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Mon 19th December 2011

Christmas Guided Walk - Simonside

Christmas Guided Walk - Simonside

Christmas guided walks are supposed to be cold and have snow, and this was certainly on the menu for today.

Our contingency plan was to move the starting point to Rothbury and at 9.00 in the morning we made that decision. A big thank you must be given here to our three Wise Men (Shepherds Walks volunteers - John, Andrea and Margaret) who then positioned themselves with maps, to direct people down to Rothbury. Stirling work, well done!

So, a little bit later than we had anticipated we set off from Rothbury, with over 30 keen walkers, on the Shepherds Walks Christmas guided walk.

We initially followed St Oswald’s Way, passing Sharp’s Folly and passed through Whitton Dean before climbing steeply to the Lordenshaws Iron Age Hillfort. After spending a few minutes at the cup and ring marks we headed down to the car park that the walk was originally planned to start from, Lordenshaws.

One thing that really struck me about today is how clear everything was. From Lordenshaws the Cheviot looked so close, the cool crisp air made the views really clear.

We then climbed upwards, passing above the dear wall, as we made our way up to Beacon Hill and followed the stunning snow topped ridge to just before Dove Crag, were we descended down to the forest track.

Then, we dropped down steeply to the Simonside Picnic area for a quick lunch. Being in the shade it was a little cool.

After lunch we continued to drop down to the river Coquet, before following it back into Rothbury.

We had a great walk. Lots of new people so I very much hope they come back on future walks.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.


I mentioned on the walk when I took John Craven on this walk. Below is the YouTube film of that Countryfile appearance. It's funny to see the walk with no snow on the ground!


Sat 17th December 2011

Nordic Walking Intergenerational club

Nordic Walking  Intergenerational club

We had a hugely successful Nordic Walking programme in Berwick, introducing many schools to Nordic Walking, with over 1000 children from different schools experiencing Nordic Walking in 6 week blocks. We ran this over a school year.

Due to the success of the exercise we set up a small intergenerational Nordic Walking club so that parents and grand parents could walk with their children and grandchildren.

This short video was shot at the end of the first six week session, when they headed onto a (windy) beach at Berwick.


Sun 27th November 2011

Whitton Hillhead Nordic Walk

Whitton Hillhead Nordic Walk

After a Saturday of gales and rain it was nice to see a bright start to Sunday, with the wind dipping just a little bit.

We met on the Haugh car park, next to the River Coquet which was well up after the previous days rain and after a quick warm up we were on our way climbing ‘Jacobs ladder’, before following St Oswald’s Way up past Sharp’s Folly, which was built by REV. DR. Thomas Sharp, Rector of Rothbury ( 1720-1758), for the relief of unemployment amongst local stonemasons and use as an observatory. It is the oldest folly in the country and is a listed building.

As we continued Nordic Walking our way up the track we were heading directly into the wind.  This gave everyone the chance to practise leaning into their walk and thereby improving their technique. The power of using the poles and also the stability they gave really showed the benefits of Nordic Walking off, but a welcome rest was well appreciated behind the trees, just before reaching Whitton Hillhead itself.

After skirting around the farm we reached the highpoint of the walk from where we were treated to stunning views of The Cheviot Hills in the distance, with Thropton nestled in the valley bottom, next to the river.

As we dropped back down to The Coquet and crossed Lady’s Bridge we where thankfully sheltered for the home run (or rather Nordic Walk) along the recently opened cycle path that now follows the North Side of the river.

A few cool down exercises where then in order before a good number of the group headed into Rothbury for a well deserved coffee and cake at Thomlinsons.

It was a great lively group with the whole group gelling very quickly and settling into the Nordic Walk very quickly. I hope we see you all again in March for a tour around the other side of the valley.