We are often asked why we recce every walk we do and this is a prime example of why.
Last Saturday we set out to take a look at the Newbiggin and the Carrier’s Way walk, starting from Blanchland. It was a damp and foggy day, even in Sunderland and it wasn’t any different when we arrived in Blanchland, although the rain had eased off. Whilst we were driving up there we could also see the remains of the snow drifts cleared from the road.
After a brief stop in the White Monk Tea Room, we set off on our planned route. The path was ok but a little wet and muddy in places, with snow still remaining but manageable. We continued on, noting that the way was good but rather uphill. It was disappointing that we could not see the spectacular views for the fog.
As we got higher the snow became more pronounced. One uphill section was about a foot deep, making it very hard going. However, we made it to Riddlehamhope and then turned back towards Blanchland, over Hope Fell.
At this point we saw how much snow was on the fell and the fog was as thick as ever. This was going to be difficult going. The path is unclear at this point even on a good day, so the snow made it completely indiscernible. Using the GPS we were able to navigate following the path on the map, so we gave it a go. It was only going to be two miles.
What a two miles though. The snow got deeper and harder to walk through. At times it was over two feet deep. The path appeared then disappeared constantly and it took twice as long as expected to cross this usually simple two mile stretch. It was actually getting quite dangerous. Thankfully, it wasn’t much longer before we saw the finger post indicating the way down and off the fell. After another hour we were finally back at the car park.
After this epic journey, and with the tea shop now closed, we needed a trip to the Lord Crewe Arms.
Unfortunately, we can’t see it getting significantly better in the next 2 weeks, especially if the Beast from the East hits us again at the weekend. Even if the snow does melt the ground underfoot will be very boggy. Therefore, for your safety and enjoyment, we have made the decision to postpone this walk to later in the year.
We apologise for this postponement and will be in touch with a new date.