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Mon 19th October 2015

Craster/Dunstanburgh Castle Nordic Walk Sunday 18th October 2015

Craster/Dunstanburgh Castle Nordic Walk  Sunday 18th October 2015

Another perfect weather day 12° and light clouds in the sky.

Everyone met nice and early.  I left them in my lovely volunteer, Laura’s capable hands whilst I ran through the technique with Andrea, who had never Nordic walked before.  She said “I didn’t realise there was so much to know about walking!”

On finishing we did our warm up in the car park before heading towards Craster Harbour.  I had mentioned that part of this walk today would take in areas of the Shepherds Walks Coastal Challenge, including where checkpoint 2 would be located.  I also said that if the tide was out we would go onto the beach but that this would increase the length of the walk.  Of course the sand won.

We were walking along the path and anyone who Nordic walks knows that the clicking noise can be very loud on tarmac.  Poor Andrea was very conscious of the noise.  The rest of us weren’t bothered.  Luckily the tarmac doesn’t last long and we headed onto the grass towards Dunstanburgh Castle (a motte and bailey castle). 

The grass to Dunstanburgh Castle is a great path to Nordic walk on, you can really plant your poles.  Once we reached the Castle we turned left around the bottom of the motte I explained the technique as we were going downhill.  The group were getting very excited because we could see the beach and there was plenty of sand for us to drop down onto.  We love Nordic walking on the beach!

There were a lot of golfers on the course but luckily they were putting so there was no danger of us getting a golf ball off our heads.

Dropping onto Embleton Bay beach (first detour) we firstly had to walk across some big stones, Laura’s favourite bit (not).  We were rewarded with a fantastic stretch of beach to really sink our poles into.  Debbie asked if we could try Nordic skipping and I demonstrated, Ruth had a quick try but the others just laughed at us.  We tried to Nordic run but soon stopped.

We reached a point on the beach where we could easily get up to the path we stopped to see if we wanted to stay on the beach or go up onto the path.  One of the group asked if we could go up to the path.  Off we all headed and we took a small detour (number 2) and were walking through bracken when I looked behind I could only see the top of Debbie and Ruth’s head but Glynis had disappeared, apparently she was standing in a dip.  We walked on to the path through Dunstanburgh golf course where layers were removed. 

I explained that we were nearly at a lunch stop and pointed out the route.  We went past the self catering cottages which are very cute, past the ruins of limekilns built c1790 (which I don’t think anyone saw as they were too busy thinking of lunch) and stopped at the Second World War pill box which is made from sandbags which unusually was filled with concrete and faces inland.

Everyone was wondering how far we had walked so we looked at the ever trusty Ruth who rummaged in her bra for her pedometer and told us it was just over 4½ miles.  Suitably refreshed we headed off.

The last part of the walk was along a farm road and across a field of young cows which Andrea and Glynis were very apprehensive of but Laura said in her Northumbrian accent “just stay with me and you’ll be alreet” and then we went onto the road. 

We got back to the cars, did our cool down stretches and discussed which tea shop we were going to.  Glynis asked if we were going back to the harbour so she could take some photographs.

The weather was beautiful when we got to the Shoreline cafe so we took the opportunity to sit outside, it feels a bit crazy to be able to sit outside in the middle of October.  This time our table was full of gluten free dime bar cake, cheese scones, white chocolate and raspberry cake and Rocky Road.  We were also very impressed that they had soya milk.

I explained the up and coming walks for 2015 and also the ideas which we have had for 2016.  Nordic walking in 2016 looks to be very interesting.

Thank you once again to the lovely Laura for her fantastic support as always and I hope you all enjoyed your day and I hope to see you again soon.


Mon 19th October 2015

Nordic Walk Rothbury Carriageway Drive Saturday 17th October 2015

Nordic Walk  Rothbury Carriageway Drive  Saturday 17th October 2015

We met the group in the shop and with a couple of late cancellations this was a very small group.

Poles at the ready we headed outside and warmed up.  I told everyone the start of the route which involved walking up Gravelly Bank, as always there were lots of groans as it was going uphill.  Lesley asked if we could have a stop somewhere with a nice view so she could have her lunch.  I said I knew the exact spot.

We started off with the instruction that the group could stop if they needed to but with the poles they would probably not have to stop as often, if at all.  I also said I would correct techniques if needed.

We got to the top of the bank and a swift admiration of the view (not catching our breath).  Onwards and upwards (literally) to the path which took us past the farm, Gimmer Knowe, I decided to try and remember what Gimmer Knowe meant and failed miserably, so a swift text to Jon, the shepherd of Shepherds Walks, gave us the meaning.  A gimmer is a ewe before she has had her first lamb and a knowe is a hill.

I joked with the group that I didn’t know if we turned right at Gimmer Knowe or if it was further along.  We went further along and turned right at the next gate to take us up (yup another small hill) to the carriageway itself.

We started along the carriageway, which was the route that Lord Armstrong’s visitors used when they visited Cragside.  Lesley tripped over her own feet and fell onto the grass right into a pile of sheep poo, luckily she was unhurt but her knees were mucky (as you can see from the photograph).  She brushed herself off and we carried on. 

The carriageway is a lovely path to Nordic walk along as it is flat.  We headed up to the viewpoint which overlooks Rothbury whilst Lesley and Norma ate their lunch, Anne admired the amazing view and a few photographs were taken. 

We headed back to the carriageway and through the forest where we came across a wide array of mushrooms, indeed this walk could have been called The Mushroom Walk unfortunately we weren’t knowledgeable enough to name them.

We had a choice of two paths and we turned right and came across a tree across the path which we had to duck underneath (not easy when you have a rucksack) although Norma made it look so easy as she gracefully went underneath but this wasn’t the worst part of this path, oh no we came across a gully with a tree across it, we knew we weren’t going to go across this and after watching a couple scramble across we all laughed and as is usual with a Julie Nordic walk turned around went back and this time went straight ahead.

Down this path we all stopped to eat blackberries and blaeberries (bilberries) which were delicious and Lesley said she would have to remember the route to come back to pick them.

Off we walked down to Rothbury and back to the shop.  Our main concern on this walk was whether we would get back in time for tea and cakes but not to worry we did.

Cool down and stretches completed.  We ended our day in Tomlinsons for tea, coffee, banana and choc chip bread, Malteser cake, Bakewell tart and coffee cake.  I explained the up and coming walks for 2015 and also the ideas which we have for 2016 and it looks to be a very interesting year for Nordic walking.

I hope you all enjoyed your day and I hope to see you again soon.


Mon 19th October 2015

Nordic Walking Training Saturday 17th October 2015

The weather for the day was perfect, 12° and light clouds in the sky.

We met at the Shepherds Walks shop and sorted out poles.  We headed down to the Riverside to start the training.

We worked through the first 6 basic steps of Nordic walking including the exercises to reiterate the actions.  This didn’t take the whole 2 hours as the steps were picked up very quickly so we headed along the Rothbury Railway line to practice and I could correct and work on any issues, if needed.

We finished the walk and headed back to the shop for lunch before meeting the rest of the group for the walk in the afternoon.

I hope you enjoyed your training and hope to see you on one of our walks very soon.