St Oswalds Way - Weldon Bridge to Rothbury
Mon 2nd July 2012
The North East had been hit by flash floods just the day before but thankfully the Friday of the Rothbury Walking Festival was the day the weather changed for the better.
At last we had a bit of heat in the sun and the air did not hang as heavy as it had been doing before the sky ‘emptied itself’ the day before.
We met at Rothbury Tourist Information Centre in the morning, jumped on the minibus and had a short transfer to the start of the walk.
After all the rain we had I moved the starting point to Thistleyhaugh, which is about ½ mile down the trail. I did this so we missed the short section which ran right next to the River Coquet, which had been in flood twelve hours earlier.
After a quick overview about St Oswald’s Way we head off along the trail with the sun on our backs.
The first farm we reached (Brinkheugh) we were greeted by a shed full of ‘pet lambs’. These will have been lambs that have been taken off their mothers due to either being a ‘triplet lamb’. They certainly thought it was feeding time and we could not convince them otherwise.
We got the glimpses of the historic Brinkburn Priory on the other side of the river. This beautiful 12th century church of the Augustinian priory of Brinkburn survives completely roofed and restored as we continued on keeping to the higher ground to the south of the River Coquet.
Just after Thorneyhaugh we found a great sheltered spot for lunch and the whole group could sit back and enjoy the warm sunshine with great views of the Cragside Estate to our left and the River Coquet down below.
Pauperhaugh was then our first break after lunch before we rose up from the river to West Raw and then on to join and follow the old Rothbury Branch Line. This is a really impressive approach into Rothbury village as you pass through deep cuttings and a wonderful dry path under foot.
The group had all been great company and the weather really made for a great walk along this, one of my favourite sections of the 97 mile St Oswald’s Way.