> Durham 2000ers Recce - Geoff Davis

16th September 2007

On Sunday David Atkinson and I visited 6 of the 11 tops in Co.Durham over 2,000' (classified as 'Hewitts').

Starting at 9.30am from a windy St John's Chapel we were soon into the clag at about 1500' although it was fairly dry underfoot (ie only ankle deep in water / peat / clarts instead of knee deep). Using fence lines to navigate we reached the first top of Burtree Fell fairly quickly and dropped down to cross the Allenheads / Weardale Road before heading towards Killhope Law still in the clag and now accompanied by a light mizzle. No fence lines here and only sheep trods to use to cut through the heather but we made it to the telegraph pole on the windy summit and headed off with a song in our hearts to face the joys of the Killhope Hags.

These were fairly 'dry' but seemed to go on forever before we finally hit the fence that would take us down to our road crossing above Nenthead. We were again able to use the fence / wall to navigate but by this time the wind was no longer playing games and a deadly serious gale was impeding our progress and conversation. The aptly named Dead Stones finally arrived and we joined the happy smiling ramblers tucking into their sarnies as they enjoyed the sunshine (not) - in fact we didn't see a living soul on the fells all day. The scene around us was one of total desolation - well what we could see through the clag was. Our friend the fence kept us on the straight and narrow, windy and wet treadmill until we reached the isolated trig point of Burnhope Seat - our fourth top. The rain too had now joined the wind in a serious attempt at making life for me and David very unpleasant - but nonetheless soaked to the skin we were determined to 'bag' the last two tops before descending out of the clag. These two proved even more unpleasant than the first four, particularly the incorrectly named and final top of Three Pikes. A more apt name would have been 'The flat topped hill of a thousand hags'.

With the rain beating on our cags and the wind doing its best to blow us over we made a quick descent and joined the road about a mile from the Langdon Beck Hotel where Susan was waiting. After a quick sprint along the road we burst through the door of the Hotel bar at 3.15pm dripping wet and covered in clarts, grinned at the incredulous customers and asked Susan to order two pints of Black Sheep. A quick about turn and change in the Berlingo saw us return in 5 minutes to enjoy the Black Sheep by a roaring fire after 6 hours and 20 miles of clag, wind, rain & bog.

Geoff Davis

> top