Cragside Challenge Walk 2014
Mon 30th June 2014
Blog - from guided walk group
Waking up to rain, wind and a cool, if not, a cold easterly wind was a bit of a shock after a week of sunny, warm weather. I had planned to carry less gear but put in an extra fleece at the last moment. The weather forecast even said there was a chance of thunder and heavy rain!
Arriving at Cragside which is in such a beautiful setting dispells any concerns about getting wet and sure enough as we set off on the walk through the grounds the first glipses of the route over the Simonside Hills is seen through the trees. The clouds were parting and there were patches of sunshine. It was going to be a good day.
And so it proved to be.
This walk is varied and continually interesting. Walking along the Thrum in Rothbury and then crossing the new bridge is as attractive as it is gentle. Walking past Witton Tower the countryside opens up and we begin to prepare for the ascent to the wilder Garleigh Moor above Lordenshaw. The descent to the car park is a temporary restbite as we take on the rocky route to the Simonside ridge before turning away at Dove Crag to the forest track that leads into the forest down a steep and tricky descent to Tosson Farm and the checkpoint at the lime kiln. From here the Coquet Valley opens up and the meandering river can be seen like a geography lesson layed out in front of you.
After a welcome lunch the gentle walk across the river and through to Thropton is followed by a long climb to the moorland above Rothbury. It was a welcome relief to turn left at the gateway to the moors and to walk on level ground. This is the last stage of the walk: a bit of flat ,a bit of down hill through the forest, a bit of a twist on the roadway until the crossing of the road into the grounds of Cragside and the finish.
Well done to the guided group who made the day memorable and a pleasure for me. Thank you for your company. Thank you to Andrea for helping out.
So the day ended with sunshine and it even warmed up a bit. As it turned out it was near perfect weather for a walk.
As for the thunder and rain storm – that hit during the drive home. What timing!
See you again next year or at the next Shepherds Walks challenge in August over the border into Scotland – the St Cuthbert’s Way Challenge – another great walk. For details and how to sign up for the the training walk see www.shepherdswalks.co.uk