Carpeway Gathering 7, Thursday 28th Feb 2020

Dukesfield Arches to Devils water

This was the seventh instalment in the Carpeway series of leadership events. Another of Ian Farrar’s intrepid adventures into the wilds of the North East. 

Want to see places you’ve never been before? Check. Want to see places you’ll probably never see again. Check. Want to learn map reading? Errr, check . I think. On second thoughts I’ve got an app for that. 

Secret Seven

Our secret seven explorers; 6 adults (questionable) and their faithful dog Skye set about navigating the highways and byways of Dukesfield Arches to Devils water and back. Nestled between Slaley Hall and Corbridge is some of the finest Northumbrian countryside you can find. If you can find it. Always a worry when the organiser can’t even find the correct turning out of the Tyne Tunnel. 

But we split hairs. This was the finest of February wintry days. Bright blue sky, a chastening breeze and a feast on the senses. Not a laptop, phone or LinkedIn posting in sight. This tribe really had left their natural habitat behind. 

The ramble that was described as a gentle 6.5 mile hike, as usual was not what it said on the tin. 10 miles , 3hrs33 minutes later we were back where we began. Don’t ask me how. I’ve no idea. But nor do I care. 


Breaking Free from the Norm

As with every Carpeway it’s the camaraderie, the opportunity to break free from the norm. The chance to discuss those daily niggles, solve those conundrums and generally seize the day. Carpe diem as they say in Africa . 

The only sane one among us was Skye the faithful hound, checking we were all ok. And when nature called , checking again and again. Her treat, a fig roll or two; the king of biscuits . 

Butties were prepared and eaten, except lo – one of the flock was fasting. And guess what ? There’s an app for that. Go figure. It’s use, apparently to remind you “technically” when you last ate some food. That’s of course if you bothered to set the time correctly in the first place.

dave algeo
Seize The Way Dave!

But onward we trekked, ideas flowed, thoughts appeared. Ever wondered how to remember those world changing affirmations? BrainToss is what you need. Tell the app your idea and voila it arrives in your inbox . Probably to be later filed away in Junk. Useful . But I digress .

We had a map. Eyes . Brains (of sorts). And legs and boots, and gloves and hats and coats. But a sense of direction? Don’t be daft. Of that there was little. But somehow, by fluke, by trial and error we made it around the course. 

ian farrar
Ian lost…again.

And here’s an editors note. Whoever wrote the directions needs a serious word with themselves. In one ill conceived paragraph we were advised to cross a stile, open a gate and turn half left across an open field. You should try it. It’s invigorating. I don’t think I’ve ever turned half left in my life. Which got us thinking. Are you half awake, or half asleep? It matters not. I prefer 45 degrees asleep myself like. 

Thanks Carpeway

What I do know is that these get togethers remind us all that we are human. Better together, better sharing. Get lost together, make the odd wrong turn, download the odd app, stroke a dog, step in a puddle and enjoy this fantastic country of ours. You’ll feel better for it.

Can’t wait for the next one already. 

devils water


  1. Ian Farrar on February 29, 2020 at 12:53 am

    Thanks for capturing our day Grant.
    Once again we had some fantastic conversations and bounced ideas around…and once again we got lost…and once again the walk increased by a couple of miles.

    I’m not sure how we do it but the sun shines on Carpeway 🙂

    #SeizeTheWay x

  2. Bryn Jones on July 14, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    Great write up Grant – sadly for me another one missed and there was water too. I was the bobby for Slaley and Blanchland back in the early 90’s so would have been nice to revisit with a great bunch of people. I need to get to more and seize one of Ian’s bit of ‘merch’ so I can wear it proudly.

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