THIS ROUTE IS NOT A WALK, IT IS A NAVIGATIONAL EXERCISE HIKE. MAP AND COMPASS SKILLS REQUIRED.
Hike video: https://youtu.be/jZJGVpfJnaI
GET THE ROUTE HERE!
Start/finish: Rookhope Village Hall NY9372 4286
OS Explorer Map 307
Sat Nav: The Rookhope Inn (DL13 2BG)
Public transport: Please see the following website for times for the X21 bus from Newcastle to Stanhope: http://www.weardale-travel.co.uk/service-x21.html
Please see the following website for times for the 102 bus from Stanhope to Rookhope: http://www.weardale-travel.co.uk/102.html
Accurate distances and grid bearings can be downloaded on this 2 sided route card PDF (front.pdf and rookhope.pdf): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8yyjut6h1oysxno/AACIquF0OL0w5rtWiOvyGDWha?dl=0
This hike in the North Pennines AONB is very good and has two simple grid bearings across sections of trackless open access land. The hike starts at Rookhope Village Hall Car Park, taking in Boltsaw incline, Boltsaw standing engine, Stanhhope Common, Steward Shield Meadow, Reahope Moor and a rough section of the Weardale Way next to Rookhope Burn; passing Brandon Walls Lead Mine and Ore Works on the way back up to Rookhope. There are two grid bearings across sections of trackless open access land crossing Stanhope Common and Reahope Moor. The hike has an initial climb of 195 m over 1.5 km from Rookhope village hall car park up Boltslaw Incline, to Boltslaw standing engine, this being the highest point of the walk. There is also a shallow ford crossing of Stanhope Burn. There are good views of the North Pennines AONB around most of this hike, however there is a short rough section on the Weardale Way next to Rookhope Burn towards the end of the hike.
This hike crosses trackless open access land, hence, map and compass skills are required. You should also know your pace count. Recommended for intermediate hikers.
Situated at the top of Boltslaw Incline, are the ruins of Boltslaw standing engine, built in 1846 by the Weardale Iron Company. The railway line from Tow Law to Rookhope was the highest-ever standard-gauge railway in the UK. The purpose of the railway was to haul iron ore and limestone from Rookhope to Tow Law Ironworks, along with lead to the Tyne. Coal was brought on the return journey. Boltslaw standing engine provided power to pull railway trucks up and down Boltslaw Incline on the end of a cable. It remained in operation until 1923, (see attack point 2).
Situated above Brandon Walls on the eastern banks of Rookhope Burn, are the remains of Brandon Walls lead mine and ore works. Operational by 1850, the mine was initially profitable, but closed in 1882. It is not thought to have worked again and was abandoned around 1903, (see attack point 22).
(Images under waypoints tab on ViewRanger).
1. Attack point 2 is 1.8 km away; from Rookhope Village Hall car park (see image) turn right and head towards The Rookhope Inn, turn left and head north out of the village on a track heading up Boltslaw Incline, all the way to Boltslaw standing engine at attack point 2.
2. Attack point 3 is 1.1 km away; after Boltslaw standing engine (see image) continue north on the track to a sheepfold attack point 3.
3. Attack point 4 is 1.675 km away; after the sheepfold (see image) continue east on the track to a fork or junction in the track at attack point 4.
4. Attack point 5 is 1.57 km away; at the fork or junction in the track (see image) ignore the main track heading north up Dead Friars Bank, and continue east on the grass path to the four way junction at attack point 5.
5. Attack point 6 is 650 m away; at the four way junction near Meadows Edge (see image) head south and downhill towards a gate in Steward Shield Meadow at attack point 6.
6. Attack point 7 is 135 m away; go through the gate in Steward Shield Meadow (see image) and continue south and downhill to another gate at attack point 7.
7. Attack point 8 is 175 m away; go through the gate at attack point 7 (see image) and turn left and head east across the field to another gate and field at attack point 8.
8. Attack point 9 is 500 m away; go through the gate at attack point 8 (see image), turn right and head south and downhill towards Stanhope Burn at attack point 9.
Note: on the way down to attack point 9 a clump of trees can be seen on the horizon towards the south. Make note of these trees as you will be heading towards them on the grid bearing between attack point 10 and 11.
9. Attack point 10 is 150 m away; at an Open Access Land sign next to Stanhope Burn (see image) head up stream for about 20 m to find a path on the other side of the burn. Cross the burn and follow the path for 100 m to where it runs out at attack point 10.
