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Thu 17th October 2019

Warkworth to Craster 2019

Warkworth to Craster 2019

It was a glorious October morning as we met at Craster ready to be transferred to the start of the day’s walk at Warkworth. There were 16 walkers – 13 were new to Shepherds Walks and Sam the beagle. On the minibus to Warkworth, Mark introduced himself and outlined the route and format for the day.

Before walking across the golf course to the dunes, Mark talked about the history of Warkworth castle and its links to the Percy family. As we followed the coastal path to Alnmouth and further on to Boulmer, fantastic panoramic views of the Northumbrian coast and the beaches were enjoyed by all. Lunch was on the beach at Boulmer where Mark again recounted some of the events “on this day in history” and talked about the smuggling history of this small fishing village and the R.A.F. base.

Our route continued along the coastal path past the idyllic Sugar Sands and on to the 8000 year old site of the Howick “round house”. Mark talked here about Howick Hall – the ancestral home of the Grey family, and its famous Prime Minister Charles Earl Grey, renowned for introducing Earl Grey tea to the U.K. in the early 19th century.

As we approached Craster and with the iconic Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance, we witnessed a huge flock of geese – possibly in excess of 1500 - heading south making their distinctive calls. Before we walked into the village, Mark talked a little about the history of the castle and the fabulous Craster kippers  and wished everyone a safe journey home. This was a wonderful walk with unbelievable weather and all who walked thoroughly enjoyed the day.


Tue 10th September 2019

Hartside to High Cantle

Hartside to High Cantle

Hartside to High Cantle – September 8th 2019

It was a glorious September morning as we drove up the Breamish Valley to Hartside – our starting point for today’s walk. Mark welcomed everyone – in particular those walkers new to Shepherds Walks – and outlined the route for the day.

As we walked down to Alnammoor farm and began the steady ascent up Little Dod to join Salters Road lovely clear views of the surrounding hills were enjoyed. At a coffee stop Mark talked about the old drovers and traders routes which traverse the Cheviots and in particular Salters Road. We passed to remote farms of Low and High Bleakhope ( the latter now sadly unoccupied) and stopped for lunch at a sheepfold at the foot of High Cantle. Unfortunately a huge number of midges forced us to quickly vacate the area and climb out of the valley to a much more comfortable rocky outcrop. It was after this short but steep climb that ongoing discussions began regarding Mark’s definition of a climb, an incline and a hill!

The remainder of the walk over the moor via Rig cairn to Linhope was quite simply stunning with magnificent panoramic views and the mass that is Hedgehope and Comb Fell rising above us. Mark took the opportunity to give a very brief history of the Border Reivers and Border Law.

Before returning to the cars at Hartside we made the short detour to take in Linhope Spout which is always a lovely spot although today the aroma of several BBQ’s spoilt the ambience somewhat! Mark thanked everyone for making the walk so enjoyable and wished all a safe journey home.


Thu 22nd August 2019

Windy Gyle - 2019

Windy Gyle - 2019

Windy Gyle  - 17.08.19

After the heavy rain of recent days, it was with some relief that as we gathered at Weders Leap it was a bright clear day, albeit rather breezy and the forecast for the day was good.

Mark welcomed everyone, introduced Martin our Shepherds Walks volunteer and outlined the route. He advised that Windy Gyle would almost certainly live up to its name and that it would likely be rather wet underfoot. Fortunately we were all prepared for this eventuality.

Before we started the long and steady climb to the border ridge via the old drovers road The Street, Mark talked briefly about these ancient tracks which crossed the Cheviots and also the existence of many illicit whisky stills in the area and in particular the wonderfully named Slyme Foot Inn. Visibility was excellent and wonderful views of the surrounding hills were enjoyed as we approached the border and joined the Pennine way. Sadly there was no sign of the wild goats today.

The wind was now much stronger and threatening grey clouds were gathering as we made our way to Russell’s Cairn and the summit. Fortunately the visibility remained good and the panoramic views of the hills were almost at their best despite a few spots of rain. With the wind behind us we made our way to join Clenell Street where we stopped for a late lunch and Mark outlined the history of the Border Reivers and the events which transpired here in 1585 when Sir John Russell was murdered.

We followed the well defined path to Murder Cleugh, the scene of another dastardly deed in 1610. Mark told the story of Robert Lumsdon and Isabella Sudden and the punishment eventually given to Lumsdon for his actions.

Just before we dropped down to Barrowburn and our starting point, Mark thanked everyone and wished a safe journey home. Everyone commented on what a wonderful walk and day it had been which only confirmed my own view that this is probably my favourite Cheviot walk.