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Mohope, Hesleywell, Middle Rigg, Wellhopehead Mine, Appletree Shield, Northumberland.
[ 14.9 km] Thu 29 Nov 2012

NY 7816 5185
I had an interesting drive north through a cold dark morning. It was -2degC when I left home and I wondered what the temperature would be as I passed Tebay on the M6. It is usually much colder than everywhere else but this morning it was only -1degC. By the time Iíd reached Alston it was -4degC and was still that when I arrived in Mohope valley near Malakoff Bridge. I set off south along the narrow lane. It was still well below freezing and the only vehicles I saw were a couple of commuter cars heading off to work and a farm quad bike. An unfenced lane took me towards Hesleywell Farm and then a rough track headed uphill. I had to walk mostly at the side of the track as all the water coming off the hillside had frozen on the track covering most of it with ice. I was looking for and old ruined Chapel that is shown of the old map as a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.

Hesleywell Wesleyan Methodist Chapel

I reached the ruin and was surprised to see how large it was. I was expecting a single story plain building but this had been on two levels. An internet search revealed that it was built in 1827 and in the archives are the baptism registers from 1842 to 1917. Looking at its current state I would estimate 1917 was probably about the time it stopped being used and maintained. There was another ruin higher up the track then I came to the long moorland track heading south and up towards New House. Where I left the tarmac road the area is called Hardstruggle.

Track above Hardstruggle

The track I was on was stoned and easy walking. The views north were very impressive in the cold and clear conditions with the Cheviot Hills visible in the far distance about 70km (43miles) away. I continued to the buildings at New House, which were quite substantial and in good condition.

New House

It didnít look like it had been occupied for a long time. I headed across open ground up towards Middle Rigg to try and find the main track again. Although it is shown on the map there is little sign on the ground and I was soon trying to find my own way across open ground towards a distant tall cairn. I continued across Little Hill to the main path to Wellhopehead Mines. I turned right and followed the path down to a wooden footbridge and up to the spoil heaps and mine buildings. I visited the mine for the first time on 17 July 2012. The main shaft has a wooden cap on it but below that is a vertical shaft dropping 127m (416ft).

Wellhopehead Mines

I then followed a faint track across Green Hills heading NW. It was very wet in places and difficult to follow. I came to a substantial boundary wall and followed it to the top of Deadmanís Cleugh where I found a substantial tall cairn. I headed down the valley by following a track above the right side until I descended to the buildings of Wellhope.

Cairn above Deadmanís Cleugh

The main house was in ruins but adjacent were some substantial outbuildings. To the north was a track along Hemmel Rigg but it soon petered out then I had to descend steeply down to Wellhoope Burn. There was no path as I followed the west bank of the river but it was fairly easy going. I passed some wonderfully named areas as I continued. Areas such as; Benty Rods, Sievey Syke, Roundtree Pool and Grandy Hill. I followed the track up to the ruins of Appletree Shield Farm then on to the Chapel ruin at the junction of Wellhopeburn and Mohope Burn.

Appletree Shield Farm

Across the footbridge I climbed to Nether House to re-join the road. As I walked along I checked out the building that is shown as another Wesleyan Chapel on the old map. Thankfully this one wasnít in ruins but a house that had been extended several times. It had the name Chapel House. At Redheugh I had to negotiate a path diversion round the buildings to get access to the open fields to the north. I was on a grassy ridge between Mohope Burn and Blind Burn. To my left were the substantial spoil heaps of the Keirleywell Mines. I was now following the valley bottom and the path took me back to Malakoff Bridge and the car.

Chapel House, previously a Wesleyan Chapel