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Hartside to Low Bleakhope Circular Walk Around Shill Moor - Cheviot Hills.

Introduction

We started this walk from Hartside near Linhope in the Cheviot Hills. Hartside is reached via Ingram Valley and is at the end of the public road.

The route we followed took us towards Alnhammoor and across the Rowhope Burn then uphill towards Little Dod. From Little Dod we walked to Low Bleakhope and returned along the road following the River Breamish Valley and back via Meggrim's Knowe.

Distance - Approx 8 miles.

Parking - Limited roadside parking at end of public road before Hartside - note the restricted access signs.

Toilets - Ingram Valley and Visitor Centre.

 

The road to Alnhammoor.
The road to Alnhammoor.

Road along the north slopes of Shill Moor.
Road along the north slopes of Shill Moor.

Walk

1) From where we parked on the roadside at Hartside we walked to the end of the public section of road. This is a junction with the private road to Alnhammoor.

We turned left at the junction where a bridleway sign pointed to Alnhammoor, 1 mile and Little Dod 2.5 miles.

Hartside
Hartside

Signpost to Alnhammoor.
Signpost to Alnhammoor.

 

2) From here we followed the road which turned right after a cattle grid.

Raod from Hartside to Bleakhope.
Road from Hartside to Bleakhope.

Approaching the cattle grid.
Approaching the cattle grid.

 

3) After turning right we continued along the road with Shill Moor visible straight ahead in the distance. We were not going to the top, but around the other side, though a detour to the top may be worthwhile.

Shill Moor in the Distance.
Shill Moor in the Distance.

 

4) After a short distance the road drops steeply down into the River Breamish Valley (this hill is a test for tired legs on the way back!)

Downhill to the River Breamish. Downhill to the River Breamish.
Downhill to the River Breamish.

 

5) At the bottom of the hill the road turns left and follows the river.

View from the valley. View from the valley.
Views from the valley.

 

6) We followed this road and crossed the River Breamish over a bridge between some trees.

Road along the valley beside the River Breamish.. Road along the valley beside the River Breamish.
Road along the valley beside the River Breamish.

 

7) On the other side of the bridge we followed the road which then climbs uphill.

Bridge over the River Breamish.
Bridge over the River Breamish.
Climbing out of the valley.
Climbing out of the valley.

 

8) Ahead on this road is a farm with a barn visible. We turned left off the road here, following a path towards a gate with a stile beside it.

We turned off the road here.
We turned off the road here.

Gate and Stile.
Gate and stile.

 

9) After crossing the stile we walked through a field towards a gate in a stone wall straight ahead, which we passed through.

Footpath to the next gate.
Footpath to the next gate.

We passed through here and turned right.
We passed through here and turned right.

 

10) On the other side of the gate we turned right, along a track which soon turned to a path and led uphill. The farm was on our right here.

Track after the gate.
Track after the gate.

Track / path past the farm.
Track / path past the farm.

   

Burn on the left.
Burn on the left.

Farm on the right.
Farm on the right.

 

11) We followed this path, towards a high stile over a fence straight ahead.

Path to the high stile.
Path to the high stile.

The high stile.
The high stile.

 

12) After crossing the high stile we followed the path downhill to a ford and small bridge over the Rowhope Burn, which we crossed.

Path down to Rowhope Burn.
Path down to Rowhope Burn.

Ford and bridge over Rowhope Burn.
Ford and bridge over Rowhope Burn.

 

13) The track soon started to rise out of the valley as we headed towards Scaud and Little Dod. Ground nesting birds circled noisily overhead here to distract us from their nests until we were well clear.

Path to Scaud and Little Dod. Path to Scaud and Little Dod.
Path to Scaud and Little Dod.

 

14) The path became indistinct as we climbed higher ignoring a temptation to follow what looked like a path on our left.  Binoculars came in handy here as we spotted the gate and stile we were heading for and climbed higher until we reached it.

Gate on the horizon.
Gate on the horizon.

The path passes through the gate / stile.
The path passes through the gate / stile.

 

 

15) After passing through the gate we continued uphill. There were a few marker posts in the ground along this path, but Cushat Law, a high hill in the distance provided a good guidance as we were headed more or less straight towards it.

Marker posts on the path to Little Dod - these may not always exist though.
Marker posts on the path to Little Dod - these may not always exist though.
   
Cushat Law on the horizon. Cushat Law on the horizon.
Cushat Law on the horizon.

 

16) Eventually we reached the path from Ewartly Shank to Low Bleakhope, just beside Little Dod.

Approaching the path from Ewartly Shank to Low Bleakhope near Little Dod. Approaching the path from Ewartly Shank to Low Bleakhope near Little Dod.
Approaching the path from Ewartly Shank to Low Bleakhope near Little Dod.

