Mike had placed the Simonside Hills on his list a while back. The aim for the walk was to be a reccy for a guided walk in the near future. From a distance the ridge line appeared a tad foreboding. However, the ascent upwards was a gradual plod, predominantly on a paved path. This extent of path paved over indicates the popularity of the area.
An undulating meander led us over to Simonside itself.
A pause for lunch and then a steep descent on loose, stony ground Gone now was the stone flagged paving. A well defined path through the heather led us past Ravens Haugh and on to the stone enclosed trig point of Tosson Hill. Another wee break, how glad I was that I had carried an extra couple of bars of chocolate!
A rough, narrow path, in places boggy, some areas churned by tractors and all terrain vehicles. These where grouse moors and large patches of heather had been recently burned, giving a patchwork appearance to the landscape. Joining a bridleway just below Whitefield Hill, our route now lay through large areas of forestry, some of it cleared. What a mess left behind though, all the brash timber just left lying. Surely it could be chipped and used for wood fired boilers or something?
Forestry tracks led us on past Chartners to Fallowlees. Here we joined St Oswald's Way. More paths and tracks through forestry. A roe deer bounding away at our approach. Once again entering open moorland, we pressed on past Spylaw and finally descended back to the car park.
A fantastic day's walking, the weather remained dry but I must admit to being wearied.