Harbottle and the Drake Stone
Wed 25th June 2014
Everyone was in good time for the start of the walk so after explaining the route and looking at the map we set off bright and early. We had parked in West Wood and talked a little about the forestry commission and squirrels, and then we walked up through the wood and into the nature reserve.
After a short distance we were able to have excellent views of Harbottle village and Harbottle crags. As we walked up the single track, the splendid views opened up before us, and stopping at the cairn, we looked up to the Drake stone and talked about Gallow Law, at this point the cameras were out and everyone was clicking away at the views of Harbottle and the nature reserve in front of us.
Then following the track upwards we diverted left past the seat and up to the Drakes stone. It was photograph time again and a short history lesson about the stone and all its folklore, with everyone touching the stone to get its ‘healing properties’. From there it was a short walk to Harbottle Lake and reference to the boat house and ‘coldness’ of the water was made. Then after an examination of a couple of damaged millstones we headed up the fence line and then back through the wood following the concrete posts of an old fence line. As we exited the wood we talked about dry stone walling and the unique wall running down the side of ‘Gregory Nick’. Then we were greeted with tremendous views of upper Coquet dale, Alwinton and especially the Church.
Lunch stop was getting close, so after a short walk on the road, we stopped at the bridge to look at the River Coquet and River Alwin coming together. Then turning right at lower Alwinton we headed along the side of the river Coquet on the Border County ride towards the Lime kiln, where a lunch stop was awaiting and it was there we had company in the form of a horse which attempted to eat our sandwiches (not mine!)
After lunch it was a gentle walk across the fields with views of the Drake Stone in the distance. After crossing the Coquet we walked up to the village, where there was lots to discuss like the second Castle, water trough, memorial fountain all found in the one main road through Harbottle. We then had a visit to the Castle, read the sad poem, and tried to work out the Roman numerals for the date it was written? and then headed to the car park.
Just before the car park there was a tree covered in a silk web, all its branches and leaves were covered and the only other people we had seen all day suggested it was some kind of moth (open for suggestions). Then back to the car park and everyone expressed how good of a day it had been.