 

17) We turned right onto this path towards Low Bleakhope and continued climbing uphill. From here there were fine views back towards the Northumberland Coast.

View along the path to Low Bleakhope. View along the path to Low Bleakhope.
View along the path to Low Bleakhope. View along the path to Low Bleakhope.
Views along the path to Low Bleakhope.

 

18) The path levelled out as we passed through an area of Bog Cotton (and bog!) with Shill Moor now on our right.

View towards Cushat Law
View towards Cushat Law

Bog Cotton
Bog Cotton

 

19) As we headed towards a gate and stile the Border Ridge came into view.

Gate and stile
Gate and stile

Passing through more Bog Cotton.
Passing through more Bog Cotton.

 

20) After the gate the path started to drop downhill and High Bleakhope could be seen straight ahead in the River Breamish Valley.

View along the path down to Low Bleakhope. View along the path down to Low Bleakhope.
View along the path down to Low Bleakhope. View along the path down to Low Bleakhope.
Views along the path down to Low Bleakhope.

 

21) The path became steeper and turned into a track as we headed down into the valley and Low Bleakhope soon became visible. This was about the halfway point of the walk.

Approaching Low Bleakhope. Approaching Low Bleakhope.
Approaching Low Bleakhope.

 

22) At Low Bleakhope the track crossed the burn to the farm, but according to the O.S. Map the right of way did not. So before the burn we turned right, off the track and along a path, crossing the burn further down and onto the road.

Low Bleakhope.
Low Bleakhope.

Passing Low Bleakhope.
Passing Low Bleakhope.

 

23) We followed the road, which was very close to the River Breamish and so was downhill. The steep western slope of Shill Moor was on our right.

Road from Low Bleakhope alongside the River Breamish. Road from Low Bleakhope alongside the River Breamish.
Road from Low Bleakhope alongside the River Breamish. Road from Low Bleakhope alongside the River Breamish.
Road from Low Bleakhope alongside the River Breamish.

 

24) The downhill section soon ended as the road turned right and away from the valley floor.

View along the River Breamish valley.
View along the River Breamish valley.

View back along the valley.
View back along the valley.

 

25) As we walked along this stretch of road we could soon see that it became much steeper than we had imagined from the map!

Climbing out of the valley. Climbing out of the valley.
Climbing out of the valley.

 

26) Climbing steadily along the steep north slope of Shill Moor there were great views across the River Breamish towards Dunmoor Hill in the distance.

View across the River Breamish valley. View across the River Breamish valley.
Views across the River Breamish valley.

 

27) Eventually we reached the top of this hill where there were great views to Linhope and in the far distance, Hartside, where we started.

View at the top of the hill towards Linhope.
Views at the top of the hill towards Linhope.
   
Heading downhill now. Heading downhill now.
Heading downhill now.

 

28) We followed the road downhill from here stopping for a while to chat to a couple of men who were erecting a new fence. These men knew the hills well and no doubt had many stories to tell.

A different return route was possible here, by following a path down to Linhope, but we decided to continue back along the road.

Along the road towards Meggrim's Knowe. Along the road towards Meggrim's Knowe.
Along the road towards Meggrim's Knowe.

 

29) As we continued along the road towards Meggrim's Knowe, Curlews were flying overhead with their haunting call carrying loudly in the breeze.

View along the road pas tMeggrim's Knowe. View along the road past Meggrim's Knowe.
View along the road past Meggrim's Knowe. View along the road past Meggrim's Knowe.
Views along the road past Meggrim's Knowe.

 

30) Soon we reached the farm where we turned off this road earlier and continued downhill back to the bridge over the River Breamish.

Approaching the farm.
Approaching the farm.

Heading downhill past the farm.
Heading downhill past the farm.

   

Approaching the River Breamish.
Approaching the River Breamish.

Crossing the River Breamish.
Crossing the River Breamish.

 

31) After crossing the bridge we continued along the valley floor we soon reached the steep hill again for the final climb of this walk.

Road along the valley beside the River Breamish..
Road along the valley beside the River Breamish.

Climbing out of the valley for the last time.
Climbing out of the valley for the last time.

 

32) From here it was a gentle walk along the road back to Hartside.

Out of the valley.
View to Hartside.
Out of the valley. View to Hartside.
   
Almost back at Hartside. Almost back at Hartside.
Almost back at Hartside.

 

Notes

Walking Gear:

- Good walking boots essential.

- Full hill walking gear, map, compass and waterproof clothing needed for this walk, especially in winter.

 

Food and drink essential.

Maps - Ordnance Survey Landranger sheet no. 80, Cheviot Hills and Sheet 81, Alnwick, Morpeth and surrounding areas.

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