TEA IN HBG - 18.9.16

BRIEF STOP AT JOCKEY SHIELD 

The Sun was much in evidence as eight of us assembled at Hallbankgate Car Park for this gentle meander over the North Pennine hills.  After a walk up Crossgates road we soon lost the tarmac and began the ascent across boggy terrain for a view of Tindale tarn, resplendent in the sunshine.  Then it was along the ridge to Tindale with fine views South across the tarn to Tindale Fell with Cold Fell behind. A northern panorama took in the Whin Sill (Hadrian’s wall), the Bewcastle range and westwards across the Solway.

Tindale is barely a hamlet nowadays, unlike its former glory as, together with Hallbankgate, it was a centrepiece of Lord Carlisle’s railway with Stephenson’s rocket and the mining industry.  From Tindale we headed back westwards on the south side of the tarn passing old lime kilns to the RSPB Geltsdale visitor centre where benches and a public toilet made an ideal coffee stop.  The visitor centre is open every day without charge.  It often has a live webcam feed from barn owls nesting, but not today.  It always has a gallery display of local interest – today with an historical/archaeological theme.

Suitably refreshed, we followed the good trail to Howgill then round the fell past the old mine-manager’s house at Gairs and onwards towards the bridge over “old water”.  A slight rise along the track then a right turn took us down to the water works before gaining the road towards Jockey Shield, a grassy bank providing a lunch stop.  With hunger kept at bay, we passed Jockey Shield before gaining the ridge East then North around Talkin fell with its plethora of modern day cairns mimicking standing stones of old. Whinny Fell was our final ascent before dropping back to Hallbankgate where tea and cakes were enjoyed by all.  The day’s totals: 16 miles, a couple of thousand feet of ascent and memories of a very pleasant day.