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Sun 23rd April 2017

Nordic Challenge Walk - Belford to Holy Island

Nordic Challenge Walk - Belford to Holy Island

A large group of 22 Nordic Nuts met in Belford to complete the Nordic Challenge Walk from Belford to Holy Island. 

The forecast was for about 9° with 10% chance of rain.

We had one newbie whilst the rest were all regulars with me.

Martin was in the front to take us at a good pace, whilst I was dotting around the rest of the group to make sure everyone was okay and keeping them in line.

We walked up to Belford Community Centre where we did our warm up and I explained that we couldn’t cross the causeway until 2.45 pm.

We headed off at a good pace with Martin in the lead following the route that Jon had given us, time for the customary detour but passed the castle, as when we got to the gate it was locked so we had to turn around and go back to pick up the correct route which passed by a lovely little stream. 

The group spread out and caught up every time there was a gate or stile of which there were many.

We passed Swinhoe before walking through Detchant Woods, people who had been on the St Cuthbert’s Cave Nordic Walk in the previous summer recognised Swinhoe Lake where we had stopped for lunch.  A few snacks were eaten before we headed off again.

Martin was still at the front with a little posse of ladies who were going at a canny pace, Angela (Mrs Elbows) loves walking with Martin.  He has his own fan club.

Next up was Sheilow Wood where we came across 2 gates which Anne duly gate vaulted over.
Kyloe Wood was next on the agenda and we had begun to think Martin had forgotten to stop for lunch, he found an amazing spot with a big tree lying down and a view of Holy Island, our destination.  Lots of food was eaten especially the triple chocolate brownies that Martin had very kindly made. 

Walking towards the A1 we came across a telephone box which had Russell mesmerised.  It didn’t take coins and he couldn’t grasp how you paid for calls.

We then had to cross the A1 and it was onwards towards the causeway. 

We had to cross a high speed train line, cue Martin’s favourite part of the walk.  He had to call the signalman to let him know we were crossing the track so they could change the signals and of course confirming we had all crossed safely.

The people at the front saw a deer just popping its head over a hedge this was definitely Angela’s highlight.

When we got to the start of the causeway we were greeted by Sharon who often joins us (since her injury) for the post cake and tea. 

Martin told me that a couple of the ladies didn’t want to walk over the sands so I walked along the causeway with them with Martin and the rest of the group heading over the sands in bare feet.

Luckily for me Russell had taken lots of photos (yes for a change) and also some videos so I didn’t miss out on the fun. There is an area of black stuff (never know what it is) which is always tricky to cross, usually someone falls in.  However this time there were just shoes/flip flops stuck in it.  First it was Steve’s seal skin shoe and then it was Zeenat’s flip flop.  Not to worry Martin was straight in to the black stuff to rescue them.  Mary crossed and one of her feet went a lot deeper than she expected.

The walkers from the road got to the end of the causeway literally seconds before the others and whilst most people were drying their feet and putting their shoes on I headed onto the sands to walk the last little bit with Kim, Claire and Glynis.

We all headed to cafés on the island and Russell, Steve, Glynis, Frankie and Lynn went on a wander into one of the churches.

The mini bus was picking us up at 6 pm to take us back to our cars in Belford and everyone met in good time.

Whilst in the bus Mary mentioned the hill near the end and I hadn’t noticed it.  I was not popular at that point.

We checked GPS (13½ miles), mobile phone apps (11½ miles) for the mileage.  We agreed to go for the 13½ miles.

I think you will agree that the scenery throughout this walk was stunning and enjoyed the variety between woodlands, fields and the causeway.

Well done to everyone, you did great.  I hope the big smiles meant you all enjoyed it and you liked your goody bags with the little chocolate treat in them.

Thank you to Martin for baking the chocolate brownies and leading the walk.

I hope you enjoyed the Challenge Walk.

The next Nordic Walks are 7th May at Thrunton Woods led by Jane and Happy Valley, Wooler on 20th May.

I hope to see you soon.

Wed 19th April 2017

Staward Gorge and Allenbanks

Staward Gorge and Allenbanks

Staward Gorge and Allenbanks Guided Walk – Sunday 16th April

Our party of 13 walkers and two dogs met at Haydon Bridge and set off just after 10am in a light drizzle. Fortunately visibility was reasonably good and as we climbed steadily upwards towards the head of Staward Gorge, lovely views of the Tyne valley were enjoyed and the rain soon stopped. Two deer were also spotted grazing in woodland and the sight and sound of skylarks and other birds was enchanting.

Up to the point where we entered the gorge the going had been very dry, but parts of the track down to Allenbanks were very muddy. When we reached the ruined Staward Peel, Mark gave a quick talk on its history over the centuries before we proceeded down the gorge to Plankey Mill. This is always a delightful walk and today was no different with everyone experiencing the tranquil setting and the wonderful views of the Allen valley. Just as we reached our lunch stop at Plankey Mill it started to rain again. After a brief stop we continued to Allenbanks car park and saw at first hand the damage caused to the river banks by storm Desmond in December 2015. Mark again gave a brief summary of this National Trust site and the nearby Ridley Hall.

Although the rain became more persistent and low cloud descended we all enjoyed the trail back to Haydon Bridge on the other side of the valley via well defined paths and farm tracks. Despite the poor weather everyone enjoyed the walk and remained in good spirits.

Mark Nordmann

Mon 27th March 2017

Stanleyburn Wood Nordic Walk

Stanleyburn Wood Nordic Walk

Another woodland Nordic walk on a fabulous sunny, warm Spring day with the Nordic Nuts.

As we all met up in the pub car park (permission had been gained), Kate (soon to be volunteer and also a qualified Nordic walking instructor) took Bob (our newest walker) to one side to teach him the technique.  Just as they finished I ran over to get a photograph.

This walk had a lot of the usual suspects as well as newbie, Bob and returning walker, Lorraine. 

Hugs and poles given out by the whole group we had our usual warm up when I introduced Martin and Ruth as my ever helpful volunteers and I also explained that Kate is also an instructor so if anyone wanted any help with technique we were both available.

We headed off down the bank to the actual start of the walk, group photo shot taken, and off we went. 

Kate asked “what is the river/stream called?”.  The Stanley Burn was the response to which Kate said “of course it is, you can put that in the blog if you want”.  Of course it was going in the blog.

Underfoot there was quite a lot of clarts but the scenery was beautiful.  A good pace was set by Martin whilst Ruth kept a check on the walkers at the back.  Lots of chatter meant we had no chance of seeing the deer which are in the woods.  There was a squeal from Debbie as she slipped on some of the clarts, but the ever helpful Russell saved her – what a gentleman!

We got to an area of the burn where it was easy to get to and of course someone always has to have a plodge, cue Steve who sat on a rock whilst the rest of the group caught up.

The route was varied with some inclines, steps and lots of bridges, 7 in total and a few small waterfalls.  The smell of the wild garlic was pungent in places and Lesley was very excited by this and said she was going to pick some on her way back.

At a field boundary Martin decided to worry everyone by asking me which path we had taken when we did the recce, heading off across the field it was an opportunity to really open up and pick the pace up.

Next up was an extremely muddy and slippery path which took us to a small road down to the second part of the walk. 

Some of the group spotted some squirrels on the return leg.

Back to the cars for a cool down stretch before most of us headed to the pub for refreshments.  Not great service but the sun was out so we enjoyed the company.

Thanks to Ruth, Martin and Kate for their help on Saturday.

Our next walk is the Nordic Challenge Walk, Belford to Holy Island on 22nd April.  It is a 12 mile walk along St Oswalds/St Cuthberts Way.

Hope to see you soon.