Alston Moor Loop


Forum » Walk Reports » Rest of England

By Oli R C on 27/05/17 at 1:25pm

Date started:22/04/2017
Distance:28.5 km or 17.7 miles
Ascent:650m or 2133ft
Start OSGB:NY779438
Time taken:8:26
Naismith:6:47

Just wanted to share a walk I did a few weeks ago, much closer to home for me, in the North Pennines. A lengthy route with 3 distinct stages.

The 1st leg from Nenthead to Garrigill is across open moorland with good views of the surrounding area, including Hartside.

You kick things of by passing through Nenthead Mines...

Nenthead Mines

Nenthead Mines by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Nenthead Mines

Nenthead Mines by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Nenthead Mines

Nenthead Mines by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

I actually changed my plan early on to go OVER Flinty Fell instead of going my planned route around it. It was my only opportunity for a bit of a climb, so I went for it. But as I headed upwards, the path became very indistinct, and the area is covered in a very soft, thick, wet moss. It was a good workout, and good to have done it but the next time I will go around.

The climb up Flinty Fell

The climb up Flinty Fell by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

There's a shake hole near the top...

Shake hole

Shake hole by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

After a section of road (another drawback of my alternative route) you drop down to Ashgill Force.

There's a cave which you can, technically, get through although you'd have to take your backpack off to get out the other end, and it brings you out onto a steep bank infront of the falls.

Ashgill Force

Ashgill Force by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

And Ashgill Falls itself. Very little water coming over today. Notice you can walk around behind...

Ashgill Force

Ashgill Force by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

And so begins the 2nd leg as you join the South Tyne Trail. It cuts a deep gorge through the bottom of the valley...

South Tyne Trail

South Tyne Trail by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

South Tyne Gorge

South Tyne Gorge by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

South Tyne Gorge

South Tyne Gorge by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

At times the path peels away from the river, usually through woodland or fields, often gaining some height, which gives the chance of some longer views, or to spot some local wildlife...

Being watched.

Being watched. by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

First glimpse of Garrigill...

Down to Garrigill

Down to Garrigill by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Garrigill city centre...

Garrigill

Garrigill by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

After Garrigill, the river widens out, but it retains its beautiful features...

River South Tyne.

River South Tyne. by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

South Tyne Trail

South Tyne Trail by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Time to cross over...

Pennine Way

Pennine Way by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Stile at Low Sillyhall...

South Tyne Trail

South Tyne Trail by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Fair Hill, just before Alston...

South Tyne Trail

South Tyne Trail by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Entering Alston. Plenty of refreshment options here...

Alston

Alston by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

For the 3rd leg, you head out the back of Alston and down to the River Nent, which is another river not lacking in features...

River Nent

River Nent by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

This leg also follows part of Isaac's Tea Trail which is a 36 mile round route which deserves more exploration in itself.

Erosion of the river bank is a bit of an issue, Storm Desmond did a lot of the damage.

Isaac's Tea Trail

Isaac's Tea Trail by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Again, at times you have to peel away from the river, but it gives an opportunity to see further afield...

River Nent

River Nent by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Lots of steps at Nenthall...

Steps at Nenthall

Steps at Nenthall by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Gudham Gill meets the River Nent...

Gudham Gill meets River Nent

Gudham Gill meets River Nent by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

And finally back at Nenthead...

Not to scale

Not to scale by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

So it's a full day out for this route, although for a more accurate time you can deduct 40 minutes as I stopped to chat to Farmer Pearson at Fair Hill. I knew I'd been there a while but only when I looked back at GPS data did I realise how long!

Overall, a superb route which I loved. I can't overstate the beauty of the rivers followed, and there's potential for some wildlife spotting, with friendly red squirrels and angry herons being my treats. And how often do you have to step over a goat?

Thanks for reading, and there's a few more pics on my Flickr page if you're interested. Just click any of the pics above to get there.

This would be the version without going over Flinty Fell...



WalkLakes recognises that hill walking, or walking in the mountains, is an activity with a danger of personal injury or death.
Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions.