A lovely sunny morning so we wander into Durham to have a look around. It is graduation week at the University so there are lots of proud parents in their finery accompanying students, many in gowns.
Lynnie goes off shopping and the boys and I take a seat in the square to enjoy the sun whilst listening to some guys playing music. It is a cracking day. Alongside me on the bench are a couple having ice creams. This is a sure way of getting the attention of Dexter and Crosby.
It is the master and his apprentice at work. Dexter assumes a look as if saying “How could you possibly deny me?”, he gives Crosby a disapproving glance when the youngster starts to drool. Never an attractive look. They are then working in unison. Heads occasionally tilted at an angle to ensure that their target is getting their best side. Finally they reap their reward with the offer of the end of the cone.
After lunch Lynnie wants to explore Durham, so we agree that I will go off with the dogs whilst she visits the City. I head off along the riverbank to Shincliffe and cross the River Wear at the bridge to go past the Rose Tree Inn before turning right into the village.
Through the village I take a right turn along Hall Lane and follow this to Shincliffe Hall. I am following the Weardale Way footpath through Shincliffe Woods and climb to High Butterby Farm. Here my route is to the left along a farm track, whilst the Weardale Way continues to the right.
Shortly before South Grange Farm I take a footpath on the left (Strawberry Lane) and follow this thorough to High Shincliffe. This village was previously known as Shincliffe Colliery and once had a thriving pit. This closed in the late 1800’s. The school is built on the site of the Pit Head and its said that the centre circle of the school’s football pitch marks the spot where the shaft was sunk.
Apparently Tony Blair lived in the village during his time at the Chorister School in Durham.
I walk through the village looking for the footpath towards Manor Farm. I ask a friendly local. I have a mate, Ali Mac, he is a Geordie and on a good day I understand one word in six that he utters, if he has consumed some ale then the ratio is nearer one in twenty. Ali talks BBC English compared to this chap.
I catch the word “doug”, which I take to mean dog. There is much pointing and some shaking of the head. None the wiser I continue in the direction that he last pointed. I enter a field and walk a well used path to another field and then close to a disused railway line. I now check my map and find that I am going away from Manor Farm, I wonder if the chap was telling me not to go in that direction.
Eventually I am on the right path and walk through Manor Farm and then just before reaching the busy B1198 I take a turn left and join the disused railway incline back towards Shincliffe. From there I retrace my steps back to the Rowing Club.
Lynnie is back eagerly awaiting our return. The boys and I have covered nine miles and she has clearly missed us.
To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 308 – Durham and Sunderland
1st July 2014
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2014)