Once Upon

Once Upon

Friday, 6 September 2013

Get yer Rocks off...

Undeniably compelled today to go somewhere.
Couldn't be bothered to drive across to the 'Lakes'.
Toyed with the notion of wandering the usual walks on my doorstep.....
Then.....light-bulb over the head moment....The Wanneys....that's where I'll go ..... The Wanneys.
The Wannys are a bunch of small friendly rocky escarpments upon which I used to clamber about on, and occasionally fall off from, in my crag-rat climbing days...er, a while ago.
Magically placed mid open moorland, but accessible by a pleasant 'walk-in'.
So off I went.
I fired up the jalopy and tootled along the back roads in the sunshine...
In just a few short miles, the route took me through some of the most appealing and beautiful countryside so typical of Northumberland.
Lushly wooded, pastoral meadow...
High-hedged lane, branch-domed and worn..
Olden-spired, warm-stoned villages.....
Leaf-dappled, blue-brown, stone-sparkled rivers...
Open-viewed, farm-placed greenery, stocked, lowing and bleating...
En-route, I casually noted a whole bunch of houses and locations where I would blissfully surrender my remaining eye teeth to live in.

Presently, relying on my memory of the locale, I parked the car in a conveniently placed county council roadside gravel heap, and ambled off across the once way-marked er, way...over tussocked moorland in the sunshine, in the general direction of a pine wood leading to the rising horizon of The Wanneys.
Half an hour or so later, after not a little stumbling about in what turned out to be an inpenetrable quagmire under face-lashing brushwood,
I retraced my steps to the car-mounted gravel mound, and decided upon alternative approach. Clearly, the topography had been changed by someone in my absence...
Happily I came across the correct spot a little further on, and
a very pleasant and easy sloped moorland walk led me up to the mid-distant Wanneys.
On reaching one end of the top of the ridge, I took an off-piste stumbling shuffle down through the glorious, but ankle grabbing purple heather,
and wandered along the base of the crag, and gazed rememberingly at the rock formations.....in my minds eye seeing a teen-aged me spidering about on its stony monoliths.
Absolutely on cue, I heard a sound I had not heard for years.
A Curlew.
Northumbria in a feathered nutshell.
As chance would have it, a couple of climbers were preparing to ascend 'Foxes Hole' (remarkably, I remembered and recognized the route!), so I lingered and watched their endeavors.
I am sure they were enjoying themselves, but they appeared to make rather clumsy hard work of it.
Festooned with gear, helmeted and loudly going through the format of vocal exchanges.........
Hmmm, get me.
I wandered off further along the base of this lofty, isolated and moor-lonely crag, enjoying the now quiet solitude, eventually to again take an off-piste foray up through the dense heather and gorse to reach the top the 'easy way'. Pah!...easy way indeed.
After 20mins of sweat-drenched, shin-scraping, face-planting crashing about, I hauled myself up on hands and knees through the undergrowth to collapse exhausted at the top.....to be met with a family outing, complete with Grandma, all sandals and sun-hats, holding their cameras out and asking if I would  "take their photies pleez".
I of course did.
Once the Giles group had gaggled off the way they came, I sat a while and looked out over the broad horizoned landscape of the open moor. A real pleasure.
As I walked back to return to the car, I was surrounded by a swooping squadron of swallows glutting on the insects in the warmth of the sun, and a single mew of the Curlew sounded out once more.

Sweethope Lough came into view as I descended the kindly sloped back of The Wanneys, its blue shimmering water cradled in wooded perimeter
....and just to complete the picture, a lone boat of two fly fishermen drifted into silhouette....lazily casting over the water.

A magical impromptu few hours really. ( unabashed prompt for famed Northumberland based image!)

1 comment:

Stewart M said...

I have to say I have never heard of this crag - but I was living on the other coast by the time I was a "crag rat" - although "crag-mouse" would be a better description!

Glad you liked my wordy blog!

Stewart M - Melbourne