Isaac's Tea Trail Allendale
For 2011 the group has adopted the 'Tripple A' Challenge - that is to walk the three tongue twisting routes visiting Allendale, Allandale and Allerdale, all quite close to our base but each offering very differing scenery.
Many thanks to Rob and Teresa for the initial idea of St Issac's Trail, which started the whole Tripple A thing going, and for leading us so excellently over the two days - a real gem of a weekend.
April saw us tackling Part 1 of the tripple - a 36 mile walk along the Isaac's Tea Trail. Isaac was a keen fellow, who made his income from walking the wild and beautiful valleys and moorlands of the North Pennines selling of all things, tea. Obviously the walk appealed to us because we felt sure there woudl be a copious number of tea shops to be enjoyed along the way - ah!
This AONB is a very wonderful walking area, based very close to Alston where we made our nest for the night on the Saturday. But it's wild country and you will be hard pushed to find a tea shop along the route other than in Alston itself and in Allendale Town half way along the route.
We started from Allendale and made our way over steep moorland away from the West Allen river, to reach the East Allen headwaters and visit the curious township of Nenthead - a real throw back to years ago. We had blustery but dry weather which was great as the hills were quite a challenge.
Our overnight stop in Alston saw us split between two hotels as we had managed to get nearly 20 people along on the walk. This meant for a cheery, beery evening to warm us up and relubricate those joints!
Despite a dodgy forecast day two gave us similar weather with just a couple of quick showers as we headed back, firstly along the banks of the South Tyne, and then across farmland and rolling hills to cross East Allen again near Ninebanks Youth Hostel and so back to the lovely small Pennine town of Allendale.
Allendale looksa gem of a twon and well worth a second visit to me - so don't be surprised if another trip crops up along that way in the future. Well done to everyone for achieving the challenge.
And Tripple A, part two - the Allandale Way, is just over the horizon in June.........