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Sun 10th April 2016

Nordic Walk - Newton by the Sea

Nordic Walk - Newton by the Sea

Well the weather wasn't looking promising this morning but by the start time we had blue sky and the temperature was rising.

As is usual with the Nordic Nuts everyone arrived very early.  We headed down to the beach and I taught our new Nuts (Kath and Martyn) and invited anyone else to join us.

We had a couple of visitors who joined us on our walk in Bramble (the black lab) and Edith, another Nut.

We headed along the beach towards Dunstanburgh Castle. 

Jean took me to one side and said "Julie my gloves are rubbing on my hand".  I looked at her gloves and said "Jean that's because they are on upside down".  Jean then said "but Jane put them on my poles".  I watched Jean trying to put her gloves on and at this point couldn't help but laugh out loud because as well has having her gloves on upside down she had her right glove on her left hand and vice versa.  Gloves put right Jean said "that feels better"!  People wonder why we are called "Nordic Nuts".

The group stretched out as everyone walked at their own pace, the beauty of walking on the beach is we can't get lost (even Julie Detour Barnett).

We stopped to let everyone catch up and I explained how you can use the sand to check you aren't dragging your poles, leaving only a small hole in the sand and you can work on your technique, something I do regularly when I am walking alone. 

Catherine asked me to check her technique and give her some pointers.  This is the beauty of having an instructor on the walk the expertise is available there and then.

There was a section on the sand which was very wet, so a little plodging took place as we made our way towards Dunstanburgh Castle.  We ran out of sand so turned around and headed back to Newton by the Sea and cake and tea!  Surprisingly Martyn and Steve were well in front of the rest of the group although maybe the lure of food was too much for them.

We headed up to Newton Point and around the field which gave the newbies an opportunity to see the difference between sand and grass. 

We bid a sad farewell to Bramble and Edith.  Edith apologised if anyone had sore shoulders or legs from throwing and kicking Bramble's ball.

Everyone got back to their cars said goodbye to Laura and Catherine who weren't coming for tea and headed to the Joiners Arms where most of us decided to have food rather than just cake.  The staff at the Joiners Arms dealt with the noise, confusion and cheek of some of our group very well. 

What a fantastic shorter walk (4 miles) with a great group of people.  Keep an eye on the website as there will be another beach nordic walk on either the 11th or 12th June.

Thank you to Laura for her help as always, thank you to everyone who came along and thank you Steve for your photos. I hope you all had fun and hope to see you very soon.

Don't forget the Nordic Challenge Walks on 16th April.

See you soon

Julie x

Tue 5th April 2016

Belford figure of eight

Belford figure of eight

After a wet start to the day it was dry when the group met in Belford ready for the start of the walk.
We soon came upon and past Belford West Hall Tower.

There may have been a motte and bailey here in the late 11th century, but the first recorded building was an unfortified manor house which Edward III spent the night in on his return from the Battle of Halidon Hill, 1333. By 1415 the manor house had been replaced by the 'Castrum de Beleford', a strong tower.  A moat was dug at this time as part of the building's defence.

We continued along both St Oswald’s Way (97 mile – Holy Island to Heavenfield) and Northumberland Coastal Path (64 miles – Cresswell to Berwick upon Tweed) before reaching and passing through Swinhoe Farm Riding Centre, a family run business, on a 1750 acre farm.

A few miles on we gradually rose up to the stunning view over to Goswick Sands and Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle.

To the right of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne we could see Guile Point - The Old Law Beacons stand at the tip of a sandy spit on the south side of the entrance to Holy Island Harbour. Vessels entering the harbor lined up the two beacons on a bearing of 260° (just south of due west) before turning sharply northward as they approached the tip of the spit.

The beacons were constructed as a day range and no provision was made for lighting them, probably because it was considered too dangerous to enter the harbour at night. It appears that the towers were built in 1829.

After a  well-deserved lunch we reached and visited St Cuthbert’s Cave

St Cuthbert's Cave, known locally as Cuddy's Cave or Cove is a natural sandstone cave formed by overhanging rock that has been associated with Saint Cuthbert.

In 875 as the Vikings ravaged Lindisfarne and destroyed all the monasteries it is said that the body of St Cuthbert was taken from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, as the ‘wandered about for seven years’ even though St Cuthbert is thought to have been dead for nearly 200 years.

According to legend, these caves might have been among the places in which either the monks took shelter with their holy relic or where Cuthbert himself lived as an anchorite hermit before moving to the Farne Islands.

Then it was a  short walk back to Belford, a truly great walk.

Tue 5th April 2016

Cheviot to Kirknewton

Cheviot to Kirknewton

We gathered at Berwick on a fine morning. There were just the right number of seats on the bus for a party of sixteen!

On arriving in the Harthope Valley we noted the Alder trees which had been used by the Romans for channelling water and for the Vindolanda writing tablets. The forecast for the summit of the Cheviot was for poor or very poor visibility so we decided to omit this section of the walk. Our first group photograph on the ascent to Scald Hill shows the Cheviot covered in mist. Instead, we offered a ’twist’  to the end of the walk for those who were interested.

We covered approximately 10 miles with a total height gain of around 450m. We were fortunate to have good views all round. Here and there the going was slippy but the group as a whole were very steady on its feet. There were several opportunities en-route to hear the call of curlews. Its beautiful ‘flutey’ song is a joy to listen to. All members of the group will also remember when they first heard the story of ‘Tom Tallons Crag’!

To conclude the day we climbed up Yeavering Bell or ‘ The Hill of the Goats’. The group photograph shows the Cheviot in the far distance. Feral goats made their appearance on cue. As we left Old Yeavering for our final push into Kirknewton a solitary discarded coke can marked our return to ‘civilisation’!

All seats on the coach were occupied for the return journey to Berwick. A great day out. Mark and I enjoyed your company.

Roy Kennard (Hillguide)
Mark Nordmann (Volunteer)