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Weardale, A689, Clevison Currick, Puddingthorn Moor, Killhope, Co Durham.
[14.4 km]  Wed 17 Oct 2018

Lat/Long: 54.780504, -02.265101
OS Grid ref: NY 83047 42876

DroveI am returning to Weardale, Co Durham to investigate some moors I haven't been on yet.
I drove the usual route via Hartside Pass to Alston and was pleased to see that the roadworks had been completed and I didn't have to take a diversion. For my last two visits the main street had been closed for resurfacing so I was able to drive up the steep A689 towards Nenthead. The last time I drove up it was cobbles and now is smooth tarmac.
I continued on the A689 through Nenthead then Killhope Bank to descend to into Weardale. There is a car park at the Killhope Lead Mining Centre but I wasn't sure about parking there so continued along the road to a wide verge near the property called Snoberry. It was misty with a strong westerly wind as I set off along the main road heading south east. As there was no footpath I had to keep on the grass verge as best I could. After a mile I left the road at a left turn up a track heading up to the moors. On the corner is an old chapel converted to a house.
Converted Chapel
Over the door is a stone inscription reading: "Primitive Methodist Chapel erected 1834, and rebuilt 1858." It seems a short duration for the first version of the church. There was a sign for low pudding phone which is off the track further up. After the turn off the track was unsurfaced and grass between two walls heading up to Puddingthorne Pastures.
Primitive Methodist Chapel erected 1834,
and rebuilt 1858

View from Puddingthorne
I continued up to a gate and onto the open Moor. The map shows a path heading to the north but there is no sign of it on the ground. My first objective was Clevison Currick which I could just see on the horizon as it was not quite in the low mist. I climbed steadily up the open ground through what looks like quarry of mining waste from old workings. The going underfoot wasn't too bad and the last steep climb took me up to the Currick which is quite substantial structure consisting of three high walls and a seating area in the middle. If there had been views to see they would be very impressive but the weather had other ideas. The wind was quite strong from the west and as it was the only shelter I would get on my walk I decided to stop for a while and use its shelter for an early lunch.

Clevison Currick and my rucksack
I then headed north west across the open moor and into the mist. There was nothing to see until I came to Snodberry Cleugh where I found a series of grouse butts and a track following their line heading upwards towards the watershed at Stangend Rigg. As I walked up I was in County Durham but the top of the high moor top is the boundary with Northumberland. I was surprised to find no fence along the top and I turned left to follow the border and headed towards Killhope Law. It was rough going at times through deep heather and there were occasional ditches to negotiate. On the map a path is shown coming up from Allendale and is called the Carriers Way. However, when I got to the point on the map there was no sign of any path so I continued a short way as my ‘Open Street Map’ on the GPS showed a path further on.

Mystery boulders

When I reached the location I was pleased to see a faint path through the heather. I turned left to start my descent but it was still misty and I had no views. I hadn't been going long when I noticed what looked like some limestone boulders by the path. As I got closer the shapes looked quite intriguing and when I reach them I realise they weren't stone at all. They looked like sheet lead over large boulders that had been heated possibly in a fire and melted. I took some photographs but couldn't figure out what they were. My first thought was possibly the remains of an aeroplane crash but they would have had to have been aluminium and they seemed more like lead. A mystery.
I continued down and just before I left the mist saw a walker coming up. He had climbed up from Killhope and was heading for Allenheads. He said the path lower down was very indistinct. I continued my descent to High Linn which the map shows as being a forested area but it was now clear as felling must have taken place some years before.
The path was fairly rough and descended down to the main A689 road at Killhope Lead Mining Centre. There was a bus stop there but a sign saying no buses stop here. I crossed the road and down the access road to the mining centre crossing Killhope Burn by stepping stones. The vehicle crossing is a ford and today was very shallow but in heavy rain could be quite interesting. I took a sharp right to follow a forestry track heading out to the west then steeply uphill to an area called Kidd’s Dam.
The bus stop that isn't

No buses here
The track swung around to the southeast and through a cleared area of tree plantation. Just over the rise the track descended steeply down towards the east but the footpath marker pointed up to a fence where the track was extremely indistinct. I followed a fence down to join a track through an area of old mine workings called Cuthbert's Level. The track continued down to join another one where I turn right heading out to the west.
Stepping stones
I reached a gate which said ‘no public access’ but my way was down to the left following another track down too Wellhope Burn where I cross the bridge and up to a farm property at the end of the track. I turn left to follow another track on through the farmyard of Whitestone House and on to Hole Damn. There was then a descent down to Killhope Burn where I crossed the river and headed up north following a steep hillside where the footpath bypasses an old quarry. The path continued up and then through a gate to re-join the main road. I turn left and did my best to keep away from oncoming traffic as I walked back to my car. As I drove home I called briefly at the Lead Mining Centre and picked up a brochure for a possible future visit.