Hope everyone had a lovely weekend.
If you’ve seen our Photography page, you might have seen we went for a spontaneous walk around Thrunton Woods on Saturday. We did a very quick last-minute rush around Asda, bought some yellow-sticker pasta pots, Craig’s treat (I know, how romantic), and set off for the 45 minute drive up the road.
I took my new Merrell walking shoes out for a spin, probably not the best idea as it was a bit boggy and I didn’t realise they weren’t waterproof. Lesson #1 of the day – always waterproof your hiking shoes. My favourite spray to use is the Nubuck & Suede Proofer from Mountain Warehouse as it maintains breathability for your shoes (and other items of clothing) as well as adding that extra protection seal to avoid any oil/dirt stains. Me and Craig bought our shoes specifically for the reason that they are ventilated hiking shoes, so this is ideal, also a little spray goes a long way so it’s good value for money.
We wanted to do Long Crag at the woods and we thought that we knew a shortcut to get there as we wanted to get to the top before the sunset; turns out that it was a shorter route, but the grass was up to my waist and it was quite wet/muddy, so it took us quite a while to get through (Craig lost his shoes in the mud, twice!). Lesson #2 of the day – shortcuts aren’t always quicker.
I’m having a bit of an issue with my knees at the minute so high kneeing through waist high grass and heather was an absolute killer, so when we conquered our “shortcut” and I saw the crag ahead my whole body just said “no f*cking way are you going up there”. However (I don’t know if you ever do this when you’re on a walk), if I get so far and think I can’t go any further or that I can’t do it, I just look behind me and think “I did that”; it’s a great way to motivate yourself when you’re not feeling 100%. Simple, yet effective.
Anyway, getting up the crag was surprisingly easy, I didn’t have to do high knees. We spent a bit of time at the top having food, coffee and photo opportunities. Craig didn’t have a fork for his pasta pot so instead of waiting for me to finish with mine, he ate the entire thing using the lid of the pasta pot (genius, I know). The funny part came when we went to open the flask to have a drink of coffee and a little metal spoon was folded up inside the flask that could have been used instead. There is definitely a Lesson #3 of the day in there somewhere but I can’t seem to word it properly…
After our yellow sticker pasta, some coffee and after getting some photos and videos at Long Crag (my phone died 2 minutes in to the walk so Craig did all the photo taking, which is probably a good thing as I’m rubbish at taking pictures (Lesson #4 of the day – be prepared, buy a decent in-car phone charger for that little boost so your phone has enough battery to last the day)), we made the wise decision to descend before it got too dark, as the sun was starting to set.
It did get dark very quickly but we made it onto even ground before it was pitch black, luckily Craig had enough battery and has a little torch on his phone (Lesson #5 of the day – always pack a torch) so we managed to navigate ourselves back to the main road. As I am obviously a master of navigation, I said to Craig that we had to turn right out of the car park and go up the road to get to my car; after walking for approximately 25 minutes there was no sign of my car, and by this point we couldn’t even see our hands in front of our faces. We then backtracked to where we started and instead went left, and the car was literally, 100m down the road, so I’m not as much of a master navigator compared to Craig, who can tell exactly where we are by looking at a tree.. Lesson #6 of the day – download an app onto your phone so you can mark where you parked your car. I have since downloaded a very originally named app called “CarFinder”, I will let you know what it’s like the next time I need to use it.
There was also some other lessons learned; one being, bring two of everything. I felt like I was very unorganised for this walk but in all fairness I was told it was going to be a nice stroll, we weren’t expecting bogs and high grass and all the rest, so I think we did extremely well under the circumstances! But in future I will always pack an extra pair of socks, some waterproof trousers, and an extra pair of gloves, as Craig’s were HUGE on mine (photo to follow…)
We had an amazing day and those views at the top were worth it all in the end. I’d recommend walks in Northumberland to anyone, it really is full of hidden gems.