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Sunday, 8 March 2009


The washing machine is going, as once again I transfer large quantities of mud from the "footpaths" of County Durham to the sewerage system. I will need some of the gear for another assault on high and muddy bits of moorland on Wednesday. Today the group (Durham County Council Guided Walks) were led by a popular leader and two stewards around Muggleswick and up to the Three Curricks.

Here they are and you can see them clearly because the blizzard cleared and disappeared as quickly as it came and I was able to take my gloves off and get the camera out of the back-pack.
They are three cairns and no-one is really sure why they are there and why they are so named. Suggestions include something to do with shepherd shelters and/or witches. Or that might have been the Muggleswick Plot. I wasn't listening too well in the blizzard.

When I woke this morning the sky was blue, there was a light breeze, no frost on the ground and the sun shone. That encouraged me to get up, dress in outdoor gear, pack a picnic and check the map for the meeting place. The weather report for the day was not good but I decided to chance it.

The first snow attack happened as I drove to Muggleswick, the second as I parked and put on my all-weather gear, the third as we climbed to the top, the fourth at the top and on the way down we were treated to two hail storms. It was all short lived and the above picture shows the snow resting in the heather. The heather has been burnt in patches by the Game Keepers. Grouse like fresh shoots to feed on and old heather to hide in. We startled many into flight but they were too quick for me to catch on film.
Many of them will be shot by "sportsmen" from these grouse butts which dot the moorlands. They are cultivated and nurtured for this. The heather is maintained to provide for them and piles of grit are left at white pole markers for them to ingest and assist in their digestion so that they thrive...for a while!

The view from the top was marvellous and the weather cleared at just the right time to catch sight of the Derwent Reservoir, Newcastle and the Hown's Gill Viaduct. Here's the reservoir.

I hope the hens and sheep can read.

Cheers Gillian


chillsider said...

Lovely pics. I had a pic from daughter in Nevada yesterday, so refer to my blog if you want to see what they do with snow there.

Heide said...

Slow hens and sheep? Delightful pictures of the countryside as spring tentatively attempts an early arrival. We were teased with lovely weather for several weeks but now the temperatures have dropped again here. What are the three cairns or mounds made of? I need to run off and look up the word "cairn". Have a wonderful day!

carol said...

I love your rambles - you take me where my lings never would!!

Off topic - I hope your sister's surgery has been safely accomplished and that she is comfortable.

carol said...

Ps. By 'lings' I meant lungs!!!