Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A Boxing day walk, Hedgehope Hill, Northumberland

The Cheviot
Christmas was a bit unusual for me this year as I had planned to go away at New Year with a walking friend. The only way I could barter for holiday with my job was to offer to work a difficult shift around Christmas which ended up being late afternoon and evening on Christmas day. Another friend and his wife are always discussing and bantering about doing a walk with a group of friends but we can never agree on a distance or location. I was concerned about taking him away from his wife on Boxing day but she was pleased that he had a companion for this kind of walk. The extremes of this set depicts why I haven't done a walk with this particular group of friends in nearly three years.

The weather forecast for the day was essentially extreme cold, sun, no wind, high level snow and on the basis of no wind at low altitude (acceptable at high levels in relative terms), I grasped the photo opportunity with both hands.

My friend was probably more concerned about getting his car safely to and from the starting point as the single track road in the valley has two very steep hills that could possibly have been icy but with a bit of caution we made it.

Hedgehope hill (2343ft / 714m) was the target of the day which in normal conditions would be quite simple.

My previous experiences of hill walking in snow was a long time ago with my walking mentor on Ben Lomond in Scotland and his inexperience in that environment frightened me into staying with the 3 seasons.

I did have memories of that trip in that the more difficult legwork was comparable although there were a few 6 inch prints to follow at times !

Hedgehope Hill Summit at last

Considering the possibilities for an onward route ... another time obviously !

It was great to get in behind the cairn for some shelter away from the cold for a lunch break, however 20 minutes was long enough as my inexperience told me that I should have eaten with my gloves on !

Does anyone recognise this view 30 minutes earlier? ... definitely time to keep moving !

Getting to grips with a walking pole that wouldn't extend ... no, it's not an ice axe !

Time to head back to some ...errr .... colour  and reflect on the experiences of the day.

Some wisdom I invented from the start of the day although a little unfounded ...

" You always know it's a bad idea to do a high level mountain walk when ...
it's a challenge to open the frozen front door" ! :-)
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