Haltwhistle Expedition

On Sunday 24th March 2013 myself and Hattie Taylor set out to Haltwhistle in Northumberland, for a ‘Mini Expedition’. Taking the train from Carlisle to Haltwhistle at 2pm, that was when the thrill of finding something kicked in. During the half hour journey I gazed out the window, at the passing countryside, changing from grassy fields to snowy fields. I remember thinking “whoa, its strange how it just changes from green to white”, looking at how thick it was in places I began to speculate what the weather was like in Haltwhistle as according to the weather it was supposed to be a light snow, this being the reason for not camping as with a summer sleeping back, camping out in the snow, which was suppose to change to heavy snow overnight, didn’t thrill me as a first pleasurable camping experience. Passing on the journey I spotted numerous streams running through woods, trickling mini waterfalls which made me incredibly jealous of being on the train, just a passerby. I also found it quite a amusing at the time as the wind whistled through the windows of the train, as we was stopping at ‘Haltwhistle’.

On arrival at the destination, we left the comfort of the train and put our hat and gloves on as it was noticeably windy and nippy. We also had a quick discussion at which direction we was heading to “find a mountain” as Hattie said, this was when I piped up that whilst browsing Google maps I came across a Lake Wood with a lake in the middle of the wood which sounded interesting. We agreed that finding this wood would be an adventure and set off over the train bridge where we was met by a river, we crossed the bridge and that’s when I saw two horses in the field and insisted on saying Hello, after being dragged away we continued along a road seeing a furthermore 8 horses and ponies and me being me well, got a little bit excited. It was probably best I didn’t say hello to these as I would have been there all day and this expedition was certainly not aimed at finding horses.

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After crossing a main road, we came across a field and a little wood which we explored and came across loads of rabbits and their burrows. Heading back onto the side road (Plenmeller Rd) with a walking stick I’d picked up just to feel more hiker-ish. We continued walking on this road for about half an hour, stopping every now and then to admire the view, we came across a public footpath sign to Broomhouse common 1/1/4 away. After a quick check on Google maps to check which direction Lake Wood was in, we decided to take the footpath after contemplating about going through as two Highland Cows were stood by the gate, I must say at first I was a bit nervous of the horns, wouldn’t fancy being on the wrong side of them and getting charged at. After Hattie had shoed to cows away we ventured in the gate thinking, if they were dangerous they wouldn’t be on a public footpath. The cows in actual fact were not fussed about our presence but merely looked at us as we walked past sticking close to the wall.

Continuing along the muddy footpath, we soon came to a field, which led onto another containing a wood. We entered the wood, which had a light covering of snow showing, rabbit and deer prints clearly. We headed in a straight line towards the middle of the wood, and we soon came across a gap in through the trees in which we both gasped and realised it was water, it was the lake of Lake Wood. My hard pounding, adrenaline rushing through me, we’d found it what we set out to achieve. To get down closer to the lake, it required a descend down a fairly steep slope, after disposing of my first walking stick due to it not helping matters and just being a pain, I picked up another to help with the walk down. It was fairly easily to walk down, despite it looking steep, it was just avoiding the rabbit holes and checking the snow wasn’t covering any.

I really had to stop and take it all in, it truly was a stunning view. We sat close to the water to take it all in, it was so tranquil, the only noise was the sound of a Pheasant.  Soon realising I needed to pee, I attempted my first wild pee, which I can honestly say failed I couldn’t make myself do it and it something I need to work on.

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After taking in the view, we decided to head back up the slope, and walk round and investigative the hut on the other side.  On reaching the other side we found out it was a locked boathouse, with two boats left outside. I think we both wanted to go in the boats and go out for a paddle, but decided against as neither of us had rowed before, and we was in the middle of nowhere and hadn’t seen another human being since the train.

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We decided to head back through the opposite wood and came across, some rabbits and the Pheasant which had been making a hell of a lot of noise. After trekking through this wood, which linked back to the cow field, we made it back to the road. We then continued to walk this road, nattering on about how beautiful the lake and wood was. We arrived back at the station and after a short wait, sat on the floor of a very busy train and arrived back in Carlisle at 7pm.

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