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Monday, 5 May 2014

Blaerwearie -Cuckoo

Saturday was spent up on Bewick Moor ,parked at Old Bewick which is only a few houses some miles north of Powburn. The plan was to walk up to Blaewearie then around to the east to Corbie Crags and back around in a large circular walk taking in the Cup & Ring Rock a couple of Iron Age forts and some WW11 Pill Boxes through a stand of Scot Pine and back down to the car. Numerous Yellohammers greeted us as we ascended the track  to the ruins of Blaewearie farm house, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and lots of Linnets near the Gorse with a nice Male Wheatear on the stone wall , further up in a field amongst some cattle where about 60 + Gulls the majority  where Lesser Black Back and indeed there where more to be seen before the days end . Just to the left of the track is  a prominent cairn at first it looks like  a small sheep stell but it is in fact a burial site again substantially built with large slabs placed on edge in two rings about 5-6' apart and filled with stones , the graves also with slabs on edge capped with very large stone , everything was removed many years ago .   An exploration of the old farmhouse revealed it in a much worse state than our last visit, but you can't help but marvel at those that built it there are some large blocks of dressed stone around the doors and windows all had to be brought to site probably via horse and cart up a muddy rutted track, it's a shame it's just going to end up as a pile of stone , to the east is a rock outcrop at some stage walls had been built of stone to make I presume a small coral for stock , there are steps up to the tops , the whole area is rather magical , it would make a fantastic setting for some drama or other, can just see Vera driving up in her Landy to look at a skeleton or two.
On we went eastward you come to a clearly defined Iron Age fort overlooking a narrow valley it is not one of the largest Iv'e seen but it is well placed ,we went down into Corbie Crags to follow the stream through not one of my better ideas as the water flow was very fast and it was hard to get over as it has to be crossed four times , we where about half way along when a Sea king Hellicopter comes around the bend very low following the stream up over as we where going down , it turned and came back down hovering overhead , my thought was they had seen us and thought we where in trouble ,what do I do don't wave they may think I am signalling them , so we just watched as it came low over the fort and eventually landed right in the centre of an ancient monument . What a weird sight to look up and see the outline of the fort with this bright yellow helicopter blades still turning with allsorts of stuff flying up in the air ,the noise was deafening down in the narrow space. the pilot got out and checked the wheel area totally ignoring us ,had they seen us or not ? it looks as though it was just a training run  and he hopped back in and they where off.
We came back onto flatter land but it was very wet as we headed back to the track , but then that brilliant bird call rang out nearby a CUCKOO  a first for the year , it took some finding amongst the trees but as it flew between a gap to relocate it revealed itself , and about 50 yards further on the faint song of a Whinchat sat atop a sapling , then a Roe Deer was noticed in the background , another Wheatear and then two Tree Pipits alas all to far away for photos. I vaguely remembered where the Cup & Ring Rock was located there are supposed to be more but I have never found them, the rock located and a photo duly taken you are supposed to just wet them slightly to reveal the marks . Nearby in the site of another much larger Iron Age Fort  some guys where throwing themselves of the edge suspended on what looks like large kites , Paragliding soaring back and forth along the edge with some skill ,we had watched one guy as he had landed at the base , he gathered his gear and walked all the way back to the top and I got a shot as he re launched  one of the other guys informed me he was 80 years old , as we walked the ridge in the centre of the fort there  is a very well preserved pill box another is well hidden on the hillside  further away , the Paragliders came along four of them a Buzzard drifted over in the background , out via the west edge of the fort the numerous ditches are revealed in profile, whoever lived here at least had some stunning views, as they sat outside their huts on a Summers eve with a horn mug full of wine !! . Not far along is a stand of Scots Pine and a steep descent back to the car with again Yellowhammer and Chaffinch bathing in the small stream. After a coffee back at the car we went along the road about a mile or less to the church of Old Bewick , there is still a shed that at one time had a bed and blankets for the use of any traveller(not those sort )that needed shelter for the night , the bed is still there but the shed is very damp and starting to rot .

 The track up from the road the stand of Pine on the left
 The Old ruin up ahead
 The old farm on the left and the rock outcrop on the right
 The burial Cyst
 I think this is the outside loo
 This tree has fallen over the entrance to the small space inside a set of steps visible on the left
 A view from the back the fallen tree in the background and a wall on the left with a gap through
 Looking back as we headed to the site of the fort
The fort outline is easy to see
 We head down to follow the stream the fort is up on the right ,it's not really recommended as it's not easy going
 You have to cross over four times probably easier when drier
 The Hellicopter turns and hovers overhead
 Eventually landing right in the centre of the fort

 A Small waterfall only seen from the base of the valley
 You have to go back up the side and then back down again as there is no path or way past some sections , no sign of any sheep having been down , so they seem to keep clear.
 This very large rock just sits where it was perhaps left during the last ice age ?
 Willow Warblers in some of the unlikeliest places as long as there was a tree to sing from

 This is the cup & ring marked rock , you can just see the design incised deeply on the top, I should have taken a shot of it in context , it's a boulder about 5+ feet high X about 6+'
 This is the 80 year old having just walked up from the base carrying all his gear he sets up and launches again , good on you  !!!!
 WW11 Pillbox with the ramparts of the fort in the background
 The view looking south
 The west edge of the fort there are numerous ditches and mounds before you exit I counted 7
 A Buzzard shows how to soar as it passes in the background
One of the last birds to be seen another Yellowhammer to end the day. 


Andrew Hodson said...

An enjoyable read. It's too long since I ventured into the remote hills.

The wild and remote places in Northumberland take some beating.

How much more remote they must have been when the places now in ruin were occupied.

Northumbrian Birding said...

Cheers Andrew it is a fantastic place ,like so many other sites in Northumberland ,put it on your list to visit !!!