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Sat 10th June 2017

Morpeth and Bothal Nordic Walk

Morpeth and Bothal Nordic Walk

Not a great weather forecast for most of the day but it didn’t 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 wouldn’t be a Nordic walk with without a “detour” however this time it wasn’t 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 Martin’s 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 didn’t want to bore everyone on the walk by telling you about the area (and I can’t 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.

Wed 31st May 2017

The Cheviot 2017

The Cheviot 2017

The Cheviot – Sunday 28th May

It was a glorious morning as our group of walkers for the day met at the head of the Harthope valley. The heat of the previous days had been replaced with a fresh breeze and bright sunshine although the high hills were covered in cloud.

Mark welcomed everyone and gave a brief outline of the walk and ensured everyone had sufficient refreshment before we started the ascent of our first hill of the day – Cold Law. Hearts were quickly pumping as we made our way to the summit and the higher we went, the stronger the breeze. Our first coffee stop of the day was just below the trig point at the summit and as anticipated fabulous views of the Cheviots in all directions were enjoyed. Mark was able to point out various landmarks and also explained that we would be celebrating the inaugural “Northumbria Day” by unfurling the Northumberland flag at the top of Cheviot. However as Cheviot was still covered in cloud, we took the opportunity of flying the flag and taking some photos here despite the windy conditions.

The well defined path took us down from Cold Law to the foot of Broadhope hill and we then began to gradually climb. Mark decided to head diagonally across the heather towards Scald Hill. Underfoot the normally boggy peat hags were exceptionally dry and steady progress was made to the foot of the Cheviot. Our lunch stop was in a secluded and dry and sheltered stream bed just off the beaten track and with cloud still on the top, the flag was displayed once more. Suitably fortified we began the steep climb up to the summit plateau – fortunately we were a fit group and made good time and by the time we reached the summit the wind had abated and the cloud had disappeared.

After more refreshment and photos at the Cheviot summit, we followed the path to the head of the Harthope burn and began the slow but delightful descent back to the valley bottom. The sun was shining and it was by now quite warm and the views of Hedgehope, the surrounding hills and the valley were quite stunning. The burn had to be cris crossed many times but we all arrived safely and without incident at the sheep pens where the valley became much wider and then followed  the track back to our starting point.

This had been a wonderful days walking  thoroughly enjoyed by all and Mark thanked everyone for their company and for the variety of sweets that were handed out at each stop!

Tue 23rd May 2017

Happy Valley Nordic Walk

Happy Valley Nordic Walk

The forecast for the day was for rain but everyone was prepared for it.  Most of the group met in Wooler, we met our latest newbies, John, Jen, Val, Donna and Mary.  We car shared to the start where we met up with Alistaiir, Kirsten and Paul.  Poles were handed out, warm up and quick instruction for the newbies and off we headed.

Ruth was at the front and lead everyone to the bottom of the hill we were going to climb.  As always I told everyone to walk at their own pace, stop if they needed to and enjoy.

At the top of the hill there was a waymarker with two choices left and right on checking the GPS we headed right and we could see Hedgehope and Cheviot.

After the ascent everyone was pleased to hear that the rest of the walk was relatively flat. 

We passed Middleton Old Town, where there are 2 rundown houses, Bob went to investigate.  We took the opportunity to eat lunch as it stopped raining, Ruth had her spork to eat her halloumi and orzo pasta whilst Val had proper cutlery to eat her avocado!  We are getting very posh in our picnics.

We headed down towards Colgate Mill and the ford, we crossed the bridge rather than plodge through the ford where a group photo on the bridge.

We walked through the short stretch of woodland which was stunning and got to a field which had about 20 calves in.  They showed some interest in the group but not enough to follow us.

We got back to the cars and drove back to Wooler and headed to the Breeze Café. 

Thank you to everyone who came along, I hope you enjoyed this walk.  Thanks to Ruth for her help as volunteer.

The next Nordic walk is on Saturday 10th June in Morpeth and Bothal.  I hope to see you then.