Friday, July 15, 2011

Cheviot Challenge: Three go East!

The Three Amigos headed for the hills last weekend. Three days exploring, and riding some of the trails we hadnt done before.
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We had planned this all year, three uninterrupted days of riding and socialising!  We had decided to ride along the old Roman Road from Hownam to Barrowburn. Across the Cheviot hills, taking in as much scenery and as many hills as we could on the route. As usual, there is always a glitsch! On the day of the race, our horses had other ideas!
All three were in the same field, but during the night, Hafla, a delightful Icelandic, belonging to Nic, came into full season! Of course, Craig, Lynne`s horse, being a gelding with attitude, decided to keep my horse Gracie, away from Hafla, as she now belonged to him! What would have been an easy 8 am start, gradually became a 9am start! Finally after many rounds of th field, we caught all three!
Leaving Cliftoncote Farm, we headed for Belford, not Hownam, cutting a couple of miles off the trip. But as it turned out, that wasnt such a bad thing.
It was an easy walk to Belford, there we headed up the valley to Seefew.
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The remains of an old building, mark Seefew. The track here wends its way downhill, before heading up onto the start of “The Street “, as the Roman Road is known.
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Here you can see Lynne and Nic, powering up the hill from Seefew, towards the begining of the Trail. From here it was a slog uphill for some miles. The Street, is well preserved, and in good riding condition, however it does pass through some of the wettest areas around so care needs to be taken.cheviots 2011 013
Cant leave Hafla out of a picture! This point, marks one of the highest points of the route,  with some miles to go, gates do abound, but most are open.
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This signpost, marks the point at which we cross from Scotland into England. Also the signpost marks the route of one of the uk`s longest Hill Walks, The Pennine Way.  Lunch time seemed good here!
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Nic and Hafla,
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Lynne, and the cheeky Craig! 
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And of course me and Gracie!
From here we headed South to BarrowBurn, Taking in some fantastic scenery and wonderful  hills.
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This is the Rowhope Valley, it was here we left The Street, and headed along here towards Uswayford, crossing the Rowhope Burn, and heading uphill towards Clennell Street, another major Roman Road that would lead us down to our final stop, Alwinton.
cheviots 2011 032Looking back towards the Border Ridge, only a few miles to go now, and a cup of Tea!
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All the horses did well, all deserved and got a bath, and final turnout!
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What else would they need?…….time for a few beers!
A good 25 mile ride, good weather, and no rain! Jan and Jimmy, at Well House Farm did us all proud. But a special thanks goes to another person, not mentioned here!  To Ron, the Chef de Equipe`, he did well too!  Well he did fetch all the Beer!


  1. What spectacular country for riding! Gracie would be camouflaged if you stood her next to that old ruined building.

  2. Your dead right Shirley! Almost lost her once!
    But it truly was a good weekend. Looking forward to another shortly!

    Pleased to hear from you, as I havent been blogging for a while!

  3. Beautiful scenory! The trip looked and sounded magnificent!

  4. My gosh the incredible history that you have near you is hard for me to grasp in my mind. In the pacicfic northwest where I am, the history here doesn't go back even remotely as far back as the history in your country. Here a building is old if it's reach the 50 year mark. If it's 100 it can be put on a historical registry. Such a difference. My Grandpa was born in Edinburg, Scotland, and soon after immigrated here with only his Mother, Paterson was Grandpas last name, I know little about his Mother. That ride that you took makes me want to learn even more about my roots. Fantastic ride! Thank you for sharing it so beautifully.

  5. It's good to see that you are getting some dry weather at last.

    Three hundred miles to the south the ground is hard as iron However we lack proper hills.

    Life is never quite fair.

  6. Thanks everyone, its good to see its appreciated.
    Mary, that means I would be old!

  7. Barrowburn (sp) reminds me a lot of our sand hills. Very pretty scenery. I would love to ride there!

  8. There`s plenty of space, and friendly people!

  9. I'm going to look at this on the maps and see where you went... I love the pictures, and always dreamed of "pony-trekking" in Great Britain. Thanks for the wonderful ride!

  10. Would like to have been along. That view into the valley just about takes the breath away just on my laptop screen.

  11. Hi Everyone, sorry I havent replied to you all individually, but the trip was Brill! WHP, yep we get rain, there seems to be a dividing line between Scotland and the rest of the UK!
    Ron, glad you like it, that valley is well hidden! Very few people go there, due to the Army firing range a few miles to the south!!!
    C`mon Marry Ann! Pony trekking?...Lol!
    You need to look for Cheviots, then add Cliftoncote Farm. Should come up easy!! BTW, your welcome to ride here anytime!

  12. I had fun looking through a few posts into may. I have fought the ticks this year, I've had quite a few on me.Nice area to ride, but lacking trees, is this because of grazing?Lots of good riding around here, many parks have special areas.

  13. Hi OOTP!! Yes you are right about the trees, however, before the 1600`s, all the main land of Britain was mostly trees! However, with the advent of wooden ships, for the defense of the UK, Queen Elizabeth the 1st, ordered a fleet tyo be built, and since then it has been a staedy decline. Sheep were the next culprit!
    The 19th century saw the wool industry rise, and so on!

    But when the Romans arrived, this country was covered in old woodland.

  14. Gorgeous photos to go with what sounds like a wonderful ride. I bet the cold beer at the end was well appreciated. I love the open countryside. It all looks very uncluttered.Glad to hear you are also getting some nice weather!

  15. The beer was very welcome!!

    Thanks Sally! I would have shared one with you, but well??? You know there is only so many to go round!!Lol.(And I like a beer or twwo!)

  16. About woodland cover: Rackam in 'The History of the Countryside' reckons that half of England (sic) ceased to be wildwood by 500BC. By the Domesday Book (1086) an estimated 15% of the land surveyed by the Normans comprised woodland, and much of that lay in the south of England. There is no evidence that ironmaking destroyed much woodland as that long term venture needed a stable supply of (mostly coppiced) timber. The 'evidence' that shipbuilding depleted woodland mostly relates to Royal Navy complaints about the lack of cheap large timbers, the service being short of money. It is true that serious destruction of what remained occured post-1945, though wildwoods were to some degree replaced by dull spruce monoculture. However Britain hasn't been a predominently wooded country for more than two thousand years.