Elsdon Nordic Walk
Thu 2nd May 2013
What a cold and blustery day! Heavy rain to start the morning, will our walk go ahead? A quick check on the weather forecast and it predicted a dry, sunny morning starting from 10am. Lets go for it!
The weather man was right. On arriving in Elsdon village the skies cleared and it was dry but still with a cold wind. People sat waiting in their cars to keep warm and we all piled the layers on until we got going.
During our warm up routine I talked about the route we were to take, the terrain and the incline. We started our walk following a tarmac track through a farm, were the farmer on his quad bike was tending to his ewes and lambs. The track was slightly uphill and so we soon warmed up. On reaching the farmhouse we regrouped and I broke the news – we are going up a rather steep hill. Yes, that one in front of us!
After a few words of encouragement, a reminder of how to Nordic walk up a hill and with the reassurance it was not a race, we set off, each person at their own pace. And ....... we all made it! Short stride length and leaning forward onto those poles really did help. This was a tough climb, requiring real grit and determination to climb. I stopped halfway up to ask if everyone was ok and got lots of smiling faces but no words said! What a great feeling when we reached the top though and the views over Elsdon were amazing. We could see the snow on top of Cheviot as well as the Harwood Forest stretching over to Winterís Gibbet.
Once we had our breath back we continued over the brow of the hill, crossing styles through rough pasture ground and eventually into green fields. The benefit of all the wind was that it was mostly dry underfoot, with the exception of the odd muddy area beside the dry stone wall styles.
As we began to lose our height and head down towards Harwood forest the hill steepened slightly, giving us an excellent chance to practise our downhill technique. From here we returned to a solid underfoot track, which meandered through Harwood forest, taking us back to the farmhouse where we had begun our climb.
Whilst continuing along the tarmac track, back to the start point, we noticed that the lambs looked different to their mothers. Although the ewes were Scottish blackfaced sheep, with a prominent black face, their lambs had mostly white faces with black markings around their features. They were mule lambs, which are bred mainly in Northumberland. And if you want to know more about them....come on a Shepherds Nordic Walk!
A hard Nordic Walk but very rewarding all the same. Stunning views of the Northumbrian landscape and the satisfaction of knowing that you really did climb that hill.