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Friday, 24 June 2011


The Northern Echo publishes a walk every Thursday. Often they are proper hikes over high parts of the dales and moors but occasionally they are gentler rambles around pretty villages and along river banks. Yesterday's was one of the latter. A gentle three and a half mile saunter along identifiable paths and through some of the prettiest countryside and villages around. We parked in the remarkably pretty village of Hurworth-on-Tees and walked down to the river, past cottages and gardens to die for. It was a lovely day and the weather added to the total picture.
There were signs up warning people about the dreaded GIANT HOGWEED. If you get the sap of this plant on your skin, sunlight will react with it and cause painful blistering. Fortunately it is a really giant plant with big white flowers on top and is easy to see.

I climbed down the bank and clung to a tree branch to show you this outcrop. The photo doesn't show its true enormity, believe me!

Just as DJ took the picture the branch I was clinging to snapped off and I began to slide towards the triffids. I gave a genteel squeal and plunged my hands and knees into the mud and attempted to brake my downward movement. I managed to stop but then I had trouble climbing back up again and nearly got the giggles as the hysteria threatened to get out of control.

Deep breath and back to the top of the bank and I stayed on the path for the rest of the day.

It was a lovely tour of the river bank, farms, golf course, Rockcliffe Hall Hotel, the mainline railway to London, a man training his gun dogs to retrieve (they were so splendid to watch), and village real estate to lust after. We love our house and wouldn't change it but could happily transplant it onto the green at Hurworth-on-Tees.

We took ourselves into the Croft Hotel for a sandwich at the end and they were having OAPs bargain lunches. Oh Yes Please! Two courses each for £15 the double. And it was delicious. We shall return.

If you are up this way it is a must to visit.

Cheers Gillian


Sue said...

Wow what lovely photos Gillian. It sounds as though you had a wee adventure of your own too!

carol said...

We have loads of Giant Hogweed in this area too. Council workers have been seen in space suits spraying it. The dried heads are lovely though. Very dramatic. By the time they're dry they don't harm anyone.

Good to see that you're enjoying your camper!