10. Attack point 11 is 1 km away; at where the path runs out at attack point 10 (see image) take a grid bearing of the four way junction in the rights of way at attack point 11, which should be about 214°, convert to magnetic bearing and march on that bearing towards that attack point. Note: after 30 m you should be able to see the clump of trees, simply head towards these trees on that bearing until you hit a track.
11. Attack point 12 is 1.29 km away; at the track at attack point 11 (see image), turn right and head west and uphill until you meet a junction with a grassier path, ignore the main track, turn left and head south on the grassier path with Park Plantation on your left to a disused quarry crater at attack point 12.
12. Attack point 13 is 1.34 km away; continue past the disused quarry crater and head south west, crossing Shank Sike, before bending round south east with the track and wall of Park Plantation, following it to Mount Pleasant at attack point 13. Note: you will see Mount Pleasant to the south before you arrive, it is a house or building with a small windmill.
13. Attack point 14 is 900 m away; from the entrance of Mount Pleasant at attack point 13 (see image), take a grid bearing of attack point 14 (which is two public footpath signs either side of a road). The grid bearing should be about 231°, convert to magnetic bearing and march on that bearing, counting your paces to at attack point 14.
14. Attack point 15 is 365 m away; from the public footpath sign at attack 14 (see image), cross the road and go through the gate on the other side of the road. Turn right and head south west across the field towards some ruins of a barn at attack point 15.
15. Attack point 16 is 260 m away; from the ruins of the barn (see image) continue in a south westerly direction going through 2-3 fields down to High Farm and Harrow Bank disused quarry at attack point 16.
16. Attack point 17 is 375 m away; at High Farm near Harrow Bank disused quarry (see image), ignore the main path heading south and take an inconspicuous looking path through a field to a gate. Climb the gate and continue west passed the ruins of Broad Bush into another field with a gate entrance on the left at attack point 17.
17. Attack point 18 is 250 m away; go through the gate entrance at attack point 17 (see image), and make your way south west over two fields to a gate at attack point 18.
18. Attack point 19 is 200 m away; go through the gate at attack point 18 (see image) and continue south west on the path to another gate next to Hole House at attack point 19.
19. Attack point 20 is 480 m away; from the gate near Hole House at attack point 19 (see image) turn right and go through another gate entering the Weardale Way and some woods. Continue uphill on the Weardale Way and through the woods to a fork in two faint grassy paths when you exit the woods at attack point 20.
20. Attack point 21 is 910 m away; at the fork in the faint grass paths at attack point 20 ignore the path on the right heading to higher ground, and take the path on the left leading to lower ground. Make your way north on varying path/track alongside Rookhope Burn to find a footbridge crossing Brandon Walls Cleugh at attack point 21.
21. Attack point 22 is 240 m away; go over the footbridge crossing Brandon Walls Cleugh (see image) and continue north on the track beside Rookhope Burn to the ruins of Brandon Walls Lead Mine and Ore Works at attack point 22.
22. Attack point 23 is 610 m away; after the ruins of Brandon Walls Lead Mine and Ore Works at attack point 22 (see image) continue north on path beside Rookhope Burn passing some more ruins on the other side of the burn. At this point the path stops and you have to climb a small fence and make your way north through a short section of vegetation and scrub to find the Pennine Way again. Once you find the Pennine Way again continue north until you find a footbridge crossing to the western side of Rookhope Burn at attack point 23.
23. Attack point 24 is 175 m away; go over the footbridge at attack point 23 (see image), turn left on the road and head south for 125 m to public footpath sign and style on the right hand side of the road at attack point 24.
24. Attack point 25 is 550 m away; from the public footpath sign and style at attack 24 (see image) go over the style and continue west over the field with the Smailsburn property on your right, and find the Weardale Way at the very western side of the field. At the track turn right and head north towards a gate in Smailsburn farm at attack point 25.
25. Attack point 26 is 1.36 km away; go through the gate at Smailsburn farm (see image), go through the farm yard and another gate, continue on the Weardale Way through and series of more gates for over a kilometre to a car repair yard at attack point 26.
26. Attack point 27 is 250 m away; go through the car repair yard (see image) and turn right crossing a bridge over Rookhope Burn to Rookhope Inn. Turn left and make your way back to the village hall car park.