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Mon 26th March 2018

Humbleton Hill 2018

Humbleton Hill 2018

The walkers for the day met at Wooler Common carpark and Mark introduced himself (and Wendy and Hector who would be back marking the walk)and welcomed everyone and gave a brief outline of the day’s walk. The weather was perfect for a walk in the hills – sunny, clear and no wind.

The climb up Humbleton Hill had some walkers breathing heavily but Mark assured them it would be worth the effort as the panoramic views from the summit would be exceptional  - and so it proved with the snow-covered Cheviot and Hedgehope to the south, the North Sea to the north and Yeavering Bell to the west. Mark explained that this was one of the ancient hill forts in the Cheviot Hills and also the site of the battle of Humbleton 1402.

Our route then skirted  Harehope Hill to Gleadsclough where we stopped for lunch. Mark talked in greater detail about the history of the area and in particular the battles of Otterburn and Humbleton. He also pointed out examples of glacial meltwater channels. Suitably fortified our group began the gradual climb up to St Cuthberts Way and were lucky enough to see some of the wild goats with their young close to the path. Mark talked about St Cuthbert and then advised that if we were going to get wet and muddy feet it would be over the next mile or so – as it turned out this was not the case.

More wonderful views of the Cheviot Hills were enjoyed as we walked along St Cuthberts Way back to our starting point. 

Mon 19th February 2018

Nordic Walk - Howick and coastal path

Nordic Walk - Howick and coastal path

What a great start to our Nordic Walking programme for 2018.

We could not have asked for better weather for February as we arrived for the start of the walk, near to Howick. It was great to catch up with everybody again, both those who have walked with us before and also a new Nordic Walker, welcome!

After a quick introduction, we set off, heading North up the Northumberland Coastal Path passing the Bath House. This truly unique and most charming Grade II listed cottage stands in possibly the most idyllic and desirable location on the Northumberland coast. Set in a superb and secluded position on the cliff edge with a sandy cove below, it commands panoramic coastal views from every window. The majestic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle can be seen in the north, whilst to the south, there are distant views of Coquet Island.

As we continued up the Northumberland Coastal Path we frequently stopped and caught up with old friends.

Just before we reached Craster we headed inland passing through some farmland before reaching Howick Hall.

Howick was the home of the Grey family from 1319 and Charles 2nd Earl Grey is the most distinguished member.

As leader of the Whig party, he was Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834, during which time the Great Reform Bill of 1832 was passed in the teeth of opposition from the Duke of Wellington; this started the process of parliamentary reform which eventually led to our modern democracy.  He married Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby in 1794; the marriage was happy and fruitful and the couple had 15 children.

Howick is also the home of Earl Grey tea!  The tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, to suit the water from the well at Howick, using bergamot in particular to offset the taste of the lime in it.  Lady Grey used it in London when entertaining as a political hostess, and it proved so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others, which is how Twinings came to market it and it is now sold worldwide.  Sadly the Greys, being un-businesslike, failed to register the trademark and as a result, they have never received a penny in royalties.

We then had a short walk back down the road back to the cars.

A lovely Nordic Walk complimented by some great company!

Sat 4th November 2017

Plessey Wood Nordic Walk

Plessey Wood Nordic Walk

The weather was beautiful for the time of year, everyone met up at Plessey Wood Country Park.  A lot of regulars and a couple of returning walkers (Russell, Alison, Georgia and Jill), including Sharon one of our fabulous volunteers who has just returned after injury (not walk related) and 2 newbies, David and Jill.  It was good to see Bob back (after his foot operation) too.

Poles handed out, warm up done and off we set with Martin at the front and Ruth at the back.  First up we skirted the outskirts of the country park, passing the totem poles, fairy doors in the trees and what looks like the remnants of an old building.

We headed along the river through the woods under the viaduct and to the A1, where we turned back and retraced our steps back to the Country Park.  We past a wooden set of drums and Martin was the first to try them out closely followed by Chris who was joined by Ruth (on guitar), Claire (on flute), Russell (on saxophone) and Mal (on trumpet) watch out for the Nordic Nuts on Tour.

We thought the cafe was going to be closed so Martin had made brownies and cheesecake (especially for Russell's birthday).  Ruth made lemon drizzle cake and Marilyn made dairy free cookies.  All of the cakes went down a storm with Chris taking some home for her hubby and Bob taking a goody bag home.

I hope everyone enjoyed the day.

Thank you to Martin, Ruth and Sharon for their fab work (and cakes).  Thanks to Russell for the 108 photographs.

Next walk is 9th December to the Christmas Tree on Simonside, which is sold out.

I hope to see everyone in 2018,

Julie x