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Rothbury Walking Festival 2013

Rothbury Walking Festival 2013

Mon 11th February 2013

The year 2013 is the year of the fifth Rothbury Walking Festival and it is great to see this premier Walking Festival still comes up with some superb guided walks in this special part of Nothumberland.

Over recent years the Cragside Challenge has been added to the second weekend of the Festival and with the addition of a guided version of this Challenge Walk being added last year it has really made this 13 mile Challenge Walk accessible to everyone.

Also in 2013 a number of the walks will be a little further afield in Northumberland . Some of these take in The Cheviot, the highest peak in Northumberland, and also Hedgehope which is the Cheviot’s neighbour and provides you with some stunning views of Northumberland. With these two walks taking place over the first weekend of the Festival they will make a truly stunning start to a great week of walking in Northumberland.

Over the first weekend we also have less strenuous walks at both Biddlestone and over the Simonside Hills. This last mentioned walk will be in search of the Duergars, the Simonside dwarfs.  According to legend there are dangerous dark dwarfs lurking in the shadows of the Simonside Hills near to Rothbury. Fingers crossed this guided walk can hunt them out and that would make for a real story on the news!

As the Festival then continues into the week there are some really key walks exploring the very different landscapes that Northumberland has to offer to the walker, from walks on the coast to walks exploring the foothills of the Cheviots.

For the first year ever the Rothbury Walking Festival also has a Nordic Walk during the week, which will be a follow on from the free Nordic Walking taster session that takes place on the first weekend. This will enable people to put their newly found Nordic Walking skills to the test.

One of the unique additions to this year’s Rothbury Walking Festival is a Red Squirrel Walk. Red squirrels in the UK are under threat from the introduced grey squirrel. Numbers in the UK have fallen from a one time high, thought to be around 3.5 million, to a current estimated population of around 120,000.

Russell, who is leading this walk, works on a Red Squirrels Northern England project and will give a great insight into these fascinating creatures, including how they feed and the work being done to re-establish red squirrels in many parts of northern England. The population in England is thought to be as low as 15,000. The most significant threat associated with grey squirrels is the spread and transmission of a disease called squirrel pox virus. Grey squirrels do not suffer from the virus but once a red squirrel has become infected it will invariably die within two weeks.

For 2013 the National Trust will again be involved with a truly unique walk entitled Cragside – Building Dreams. This will be led by a National Trust Ranger who will bring the whole area to life as he helps us all to learn more about Lord Armstrong in this the 150th year after the building of Cragside House started.

These themed walks have really helped Rothbury get a reputation as one of the best Walking Festivals in Northumberland over recent years.

As the Rothbury Walking Festival continues to grow it has been extended this year by an extra day taking in the Sunday after the Challenge Walk with a fascinating and unique walk being added to the programme. Safety in the hills – “How do I get out of that?” -  this will do exactly what is said in the title.

This walk will cover basic navigation and what to do if something goes wrong. What would you do if you are out walking and your friend falls over and hurts his or herself? How would you manage that incident?

Having said that, this will be a fun day, looking at and discussing some of the situations you may end up in and most importantly how you would get out of them, right down to how you would guide the RAF Sea King helicopter that has come to pick up the injured member of your party.

It will bring this nine day Walking Festival to a fitting end. Eighteen walks over nine days in valley bottoms, mountain tops and along the coast. There is something for everyone, from the person who wants to join for the odd day or spend a full week living, learning, walking and enjoying some of the best walking landscape Northumberland has to offer.

Please do come along and join the Rothbury Walking Festival, set in the heart of Northumberland.

You can find out more about the Rothbury Walking Festival by clicking here.

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