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Mon 28th May 2012

Nordic Walk - Alnwick

Nordic Walk - Alnwick

More weather like this please, this is more like summer.

As we met in Alnwick Market place at 10.00am on a Saturday morning the sun was truly cracking the flags and with the market in full swing in the square we quickly left the hustle and bustle of the town centre for a more peaceful place for our warm up.

After a quick warm up we skirted around the edge of Alnwick Gardens before heading down to the River Aln and after crossing it on a bridge we left the road and all appreciated a quick drink of water before heading off across Alnwick Pastures.

Alnwick Pastures and the River Aln that runs through the pastures were designed by Lancelet ‘Capability’ Brown, the famous landscape gardener.

We stopped next to one of the weirs and split into two groups and did a few Nordic Walking exercises to try and improve our techniques. This is something we hope to do in all future Nordic Walks so we can all continue to keep our Nordic Walking in the right direction.

Alnwick Castle was looming above us so it was a great spot for our group shot and what a stunning backdrop for our Nordic Walk.

As we continued on we passed the famous Lion Bridge before continuing on following footpaths which at times made us skip over a few nettles. Not usually a major problem but as the majority of the walkers had shorts on it put a spring in everybody’s feet.

After again crossing the River Aln we climbed steeply up to the entrance of Hulne Park, which is owned by The Duke of Northumberland. Another great spot for a quick breather.

Within a few minutes we skirted the edge of Alnwick before returning back to the Alnwick Market Square and after a few warm downs it was agreed by all that a good Nordic Walk had been enjoyed by everybody.

Thanks for coming along and we look forward to seeing you all again in June at Hauxley on the Northumberland Coast.

Mon 21st May 2012

Hadrian's Wall - Two days along the best sections

Hadrian's Wall - Two days along the best sections

This was certainly a weekend of all seasons.

What better area to showcase than Hadrian’s Wall and even better the stunning section that runs through Northumberland. Our walkers for the coming few days was a coach trip from Scotland, as far north at Peterhead.We met the group on the Saturday at Steel Rigg car park and headed east along the most famous section of Hadrian’s Wall, taking in milecastle 39, Sycamore Gap and Crag Lough. All iconic views that have been broadcast the world over.

The day was fresh to say the least which made for a short lunch stop but it was great walking over a challenging section of the Hadrian’s Wall National trail. Fingers crossed for better weather on Sunday.

Sunday, thankfully, was perfect weather. It was still a little cold but the sun joined us today.
We met the group again at Cawfield and this time we headed west taking in one of the most picturesque section of the wall, passing along the Whin Sill.

With the warmth in the sun it made for a more leisurely day with stops along the way to explore the turrets and some stunning sections of Hadrian’s Wall.

We then dropped down into Walltown quarry and the group could then go to the Roman Army museum or just enjoy the sunshine (and ice creams) at Walltown.

Overall it had been a great couple of day. Very good company with a group that really enjoyed the stunning scenery we have to walk through in Northumberland.

Fri 18th May 2012

Pennine Way, part 10 - The Street to Clennel Street

Pennine Way, part 10 - The Street to Clennel Street

Pennine Way 2012  The Street to Clennel Street

What a difference 16 hrs can make grey overcast threatening skies and a cold SW wind, yet it was not raining so the Sundance’s soft shoe shuffle was working for the moment.
 
We retraced our steps of yesterday but unlike yesterday the wind speed steadily increased as we gained height, fortunately the wind was to one side and very slightly on to our backs.  As we started the final climb to reach Black Braes we passed a group of Cheviot goats and then just before reaching where the PW crosses The Street we saw another group in the head of Carlcroft Burn.  After some 2.5 hrs of walking we reached the start of today’s Pennine Way section.  But first we stopped for lunch in the lee of Mozie Law.

The wind had by now reached gale force and as it was on our backs was not too much of a problem.  The Foul Step was not as foul as it could be and was easily crossed as we climbed up on to Windy Rigg the wind was being funnelled up Rowhope Burn to blow across the PW at a right angle, it was so strong that we all walked with list to starboard and regularly were blow downwind two or three steps before we regained control of our progress.

The final ascent up to the summit of Windy Gyle was less windy as we were now on the lee side.  A quick stop for photos and once more we were off.  The going became easier as the wind seemed to have eased, the path was made up from limestone slabs and it was down hill.  After a total of just over 2.5 miles of walking the PW we reached the junction where Clennel Street crosses the border into Scotland whilst the Pennine Way continues along the Border Ridge towards The Cheviot.

To get back to our start point (more importantly The tea room at Barrowburn) we had  initially  to follow Clennel Street down hill until the Usway Farm track here we took another footpath that lead us first to Fairhaugh and then back into the wind before finally descending to Lounges Knowe where the tea room beckoned.

What a day, it stayed dry but the wind was some thing else, fortunately we walked the route with the wind behind us for most of the day and although a very strenuous day SM was over the moon or more correctly over Windy Gyle as she had been wanting to climb Windy Gyle for several years. 

PS Tea room food is great.