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Sun 3rd September 2017

Kielder Challenge Walk - 2017

Kielder Challenge Walk - 2017

On Saturday it was the Kielder Challenge Walk.

Over 100 walkers walked the stunning 25.3 mile route around the Kielder reservoir.

The weather was second to none and everybody finished with a smile on their face.

Well done to all who took part and making it into such a great event.

Thu 24th August 2017

Harthope Valley Circle

Harthope Valley Circle

Fortunately  the high winds of yesterday had abated and it was a beautiful clear morning as we gathered at the Carey Bridge for the start of the day’s walk. As we started the long but steady climb up Cold Law, the remaining clouds on the summit of Cheviot dispersed and we were left with a perfect day for walking with excellent visibility.

The higher we climbed the full vista of the hills in every direction was revealed and the vibrant colour of the heather enhanced the wonderful views. It was also at this point that we encountered our first herd of grazing cattle and  a slight detour was needed. On reaching the summit of Cold law still more incredible views of the hills, and of Cheviot and Hedgehope in particular, were enjoyed and for those walkers who had not visited this area before, it was indeed a revelation. Jelly babies were handed out.

As we walked down to the Langlee valley, Mark told us a little of the geology of the hills, the history of Broadstruther, his experiences with wild cattle and  the National Park. Our lunch stop was by the stream at Langleeford and despite the considerable number of cars in the valley, we came across very few other walkers .Suitably refreshed we tackled the short sharp climb up to Langlee Crags from where yet more stunning views of the valley were on show. We stopped for a photo shoot and Mark began to tell the story of the Border Reivers. He promised a further instalment later in the walk.

The path leading us back to our starting point was straight and well defined but again a diversion to avoid yet more cattle was required. From Brands Hill we headed towards Happy Valley and our cars and Mark became engrossed in telling more about the Reivers. To his embarrassment he missed the turn off for the correct path – this necessitated a short stint of walking “off piste” across heather and waste high bracken! A hidden fence was negotiated and we safely arrived at the Carey Bridge.

Despite this slight hic up the day was superb and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the walk.  

Sun 20th August 2017

Whitton Hillhead Nordic Walk

Whitton Hillhead Nordic Walk

A very small group of Nordic Nuts met nice and early so we set off dot on time for my favourite walk, Whitton Hillhead.

We walked up Whitton Bank, passed Sharp's Folly and continued up to the Cup & Ring Marks (Chris decided that martians had created the marks). I pointed out the area beyond Garleigh Moor which has a hillfort on it.

Down to Lordenshaws Car Park and along the road towards Simonside Forest (with Simonside, Dove Crag and Old Stell Crag as our backdrop and the stunning purple heather.  

Heading along the down to the Sandstone Way passed the old quarry workings, along the road to the footbridge to take us to Thropton, crossing the bridge next up was Physic Lane, we had 2 options half way up and Chris made the decision to walk across the fields (passed the hillfort) and down to Rothbury.

We passed many fruit trees, including plums, eating apples, crab apples, cooking apples, blackberries, raspberries, sloes.  Unfortunately we could only pick the blackberries and raspberries, which Sue and I duly did.

We also saw on our travels pineapple Mayweed, a few fungi, honeysuckle berries, bindweed, hogweed and butterburr.

Back in Rothbury, Tomlinson's was our cafe of choice, as always we were not diappointed.

It was a lovely relaxing walk, great weather, great company and in total 9.5 miles (sorry Martyn). 

Thank you all for coming along and I hope to see you very soon.

Info on Sharp's Folly

Sharp’s Folly, or Tower, is reckoned to be the oldest folly in Northumberland. It is situated near Whitton, a little to the south of Rothbury, and was built in the 1720s by Rev Dr Thomas Sharp, Rector of Rothbury during 1720-58.

When Sharp (the son of the Archbishop of York) moved to the locality he set up his household in Whitton Tower. He was something of an eccentric, for sure, but, taking pity on the unemployed men of his parish, he hit upon the idea of building the 30-odd foot high ashlar structure as a sort of job-creation scheme.

It wasn’t a folly in the purest sense, though, for the tower, after its construction, was thereafter used as an observatory for the reverend’s astronomical interests. You could see the sea from its summit, apparently, until the nearby trees grew to obscure the view.

The tower is privately owned so the visitor cannot climb its internal cantilevered stone staircase. However, as you can see from the picture, passing hikers can get close enough for a good gawp.

Info on Cup & Ring Marks, Lordenshaws

Lordenshaws is home to one of Britain’s biggest clusters of cup and ring marks.

At first sight the enigmatic swirls and circles etched into the stones could be mistaken for the work of water over many millennia, but are in fact unfathomable symbols carved some 5,000 years ago by our Neolithic ancestors.

Their purpose has been long forgotten, but you can’t help but both admire the craftsmanship and the vision of the people who all those centuries ago recognised the landscapes inspiring and otherworldly nature.