Christmas guided walk - Simonside
Tue 24th December 2013
All through Saturday it had rained and rained so on Sunday it was a little break in the weather even with the biting wind blowing from the west.
We all met at the Shepherds Walks base in Rothbury and after a slight delay we were off, following the River Coquet upstream from Rothbury. The evidence of the overnight flooding of the River Coquet was clear to see with the path flooded in a few places. But this did not deter the hardy folk on the walk.
After crossing the River Coquet and Lady’s Bridge we gradually climbed up to Great Tosson and had a well-deserved rest next to Tosson Tower.
We then climbed up to and again rested near to the hllfort. The hillfort at Tosson Burgh is located in ay defended site overlooking the Coquet valley to the north, west and east.
There are no traces of habitation within the ramparts, the fort is unexcavated, and such features will more than likely survive below ground level. It is thought that construction of this hillfort would have been sometime after 600 BC, in the Early Iron Age.
From here we climbed up through the forest and sheltered from the wind we had our lunch just before leaving the forest.
After lunch we continued to climb to just under the famous sandstone crags of Simonside.
With the wind being very strong at this point (even though the sun was shining) it was decided to skirt below Simonside itself and instead climb up into Dove Crag for our Christmas surprise. This we did and as we reached the summit the famous decorated Christmas tree was waiting to greet us. It made for a great photo opportunity on this festive walk.
I think Dove Crag is one of the best vantage points in this area of Northumberland with Fontburn Reservoir to the South and Rothbury nested down below. Today Cragside House could be clearly picked out in the trees and the effects from the River Coquet birstling its banks overnight were very clear to see on the lower lying ground.
From here we descended to the Beacon and again down to Lordenshaws car park before following St Oswald’s Way all the way back to Rothbury.
We just had one short shower all day and everybody was in high spirits after they had battled against the wind on this a truly great start to Christmas 2013.
I hope you all have a very Merry and a Happy New Year, from all at Shepherds Walks.