The CheviotThe Cheviot, Cheviot Hills, England.
Height – 815 metres. Map - OS Landranger 74.
Climbed - 19 August 2010. Time taken – 7.25 hours.
Distance –22 kilometres. Ascent – 790 metres.
Trip Report Details:
My first ever English Hill, The Cheviot, was to be combined with my final New and Old Donald, Windy Gyle.
To reach the start of this walk we drove to Kelso then onto Town Yetholm before taking the unclassified road to Cocklawfoot. An area of grass just before the crossing of the Kelsocleuch Burn made for a suitable parking area. It was a bright morning with loads of game birds running around as we set off along the track to Kelsocleuch, where a road sign banned motor cars and motor cycles between 1 April and 31 May, the lambing season. Not something I had seen before but the route didn’t appear suitable for the ordinary car.
On reaching Kelsocleuch there was a slight error in getting round the farm. We ended up going beyond the buildings before accessing the field when in fact the route was along the side of the stone dyke just before the farmhouse, across a stile and into the field. It isn’t signposted and didn’t make a lot of difference but the farmer would probably prefer walkers stick to the route via the stile. A couple of fields were crossed before we reached a forest, where lots of the trees had been cut down. A path followed a gap in the forest and led to Kelsocleuch Rig and onto Windy Rig.
The ascent of Windy Rig took us onto the Pennine Way, which at this point ran along the Scottish/English Border marked by a post and wire fence. We stayed on the north side of the fence and climbed to the summit of Windy Gyle, which is wholly within Scotland. The summit consisted of a cairn, known as Russell’s Cairn, and a trig point.
We left the summit and walked the few metres to the Border and crossed a stile into England where we followed the fence and Pennine Way north-east over stone slabs. These slabs ran for miles as they crossed the heathery hillside and were a bit of a trudge for my first walking experience on English soil.
The top of Clennell Street, an ancient drove road, was reached where there was a similar road sign as at the start. Beyond a short and easy ascent took us to the trig point on King’s Seat. Still continuing along the stone slabs on the English side of the border we passed over Crookedsike Head before ascending the West Top of Cairn Hill, a Donald Top, which meant I had also completed Percy Donald’s list of Tops.
The border was left as we headed deeper into English territory to climb Cairn Hill, where work was in progress to lay more slabs. From here we climbed my first ever English Hill, The Cheviot, an ancient extinct volcano and classed as a Nuttall and Hewitt. Stone slabs led to the summit trig point which was positioned on top of breeze blocks. The surrounding area was an extensive peat bog and was quite deep in places as my walking poles sunk into the black mass. I thought it was probably one of the worst summit areas I had ever come across.
Views from the summit were a bit hazy although I could make out a beach on the North Sea coast. A jet flew low over the summit and repeated this several times, although it could have been more than one jet. It was good of my companions to arrange a fly pass for my final, New Donald, Donald, Donald Top and first Nuttal and Hewitt. A pity they couldn’t afford the Red Arrows.
We returned to Cairn Hill West Top and walked along a wooden slatted path to Auchope Cairn with views across Hen Hole to the west ridge of The Cheviot. After a short break we descended the west ridge of Auchope Cairn to the Mountain Refuge Hut before returning across the border into Scotland and down Auchope Rig. Various trails then took us to Cocklawfoot and the end of an interesting and successful day in the Borders.
Photos taken on walk.