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Rothbury Forest

Rothbury Forest

Mon 2nd July 2012

This was was part of the Rothbury Walking Festival.

As usual Sundance had been doing the old soft shoe shuffle to conjure up a dry day with a little more in the way of desperation than normal.

A dull morning with dark threatening clouds had the shuffle worked?

The group met at Rothbury Tourist Information Centre and were sent off by Mike ( as he was not quite ready) to look at The Coquetdale Angler’s Carved Headstone and The Lord Armstrong Burial plot.  By the time we had looked at the cemetery we were ready to start, no, Mike needed to take a group photo.  Now we were off, down the steps across the footbridge and we followed the road up to Whitton  where we wittered about border raids pele towers, bastles and of course the folly Sharpe’s Tower.  At this point Jon overtook us on his Geo trail.

Leaving Hillhead road we started to follow St. Oswalds Way.  This first headed towards Whitton Dean and then started the long climb up to Lordenshaws Hillfort.  On reaching the hill fort we admired the ditches and remains of the ramparts before finding the remains of the foundations of a building (house?).  We next headed for a rock that was covered in cup and ring carvings.

Continuing along St. Oswalds we climbed over a small ridge and descended into Cualdhole Moss, fortunately the track was not to water logged, eventually arriving at an old Shepherd’s  cottage called Spylaw, which is looked after by Blyth Scouts.  This made for a good lunch stop (in warm sunshine).

After lunch the path to Blagdon Farm was none existent, fortunately Mike’s GPS kept us on the right line.  Although at one point it looked as if we would be headed off at the gate by some cows’ a stern look from Mike and they decided not to pursue the issue and we reached the field gate without any fuss.  As we approached the farm yard a shearer slammed a big gate shut just in front of us.  Not to keep us out but to keep the sheep in.  We then stopped while Mike had a chat to the farmer’s son while the rest of us watched as they sheared the sheep.

From Blagdon we walked down the farm track did a little zig and zag across a B road and headed for the Crook Crossing.  This is where the Rothbury –Morpeth old railway crosses a small road, it was just after this Mike gave us a choice of routes left or straight on.

Unfortunately we choose left as once more the path was non existent we kept being taken down a muddy and very boggy valley side to try to find the way down and across the Bog Burn!  Eventually Mike found the sort of ford to cross over but the rocks were incredibly slimy and slippery.  Once more Mike trying to be a hero stood in the stream and helped the ladies across (the creep).  Eventually we found a way marker that put us on the right course and we arrived at the Lee Siding.  According to Mike there was a siding for coal wagons but according to the lady of the house Mike was talking rubbish and there was not a siding.  If we looked in the field at the end of her house we could see the remains of the winding gear that was part of a rope way that brought coal to the siding from the Lee Pit across the valley.

We now followed a minor road to Brockley Hall farm originally a bastle  built in the 1600’s.  At East Raw we turned right, walked passed Butterknowes  (another bastle) and then onto Brinkburn Station.

We were now able to walk along the old railway line all the way back to Rothbury.  It was just before Wagtail farm that we experienced a light rain shower which did not really get any one wet and had stopped by the time we reached Rothbury.

So yes Sundance had more or less managed yet another dry walk.

Q. Would his luck continue to hold for his next walk on Friday?

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