Training Walk - Cragside Challenge Walk
Sun 16th June 2013
On Saturday 15th June I led an enthusiastic group on a training workout in preparation for the Cragside Challenge in a couple of weeks time. The weather was mostly warm and sunny but we had one of those days when sudden rain showers swept across the Coquet valley. Waterproofs were on and then as soon as the shower came it went and the sun came out again. Waterproofs off to avoid overheating and then back on again... There were no complaints - how can there be when the beauty of the river meandering through the flood plain is contrasted with clear views of the Cheviots to the north and the sea to the east.
We set off from Rothbury and made our way over to Sharpe's folly and on to Whittondean.
After passing through the farmyard the first hill followed taking us up to the iron age hill fort with its ancient cup and ring designs etched in the rock, before dropping down to Lordenshaw Car Park. We crossed over the road and set off up the track that leads on to the ridge over Dove Crag. Up to this point we were on the exact route of the challenge walk but instead of heading back to the forest track we continued on the ridge up and over to Simonside summit.
The western descent off Simonside is not for the faint hearted. Initially it's very steep with slippery, sandy soil under foot interspersed with rocks but this merely added to the adventure of the day. After a well earned lunch break overlooking the Cheviots we rejoined the route of the challenge walk through the forest and down to Tosson and the Lime Kiln. Here we headed back along the river to Rothbury leaving the trip over to Thropton and beyond for the actual day of the challenge walk.
Thank you to my fellow travellers and to Margaret for back marking. This was a great day out and I throughly enjoyed the company.
I look forward to seeing you all again at Cragside.