So, I will recap. We set out at about ten this morning intending to do a circular walk, but the walk I did ended up being somewhat different. We covered some of the ground on an earlier excursion, but this time we left the safety of the Stanleyburn area and headed up onto Hedley Fell. Here R&A encountered a partridge, which they chased. In spite of it not taking flight any great distance, it managed to confuse them and they were running around in circles looking for it. Luckily I was able to entice them into the wood nearby, which must have offered more excitement than a strange bird, so they left it and headed into Hyons Wood (or Huorns' Wood as I have re-christened it).
When we got to the top, I was rewarded with a fine view across Derwent Valley to Dipton and Tantobie. At this point I was planning to turn left to Currock Hill, then follow Moor Road down, perhaps cutting off into Stanleyburn Wood for some lurcher fun time. Instead I saw Hedley on the Hill off to my right and thought I would see what it was like over there. As I walked along the road, the whole of Northumberland seemed to open up before me, with the Cheviot on the far horizon. I thought I could even hear the artilllery going off at Otterburn, which was quite a thought given the distance.
Well, Hedley turned out to be a very nice little ... well village would be too grand a title. A very nice little ley. The OS map showed that it had a post office but it did not advise that there is also a very nice little pub called The Feathers Inn, where Amazon persuaded me that it would be a good idea to drop in and sample the ale. In actual fact I arrived about ten minutes before opening time, so R & A had to content themselves with water in a rather gritty dog bowl outside. I checked the map and decided on the route home, choosing to follow a route called Ward Lane towards High Mickley, thence along the tracks along the ridge back to Prudhoe.
When the door opened, I went in for a refill of the dog bowl and a pint of Wagtail (Allendale Brewery), which was well appreciated, but I did not linger over it, as I had no company but the dogs. The beginning of Ward's Lane was easy to find as it was over the road from the pub, but it was a bit of a strange path, having stiles rather than gates that the lurchers had to scramble over/under, and there were a lot of horses in the fields. Now I don't have a problem with horses, I'd sooner cross a field of horses than cows any day, but Amazon was getting skittish as in every field the horses were clustered around the gate, so we headed along a track to the road, which we followed instead.
From High Mickley I found a lane leading in the right direction and followed it. I took a picture of an old land rover in a field, then a bloke came up asking if I minded going back around the corner as they were driving some sheep up the lane, which we did. R&A not bothered by the sheep as usual, so that was fine.
I then asked if it was ok to go down a track that wasn't marked as a ROW and was told that was fine, that it led to Prudhoe. I already knew that and I would have gone that way if there had been no one about, but it never hurts to ask. From there we were pretty much back on home turf, so I let the lurchers off again in the next empty field and I gave them lots of praise for waiting at the top of the rape field.