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Old 20th May 2011
catkins catkins is offline
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A windy Windy Gyle - Northumberland highlands

A last minute follow-the-nose and see where we end up, linked to the need to get fit, led myself and a friend ending up in the wonderful Upper Coquetdale north of Otterburn range and west of Rothbury.

It's a valley that used to be packed on public holidays with relaxing coal miners picnicing and camping, but now is a desolate place of beauty and peacefullness (well, that's if the army aren't firing their big AS90 artillery which they were on Wednesday). Part of the Northumberland National Park the presence of the army range has caused occasional controversy, but in reality this area has seen military usage since Roman days (the top end of the valley has several Roman marching camps and forts lining Dere Street as it climbs into Scotland). Since the First World War the area has seen intense military usage for large scale troop training, artillery and aircraft bombing, but most activity is now concentrated into the central core of the range to the south side of Upper Coquetdale. However the north side of the valley is still classified as a dry training area (no live firing).

View from The Street looking south over the twisting turns of Upper Coquetdale - a mile as the crow flies is often three by the road!


Slightly higher up The Street, this is a 360 panorama over the wonderful rolling grass highland


With very steep sided ridges and valleys there are many good views and interesting scenes


Eventually, after rather a lot of huffing and puffing, you reach the Scottish border line and a relatively narrow ridge across the top of a valley that links across to Windy Gyle, and my goodness was it windy - small rain drops like ice daggers on the face!


Photos taken in the other direction ended up slightly blurred due to the very strong wind, but in this direction it looks almost serenly quiet! A gate in the border with The Cheviot (the old volcanic plug of an extinct volcano would you believe) beyond


On the way back down, a pastural scene on the high meadows


An hour after being blasted by ice daggers, a very different scene down in the valley near Trows - a lizard sunbathing on a metal sign. It must be a simmering summer.


And just to remind us of what lay over the hill, some warnings. Most of the walk was accompanied by the impressive blasts of gunfire especially when we were sheltered from the wind. On our way back over the range, a chat with an officer established that the big tank based AS90s were firing a distance of about 10 miles from near Elsdon (in the SE corner of the range) to a point about 2 miles away from us in the NW corner of the range.


All photos were taken with the Oly E-520 and 12-60mm SWD lens.

Regards
Chris
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Old 20th May 2011
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Re: A windy Windy Gyle - Northumberland highlands

Impressive pics Chris and a good story. The commentary helps with the enjoyment for me of your day. Cheers Peter
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Old 20th May 2011
Ulfric M Douglas Ulfric M Douglas is offline
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Re: A windy Windy Gyle - Northumberland highlands

It looks nitherring : rather you than me.
Lizard had the best idea.
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Old 20th May 2011
catkins catkins is offline
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Re: A windy Windy Gyle - Northumberland highlands

I kept telling my young friend as we got blown up the hill . . . 'at least I'm still alive'!! But luckily to make us feel good at the top, a couple were walking the Pennine Way against the wind having started from Kirk Yetholm heading south - 12 miles gone, just another 255 miles to go! Main consolation for them as they struggled with large rucsacs that wanted to act as sails, was that it's an improving forecast and that the peat bogs are pretty dry this year so easier to cross!
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Old 20th May 2011
catkins catkins is offline
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Re: A windy Windy Gyle - Northumberland highlands

And through the joys of modern technology and credit to Google Earth here's the route and elevation log


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Chris
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Old 22nd May 2011
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Re: A windy Windy Gyle - Northumberland highlands

Excellent series Chris, it's an area I''m pretty familiar with what with having a cottage in the valley and it's always nice to see shots of the area. I particularly like the panos.
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Old 22nd May 2011
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Re: A windy Windy Gyle - Northumberland highlands

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdal View Post
Excellent series Chris, it's an area I''m pretty familiar with what with having a cottage in the valley and it's always nice to see shots of the area. I particularly like the panos.
Definitely the place for the next meet-up me thinks!

Just had a look at the cottage website and I like the note re mobiles not working - unfortunately for my walk it was mobile free for most of the way until the top, and then three text messages all about the modern commercial world, selling and shopping tips! Now if they had been about outdoor gear or photography gear it might have just about been okay, but in this case definitely an unwanted intrusion on a beautiful area of outstanding scenery.
The walk to Drakestone that is mentioned on your website is also one that I must do sometime soon.

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Chris
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Old 23rd May 2011
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Re: A windy Windy Gyle - Northumberland highlands

Nice series thanks for sharing.
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