Whilst some of us were floundering around in waist-deep bogs, the kids were sledging and building snowmen, giant snowballs and an attempted igloo.
Our second day at Ninebanks began cloudy, but cleared up very early and the kids were soon outside again making the most of it.
I had been up with the lark and watched the Adopted Yorkshireman* and the Madman make an early start for the hills, but opted myself for a leisurely fry-up before joining the Shandy Sherpa* and Geordie Munro* for what we expected to be a brief stroll.
It wasn’t. A brief stroll. But it was too nice a day to hurry.
In brief, our route took us along the Mohope Burn….
…and below the now busy sledging field…
…on a path which is part of Isaac’s Tea Trail, a 37 mile circular route inspired by Isaac Holden, Lead Miner, travelling tea salesman and Methodist philanthropist.
Mohope Burn brought us to…
…the River West Allen…
…where the Shandy Sherpa and Geordie Munro both steadfastly refused to go back to pose for a photo on the footbridge.
“What you need,” they said, “is the Madman. He can always be relied upon to pose on request in any spot.”
As if by magic, coming down the hill towards us were the Madman and the AYM.
We were by now already an hour into our ‘stroll’ and less than an hour short of the time we had predicted for our return to the hostel, so passed on a message for our respective partners about the shortcomings of our estimated ETA.
Because we had miles to go, and hills to climb…
The views were expansive.
And we can’t have been in a hurry…
…because at times I even managed to get ahead of the boys.
However, normal service was resumed as we neared the edge on Greenleycleugh Crags…
…although this photo might suggest that the ascent was epic and vast, which it wasn’t.
To the west cloud was spilling over Cross Fell and it’s neighbours.
To the north we could pick out Cheviot, and to the north-west more snow covered mountains, we thought the hills around Dumfries, whilst down to the east we could see Newcastle and great ranks of clouds over the North Sea. A coast to coast view.
Greenleycleugh Crags – not exactly spectacular, but a fine place to be.
By the cairn we stopped briefly (it was really quite cold here) to share a portion of apple crumble and custard, and a hot drink. Geordie Munro had hot pink grapefruit cordial in his flask – if you’ve never tried it, I can strongly recommend it: very refreshing.
We took a slightly different route down.
..before eventually rejoining Mohope Burn…
…to retrace the first leg of our journey back to the hostel.
*We’ve been friends for a very long time and nicknames proliferate. The Shandy Sherpa you might know as Surf’n’Slide and on Surf’n’Slide’s blog the Adopted Yorkshire Man, who has had numerous appellations over the years, is known as the EWO (Eternal Weather Optimist). The Madman isn’t really Mad (well not entirely), and Geordie Munro isn’t really a Geordie. The Hardman is Hard, but perhaps not as Hard as he once was. Uncle Fester – City fanatic and Bridge player extraordinaire – who made it for part of the weekend, has also been Raspberry Ripple, the Tank Engine, the Ginger Whinger and probably several other things which can only be aired after the watershed. Female members of the party, I need hardly mention, aren’t infantile enough to give each other silly names. I hope that’s cleared things up a little.