burn
Linhope Spout
 Which way now??
Hedgehope Hill in the distance
Hedgehope Hill is at a height of 714 metres (2,343 ft) and a distance of about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the Scottish Border, it canbe climbed from Langleeford in the Harthorpe Valley, over which it looms, or from Linhope.  An alternative route to the summit could involve a long days climb of both the Cheviot and Hedgehope Hill starting and finishing at Langleeford. It is a steep climb from any approach with steeper sides than the taller but flatter topped Cheviot.
Climbing Hedgehope
The mighty Hedgehope Hill

Heading back down with Ritto Hill in  the distance
Please take the oppoprtunity to look at my website for more great images of Northumberland