A select group of five members arrived in Allendale Town for our first Northumbrian foray of 2017.  The morning was bright and leader, Martyn, got us off to a prompt start with the prospect of a good days walking ahead.  Leaving the town square, our route headed up Shilburn Road for just over a mile, until it gave way to moorland track.  A well-defined bridleway took us east across the moor to a cross roads, from where we dropped down to Linn Burn, where we briefly passed the time of day with a farmer.  A stretch of road walking afforded fine views north, before we turned south west across the moor to Hangman Hill.  The roar of the wind was punctuated by the thin piping calls of golden plover. 


A coffee stop at Hangman Hill provided respite from the wind, which almost claimed one members sit mat!  Mat retrieved, a boggy section followed near Rowantree Cleugh.  We enjoyed more miles of wild moorland track and extensive Northumbrian views, with nobody in sight, other than a farmer tending sheep some distance away.  A pair of conveniently placed shooting huts provided the perfect lunchtime shelter.  Shortly after lunch, we left the moor but before descending, we took a moment to admire the view south towards Weardale and to the west where several small reservoirs were catching the sunlight.


Having descended to the valley, our route turned north following pleasant paths alongside the East Allen River to the former church of Allendale, St Peter in the Forest, close to the hamlet of Spartylea.  From here, the route continued along the East Allen following field and riverside paths, until we encountered Isaac’s Tea Trail, (route of former lead miner and itinerant tea seller, Isaac Holden; now a 37 mile circular LDP) which we followed for the final section of the valley walk back to Allendale Town. 


Isaac’s Tea Trail took us past the ruined bastle house of Rowantree Stob with its beautiful arched doorway.  The route continued above and alongside the East Allen, meandered around field paths and wooded edges until Allendale Town came into view.  Once over the bridge, a final pull up the hill brought us back to the town square.  Disappointingly, the Co-op was closed for those in search of refreshment!