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West Allendale, Blueback Bridge, Monk Wood, Northumberland.
[11.5 km] Tue 09 Jun 2015

OS Grid Ref: NY 77600 55159
Lat/Long: 54.890664, -02.350734

My plan was to start my walk from the A686 north of Alston and walk from Whitfield, up the fell to Pike Rigg Currick where I was last week. A ‘Private’ sign at the start of the track where Office Farmhouse is also had an ‘Access’ sign shown. I hoped this would allow me to pass though on my way to the summit. The track was quiet as I walked up under an overcast sky. Approaching Mainsrigg Farm a tractor came down the track and the farmer got out to enquire what I was doing. I told him my objective and he told me it was private land and I had to turn round and leave the way I had come. I told him about the access sign but he wasn’t interested. It is the first time in my entire life that I have been told to leave an area immediately.

The track to Office Farmhouse

I was soon able to plan another walk on the far side of the valley but I still found it a concern that large areas of our country are denied to harmless walkers.
This is a dark and disturbing culture I thought this country had left behind.

I returned to the A686 and turned left to head for Blueback Bridge. The impressive Holy Trinity Church was on the way but it was locked so I wasn’t able to check out the interior. I reached Blueback Bridge at the Elk’s Head Hotel.

In the graveyard of Holy Trinity Church

The bridge crosses the River West Allen and just over was a cross on a stone plinth and the inscription:
In Memory of
J. Lindsay Auldjo Jamieson
Born at Edinburgh 5th Oct 1870
Killed by accident
near thisw spot
16th June 1895
R. I. P.

Memorial of J. Lindsay Auldjo Jamieson

I couldn’t find out who he was or details of the accident. I followed the steep path up through the woods, across a field then re-joined the road. Further up I left the road again to follow a path across fields to Harlow Bower Farm then down a nice path across fields to Monk Farm.

At Harlow Bower

A lot of timber felling had been done and the logs were being cleared. There was now an easy track to follow through Monk Wood.

Descent to Monk Farm

Tree felling near monk Faram

Sign in Monk Wood

Unfortunately there was a disturbing sign about the private land which was probably half a joke but still was a dark threat. The buildings around Gate House were interesting and one had the look of a refurbished church.

Gate House conversion

I was now on the adopted tarmac road and followed it to Blackett Bridge and over the River West Allen again. Up the road I joined the A686 again and back to my car.

At Gate House