Bardon Mill - Vindolanda - Housesteads
Our party of 21 walkers (and three dogs) plus Mark and Moira gathered at Bardon Mill on a surprisingly mild and clear day for the first Shepherds walk of the year.
Mark had forewarned everyone that the first section - following the picturesque Chainley Burn to Vindolanda - may be a little muddy. He was not wrong and by the time we reached the fort for a coffee break and a brief history of Roman life in the first century, everyoneís boots and trousers had been christened!
On the road to Housesteads wonderful views of the Whin Sill accompanied by bright sunshine were seen and everyone enjoyed a second break at the second fort of the day. Mark provided more details of the fort and its history before setting off following ďthe wallĒ on this most popular of sections to Steelrig. Yet again the paths were extremely wet and muddy. Lunch was enjoyed with fine views of Crag Lough and the surrounding countryside. The iconic Sycamore Gap (with probably the most photographed tree in the North of England) was reached soon afterwards.
The Twice Brewed Inn was ideally placed for a comfort break! Quiet country lanes were followed to take us back to Vindolanda before the final muddy return to our starting point. The tea room at Bardon Mill remained open for many of us to sample their refreshments which were most welcome.
A lovely walk with the added bonus of fine weather. My thanks to Moira for acting as back marker and helping to make the day so enjoyable for all.
Cresswell Beach Nordic Walk
A change to the original walk (due to the state of the footpath) meant we walked from Cresswell towards Druridge.
This was a smaller and quieter group than usual and we welcomed back some walkers who we havenít seen for a little while coming back together with some regulars.
We met up in the car park, poles handed out and down to the sand for warm up. The usual rules of go at your own speed and enjoy yourself applied. Ruth took up the mantle of official photographer for the day. Thankfully this meant just a few photographs.
The group headed off with Ruth leading the way at a decent pace, the great thing about Nordic walking on the beach is that you donít have to watch where you are putting your feet, or do you. We came up to some rocks which were covered with green and black seaweed when the lovely Ruth slipped gracefully, as always if you fall you have to get your photograph taken before you get up. We checked she was unhurt before heading off.
Three mile in we came across a channel of water which was quite fast flowing and we decided to turn back towards Cresswell, a quick stop for sweets, water and even lunch for 3 of our walkers before we headed back.
Unfortunately the weather turned and we all put waterproofs on, the sand was softer which makes it more difficult to walk but everyone kept up the pace fuelled by the thought of cheese scones and mint Aero cheesecake at The Drift Café.
We started to head off the beach at the point that I thought we had come down but, surprise surprise, it wasnít and it turned out to be a slight detour. It wouldnít be a Julie walk without a detour although this one didnít make the walk longer.
Everyone went to The Drift Café, for tea, coffee, hot wrap melts, cheese scones, soup, mint Aero cheesecake (aka Julieís cake) and the lovely Marilyn had the Chocolate Brownie she had been thinking about since the Druridge Bay Country Park Nordic Walk. She wasnít disappointed.
Thank you everyone for coming along to this walk, this is my favourite beach and café and I loved sharing it with you all.
Thank you to Ruth for her priceless help and also for being official photographer.
The next walk is Saturday 25th March 2017 at Stanleyburn Wood (Prudhoe).
Hope to see you soon
Druridge Bay Country Park Nordic Walk
The forecast for the Druridge Bay Country Park Nordic Walk was excellent for the middle of February. It was going to be dry and around 11° and we were not disappointed.
This was again a large group of walkers, some regulars, some returning walkers and some newbies.
Whilst the newbies were shown the technique, Ruth welcomed everyone. Poles distributed and the customary photo shot, taken by Sharon (who hates her photograph taken).
First up was a lovely walk around Ladyburn Lake and whilst everyone was walking at their own pace I took Frankie to one side to give her some pointers on her technique.
There are some stepping stones across one part of the lake but we didnít take these and used the bridge just further up. A small incline was after the bridge and towards a wooded area (just because itís pretty) and headed towards the beach. Just to keep everyone amused I pretended I didnít know which way we were going.
My favourite Nordic walking surface is the sand and it was amazing the difference in the pace of everyone when they got onto the sand. The group really stretched out but this is the beauty of our Nordic walks and Druridge Bay is a beautiful beach.
This was the part of the walk which was linear and we turned around and headed back to the car park.
The walk was a lot quicker than we thought and as the café wasnít expecting us for another 1½ hours some of the group headed home. This part of the walk was just over 4½ miles (as per my GPS watch). I owe you all ½ a mile.
Those of us who were heading to The Drift Café did a little extra walk this time incorporating the stepping stones, much to Russellís disappointment no one fell in. He was ready and waiting with his camera. An extra 3 miles (according to Ruthís trusty pedometer) took us to the right time to get in our cars and head to Cresswell.
Lots of hot wrap melts, a couple of bowls of soup, jacket potato and full breakfast were demolished very quickly followed by chocolate brownie and mainly mint Aero cheesecake (now renamed ďJulieís cake owing to the fact that I had asked if Kate and Duncan could make it especially as it is one of my favourite cakes).
Donít worry if you missed the café, we are returning on the 11th March for the Ellington Nordic Walk.
Thank you to Ruth for her invaluable help as volunteer.
I hope you enjoyed the walk and hope to see you soon.