St. Oswalds Way part 5 - Warkworth to Weldon Bridge
Sundance had been in a dilemma all week should he soft shoe shuffle or would it have the opposite effect put the rain gods in a really bad mood and make it rain? The old soft shoe shuffle won and was duly shuffled.
Sunday dawned bright but the cloud was soon building up as the group met at Weldon Bridge. By 9.15 all the group had arrived and we piled onto the mini bus for the transfer to Warkworth. By 10.00 we were leaving the car park where we had finished last month’s walk. After a short walk we crossed the river Coquet by the old Warkworth Road Bridge and passed through the gateway. A brisk walk up Warkworth high street and we were standing under the walls of Warkworth Castle.
After a short walk we were through Warkworth and on a good farm track that lead South for 2km through New Barns before turning west. The route now follows a green lane that passes close to Morwick Farm (makers of ice cream).
We continued to walk on a good path known as Rake Lane and had a late 11o’clockses before passing under the main North East Railway line (for the 3rd and last time). It was along this stretch that we saw lots and lots of white butterflies. The sun was now beating down and the heat was making the going tough but the occasional stretches under the trees were pleasant. At the end of Rake Lane we turned south for about 1km. Here it was decided to have a lunch stop in the anticipation of a coffee shop at Felton.
After lunch the track continued westward and after walking down a steep bank we met the River Coquet, from here on we would be close to if not exactly walking along its river bank.
A very gentle stroll brought us to the coffee shop and disappointment, it was so full doing dinners we could not get in and the only ice cream sold was in a paper coffee cup!
After another sit in the shade of some trees we set off once more. The path is high above the river, but, and an important but, we were in the shade of trees for the next 3km and it was really pleasant walking.
Once more we crossed (walked under) the A1, again for the third and last time. On leaving the woodland we now entered head high (or for some above head height) bracken and grasses and with the heat it felt as if we were walking through a jungle. Eventually we entered grazing land and the walking was easier but less fun.
After another short stretch of woodland we knew we were near the end as we could hear the traffic crossing the new bridge at Weldon. After walking through some houses gardens we walked the new re-routed section that keeps you down by the river until the Old Weldon Bridge.
Once more a dry sunny day with a lot of happy walkers.
Edlingham Nordic Walk
This was Julie’s first time leading a walk and the day started brightly with everyone meeting early beside St John Baptist Church, Edlingham. There was a good mix of men and women.
Julie started by introducing the group to Martin, who had been volunteered to come along, she also explained the route we were going to take. Alison was nominated to be official photographer with Beth also taking photographs.
After the warm up we set off and it was quickly evident that some of the group were going to be setting a fast pace so Martin went ahead with them waiting at each gate for the rest of the group to catch up.
We walked over the bridge at the burn and we were met with a rain shower and the first steep hill on which a field of cows, calves and a bull were grazing. Everyone set off at their own pace and the cattle paid little attention to us. Two of the ladies stopped to look at the field mushrooms and wishing they’d brought something to carry them home in. We all got to the top and were really glad we had the poles to help us.
Next was the walk through the woods and Scott was leading the way, suddenly everyone stopped. Scott had spotted a toad! A few minutes were spent looking at the toad then we were on our way.
The walk took us up another hill and at the top Julie opened a bar of chocolate with most people partaking. We continued towards the little cottage where group photographs were taken and then onto the lane and down to the road. There wasn’t a lot of traffic on the road so we made good progress and turned left onto another quieter road.
We walked through the houses and as Julie had spotted a peacock the week before everyone kept their eyes peeled to see if they could spot it. It must’ve heard the clicking of the poles or the chatter as it was nowhere to be seen. We also spotted a field in the distance that appeared to be very colourful. A member of the group informed us that this was the combined harvester graveyard and had been there for some time and was still growing.
Another walk through the cow field took us downhill and again we lost the speedier people in the group but as always everyone went at their own pace. When we got to the field just before the cars Scott spotted peas in pods growing and everyone stopped to grab a few and eat the freshest peas you could get.
We finished at the cars and after Julie told everyone what was coming up – and the dismay that the next Nordic walk isn’t until 21st September – we did our cool down exercises and everyone went their separate ways – mostly to Alnwick for a cup of tea.
This was a really good walk and everyone was chatting to each other all the way around. Julie hopes to see you all on the 21st September at the next Nordic walk.
Pilgrims Causeway to Holy Island
As I woke up in the morning it was literally pouring down and we even had an extreme weather warning for heavy rain. But looking at the weather forecast it was (hopefully) going to brighten up in the afternoon and with the walk starting at 1.00 pm we could have planned it better.
As I pulled up at the start of the walk it looked as if they had got the weather forecast completely wrong as it was pouring down, but one by one the cars pulled up and what a hardy bunch of walkers we have at Shepherds Walks. Not one no show and as they all pulled on their waterproofs everybody was well up for the walk ahead.
After a quick introduction and overview of the day we set off along the road before joining the pilgrim’s route as we passed over the sand. We negotiated plenty of large water channels initially as it was just two hours after safe crossing time as we started our journey following the ‘tall poles’.
Upon reaching the first of the two refuge shelters one of the walkers could not resist climbing the ladders to look at the view and to read the information panel to us all.
Walking across the pilgrims route to Holy Island it truly special, it is very different than walking in the hills, your eyes scan the lying water looking for the best route through this special landscape.
Good pace was being achieved and with the rain stopped and hoods down the heads of the group really lifted as everybody really savoured and enjoyed this special walk.
The next stop was for what is becoming our traditional group shot (thanks Martin) and then it was not long before reaching Holy Island.
We had planned a very different layout of the day for today. As we reached Holy Island everybody then had a couple of hours to visit the sights, walk around Holy Island and explore this special place at their own pace before meeting up for the transfer back to their cars.
Well done to everybody, some great hardy walkers who never got out off by a bit of rain.