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Morpeth and Bothal Nordic Walk

Morpeth and Bothal Nordic Walk

Sat 10th June 2017

Not a great weather forecast for most of the day but it didnít put us off, Cath was our new walker so a teaching session was in order while we waited for Zeenat to arrive.  Val and Donna decided to have a refresher at the same time whilst I left Martin to chat to the others in the group.

A quick warm up and we were off.  Martin was at the front and I was backmarker keeping an eye on everyone.

First we went through Bluebell Wood, unfortunately too late for bluebells but the wild garlic was out in force.

Down to the A197 we all crossed to the woodland running alongside the River Wansbeck, under the viaduct, along past the Jubilee Well 1887, Lady Chapel ruins where there is a stone heraldic shield which would have been present on the chapel in 1774.  We walked past the Bothal Weir which has a Salmon ladder before reaching where we decided to stop to eat our lunch. 

Next up was the walk down to Bothal.  As we walked along the roadside we could see Bothal Castle.
We got to the village of Bothal which has a castle, a church, a vicarage opposite the church gates, some stepping stones over the River Wansbeck, and a few houses.

Just upstream there are some stepping stones.  Most of the group went for a wander, walked over them (luckily no one fell in).

After a few minutes we decided to head back the way we had come, this time we stopped off at the weir for more photo opportunities.

As everyone knows it wouldnít be a Nordic walk with without a ďdetourĒ however this time it wasnít a detour for everyone.  Bob was going at quite a pace and the path split into two Zeenat thought Bob had gone along the wrong path whilst Sue thought he had gone along the right path.  I left the group in Martinís hands on the correct route whilst I went along the other route just in case Bob had gone the wrong way.  My path was uphill and I lost sight of the group but met them at the end of the woodland where we crossed the road to Bluebell Wood and back to the cars.

Once back in Morpeth most of the group went for tea and cake.  Martyn suggested Café des Amis.  What an excellent tea room, great staff and service.  Lots of sandwiches, scones and cake were eaten in their covered courtyard.  The 6 of us that were left were surprised by the staff giving us cheese and thyme scones to take home (as they were going to throw them away) what a lovely gesture.

Goodbyes were said and we all headed back to the cars and home.

Thank you everyone for coming along on the rather soggy walk, you made the walk very enjoyable.

Thank you also to everyone who has taken photos and sent them to me.  I will put them all on the Nordic Nuts facebook page and some attached to this blog.

Our next Nordic walk is next weekend the 17th June in Craster and I hope to see you then or very soon.

I hope you had fun and thank you again.

As I didnít want to bore everyone on the walk by telling you about the area (and I canít remember it LOL) here is some information of parts of the walk that we pointed out during the day.

Lady Chapel Ruins and Jubilee Well. 
There is a stone heraldic shield carved into the rock (which would have been present on the chapel) is the arms of the Mulcaster family. Also inscribed into the rock are the words RM fecit, AD1857 and Fidelis Servus, which translates as faithful servant, although weathering of the rock has made this slightly illegible so it may not be accurate.

Bothal Castle (not open to the public) shows the huge crenellated gatehouse decorated with heraldic crests. The 14th-century castle is perched on a sharp spur, giving it a position of extra strength. It was built by Robert Bertram, who obtained his licence to crenellate in 1343. The gateway is shouldered by two polygonal towers. On the roof there is an embattled parapet where two stone figures stand to frighten off attackers.

Bothal is just one street with attractive estate cottages and was the headquarters of the extensive Welbeck Estates in Northumberland.  The village has a private footbridge at the end of a track leading from the 13th century church. It stands high over the steeply banked river. It is a suspension bridge which was built for the rector of Bothal church for ease of reaching the church from the Rectory on the south bank.


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