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Tue 21st June 2011

Rothbury Railway - Rothbury Walking Festival

Rothbury Railway - Rothbury Walking Festival

Sundance has lost it, no matter how hard he soft shoe shuffles he does not seem able to get the dry weather on his walks.  By the time we had a waterproofed up it was virtually time to take them off again but and a big BUT it did rain during the walk.

By 10am every one was at TIC and Mike started to do his introduction when the church bells started a peel or two or even more and fortunately drowned him out.  So we set off on slight diversion to look at Haw Hill Cemetery and Lord Armstrong’s grave as well as admiring the Coquet Anglers head stone.

We then took the steps down to the river side path and walked along to the new bailey bridge and crossed the river and walked up to the industrial estate, which was on the site of the former Rothbury railway station.  By now we were far enough away from the church bells for Mike to get into his full whitter stride as he talked about the history of the branch line and the layout of the station.

We now started to follow the path of the railway line (and St. Oswald’s Way), it first took us through a cutting in solid sandstone some twenty to thirty feet high.  The cutting gave way to open fields, after Wagtail farm the line is cut into the side of the hill.

This section of the track is heavily wooded with little in the way of views. After a kilometre or so you leave the steep sided hillside and the way opens up, with a clear view of the eastern  side of the Cragside estate with Longframlington moor beyond.

The track was now starting to swing round the end of the last little hill in the Simonside Ridge to Brinkburn Station.

Mike again started to whitter about  rocks and how the Shilbottle coal seam was mined and the fact there was an aerial ropeway from one mine which was on the north side of the River Coquet to Brinkburn Station which was roughly 1.5miles long. He also mentioned the reason for the large number of Pill Boxes in the area.

The walk now left the railway line and we continued to follow St Oswald’s way through some fields and down to the river at Pauperhaugh Bridge where we had lunch.

During lunch Mike once more started to whitter about an iron works that stood near Priors Gate and how a house at Bushy Gap had once been used to hold smuggled goods. 

As we left the bridge we followed a minor road towards East Row.  It started to rain but after only a short while it eased off and we were able to remove waterproof jackets.  From east Raw we walked to West Raw crossing our outward route to follow St Oswald’s Way.


This eventually lead us back to the railway line which then took us back to Rothbury the way we had come.

Tue 21st June 2011

Drove Roads of Coquetdale - Rothbury Walking Festival

Drove Roads of Coquetdale - Rothbury Walking Festival

Drove Roads of Coquetdale



Flaming June! 

The following anonymous poem neatly sums-up the “atmospheric” conditions in more ways than one.  I first came across it on a postcard during a wet stay on Mull but it seems completely appropriate to our collective experience above and on the Salters Way. 





Rain

It rained and rained and rained

The average fall was well maintained

And when the tracks were merely bogs

It started raining cats and dogs

 

After a drought of half an hour

We had a most refreshing shower

And then the most curious thing of all

A gentle rain began to fall

 

Next day was also fairly dry

Save for the deluge form the sky

Which wetted the party to the skin

And after which the rain set in

 

Anon

On a positive note a lot of people visited places they never thought they would such as Hogdon Law, Black Butt, Sting Head above the Kidland Forest (now being heavily deforested), Cushat Law, Low Bleakhope.  Finally onto the Salters Road we crossed the col below Shill Moor for splashing down to the Shank Burn where the water level had risen significantly due to unceasing precipitation (see photographs).  The slog up to Ewartly Shank was character building and because of the boggy ground where we had parked we decided not to have a grand prix start for the race to Alnham, the world and a hot bath.   Neither did we get the “drought of half an hour” by the way.  This was a new, unique and different experience for most of the participants!  Once you got used to the “water” it was fine.  Thank you to everyone for your good humour.  Flaming June.

RNH


Mon 20th June 2011

Nordic Walk - Holy Island

Nordic Walk - Holy Island

What a day of contrast!

I’m sure there were many folk in

Northumberland who thought that it was a shame that it would be raining on our Nordic walk on Holy Island.

How wrong they would be. It was the most perfect day, lovely and sunny with a light breeze.

We set off on broad grassy tracks before picking up pathways through the dunes that hosted an array of beautiful wild flowers including marsh orchids, birdsfoot trefoil, wild thyme, eye bright and the stunning blue spikes of the viper’s blugloss complete with the burnet moth with its distinctive black wings and red spots.

We had beaches to ourselves which echoed with the haunting call of the grey seals, known as the sirens of the sea, basking on rocks just off the shoreline.After passing Emmanual head, a beacon located on the north of the Island, we again picked up grassy tracks and Nordic walked towards the iconic silhouette of the romantic 16C Lindisfarne Castle.

Skirting off to the right we made a slight detour to avoid the crowds and passed the quaint little garden that had been created for the castle by Gertrude Jekyll between 1906 and 1912.

We then headed inland and stopped at the Pilgrim Coffee Shop where we indulged ourselves with the most fantastic fresh crab sandwiches and fresh coffee.

This truly was the most perfect end to the most perfect day. Even more so because it started to tip it down in bucket loads just as we reached our cars which was great timing.
Thank you for everyone who came along, you were an absolute pleasure to Nordic walk with and I’m really looking forward to seeing you all again next time.

Nordic walking is sociable and fun, so if you haven’t tried it before, why not give it a go. You never know you may surprise yourself and enjoy it!

Go on, you know you want to ......