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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

Mon 16th October 2017

Causey Arch Nordic Walk Blog

Causey Arch Nordic Walk Blog

We are varying the areas of our Nordic Walks and this was a walk South of the river at Causey Arch/Tanfield Railway near Stanley.

A lot of the group arrived very early and headed to the Causey House Tearoom for a quick cuppa before meeting up with the rest.

The weather was beautiful, warm and sunny and most people were in t-shirts (amazing for October).

We had our little detour right at the beginning as we headed downhill away from the road to turn back and walk along the road to Tanfield Railway's Andrews House station.  As always the group was well spread out with Martin at the front, me in the middle and Ruth at the back. 

We walked through some lovely woodland along the river and came to the footbridge which gave us a magnificent view of Causey Arch itself (the oldest surviving single-arch railway bridge in the world), group photograph taken we then walked up the stairs (sorry Mary) to the top of Causey Arch.  Lots of photographs were taken, some people went up to see the train line before we turned around and headed to Tommy Armstrong's (Pitmen Poet) Tearoom.

Lots of tea, cakes and cheese scones were consumed before we headed off up an overgrown path, at which point we couldn't see some of the smaller members of the group.  At the end of this path the group had become very stretched and we mislaid a small group with Ruth in charge of them.   They caught us up.  We walked along the road towards Beamish Hall and towards Causey Arch Inn and through a field back towards our first tearoom, the Causey House Tearoom.

It had been such a beautiful day that unfortunately the Tearoom had run out of a lot of stuff, but everyone found something to eat.

Thank you to Martin and Ruth for helping on the day. 

It was great to see so many Nordic Nuts again (some who we haven't seen for a while) and I hope to see you soon.

Next walk if 4th November 2017 and is a short, flat walk at Plessey Woods Country Park.

Love Julie x